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The magazines and this website are full of articles and postings of some exceptional modelers. I am not one of them. My layout building journey started nine years ago. My skills have improved, but in retrospect my layout was a failure and turned into the Plywood Pacific. In this blog I will start posting my thoughts as a renew my enthusiasm for the hobby.
About six months ago I determined the old layout would have to come down. I explored many options going forward. First, a steam powered Pennsy branch. As a kid this was the railroad I had some exposure to, although it was GG1 territory which held no interest. I will discuss later why that did not work. Next, since I spent most of my adult life in the Midwest I looked at a RI branch. Later I will discuss why I abandoned that idea.
For many years I had admired the approach and ideas of Lance Mindheim. Not able to obtain closure on what to do I contracted for him to design a layout through his Shelf Layouts Company. After filling out a questionnaire I followed up with a phone call to Lance. The high points of my modest goals were:
1) Proto type based.
2) Operating session of 15 minutes to 90 minutes
3) Use existing footprint, or less, of L shaped 13 ft X 27 ft, 18 in wide.
4) Ease of construction and maintenance.
5) Bullet proof operation, meaning no stalling or derailments.
6) Six turnout maximum.
7) Timeline of operation in six months, completed in three years.
After discussing my interests Lance told me, not surprisingly, he is most familiar with Florida and LA. If I wanted to do something other than that I would have to supply some proto type information. So we settled on Florida, FEC to be exact. I had already thought this a possibility and owned two FEC 40-2's. In my next post I will post the track plan.
I hope you will follow along as I start this process. Will I be successful, I hope so. But I want to make clear success or failure at this point is on me, not Lance. He has been great to work with in the design. Now it is all on me. Stay tuned.
This article first appeared on model-railroad-hobbyist.com
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