Saturday, December 14, 2019

New Layout Update: Good to be Back in the Basement Again

In August, I closed the chapter on the M & M Sub.

After 25 years, the large double-deck layout was no more, save for an L-shaped portion of the old upper deck that I planned to use for a switching layout.

Nothing happened until November, when I started working on the new layout.

Since the “benchwork” (two-inch Styrofoam) was already up, things went quite quickly.

By December 4, the first train was running.

Today, I think the basic track plan is set (although never say never).

The new layout models an industrial spur on the outskirts of a fictitious major Canadian city.

The idea is that trains leave the city (staging) and go through a more rural area to reach a small town some distance away.

The time is pre-1989, so I finally have a prototypical reason to use by two Rapido vans.

It also gives me a reason to use more boxcars serving industries, since that was more common 30 years ago.

The layout serves seven industries, including a transloading facility (team-type track).

Maximum train length is five or six cars, which is perfect for switching that many industries.

The layout is supported by a three-track staging or fiddle yard at one end.

Trains enter from staging (the city), and can switch two trailing point sidings before entering a larger industrial area in the nearby town.

After switching in that area, trains head back and can switch two more trailing point sidingss on their way back to staging.

The layout is centred on a large industry (a mill) in the corner, built by my friend Rick Ritchie.

It’s quite a change from the large double-deck M & M Sub., with its 230-foot mainline, two levels, large yard, controls for four operators, and trains of 18-20 cars plus two or three locomotives.

But I am enjoying it, especially the building part.

There’s still lots to do; the layout looks a mess right now without any ground cover. And there’s lots of tweaking and fine-tuning to do, plus adding scenery and backdrops and fixing the structures.

But so far, the little layout is doing exactly what I hoped: Rekindling my enthusiasm and interest in the hobby—which had waned over the past few years when I finished my previous layout.

In other words, there’s a reason to go back into the basement again . . . .


  1. I'm glad to hear you're back in the basement again! Looking forward to more updates and maybe seeing it in person someday :)

  2. This looks like a great start, and you've already accomplished a lot! This will be a beautiful place for your fleet of boxcars