The N Scale layout has had a couple on incarnations over the years, the latest representing a mix of mountain scenery with palm trees, closer to California than Florida. Another, yes another incarnation, one that will better represent the topography (flat) of our home state is in the planning stages. A permanent extension will be added to the current layout, which will make the current layout an extension; it is all a bit convoluted.
The current layout is mobile and has been since inception, the planned extension will be permanent, attached to the three columns under the loft. The plan is to build a representation of the Miami, FL docks and industrial area under the loft and later merge into the current layout, which will be renovated to represent Jacksonville, FL. This is a very energetic undertaking that will be a few years in the making. But, we have talent and skills in our members and some of the HO folks are seeing a challenge and there might be some mutinies. Interest is mounting!
The HO layout is making progress slowly, very slowly, but steadily, with emphasis on the steady. The locale for the layout is the Appalachia's, we hope to capture the look of the area with scenery and structures that are prevalent for West Virginia, Virginia, and Eastern Pennsylvania.The plan has always been for two working levels assisted by a staging level under the main level and so far that has been accomplished. The plan also called for the luxury of mobility and with all the wheels under the benchwork that has been accomplished. The sub-level staging has a capability of staging up to 20 trains dependent upon length and switched through the control panel or with macros. All turnouts on the layout are servo controlled. The helix is complete from staging through the first level to the second level and back down again. A reverse loop has been incorporated into the plan providing more operational ability to the helix, we will have the ability to run both east and west utilizing the helix. The original concept was to use the helix as a means to get from one level to the other but now it can be used to increase operations. If it were not for DCC the wiring of this would be a headache, turning the entire helix into a reverse loop would be a wiring nightmare.
Added to the plan has been the incorporation of the passenger station, its associated yard, commissary, Railway Express warehouse and freighthouse. The addition of this area vastly reduced the engine facility real estate, but we have enough area to represent what an engine facility looked like during the steam era of railroading. Also, with the addition of passenger service, head end cars, diners, sleepers, coaches, the operations opportunities increased three-fold. A two track mainline on the first level, one exiting from the helix and the other around the helix and through a river gorge is the prominent feature.
Industry switching on the first level will increase the busyness of the layout and provide jobs for operators during a operating session. The branch line on the upper level will have the coal industry to supply raw materials to those industries located on the first level, providing a logical movement of equipment from level to level. Finished products from the first level industries will move to the rural area found on the branchline, again providing a logical movement of equipment. The time frame remains the transition era to early second-generation diesel. With the release of more and more equipment, DCC ready and appropriately detailed for specific railroads, such as the Pennsylvania, Norfolk & Western and Chesapeake & Ohio in particular. The layout will be a fitting backdrop for, PRR I1s's, M1a's, J1's, N&W A's, J's, Y3's, Y6b's, C&O T1's, H4s, H5s and H8's and diesel power for all roads.