My first layout tour 9-22-18
This is a true story seeing my house for the first time.
It is a small ranch just less than 1000 sq ft. A ranch house was mandatory for me. I really don’t like steps
My house has a few very unique things. The best part is not one inch of my basement steps are actually IN my basement. The last step down is the basement floor. There is a door to the outside right at the top of these steps.
We walked in to what is the TV room. 15 seconds later I saw the steps to the basement. I went down and checked it out. It was much smaller than 20+ years dreamed about basement I imagined; no building “Wildwood NJ to Pittsburgh PA” in S scale layout was going to be built, but good enough. The heater was in the center of the basement and -SCORE- a 1/2 bath in the corner.
The thought of the layout tour possibilities of not having anyone wander around my house hits me.
Less than 2 minutes later I am back upstairs.
"I am good. Let’s get it."
"Don't you want to see the rest of the house?"
"Well I guess. If she likes it we are good."
That is just how it went down. Layout tour possibilities were 1 of the big features that sold the house to me. You won't ever see that listed as a real estate amenity.
Since I started my layout in January 2011, I have somewhat been working towards my first open house layout tour. Once I got it running in October 2011 the layout progress was slow and sporadic. There was a few years with only maintenance done, nothing new. I am much more interested in completing my trains. My friend Steve has his HO layout open many times and was nudging me to show off my layout.
I started in June 2018 I started blending the seams of my Masonite backdrop. I added a 32 feet long siding for my reefer icing track. The ice platform will be 8 feet long. I painted the Homasote brown. The Colonial Blue had to go. But the big thing was ballast. My S friends were “occasionally” teasing about my lack of ballast. I had no plans in June to ballast the track but I got some done in time. A layout tour as a goal gets things done.
The group hosting the tour was New Jersey Division Mideast Region of the NMRA. https://www.njdivnmra.org I first went on layout tours with them in 1977 and was very active with them in the 1990s. It is the local membership of the NMRA but you do not have to be a member of the NMRA.
They choose a region from Trenton south and open about 8 layouts. There is a morning meeting then off to self guided layout tours. https://www.njdivnmra.org/bobc/Sep2018newsltr.pdf The new layouts were always very popular. I thought as a newbie I would be swamped. There were 4 new layouts! That might be a record for them.
I set up chairs in case there was a line of people waiting. They were not needed. I bought a new real crossbuck for the event. I sold the twin coil switch machines. No one took the free Kadee logging caboose!
To regulate visitors in the basement I cut 10 pieces of track ties. When someone went down they took a tie piece. When they came up they gave it to the next person. I thought the track ties was a novel idea. We had 10 visitors one time. Big Frank guarded the door! I did not have a sign in sheet. I estimate that we had 50 new visitors.
At left some of my S Buds as train crew. L to R Dan Mastrobuono, Charlie Leonard, Hank Worrell and Don Thompson.
The event went very well. There was 6 “trains” were running at once. 2 freight trains were 27 cars, over 25 feet long. 2 PRR/PRSL/Reading passenger trains, and PRSL Doodlebug and 2 RDC. There was only 1 derailment. The few issues were crew related. The layout got a good workout.
A Railroading Family
This is 3 generations of train crew. L to R John Peters , PRSL Engineer – Retired, John Peters - New Jersey Transit Conductor, John Peters Jr - Conrail Engineer. I have converted them to modeling PRSL and Conrail in S Scale in the past year. What a wonderful addition to my group of friends.
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