Monday, October 26, 2015

"Available: One helix frame with legs... like new!"

Shortly after my Labor Day epiphany, Lance Mindheim wrote in his blog about the three basic areas of satisfaction that participants derive from the hobby, as he sees it. Emphasizing the need for self-awareness, Lance opined in his September 12, 2015 entry, "Hitting the Target of Design Success," that it is crucial to honestly evaluate that which we find most satisfying from the hobby: the visual component; the assembly component; or the operating component.

What he didn't say, perhaps because it's so obvious to everyone but me, was that advice and guidance is most relevant coming from those more experienced modelers who share similar levels of satisfaction from those three components. In other words, if you are most drawn to the visual and assembly components, like I am, it may not serve one too well to get all of their direction from those who are most interested in operating, like I did. Duh!

My 6'-3" x 6'-3" helix frame will not be used. The full assembly is available to anyone who is relatively local and is willing to handle its transport. Otherwise, it will be disassembled and the 1" x 3" clear pine will be reused somewhere, somehow inside the train room.

The removal of the helix will allow me to reconfigure my television/crew lounge and provide space for a neat workbench set-up which I'll cover in the very near future.

The reworked track plan is ongoing, but it looks like staging can be achieved by crossing the main line inside the east-end and west-end tunnels and then descend behind screening by 3% to (2) three-track staging yards. Crossovers will be added at the midway point where  the three tracks straighten out. An entry gate of undetermined design is a necessary compromise. Radii are 27, 30 and 33 inches respectively.
Apologies for the overall lapse in entries here on the Old Main Line and for my cancellation as a clinician at this past weekend's MER/NMRA, but family needs have zapped my time and energy. If you are fortunate enough to have/had your parents around into their 90's, you probably understand some of the daily issues that become stress-inducing and all-consuming.

In the meantime, check out Lance Mindheim's musings on the sidebar and see what he says about the areas of satisfaction. Hope to see you soon with some more updates and layout progress.

What has been the overwhelming reaction from both the railroading and dodge-ball communities to my unexpected about-face?


  1. I've been following along with the changes you're making. I went through much the same series of "adjustments" a few years ago. I was building a large, double deck layout for an operating crew that might - maybe - show up to operate the thing two or three times a year.
    So off the upper deck came, out went one of the two large yards. I to heard dire predictions of "certain boredom" from a particular sect of model railroaders.
    I can safely say I've been more than pleasantly surprised that my current layout offers more than enough modeling projects to keep me satisfied and just the right amount of "operations" for those occasions when the crew does show up. AND I don't have to deal with the expense and considerable engineering challenges of a multi-deck railroad that will never look as good as a single deck effort in the same space.

    1. Yes, onward... but not upward!... thanks, Marty... I was well aware of your (mis)adventures with the upper deck and that originally played a large role in my decision to go single deck... but I allowed outside influences to affect my judgment, probably worrying too much about gaining acceptance as a legitimate model railroader from other more accomplished locals ... silly, silly - JF

  2. I guess that answers that question, Jim. I was wondering if you would still use this benchwork as an extension of the single deck.

    Sounds like you have your priorities straight, both with family and the layout.

    1. Good question, Chuck... I seriously looked at utilizing that, but ultimately it just wasn't giving me enough of a benefit... if I could have 'flattened' out the square to give it less width and more length without impacting the TV room I would have... but again, the bang just wasn't there for the buck... too many issues arose that it just wasn't worth it - JF