It is self evident to say that my blogging on this site was almost non-existent in 2018. Even so, progress was made on the layout with the incline to the second deck completed at a more conservative 2% ruling grade than the planned 4% grade which didn’t work.
The lower deck received a number of track modifications (many in fact over several months as I experimented with a range of scenarios) and some extra storage sidings. I even managed a few industry mock-ups to pretend the railway has some customers.
The trains have been running on the layout’s lower deck. Both the DME and BN/BNSF trains are running loops at the moment. However, when the second deck is completed, DME trains will run point-to-point.
I have had a couple of informal operating sessions where we have tested a number of options, from train sequencing to the most suitable number of freight cars per train. The average train length comprises two diesel locomotives and 12 freight cars but there is some flexibility for longer trains. I run a 20 car coal train on the BN/BNSF portion of the layout which looks terrific, even without scenery!
Most importantly, the ideas have kept coming. This has meant that the plans for the second deck are greatly improved. One hopes that the second deck trackwork is finished come this time next year.
In May 2018 I managed to attend the NMRA Thousand Lakes Region (TLR) convention in Sioux Falls (SD). I caught up with lots of friends from past TLR conventions. I also spent time at the convention with my good friend Alan from Kansas City which was great.
In 2019 I want to finish all the trackwork on the second deck. I would like to have some model structures in place, or at the very least, placeholder mock-ups for every lineside industry. It would be good if some scenery was in place too. But most importantly, I’d like to have some op. sessions to further test out the layout and the paperwork….and also to have some fun running trains!
Lastly, I want to make better use of this blog in 2019 to record some milestones and generate further ideas for the layout. Stay tuned…