earlier home layout was constructed in the early 1970s as
the Rodgers and High Creek Junction Railway (RHJ
Rail). It was built in HO scale in a
12 x 12 foot room in the basement. Its configuration
could be described as a folded dog-bone duck-under with fairly
steep ruling grades See HISTORY
- OLD LAYOUT
LAYOUT (2002 - present)
early 2000, planning started to explore what could be done
to improve the layout, particularly to facilitate the running
of longer, more modern trains. It soon became apparent that
minor modifications just would not accomplish this and design
concepts for a much larger (and flatter) layout were begun.
first, and most difficult, step was land acquisition. Long
story short: a much larger portion of the basement was acquired
(at considerable expense) and more detailed planning was started.
layout design program was considered but, in the end, detailed
schematics were used instead. This was done primarily to get
on with construction and to ensure that endless rounds of
minor tweaks would not delay the project indefinitely.
was started in earnest in early 2002. This meant the demolition
and removal of the entire old layout. Earlier musings about
incorporating parts of the old layout into the new one were
was understood at the start of the project that construction
of a layout this size would take about five years and that
turned out to be about right.
layout would have been done sooner but two factors did prolong
the design and construction process.
decision to add a second layer below the main layer added
about six months to the process. This "subterranean subdivision"
was intended to provide additional storage for both operation
and staging and it did that but it proved inadequate for the
long term and much additional trackage was added later.
second factor was to have a double-track main line. Original
plans called for a single-track main line but the double-track
design has proved invaluable over the years, especially for
running longer trains and, ultimately, using automated control.
this, however, was accomplished within the original five-year
schedule. Of course, the five years did not mark the end of
anything. Construction and scenery enhancements, additional
equipment, animation, more sophisticated control systems,
and many additional things keep the layout development active.