Since I posted the announcement about tearing down the current railroad I've received a lot of inquiries about the 'next' layout. Some have asked if I'm getting out of the hobby.
I've been involved in model railroading in one form or another since I was a kid, so no, I'm not going anywhere (sorry, if you hoped otherwise!) and yes, I do plan to build at least one more model railroad.
I honestly haven't made any final decisions. But I do have some possibilities in mind. As with most things, each has some strong and weak points. Here's where I'm at - subject to extensive change:
1. Central Vermont White River Jct. to Essex Junction, transition era - essentially, rebuild the layout I'm currently tearing down.
PLUSES: I can reuse virtually all the structures, rolling stock, locomotives, etc...
MINUSES: That's a LOT of railroad to cram into any space, build, maintain, and crew as I've learned from all the building, and rebuilding, it's not an easy stretch of railroad to fit into a basement.
But Bernie had a plan for a "dream" railroad that at least includes White River Junction in his last track plan book, so you never know...
2. Central Vermont - Richford Branch -
PLUSES - Could be built one town at a time. Start with Richford, get it finished, and then move down the line. There's several interesting industries - lots of creameries, a couple of feed mills, and a paper mill, as well as interchanges with the Canadian Pacific and St. Johnsbury & Lake Champlain.
MINUSES: Well, it's a branchline, so there is some limit to the variety of motive power and rolling stock - no 2-10-4s here....
3. Southern New England Railway - Basically, revisit my old freelance railroad - Similar to the layout shown in MRP 2000 - start at Palmer and work through the New England countryside.
PLUSES - Freelancing offers a lot of freedom, I can improve a lot of the issues I have with the CV specific prototype, but still have a railroad that looks a great deal like the CV, at least at first glance.
MINUSES - Executing a believable freelanced railroad is a LOT of work - and you constantly have to explain the history of the freelanced railroad to, well, everybody.
4. "Somewhere" in the Carolinas, set in the 1980s. This is getting away from the New England transition era layout - but I remember rail fanning that area at that time.
PLUSES - A fresh start is sometimes extremely appealing. I know a little, but not much, about rolling stock of that era for example. More to learn keeps the hobby fresh. It would offer a chance to model some different scenery - a wood dock with some shrimp boats tied up, with marsh grass along the banks of the rivers, would be neat and offer a scenery challenge.
MINUSES - This would represent a wholesale replacement of the considerable investment in time and money I've made in the transition era equipment.
5., 6, 7, etc., . . . summarized as "Something in Proto 48" (or N, S, scale, or even narrow gauge, or ??? . . .
I'm not discounting any options - I've actually gotten suggestions or hints to consider several of these, but I'm practical enough that it would be really, really difficult to deviate from HO at this time.