OLD LAYOUT (1970 - 2000)

The 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

NEW LAYOUT (2002 - present)

In 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.

The 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.

A 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.

Construction 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 soon abandoned.

It 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.

The layout would have been done sooner but two factors did prolong the design and construction process.

The 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.

The 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.

All 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.


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RHJ Rail is owned and operated by Richard H. Johnson
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