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This is a commuter train in Baltimore, Maryland, just outside Oriole Park at Camden Yards. As you can see in the lower right, it isn't the most current photo I have (I've gotta start disabling that silly date stamp!).

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Layout Design Challenges

At right you can see a photo of my designated layout room, in an early state of repair. This view is facing north, standing just inside the doorway. It had wood paneling up the walls when I started. When I removed the paneling, it had been attached with adhesive that ripped large pieces of drywall away. This picture was taken after I had patched up the walls with sheet rock compound and prior to repainting the entire room.

I painted the walls light blue and painted the base boards and woodwork in lighter shade of brown than what is shown here. You may not be able to see it in the picture, but the floor is finished with vinyl tile (why did people love vinyl tile so much in the 1960s?). Although I'm no big fan of vinyl tile, especially in an upstairs bedroom, I will leave it installed for now. I'm no interior design specialist, but I think this should work fine for what I'm going to use it for.

So as you can see, my layout won't reside in a basement, as so often is the case. Although utilizing utility spaces like basements for model railroad layouts can be challenging, I think this upstairs spare bedroom will also present a few challenges. For instance, it is fairly constrained due to small dimensions (about 12 feet square), door and window openings, "under the eaves" sloped ceilings that are about four feet high at the wall, lack of any electrical outlets, and the fact that it still needs to do double duty as a guest bedroom. For all of these reasons, the design phase is moving along slowly, in somewhat modular fashion, and I'm going to try to reach a certain degree of finish and operation on each phase before moving on to the next.

If you have ideas on how best to use this particular space, feel free to respond with a comment. I am starting out with the idea of an "out and back" type of operation with a terminal yard on the east wall, a mainline run on the north wall by the windows (facing straight ahead in the photo above), and a set of linear stops with a small loop on the west wall (left in the photo). I will try to get a drawing posted to better convey all of this.

I have started with the west wall and I am trying to get a few basic industries planned out to represent the area between Woodbine, Iowa and Carroll, Iowa along U.S. route 30. This area is popular with rail fans due to the high volume of through freights on the Union Pacific line, as well as the more locally focused Canadian National which switches a ton of industries, although sadly much of this switching happens at night. Proximity to highway 30 makes the whole show very accessible to railfans.

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