Intro with new "layout" venture

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dk-espee

Member
Well, this is my first post on this forum after doing some lurking for awhile. I model HO (I also speak the obvious) in SP, SSW, and D&RGW- MODERN era (that's right, in my 1:87 rendition of this world SP bought UP:D )

I can relate my fascination with railroads and the EsPee back to my early childhood days (probably 5 or 6 years old-1983 or '84ish). I was about five years old and was at a friend's house. His house was located about 100 yards from the SP's Biola Branch. We were playing in his backyard when a short train rolled past. The power (to the best of my recollection) was a high hood geep, painted in the bloody nose paint scheme. When I heard the engine rumble past us coupled with short bursts of the air horn, felt the power of the, to me, big diesel, I was hooked.

My Dad built my brother and me a 4X6 HO layout one Christmas when I was 7 or 8 years old. We messed around with that layout for about 6 months then it got put away in the rafters of the garage (against my wishes) to make room in Dad's "shop". I built another layout, 4X8 this time around, when I was in Junior high School. I worked on this layout until midway through my freshman year of high school, reaching about 65% completion. The trains then gave way to girls, sports, automobiles, and other outdoor activities. That layout was dismantled and the lumber was used for a livestock shelter.

When I got married my wife and I moved into a house that had plenty of room for trains. It was an old farm house with four bedrooms and a HUGE basement. I had dreams of filling that basement with hundreds of feet of track, but wanted to get my feet wet with a smaller, more achievable project. I built a 5X9 foot double loop layout that never passed the point of being the "plywood pacific". Meanwhile, my wife and I had our first child, then our second. My free time was disappearing like scarlet and grey.

A career change sent me back to school for about a year and relocated us into a much smaller home. While in this house, I built an N scale shelf switching layout that reached about 25% completion. I lost interest in N scale pretty quick due to the lack of detail, realism, and reliability (not to offend, just my personal opinion). The N scale layout gave way to an HO shelf layout. I soon lost interest in shuffling trains back and forth on an 8 foot span and began collecting and detailing locomotives and freight cars. The wife wanted to use the extra space so she convinced me to store the layout in the garage. That was the end of that layout, but the turnouts and lumber were salvaged.

I was hesitant to start a new layout because I did not want it in my garage (due to extreme summers and winters). I was an "armchair" model railroader for a few years, collecting equipment and literature. I decided that my next layout would be a walk around shelf design, built to the best of my abilities. I have always been intrigued by mountain coal haulers (hence the D&RGW) as well as the scenery through the desert. I have also had an interest in the branch line operations here in the central San Joaquin Valley of California, serving the agricultural communities. I started building an open bench work, walk around shelf style layout in my garage. First the setting was to be Colorado. I built pine trees and made rugged landforms. I wasn't too happy with it because I find it difficult to model an area that I have never been. I changed the setting to the Mojave Desert area and settled for unit cement trains instead of unit coal trains. The layout progressed nicely, but that urge for a coal hauler came back. Lately I have been researching the Utah Desert between Salt Lake and Helper. Due to the recent freezing temperatures, my garage layout has not seen any attention in a month or so.

Now, a pending move (houses) looks eminent. I have decided to halt all work on the garage railroad, as it will be demolished in a move. I have a nice workbench/desk set up in my "office" now. I just purchased a Digitrax DCC system and wanted to start installing decoders and program my locos. I decided to make a small shelf with a display/test/program track above my workbench. I got slightly carried away with the project and ended up building it as a small modular switching layout. It is set in the present day on a branch line in the central San Joaquin Valley. In reality, the San Joaquin Valley Railroad (SJVR) actually operates these lines now, but in my world the SP does. This is my try at modeling what is around me, time will tell if it will hold my interest.......

The scene will be composed of a grain elevator (Walthers "Valley Growers" kit) and a seasonal packing house (Walthers "Clayton County Lumber" kit). The track is Atlas Code 83, two #6 turnouts and two #4 turnouts. The following are a couple of progress pics and more will be posted as progress is made.


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Close up of SP GP38-2 #4810 rolling through "San Joaquin"
 
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IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Nice work, and welcome to the forum!

I know the frustrations of relocation, I had to dismantle a 14x9ft basement layout when I moved out of my last home. Got a larger space in an attached 2-car garage in my new [current] home, but first I had to install a heat pump/AC window unit and lots of insulation to make the place habitable.

Good luck!
 

Steve B

Firefighter
Welcome aboard DK EsPee
nice work on the shelf, it's a good idea to have at least a couple of feet of track to keep your hand in, i'm happy to have a loco with sound just sat in one spot ticking over, keep's me happy anyway
looking forward to more
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Welcome to the forum. I share your love for western railroads. Have fun with the new Digitrax system and hopefully you'll be in a permanent location to begin your new layout soon.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Welcome dk-espee! Like Ken, I know how moving can knock you around with modeling. My first attempt was in the late 60's, but my government job (time/moving), space, and always a lack of money soon dampened my spirit enough to get out of it. BIG MISTAKE! Now I am retired and having a ball with it and only regret getting out of it the first time.
 

dk-espee

Member
Welcome dk-espee! Like Ken, I know how moving can knock you around with modeling. My first attempt was in the late 60's, but my government job (time/moving), space, and always a lack of money soon dampened my spirit enough to get out of it. BIG MISTAKE! Now I am retired and having a ball with it and only regret getting out of it the first time.

You said it, "government job".... Lot's of over time and shift work can cut into railroad time for sure. Hopefully we will be in a permanent location by spring time.
 




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