A few years ago my wife and I moved out of the apartment we had been living in into our house. This brought about an awesome opportunity to finally start building the layout I really wanted. Here's a good drawing of the space I have to work with.
I started going through a few plans for how to work the Northern Central that I'm so into into the space while still keeping realistically sized scenes. I quickly realized that, while my space is good enough to build something in, it's not really suited to the big time railroading that I envision the NCR as. I wouldn't have been able to fit enough locations into the space while keeping it properly sized to make operational sense. You can see some of the failed plans here:
I therefore decided to change what I was going to do, and do a little bit more "What If" Conrail stuff in Baltimore. The new idea was to focus on the Canton area of the city, where Conrail, Chessie (CSX), and the Canton all operate in close proximity. I was going to focus on the Conrail side, obviously. This layout will give me the opportunity to focus on operations, and because of cramped nature of the city, will lend itself to smaller scenes and tighter quarters. Check out the "Conrail's Last Day On Boston Street" gallery on The CRHS's website for a great peek into what makes it so interesting.
This layout will have lots of great opportunities for operations, and I'm really excited to work on it. Here's the second to last revision of the plan. I say second to last because, I discovered that the "local" that would need to serve all the car spots on the plan is actually longer than the layout itself is. I've since started redoing the plan to have fewer spots and industries that better represent the area, and found a way to include the Boston St trackage, which this plan lacks.
I frequently attend ops sessions at a friend's place. He's got a basement sized multi-deck layout that's a lot of fun. While at one of his sessions, I was watching a train run along a long, eye-level straightaway and realized that I wanted that at home too. My Canton plan wasn't going to have any opportunity to display the winter rural scenery that I enjoy, and so I had to come up with another plan.
I realized that I could quickly and easily build a shelf layout that would be nothing but scenery, would live at eye-level, and would allow me to scratch those itches. So I got to work, put up some shelf brackets, cut up some styrofoam, and three years later I'm ready to ballast.
Here are some pics of the shelf, from left to right.
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