Saturday, December 22, 2018

Farewell to Jim Hediger's Ohio Southern

Jim Hediger’s Ohio Southern is no more.

As was reported in the December 2018 issue of Model Railroader, Jim tore down the layout after selling his house.

Jim’s layout now joins the many other layouts that have been influential to me over the years—and that are now also gone. (See Of Tibetan Sand Mandalas and Model Railroading.)

Started in 1979, the Ohio Southern was the very first double-deck layout. It was the inspiration for my own double-deck Manitoba & Minnesota Sub. Articles about it in MR helped me build my layout. 

I’ve written about Jim’s layout and operating philosophy a few times, such as when it marked its 35th anniversary.

Reading Jim’s farewell article in MR about his layout, I was struck by his matter-of-fact tone. The truth is that layouts, like their owners, don’t last forever.

Very few survive after their owners move or die.

(The only one I am aware of that outlived its owner intact is Harry Calrk’s Indian Creek Valley, which was transported in an outbuilding to a new location.)

One thing that also struck me, reading the farewell article, is that Jim didn’t appear to have ballasted his track (even after all those years). That would certainly make it easier to take apart!

I was also happy to see that, right to the end, the Ohio Southern was DC—just like the M & M Sub.!

View videos of Jim talking about the creation of the Ohio Southern here and also here.

1 comment:

  1. There is an earlier double dick layout that's still in existence. Francis Lee Jaques's (thawt's the spelling) Great North Road was featured in MR about 1961 and following Jaques's death was moved to the Minnesota Mining Museum in Chisolm, where it's on display with other examples of Jaques's pioneering model work. When I saw the claim in MRVP that Hediger's was the first double-deck layout in MR, I e-mailed them to point out the plan published there c 1961 and suggesting it would be a good day trip for the staff to go up to Chisolm and revisit the layout -- all a win win for MR, as far as I can see -- but never got a reply, and MR never published any sort of clarification. This is sad, because Jaques was a major mainstream artist and quite possibly the most "respectable" model railroader ever.