Sunday, August 7, 2016

Plan 9 From Outer Space…

"This isn't Plans 1 through 8 from outer space. This is Plan 9! This is the one that actually worked!" - Jerry Seinfeld

I alluded to a “major project” on the other end of the basement in a post last week. I suppose it’s time to fess up and show just how “major” this project is and the current state of that end of the railroad.
It started with the removal of the White River Junction scene from the layout early last fall. My plan at the time was to install Bethel in its place.
While that was going on I was trying to locate things like structures and streets in Richmond and Randolph. As you can see on the track plan the way the mainline curved 90-degrees and then 180-degrees in Randolph, and the 180 degree curve in Richmond, was playing havoc with creating a realistic arrangement of the structures in both locations. See the benchwork plan below for the "before" benchwork arrangement:

The reason for this form factor was an attempt to hide the support column in the basement from view. But it was becoming clearly evident what I needed was a longer stretch of tangent track, especially to depict Randolph.  If I attached the neck of the peninsula to the narrow wall of basement (at the top of the plan) I would create a long stretch of tangent track on both sides of the backdrop. See below:
Key to all this was learning to simply accept the support column (not much of a choice since it holds up the house...) and live with it. 
So I decided to make a change to the benchwork footprint. This photo, taken before the track laying was finished in this area, shows the previous view from the spot: 

We removed the old benchwork and reattached the peninsula to the far wall.  Then we unscrewed the backdrop and ran it straight (surprisingly, the thing didn’t crack or break). Then I spliced some new pieces to the backdrop and connected it to the end wall. Next step will be repainting the backdrop sky blue. 
Sharp-eyed readers will also note that White River Junction is being replaced by Essex Junction. Long time blog readers will recall that was the plan for the layout several years ago. Guess I should have stuck with my original plan!
This view shows how much tangent track I have for the new version of Randolph. It also shows the tremendous mess all this work and rework creates:


  1. This is quite a courageous plan, but it feels much more natural. I suspect operation while be much interesting because the scenes are longer and flow better. The final plan is very realistic and doesn't look to be overcomplicated (which wouldn't fit with Central Vermont anyway).

    My late grandma used to say the first idea was always the good one. I've always been surprised how we can paint ourselves in a corner over such trivial matters like a support column. But I guess we only open our eyes after getting a good deal of experience! From now, I suspect it will be very interesting to see the layout progress from that new plan! Good luck!

  2. Wow! I agree with Matthieu; you are a courageous fellow! I do like the concept of foregoing a major yard (overdone). Will you have the Winooski sub operational?

  3. Very nice! It is a big change but sometimes a step back is necessary for a better outcome. I like the new plan, it feels much more open.. Looking forward to progress!