Large Scale Central


It begins. After four seasons and many lessons learned, we’ve decided to revamp the layout. I’ve drawn up a wish list and the queen has given her stamp of approval (man I love that woman!). The list includes:

  1. Larger diameter curves. Doesn’t everyone want this? I know I do! While some of the current curves are 15’ and 20’, there are still a bunch of narrower curves- 9 and 10.’ I bought a dual rail bender from Aristocraft before they went out of business. The plan is to re-bend the narrower curves into wider curves. I’ve never done this before, so I bet I’ll be fun to watch!

  2. Better access. The current layout is only viewable from one side. It would be great if you could walk all the way around it. I’ve got the room. I’m not sure why I didn’t do this the first time! Live and learn.

  3. No big pond! Water features are great and a big pond always seems like a great idea… until you’ve dug the hole, filled it with water and then realize you have one more thing to maintain (And I thought cleaning track was a pain).

Now, before you pond lovers get all worked up, I’m not anti-pond. As a matter of fact the pond on the current layout is my third pond. The first two (built before the layout) were koi ponds and then the fishless pond on my current layout. However, I’m ponded out. I think this time I’ll have a simple water feature of some sort, but no big lake at the end of it. The look and sound of running water is great, but algae, fish feeding, frogs, evil fish munching blue herons, filter cleaning, winterizing, etc… not so great. I’m thinking waterfall into small stream into sump with pump (that rhymed). We’ll see!

  1. Raise the lower loop. Learned the hard way (is there any other way?). We currently have three loops. The lowest is too low and gets swamped out whenever there is heavy rain. Hey, isn’t that what doomed the Erie Lackawanna in the end?

  2. The final item on the wish list… expansion. So, it turns out that I’ve got some extra track in the shop and it’s almost past it’s expiration date. I certainly don’t want it to go bad. Do you know how difficult it is to dispose of brass track?

So there you have it. That’s the plan. In order to accomplish this lofty list of luxuries I’ve already made some progress.

As luck would have it (bad luck, of course), the current layout is boxed in by the back fence and the back fence is blocked by a rather sick maple tree. To complicate matters, The fire pit is also in the way of my manifest destiny.

So, heres the deal… The sick tree is now fire wood, the fire pit has been moved to the other side of the yard (still a work in progress), and new corner posts (not visible in photo) and gate posts have been set for the fence expansion.

A view of the current disaster area:

The current railroad lies just beyond the (soon to be moved) fence (left side of photo, past green chairs).

The plan is to move the fence, finish the fire pit, pull up track, and haul in more dirt, before old man winter rears his ugly face, again. When/if spring ever arrives, next year, we’ll begin laying track.

The beatings will continue.


Good thoughts!
Make sure you have paths going into the layout also.
Looking forward to the progress photo’s!

Nice area for a railroad… :slight_smile:

All hail the Queen!

I didn’t know that about the EL.
I just did a search and also read:
Hurricane Agnes hit the East on June 22, 1972. After estimating that damage to the railroad, principally between Binghamton and Salamanca, New York, amounted to $2 million ($11,276,054 today), EL filed for bankruptcy on June 26, 1972

Sounds like you have a great plan Dieseldude.
Along with Seans thought to make sure you build in access I’d add make sure your train has a destination. My RR is a long roundy round but I can still have a train run sorta point to point. Try to plan for smoothe operations. Also raise as much of the RR as you can.
Just my 2 cents.

Thanks for the tips.

Sean. Having a couple of paths through the layout is a great idea and is one of the problems I have with the current layout. No access. I’m always having to walk through the scenery, being careful not to crush the G sized inhabitants. I feel like Godzilla (Kev-zilla!). I’m also hoping that by moving the layout away from the fence, I’ll not only create some better viewing, but also better access for maintenance.

Todd. A destination for the train is a great idea. One of the reasons for the expansion is to include another town. Right now the RR passes through Anitaville and then just tours around the loop(s) and returns to Anitaville (I bet you’ll never guess the queen’s real name!). By moving the back fence and expanding the trackwork, I’m hoping to add another destination. I’d also like to add a better visual block between the two towns. I currently have a mountain about half way through the loop, but maybe a few mountains and tunnels would break things up better.

Raising the layout even more would be my ideal situation. Convincing the queen to help me haul another 52 gazillion tons of dirt…well… I definitely am going to raise the lower loop, though. I’ve had enough track washouts. As a result of raising the lower loop, I guess I’ll have to raise the rest of the upper two loops as well. So, more dirt will be necessary either way. Just probably not 52 gazillion tons.

Stay tuned…


The queen’s name is Anita Ville. It sounds French! :slight_smile:

Nice are to work with. Looking forward to your progress.

Hauling in dirt to build a mountain, No problem until you reach above 6 ft tall, to get to 8’ high, the base really spreads out, and the square cubes real grows. But just keep shoveling.

Building the Mtn. Div of the NMNRR.

Just have fun…


All that experience with the shovel must have come in handy as a fireman on #315! :wink:


Great plan, but did ya clear it with the Cheektowaga planning commission? Let me know if you need a translator. :slight_smile:

Joe- If I tried to get anything through the “C” town planning commission, Nothing would ever get done!!! But stay tuned, I’ve got some things done. Pics to follow…


Pics !!! :slight_smile:

Pics? You want 'em, you got 'em!

Made some progress on the expansion. The fence has now been moved back another 35 feet. I still need to trim the gate posts a bit. I also finished the fire pit surround. Here’s a quick tip for those of you who need some fill dirt- Check with the local cemetery. Our church’s cemetery which is conveniently just a stones throw away (BTW they frown on people throwing stones at the church) piles up the grave dirt to be hauled away. The church has to pay to have it hauled out or… they find some idiot with a pick up truck and a lot of time on his hands who just happens to be building a railroad and he gets it for free. Its Holy Ground!!! How can I go wrong?! I might have to build more mountains! Anyway, here’s a progress shot…


Good plan, so long as you don’t start killing people to get free dirt!

Fire pit area looks great.

Thanks, Jon. They were just dying to get rid of the dirt!


Good find!
I have friends that work in the cemetery business and they love to give it away!
Another helpfull hint.If you go to a fence co. who deals in cedar they usually have a free scrapp box.
Looks great so far Kevin.
So this is the view from your neighbors ?

PS. are you planning to take down the tree on the left?


Well, here’s another thread gone awry. If you are near St Stan’s cemetary on Pine Ridge Rd, and if you go to where the orginal office is on the left, then face right towards where the big entry gate is, my father, some of my uncles and aunts are interned there–right beside a big marble monument with the family name on it. Mom’s with my stepfather behind Thruway Plaza.

Other than that, “Excelsior!” That’s the New York State motto, which seems silly. Why would anyone want to use the name of the stuff used for packing material as a motto? :wink:


Looking good! You have been a busy litttle Beaver.

All Hail the Queen!