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Sometimes I think...

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...building a layout is more fun than actually having a layout. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed my various layouts over the years. I like operating trains, not only for myself, but also showing off my handiwork to family and friends. I even get a kick out of the sideshow activities that go with this hobby. A friend on this site came up with the idea of pass exchanges. So we exchanged passes among ourselves. I had made up them up for selected friends who had visited the house and seen the railroad. They'd ooh and ahh politely and act interested and I'd give them a pass.

I also like going to train shows, meeting and chatting with like-minded folks, finding that special bargain, and picking up ideas that I can incorporate into whatever phase of the hobby is currently occupying my time.

For a year, I had a local cable-access TV show during which I would visit people in their homes and allow them to conduct a tour of their layout. I made some good friends that way, and also discovered a couple of outstanding model railroad clubs in this corner of the world. I guess what I'm saying is that there are a lot of ways to enjoy this hobby.

Still, building a layout has to rank right up near the top, and that's what I'm currently doing...again.

My last blog post explains the chain of events that led me to this point, so this post is mostly a progress report. For no particular reason, I am concentrating on Edgewater, which is one of the towns served by The BEE LINE. (Bee stands for Beaufield, Edgewater and Eastland) The current incarnation of the B Line is the only one designed to be a "loop". All the others were point to point, so, given my space limitations, the trains couldn't run very long. I decided I wanted to railfan my own layout and so this version takes this into consideration. Space being what it is, I am only having two towns. Tough break Eastland, maybe next time? I'm old enough and experienced enough to acknowledge that there will be a next time. I'm nothing if not self-aware.

So this week I finally got some of my switches. I'm using all Kato Unitrack, much of which I already had. Trouble arose when it became painfully clear to me that #4 switches were, for the most part, a must. These days of short supply have wreaked havoc with this hobby and my LHS's all lamented that prices were skyrocketing and even so, they just can't get timely delivery. I searched around for used turnouts and was met with a wall of silence. Amazon, usually my last resort, came to the rescue. Turnouts acquired! Don't yell at me, I have nothing against Amazon, or the income of its owner, nor anything else about it. I just like the idea of patronizing my local guy. I can't drop into Amazon and spend the afternoon drinking coffee and chatting about trains. Maybe he's a few bucks more, but he's worth it.

Switches in hand, I was able to lay out all of the main line, including the mainline turnouts. I'm sort a couple of yard switches, so the yards will have to go on hold for now. There is an incline coming out of Beaufield, and a dissent coming out of Edgewater. It is this dissent that I am working on now. I started by carving it out of pink foam and using coarse sandpaper to smooth out the sub-roadbed. Then I took some plaster-of-paris and tapered the upper slope of terrain. Using plastercloth I lined the entire drop off in preparation for whatever scenery I opt for. I also spread it out to hide a seam in the Styrofoam paneling. Once the plastercloth was dry I mixed up more POP (plaster-of-paris) and began some of the rough landscaping needed before the start of actual scenery. This is one of the more enjoyable phases of layout construction for me, but I am well aware that before long, ballasting will be necessary!

This is what it looks like now:

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