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The modular group decided we needed a smaller layout for small or "one day" venues.  We started building a few weeks ago. We made more progress this AM.


First, we laid out the track And checked clearances.





 Ran some trains to check clearances.







Then, we demarcated the ROW. I used a technique I learned from Al Z (Cape Cod Northern), using a compass and a truck.













Ballasting tomorrow.




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Last edited by Putnam Division

It's been variable, but our usual events are:


1. Chesterfield County Fair, late August, yearly.

2. Midlothian Village Day, October

3. Ashland Rail Day, November

4. Science Museum of Va, Thanksgiving weekend

5. Annual Christmas display.......usually at an empty storefront from the weekend after Thanksgiving through New Years weekend. This year we're being graciously hosted by the Great Big Greenhouse........a retail chain.


The small layout makes it easy for us to have a nice display at smaller venues like the Richmond Children's Hospital and the Richmond Children's Museum. It also can be taken around by 2-3 members with an SUV........not requiring our 7X14 trailer.

The 1st venue with our small portable layout took place this past Weds at the Children's Hospital of Richmond......This is more of a chronic care facility and not an acute hospital. The kids here have severe chronic conditions. Every month, there is a group birthday party. We participated this month.....the theme was trains.


This layout allows us to go to small or short time venues with a small portion of our really enhances our flexibility. 
















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Peter and Gang,


First, I really like what you are doing with this modular layout, taking it places to give some joy and a needed new experience to folks who need our care.  Way to go.


Second, the layout turned out really nice.  It is a convenient size for transport and setup, has a lot of points of interest besides the trains running, and it looks like it is fun.


Thanks for sharing.  Maybe some of the rest of us will get together where we live and do something similar.

Originally Posted by Putnam Division:

Another video......this is with the MPC gondola camera car. You can see the bouncing. I hope to fix this with a die cast gondola this winter.






The bouncing is actually fast angle wheel wobble.  Fast angle wheels have a tendency to do that when they are being pushed.  Lionel discovered this years ago during the MPC era when the introduced the GG1 with fast angle wheels in the pilot trucks.  The front truck would wander endlessly as the engine was going down the track.  If you change the wheel sets to postwar style wheels and axles or find a wheel set that is not fast angle, the "bounce" will disappear.  I may be wrong, but a die-cast hopper would probably make the wobble worse because of the heavier tracking weight.

Originally Posted by Putnam Division:

Mark.....I should have been clearer....I missed the event, working....However, the guys did a great job and had a blast.......and, only a fraction of the group has to be present to make it successful!


Thank you again for your kind words.




Actually, I thought maybe you were taking the photos.  Anyway, you helped build the layout, so you are to be commended too.


You're welcome.

Originally Posted by Mark Boyce:

....  Maybe some of the rest of us will get together where we live and do something similar.

This forum is a great opportunity to meet up with folks in your area. We started with a core group of 4 and have grown from there. I am fortunate to be able to count each of these gentlemen as my friends.

I missed this event too (work). Looking forward to running it at Midlothian Days on Saturday following York.



Last edited by Gilly@N&W



Thanks for the photos.  I an sorry you had to work, but it looks like it was a good event, and the layout looks great!


I've watched trains in Ashland back when I worked in Richmond in the '70s and Fredericksburg in the late '80s to early '90s.  I am actually from Butler County, Pennsylvania but went to Virginia twice when jobs were hard to come by.  Now we have been back here for almost 20 years.

We've been very busy the last two weeks.

On Friday the 21st we brought the small layout to the Great Big Greenhouse (a local nursery where we will be setting up for December). We were there for their pre-holiday sale called "Ladies Night Out".












Next was the 37th annual Science Museum of Virginia Train Show.......unfortunately, I could only be there for set-up and take-down due to work.....but the guys had a blast...... Friday and Saturday were record-setting attendance days (over 3000 each day).















Today we set up the 21X34 layout at the Great Big Greenhouse for a run from 12/5 through 1/3......

Fridays 4-8

Saturdays 8-8

Sundays 9-7


The Great Big Greenhouse is in Midlothian VA ( a suburb west of Richmond, south of the James River) at the intersection of Robious & Huguenot Rds. If you are going to Bevell's Hardware Layout in Blackstone from the north, we're on your way.




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More photos from last's really taking shape.....our full set-up is about 2/3 of a scale mile in length......great for long trains!









The guys tell me that it was finished today......unfortunately, I had to finish last night.... I had a TUR for BPH this AM....Thankfully, I am recouping nicely and should be back to normal by next, I'll be recovered for the car ride to TrainStock 7!




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Last edited by Putnam Division
Originally Posted by prrhorseshoecurve:



I see that your club's modules deviate from the Independent Hi-Railers Specs of a three track main line. Are your modules of two tracks the same distance as the first two tracks of the Hi-railers specs? What are your wire gauges that you use? Finally are you using molex connectors or something else?

I do not believe that our track conforms with the Independant Hi-Railer Specs. It is Atlas track on 4.5" centers. I'd need to measure again to give you an answer regarding the space from the edge.


We use 14 ga. wire for the bus and yes, we use Molex connectors. There was quite a bit of discussion regarding two vs three mainlines. If we were to do it over again (and there has been some discussion along those lines) I'd push for four.


The opportunity has not yet been presented to connect our modular layout with another club's. Worse case we'd need to build a couple of modules with some flex track to get the lines to match-up.



Last edited by Gilly@N&W

Yes Peter, you look a little peaked in the first photos.


The group member in the gray shirt in photo 2 looks like he is having a good laugh!!


I haven't commented on the carnival before.  That is quite a lot of great rides.  I say great because they look good.  I hate real rides!  

Your group's modular layout is first rate!  I always enjoy seeing photos of it!!

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