@Michael Cimba 040217 posted:
Nick, thank you! When I was starting to plan the Allegheny Crossing layout along with my dad, we both decided that we wanted to lay a good foundation, which is why we decided to go with Gargraves and Ross switches. All I had from previous layouts was a lot of Lionel tubular track and Lionel 031 switches. So, that made the decision a little easier for us. I'm sure if I had a stockpile of "better" track and switches I would have considered using what I had. I have never used fastrack, but I'm sure it is great to work with and it looks great on your layout. The Gargraves track, Ross switches and Midwest cork roadbed is all new to me, so I'm definitely going to be learning as I go with the trackwork. The good folks here have already given me lot's of good tips, tricks and advice.
For my backdrops I used Backdropwarehouse.com. They make a nice product that looks super realistic. The only downside is their website is a little clunky and it takes a bit of planning and effort to get what you want, but the end result is very nice. Mine is actually 4 different sections. 2 bottoms half's and 2 upper sky extension half's. I rubber cemented it to a Masonite backing wall that was built on top of a grid of furing strips attached to the block wall. You can see some of the construction on my thread. It is not perfect, (especially if you look at it close up, haha) but overall I'm happy with how it turned out for our first time. With all your beautiful mountain scenery you might just need some sky backdrops to finish it off.
I was going to tell you, a neat project for your layout at some point, would be to build an operational incline plane (funicular) at your horseshoe curve scene like the one they have there. But then after thinking about it, I don't think that was there in the 50's. I believe they built that later on.
The next layout I build, whenever that may be, will definitely use Gargraves track and Ross switches. They have such a superior look to other track systems in my opinion. Fastrack is decent, but not really the best for a larger layout. It can be a real pain. One thing I that I do with my Fastrack that helps with the look is putting my own ballast on, which I have yet to do on this layout. I've also decided to start painting the rails a nice dull brown to make it look more realistic; much more tedious to paint compared to other track systems. Oh well. Your photo realistic backdrops are really incredible. Had I had the foresight, I would have done similar, but I'll have to stick to hand painting them for this layout haha.