Archive for the ‘Prototype’ Category

Design Parameters
I decided to put the layout in the closet of our spare room. 30″ x 88″. I thought that sounded small, until I got into it. It is just enough size to have some realistic operation and also model in detail.


Testing the 30″x88″ track configuration to fit inside a closet

Some other considerations:

  • Removable. Note I didn’t say movable. I wanted to be able to take the layout out of closet with relative easy to work on it. I did not necessarily want a mobile layout that I could toss in the car and cart around. More on that later.
  • Fairly lightweight. I wanted to be able to move it by myself. I knew basically half a 4×8′ piece of plywood would be OK, so I went with that.
  • Urban setting so I could do some detailed city modeling, which I had not done before to any real extent.
  • Standard DC cab control. Keep it simple for a single operator. I’m not a member of a club and almost exclusively operate by myself. All of my equipment is DC and I won’t be upgrading to DCC at this time.


Prototype, Location, & Era
I grew up in B&O country during the heyday of the Chessie system. I love those old trains and it’s natural for me to want to model them. Years later, I’m living in CSX land and that is what I see most every day near my house. Modeling the modern day CSX gives me the chance to update my roster, while still being able to use the occasional throwback.

CSX ballast hopper

CSX ballast and hopper cars wait on a siding near my home

The location is a generic urban setting. Somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic I suppose. Only a few years of my life have I ever spent living in a proper city, so I guess I’m content to freelance. Lately, I have been researching how modern freight moves through real life cities, most notably Atlanta.

A word about freelancing. If your new to the hobby and trying to find your niche, go for it. Picking a prototype is fine, but don’t stress out.

Make your pike the way you want. If you want to run your trains loopty-loop, that’s fine. If you want to focus on modeling or scenery over operation, that’s all good, too. New Haven, Canadian National, and Santa Fe cars in the same consist? You betcha! I’m looking forward to working in my passenger cars from Austria and Japan onto my layout.

Two suggestions:

  1. Be sure to give everything a try. I’m enjoying researching and modeling a specific prototype more and more.
  2. Whatever your style, don’t criticize others who have a different style.

Model railroading is fun!

Just a preview of what is coming down the pike.