September 26, 2010

Just got home from a 3 week vacation in the Utah and Colorado mountains. Did alot of railfanning along the way, and spent a whole day on the now decrepit Tennessee Pass. Lots of things run through my mind when I'm out chasing trains, mostly about my layout, and my choice of modeling. Modern railroading is cool to see, but to model it, well it just doesn't do it for me. I still can't really tell the difference between a C44-9 or a new Gevo. They all look the same to me. But I guess its the same thing with GP35s/38s/39s/40s and the -2's. To most, they all looked the same too.

As it is, I'm set on my modeling time frame, but I'm in question of my modeling location, and my choice to freelance. It seems that picking a prototype location and modeling it would be alot easier. The buildings are there, the track is there, and you can go take pictures of it all for reference. And there was something about Tennessee Pass that sparked my interests. But to model that, well, there isn't much else besides through trains. And I like operation. So for me to change to that would be fun in the beginning, but with no switching areas, then it would get boring pretty quick. Yet the ability to see something and copy it would seriously aid in the ability to get more done. I don't have to "dream up" what might go here or what it might look like.

So I look at my layout now, and there are alot of things I'd like to change, the major of it being the use of homasote. I chose homasote for the ability to spike into it. Besides that, everything else has been negative with it. It's a pain to cut, makes lots of dust, and has a very uneven surface, at lest in N scale. I spend more time sanding and filling the high and low spots to get rid of the dips in the track than I do actually putting down the track. And I still have areas where the cars dip and rise. I also do not like how I had to make cuts into one side of it so it would bend around the curves. At the time, I wasn't thinking about ballasting. Now that I've hit a few spots around the layout, those cracks eat up alot of costly ballast. I can tape over the areas on the slopes, but the areas under the track I'm stuck with.

There is an article in the recent MR about using a product called Easy Mat, and it looked pretty cool. I've used cork and WS foam in the past, and never really liked them. The article states that the Easy Mat will accept spikes for hand laying. I figure I'd give it a try. Went to the HD and got a roll for $60. Cut some out and I do really like it. Only thing that is not good is it will not accept spikes, at least in N scale. It's too squishy. All my attempts have resulted in broken ties. But I'm not spiking all my track, just the turnouts, so I could still use homasote under them, and use the Easy Mat for the rest.

So the question in my head still stands. Do I tear out all that I've done and put down the new roadbed? It sure would get rid of alot of my track problems that I've encountered so far. My turnouts would still be used, I'd just cut the homasote out before and after the turnouts. Easily done. I would just have to worry about putting new feeders to the new track. I'll have to think on this some more, but with only 15' of main line left to do, I just might be a little crazy if I did rip it all up.

Sometimes I just wanna tear it all out and start fresh again, with a new design, at least one that gives me a longer area for my yard. Maybe I was too quick to build instead of thinking things through when I first started this adventure 3 and a half years ago.

Anyhow, guess this was more of a "blog" than an update. But thanks for reading through it all.


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