Friday, September 1, 2017

Tony Koester, Multi-Deck Layouts and Me

So I was re-reading a copy of Tony Koester's book Desiging and Building Multi-Deck Model Railraods, when I came across a couple of paragraphs about me.

Well, not about me exactly, but about the Manitoba & Minnesota Sub., and how it (and my late brother-in-law's layout) influenced Tony to build his own multi-deck layout.

Tony was a guest presenter at 2000 during the NMRA Thousand Lakes Region Millennium Express convention in Winnipeg.

During the convention, he visited local layouts—including mine and the Cougar River Subdivision, owned by my brother-in-law Ken Epp.

I don’t remember much of what Tony said during the visit, but I remember he paid me a compliment on my modeling. It meant a lot to me.

What I didn’t realize, until I re-read the book recently, was that his visit also caused him to take a dramatic turn in his own modelling.

In the introduction to the book, Tony wrote that for a long time, he couldn’t see himself “adopting the multi-deck approach to layout design any time soon.”

Then, in 2000, he came to Winnipeg, and got “quite a surprise.”

“During an extensive layout tour, I discovered that every new or newly revised model railroad on the tour had multiple decks! 

"One huge basement layout had at least three decks, in fact, with the upper one above eye level . . . something was clearly in the wind.”

Four levels on Ken Epp's Cougar River Sub.

“The story of what was in the wind is what this book is all about.”

“It’s as much a fascinating story of the recent history of progressive model railroad design as it is a how-to book.”

Three levels on the M & M Sub.

After reading those lines, I wrote Tony about his comments.

“That visit to Canada was indeed an eye-opener,” he replied, adding that Canadians seemed to be starting a trend.

Two levels on the M & M Sub.

As for the book itself, there’s a photo of the M & M Sub. in it. There is also a photo from the layout in another of Tony’s books, Model Railroading from the Prototype to Layout.

One of these days, I want to see Tony’s Third Subdivision of the Nickel Plate Road multi-deck layout, and see him once again in person.

Meantime, I can reflect on my tiny contribution to that great model railroad.

Tony's NPR layout.


1 comment:

  1. I can say without a doubt Ken's multi deck layouts definitely inspired me to build mine. Especially seeing the tighter deck spacing could be done and look great.