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I am finally embarking on my layout project. I am going to use this blog to track the build. I am new to MRH and to blogging so we'll see how this goes. Hope you enjoy it!
Introduction to the Mud Bay & Western
The MB&W is a fictional branch line set in the Puget Sound region in the late 60’s. The design goal is to maximize operation potential in the space available. It is a two-level, operation centric, N scale railroad that uses some less common (I think) techniques in its construction.
This all started innocently. A couple summers ago a good friend asked me help him put a railroad in his garage. He lives in the Seattle area during the summer and winters in Arizona.
We would spend a few weekends each summer working in his garage and managed to get benchwork built and most of the track laid for an N scale layout that could easily host 4 operators.
This past year he and his wife decided that within the next two years, they are going to sell the Seattle house and move to AZ full time. Along with this decision, we have decided to relocate the railroad to my house and I will take over ownership.
This is how, after 20+ years in my own house and spending most of my modeling time working on other people’s projects, I am finally going to build my own layout. This blog will track the progress and share ideas.
The space was one stall in a two car garage. It was roughly 14’ long by 9’ wide. We decided to go with a double deck design to have more space and given that it was in a garage, we used a modular approach so it could be taken down and stored on shelves so that the second car could still fit in the garage if needed.
We got to the point where we had most of the track laid and could run a train from one end of the layout to the other last summer.
This Spring when my friend returned to Seattle we had the discussion about his decision to sell the house within the next two years and decided that the goal for this summer would be to relocate the railroad to my house.
A couple factors led us to believe that this would not be as hard as one would expect. First, our design was already modular to facilitate taking it down in the garage. Second, the train room in my house is located above my garage and is the size of one car. This is essentially the same size of space we were using in his garage (actually my room is slightly bigger).
Given the space and storage constraints in his garage, the original layout ran down one wall of the garage, then crossed a roughly 4’ bridge module to a peninsula that ran parallel to the wall. The track ran up one side of the peninsula and then back down the other. Now, make two levels of this and you have the general idea.
The benchwork along the wall was 13” deep and mounted on shelf brackets. The peninsula consisted of modules that were 10” deep and 4’ long with an 18” x 38” module across the end.
Here’s a shot of the section down the wall...
...and one of the peninsula (before track) to give you an idea of what the modules were like.
A couple other design choices are visible in the pictures.
First, we had lighting built in. For the section along the wall we had small fluorescent lights mounted behind the facia. This provided a lot of even light - but is so ten years ago. In the new location this has been updated.
Second, we wanted to avoid the headache of needing to work underneath the layout any time we had to work on wiring so the facia was hollow and the main wiring bus and all connections to it are located along the front of the layout. Once the work is done, the front facia panel is attached and all the wiring is hidden. Remove a couple screws and you have full access to the wiring without the need to crawl under anything.
In the photo of the peninsula you get an idea of what the modules look like. They are 10” deep and 48” long. They are framed from ½” cabinet grade plywood and have a two inch foam insert for the deck. You also get a glimpse of some aluminum benchwork support. This will be discussed in detail in later posts.
The skyboards are part of the module frames and are made of door skin plywood (1/8”). They are 11” tall. The modules are strong and light. Very easy to handle.
This is what we had at the end of last summer and served as the starting point for the relocation effort this summer.
I innocently went into the summer thinking we were going to simply relocate what we had to my house. Well the space at my house is slightly larger and as we were contemplating making changes to fit the space, one thing led to another and we have essentially started over from the beginning, using what we learned in the garage to improve on our original ideas.
All future posts will cover the new layout.
This article first appeared on model-railroad-hobbyist.com
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