I was mesmerized the first time I saw it in the 2011 issue of Great Model Railroads. His room size and configuration was similar to that with which I'd be working and I was amazed at what Kip could accomplish in that space. I also took note of the museum-like presentation he afforded his dynamic work of art. Every inch of the finely finished environment was flawless in showcasing the layout.
The presentation of the Sonnyvale Branch may be museum-like, but the layout serves as a living, breathing, operating testament to the prototype. A regular crew of buddies, including several who are retired from the D&H, have made certain that the railroad works. The branch utilizes a yard just off of a hint of the mainline to avoid the need for (gasp!) staging. Kip explains:
"Each session starts as a new day. The Junction Yard crew blocks outbound cars which were brought to the yard in the previous session and places them on tracks designated by the yard clerk. Following the session, I play the role of the main line freights and remove the outbounds. Then after selecting appropriate inbound cars in accordance with my software, I place said cars in the yard as if they were set off by other imaginary mainline freights. And the cycle continues."
And the fun continues for Kip and his crew, and for anyone who visits the Sonnyvale Branch. I was thrilled to spend some time there and absolutely look forward to a return someday. I'm just not sure when the best time would be...
BONUS: RHETORICAL QUESTION OF THE DAY...
Hey Jim, when's the ideal time of year to visit the Lake George region in upstate New York to see Kip's layout ?
A) Spring, when pollen is measured in inches, just like snow.
B) Summer, when SUVs from NYC teach locals some new road rules.
C) Fall, when busloads of 'leafers' patiently search for the perfect tree.
D) Winter, when snow is measured in feet, not in inches like pollen.