After a fortuitous meet at a nearby grade crossing, I arrived and we got right down to business... cold beers and gossip, plus a quick check of some workbench projects. But it was the work one level below that I was most anxious to see.
I have featured many images of the Cheshire Branch, some from my original visit, but many received via email, and I was excited to see the updates in-person. Aside from the expected rave reviews, one dominant impression struck me repeatedly. Jim's mainline 'rolled,' gradually climbing and descending around the layout, meeting at its run-through staging, despite his protestations that it was level.
"At least it's supposed to be," he pleaded.
... and this blue one! (BTW, great prototype photo for aging roads.)
The undulations of the terrain and the crossing lines of the track, road and river not only convey the impression that the railroad is not flat, it creates an illusion that the track is most definitely undulating itself.
I know that land forms built above and below track grade disguise the fact of a level railroad, but Jim's somehow goes beyond that, forcing the viewer to accept that the track is either gradually ascending or descending.
I got you now! I actually used my iPhone's level app to prove that this stretch north of Troy was climbing. It wasn't.
We ran a couple of trains and I enjoyed the perceived rolling undulations. And then it was off to a local pub for New England clam chowder and a lobster roll. What else? But even over a nice meal, Jim couldn't explain how he had created such an illusion. I wish he could because I would like to steal it!