Large Scale Central


Following the examples of many people I respect, I am going to start keep a written log of our move and the rebuilding of the headquarters of the KVRwy, here.

Those of you that have been at our house in Carlyle and at Train Shows like the East Coast Large Scale Train Show each Spring, know that the “Timesaver” and “Inglenook” switching puzzles, that were part of the basement division of the old KVRwy are and have always been my “retirement railroad”. Well Jan and I “officailly retired” December 1st, 2014. Though we’ve been on the road much of the time before and since then, our new mailing address is now established in Carlyle on the west rim of the Kaskaskia River Valley, and the deconstruction, construction and modifications have the railroad has begun.

Maybe to say it better, we’ve moved the headquarters. And the story begins - Stay tuned.

For those interested in this, you can do a search here and other places on the “Timesaver” or “Shunting Puzzles” and get a lot more info and even prototype examples.

This was one of the last postings, that went on for awhile. There’s lots of info out there, enjoy!

But what scale will it be?(

So will it be all indoors?


For about the past 7 years, Jan and I have been working on planning out future after work and careers. One of things we have wanted was freedom, traveling, exploring, visiting friends, exploring North America, but a solid mooring field with a good hook in the bottom, so we always had a place that we could say, “Let’s go Home!”.


Lots of our friends, many of them at LSC, have heard all about this desire of ours to move into an independent living duplex, in our small community of 3400 on the banks of the Kaskaskia River in “Southern Illinois”. Illinois’s first highway through the frontier, before statehood in 1818, and is featured in much of the history of this part of the World, since then. And actually, almost even before Chicago was corrupt, but I digress. Transportation, floods, source of water, prohibition, gangsters, droughts, salt, swamps, lake monsters, Seats of Government, regattas, World Champion Sailers and even beautiful sunsets are all brought to mind when you explore the history of these water.


The B&O’s “National Limited” crossed the Kaskaskia in Carlyle, the early wagon trains of Daniel Boone fame crossed the Kaskaskia at Carlyle in the settlers early quest for settlement, survival and salt along the “Goshen Trail”. Early Native American Societies in the ages of Incas and Mayans traveled through here on their way to the ancient cities and temples now know as Cahokia Mounds. The Kaskaskia River has always been there.

Trivia question - “Do you know what is the longest river within the Continental United States, and totally within the boundaries of only one state?”

Yep - the Kaskaskia River, of course it helps that Illinois is one of the longest States.

Okay, the duplex is built and we have moved in. Not exactly to the schedule I desired, but we are here now.

That’s another Sea Story"!


Anyway, I have time to plan and scheme. I have room and I have track plans and modules and long suppressed ideas.


The large scale switching puzzle module “Timesaver” and the new “Inglenook” modules, that were debuted at the Spring ECLSTS 2017, are being incorporated into the “indoor terminal” of the Kaskaskia Valley Railway, in our brand new 2 1/2 car attached garage.


At York, these modules have always been set low, so the young engineers can get some “shunting” experience. When at York, it will remain the same height. But for use in the new digs, its going to be HIGH, a little more than 48 inches off the floor. This has been a requirement to allow maximum use of space and storage.


The “outdoor terminal” of the Kaskaskia Valley Railway will be in a landscaped rocked area along the back of our half of the duplex. Plans are to be a pretty basic shelving structure using nursery landscaping shelving modules, with minimal scenery, greenery, or structures and emphasizing large switching puzzles of the "Timesaver"and “Inglenook” quality and explore some of the changes and challenges that have appeared on the “Bluestone Southern”. There will be no power on this trackage, so battery powered equipment and even live steam. I’ve used my 2 cylinder shay to switch Craig Leigh on the IPP&WRR and found it great fun and quite a challenge.


I’ve got one more idea for a switching puzzle, this one is HO and deserves a separate posting.

