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Grand Trunk of Maine
I haven't built anything for over 25 years, I'm getting back into it. My kids saw my old trains in a box and went ga-ga. I guess the bug gets passed to the next generation. When i did my last layout, DCC was just an idea!

I have three old engines, probably won't use them on my layout, will leave them for the kids to play with on theirs. One is 40 years old, and the other two are 25 years old. Wow, feels weird to even write that.

So, my plan will be based on the era of the 20s, when my great grandfather was a conductor on the Boston & Maine through Norway and Paris, Maine. I'm trying to decide on the following:

1. Should I model a larger town (Paris), or a smaller town (West Paris)?

2. If I model the smaller town (WP), I can include the local industries:
a. Pulp and Paper
b. Manufacturing (Wood products)
c. Mining (precious and semi-precious gems)
d. Tourism (skiing, foliage, vacationing)
e. Obviously the local infrastructure of General Stores, Farm Supplies, etc.
These would include three other nearby towns, possibly Greenwood for the mining and logging, and Locke Mills for manufacturing and skiing. This would be close to geographically accurate.

3. If I go with the larger town, I can replace the mines and pulp and paper with town industries of newspaper, livery, automotive (Model T's!).

Of course, WP should have a garage for repairs of Model T's.

The space is along the wall of my basement, twelve feet across the back, with four feet or so into the room, and sixteen feet along the side, with about two feet into the room, with space for a 4x4 at the end of the sixteen feet. It looks like a large L

so, I'm torn small town or village...

I've got some other ideas percolating, but if anyone has advice on small villages versus a single town, I'd welcome them....



Welcome back to model railroading and welcome to the forum.

Be careful about coming out 4 feet. It will make it very difficult to reach all the way to the back of the layout along that section depending on your height.

With that said, I personally would lean toward doing the smaller town. I like increased country-side that gives the feeling of the train going somewhere. Just a personal preference. I have seen some wonderful layouts centered around large towns, it really boils down to your personal preference.


Grand Trunk of Maine
HAha, I thought about doing both and haven't dismissed it, but it sounds daunting.

As for the four feet, I think I can get away with more and create a walk in or duck under to the depth isn't more than 24 inches or so in any direction. I lost a lot of geography, but it makes it more interesting.

Last night, on a delayed flight out of Detroit last night I came up with another area in the basement that I could use in lieu of (or addition to) my current plans. So it could change again.

I've never had options before, I'm starting to enjoy this part... ;-)


Grand Trunk of Maine
I measured the dimensions this past weekend (I just got in from Philly flight), I have 12.5 feet across the back wall, I can come out five feet (or more), so I'm thinking either duck-under or peninsula. Also, I figured out I could go through the wall and have a shelf layout on the other side of about 10 feet by about 2.5 feet. I have lots of options now!!!

I'm thinking about a freightyard in front as you approach, moslty because i like to see a lot of cars when i look at the layout. Thoughts on the placement?


Hi HOGrandTrunk! Glad to meet you.:)

I believe that I will agree with dnhouston and go with a smaller town with more least for a starting point. One of the key ingredients to keep the layout busy is switching; the more industry, the more switching=more fun:D . In fact, this first town only needs to have enough buildings to give the impression of a town. Later, and when you have a better idea of your real estate, you could build a detailed town where the land is not in such demand by rails.;)



Grand Trunk of Maine
Road bed

While I'm in the process of designing my own, I've been doing some work on my kids (making mistakes there :eek: ), and I've run into something that doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

I'm using the cork road bed, which is nice enough to work with, but the seam is in the middle of hte road bed, where my nail is. I ended up nailing into the seam about 90% of the time. Am I doing something wrong?

Also, if I foam (blue or pink) over 1/2 inch plywood, does that work out better? why?

Thanks for any help.


As long as the track nails are long enough to secure into the sub-roadbed, there is nothing wrong by nailing into the seam; just don't go so far down as to bend the tie. Later, when you ballast the track, your track will get even more secure.
I am not a fan of foam, but many are very satisfied with it. I just glue my roadbed on the plywood. I better let others comment about their use of foam.


Grand Trunk of Maine
BTW, thanks for all the welcomes!

I glued the split cork to the plywood, then nailed it with 5/8 wire nails to keep it in place until it dried, then nailed the track with black track nails - which are only 5/8, too, hence the worry about the track coming up. I'm thinking homosote or foam for the next one for the trackbed.


Your track should be just fine. If the nails went into the plywood, they won't come out easily. As I mentioned, when you ballast the track, the ballast and glue will make it solid as a rock. I use Woodland Scenics foam roadbed, but the installation is the same. I have over 1000feet of track down and never had a problem with it coming loose. Nothing wrong with how you did it and that method has been used for decades.


Grand Trunk of Maine
I just had a "duh" moment. I didn't think about the ballast and its concrete effect on the roadbed. No worries. See, this is why the forum is so great! <grin>

I'll keep all y'all posted on the progress, of course.

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