Once again, I’ve gone far too long between blog updates, but this time I’ve been busier then usual. Five years ago we moved into our current home and I started preparing the basement for my layout. A few short years later the layout was built and operational, and I was looking forward to starting scenery.
As time wore on, several issues in the layout design begun to wear on me, and there were certain elements that I just wasn’t happy with. The design issues caused a drift from my goal of prototypical modelling, and to me the layout had started to become more proto freelanced then I had wanted. Some of the issues I had with the layout were:
Chetwynd Yard: The model ended up looking nothing like the prototype, and was located in a less then ideal area of the basement. Trains running north to Septimus/Fort St. John had to back down a yard track to clear the crossover with the main line, which is something I did not like!
The Helix: I’ve learned over the past few years that a helix is very boring. My design had trains spending far too long inside the helix, which extended the mainline run but was not operationally appealing.
Staging yard: The upper staging yard (Prince George) was built oversized, which ended up reducing the mainline run
Dawson Creek: Although I enjoyed switching Dawson Creek, I soon found the area to be too compressed when I started to plan on building structures.
As you can probably guess, I have decided to rebuild the layout, and have a new, but rough plan drawn out. I estimate at least 90% of the old layout will be demolished, but version 2.0 should be a better design!
I’ve currently removed most of the upper level and the Dawson Creek Sub, and have started to built the “new” Chetwynd yard along one long wall of the basement. The new yard will be almost 100% prototypical when it comes to the trackwork, the only major difference being the absence of the wye.
The helix has been relocated, and will consist of a series of independent loops stacked on top of each other. I’m adding multiple decks to the layout (5 in total including the lower deck) and adding the Mackenzie branch, which includes the mills and pulp mill at Mackenzie.
The Dawson Creek sub will be a little shorter then the first design, with the town of Dawson Creek being relocated to the opposite corner of the basement. I’ll post a rough sketch of the new plan in the future, as well as some construction photos.
Wow this looks like a pretty drastic Step.
I certainly admire your courage to identify and take actions to move towards a layout that is much more to your liking. I remember running on your Layout at the last Northern Rails event, and being favouribly impressed.
I would wish you the very best of luck, with lots of energy and enthusiasm as you work on your new project. I am looking forward to seeing a rough draft of your new plan.
Thanks John! I consider the new plan to be “Things I should have done the first time around”. I’m excited to add the Mackenzie branch to the layout, as it was a major traffic generator on the prototype. The mainline run will now be longer then previous, which hopefully add to the fun in an op session.
Good luck on the rebuild project, I’m looking forward to your next blog posting with some pictures and additional details on the new layout configuration.