Been a long time…

Since the last update to the site. Terribly sorry about that to anyone following this blog.

The layout has been progressing at a steady pace into the Summer of 2019, and then of course house projects took over my free time. Although, I did find a bit of time to work on the layout, I soon realized that this was not what I wanted.

Everything was getting too complicated and I learnt new things about myself – things I liked and did not like. I definitely did not like crawling under the benchwork, as I was about to start wiring on the Staging deck. Then a notion sank in that my deck separation did not provide ample room to actually do any wiring in the middle or the upper deck, once that comes about.

Coupled with a low ceiling, I could not raise the decks any higher and being a fairly tall person, overall deck height was not adequate for me. Alas, if I was building a layout for everyone else it would’ve worked…

I mentioned over-complexity…I started first with dismantling the yards in the peninsula. That was just excessive and un-necessary trackage considering the tracks in the main staging that could house 14 trains. Would all of these trains ever leave the yard to begin with, during an op session!?

One thing led to another, and I carried on with removing the main staging yards, pulling tracks to trim things down. At the end, there was nothing left, just the empty top surface. Which was the real issue to begin with, as that benchwork was built at 31″ instead of 28″ surface height, not permitting good deck separation for anything above it.

What I realized at that point was that I had a really good plan and a good layout shape already. Except it was in the past, back in March 2018…if only I could rewind time. Double deck, point to point with external visible staging yards, one above the other.  Good E-shaped layout inside with a helix to climb up/down.

Of course, this is all in hindsight, because in the mean time I built a storage closet in the area where my staging was supposed to be. My spouse is an extremely supportive person and she even suggested at one point of our current discussions to remove the closet and free that space. I just couldn’t bring myself to destroy it because the closet fits so well with the overall flow of the basement, and she really likes it, above all.

C’est la vie.

You are now almost up to date. Around the beginning of November, I started looking back into N Scale. Yeah I know, double facepalm.

In any case, things sped up from there. I wanted to have something simpler, while maximizing the use of space and having a long mainline run. I thought about double-decking, but the same problems that faced me with H0 would happen again. Granted, I’d have more room due to 1/2 the size of N Scale, still I lost my main staging area that was ideally located, and I did not want a 3rd deck for it.

I thought to build a stair-step style layout where the upper level is inset from the lower level, sharing the same benchwork. This would solve an issue of lighting , as only one set of lights would be needed. I gave up on that idea because I felt it did not offer me an ability to dip into the benchwork for any scenic areas in the upper step since its fascia and lower level’s backdrop are one and the same.

For awhile now I have been admiring two model railroads, Rod Warren’s Santa Fe Railway Southern Division and Mark Lestico’s UP Cascade Subdivision, both in N Scale. Eventually (read couple of weeks ago) I made a decision to go with a single deck, chest height, skinny benchwork, domino style, à la UP Cascade Subdivision.

I forfeited wider aisles in favour of two long peninsulas (God help me I did not make a terrible mistake there – I keep hearing Art Houston in my head saying 4 ft aisles are a must). The 28″ wide aisles seem to had worked for Mark Lestico, and I hope it would work for me. Not sure if the layout turns into a maze because of my low ceiling but what’s done is done.

Alright, we are almost up to date, minus couple of weeks of renovations, wood cutting and inhaling drywall and wood dust, etc.

I might go back and fill-in the lost months with posts on, now old H0 layout, as I have taken photos of that progress, but right now I’m focusing on the N Scale build, so going forward those will be the new posts. I’ll consequently update all the other details (Givens and Druthers, layout plan, etc.) when time permits as I want to get as much done over the Holidays as I can…