Maybe it’s because I’m getting sentimental in my old age OR maybe it’s just because we wrap ourselves up in our hobbies so much that it is kind of hard to see things go but I’m feeling that way about BOTH of my layouts. Yes, both, as I did have a small shelf layout in a spare room long before I built the one that I have now… which is also scheduled for removal.
The old layout was a very short, point-to-point switching layout that fit the space available instead of really fitting my needs. It was built on top of some bookcases in a spare room and there simply wasn’t any other place to put it. Still, it taught me a lot about do’s and don’ts of layout construction and I’m sure that the one I have now is better because of that experience.
The plan was simply an extended one from an old Atlas Snap Track plan book. The “L” shape had one leg that was about 12 feet long and the shorter one that was about 6 feet. I did extend that shorter leg about another 6 feet just to get a wee bit more space. I don’t care what type of layout you build… you will always want about a foot more space than what you have available. It featured plenty of sidings, some switching spurs, a small yard, a wye for turning one loco & car and even a switchback required to get to one of the buildings along the line. All in all, there was a lot going on there in that small amount of space. Really, it was a nice set-up “IF” you were a switcher but I wanted to watch ’em run so it just didn’t work out in the long run. It did satisfy my cravings though… at least until we were able to add on to the house about twenty years later.
I haven’t done anything with it for several years but recently decided that it would become the “work area” while I tear down my current layout and work on my new one. But first things first… before I do that, I have to pull up the track and move all of the buildings to make more room for… more buildings. So as I was in there this evening, I got to thinking about some of the pieces that were still there and thought I’d share a little about them with you in the next several posts.
Since it was so compact, the challenge was to add lots of buildings that had to be switched so that I had something to do when “playing trains.” Several of the buildings came from plans that were published in MODEL RAILROADER by the late Art Curren. Art was a true craftsman and could take most any building and totally redesign it into something totally different than originally planned. Instructions? Who needs them when Art was going at it with his razor saw. All in all, I think I built about eight of the buildings that he wrote articles about. Later, MR published a book with his kitbashes in it and he graciously sent me an autographed copy. We exchanged mail (long before email) for several years until Art passed away after a long battle with cancer.
In the next few posts, I hope to share some of the old structures that were used on the layout, a few older cars I found there and even a surprise or two. Stop back!