As I have grown in my experience and knowledge of this part of the model railroading hobby, plus refining what I really like and also the downsizing thing to a smaller place, I have sold off everything that is not 1:20.3 or that can’t be converted/modified to some form of 1:20.3. The “Timesaver” ran that way at York this last Spring 2017 and any recent purchases have pushed that edge of the hobby. Most of what I have are geared engines and they work great in smaller area of track like the switching puzzles. The few rod engines and mechanical I have are also of the era of geared equipment.

Ric this sounds great!

You have mastered the pen … let’s see how you do with a camera! (

We are wanting to see before and some construction photos…

I’m looking forward to follow this build!


Okay, with advice and help of friends, we are back in to the business of posting and uploading photos of the new digs.

The door on the left is to storage/tool room. It will be in the corner of the Timesaver / Inglenook puzzle.

View to the right of the proposed area

Remember the door in the left of the earlier picture, its on the right of this one.

Yeah, yeah, I know the place is a mess. Remember I’ve seen many of your basements and garages.

I can’t clean and organize like Paul Norton.

The Timesaver will be on the left and stretch back to the door. The Inglenook will be on the right and stretch across the garage to the American Flag.

The Flag goes in the front yard.

As I stated earlier, the layout is going to be high. Above 48 inches. A lot of what you see in these pictures will actually go under the layout and there will be a “duck under” to get in that storage/tool room. No operational function should require going in there during Ops.

I’ll get better with this picture posting. Thanks for your patience.

Okay, in the intro to this rubbish, I mentioned the Kaskaskia River Valley. Here it is right down that incline about a 1/2 mile through the trees and 50 or 60 feet down. There is a cemetery, a road, a city park, a woods and a bike trail between us and the water’s edge. All fun stuff and why we live here.

This picture is just a tease (to me more than anyone else) and maybe something that will happen, someday. And stuff to dream, scheme and plan about. But it is there and as you can see not even bordered by grass, yet. However, boundaries have been established and the claim as been laid. No plants, no obstructions, its mine. At least I think so. The border and rock also borders across the back 4 feet out from the house and about 56 feet across the back.

But back inside folks, in the garage, I have an already built railroad to assemble and expand and a place to put it.  But when you "down size", you've got to be inventive.  People that travel in small boats for 40 years and then move in to campers and RV's work hard to be conservative.  Every space counts.Your always looking for ideas.  If you can't go down the length of a wall, you've got to go up or down and I'm not digging through a concrete floor and this whole place is built on a slab.  No basement, maybe bad in the tornado prone land of the Midwest, but my knees are learning to not like stairs.  There's always a trade off.


As I said, your always looking for ideas.  While visiting Ken Brunts, not this last Spring, but over the years, he was building an ON30 switching layout in a shelving unit.  He's moved on and put that fine railroad inside on a mantle, but I liked that idea.  I know there are pictures here on LSC.  Anyway, I blame Ken.


Found these at a big box store called Menard's.  I got a good price, and also a rebate, so certainly hope to make it work.  They'll be used with need some extra support and some simple wall mounted anchoring, that was already planned for this project.  The big object is to make them fit the already built modules of 2 different dimensions.  I'm pleased with the easy assemble and the extra storage they will provide for stuff on shelves and between the separate shelf units.  Why don't I use the new tables, we use for York and other displays of the modules?  I need free space of around 6 feet or so.  Minor challenges.  First attempt starts tomorrow. Stay tuned.


Dimensions are a little more than 47 inches high x 32 inches wide and 12 inches deep.  Each will hold 200lbs by themselves, so not concerned about that.  Squashed picture a little to save space. 

A little incentive:



Thanks for posting them thar pics so fast!

I wish … I had all that space in the garage!

Heck, I wish I had a garage!

You call that a garage? Heck, a couple of area rugs and I could live there!

Apparently you are feeling better Ric, which is a good thing.

Heck, I could be happy with a slab!

My house is built on a slab. At first I was not happy that it doesn’t have a basement. But now that we are getting these 100 year storms every couple of years, I am glad that I don’t have a flooded basement like so many folks around here have.

Glad to see you getting back into the swing of things. I look forward to seeing your progress.

Looking good so far :slight_smile: I like the blue poo toter :o