This hobby has a funny way of coming full circle.  After some serious deliberations about my lack of an ability to enjoy my O scale hobby in the comfort of my own home, I decided to start to break out my N scale after my most recent visit to my storage unit. 

As many who know me on this forum realize, I've been in the hobby continuously since I was about 6-7.  I didn't take the high school break to chase girls or cars.  I spent the early years of my hobby happily tinkering away in HO scale cutting my teeth on MDC and Bowser locomotive kits while doing a wonderful job of destroying any minimal value my trains had with my early attempts at custom painting and weathering. 

College crept up on me a little too quickly and in the bowels of my architectural college studios I first experimented in N scale with a very crude, not poorly built layout around my studio desk made out of whatever leftover materials I could find.  A lot of cardboard, hot glue, and leftover landscape materials went into this temporary layout.  It was fun while it lasted.

Upon graduation and my resettlement to Arizona, I stayed with the scale in my first apartment and into my first home in 1994.  I had recently ridden many Amtrak long distance trains at the time so I got a skill in custom painting my trains into the Amtrak Phase III scheme for both the Southwest Chief and the Broadway Limited I had been riding.  Through 1999, the quality of N became so much better that I started to purchase quite a bit of the locomotives I had always dreamed of as a child in HO.  In 2002 I saw my first scale (ish) O locomotive and that is when the bug bit.  I have more O scale and O gauge trains than I could hope to enjoy in a lifetime and my dream pursuit is still to have a 2 rail O empire of my own someday but having them stored away at a remote location is more a source of stress than enjoyment. 

Fast forward to 2019 and I find myself at a crossroads again.  Life circumstances forced me to severely downsize my home putting most of my O in storage.  I am working harder than I have in the last 10 years but thankfully at a level of pay commensurate with my experience during that entire period.  I am just lacking a place to run trains when I get home at night.  N scale seems like the right choice for a small operators railroad that I can once again tinker on for short periods of time and feed the part of the hobby I've been missing. 

To start I plan on resurrecting a track plan from way too long ago.  Not sure how the proportions will work with the space I have, but that is the fun of the planning.

 The goal isn't to accumulate a lot of new stuff other than maybe a few quality locomotives, and upgrade my existing fleet as I can.  It's simply to have that place to relieve stress after a long day of work.  Funny how a small endeavor like this has brought excitement back to the idea of this hobby again!  Now to find the rest of my N scale in the piles and piles of other trains and evaluate my track and transformers for use again.







Photos (1)
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I can commiserate with you. I'm in the process now of selling off my O gauge trains because of a move I had to make. I'll be 73 in another month so building another O gauge layout is not in the cards and my new apartment is just too small to build O but a nice point to point HO layout will keep me into trains to some degree. 

With today's ho having more detail and sound it will be perfect for me.

Good luck Jonathan on what you are doing and I hope some day you have that grand O scale layout but in the mean time let us see that N scale layout as it progresses. 



in the words of Harry Chapin...

”All my life's a circle but I can't tell you why
The season's spinnin' round again the years keep rollin' by

It seems like I've been here before, I can't remember when
But I got this funny feelin' that I'll be back once again”

Best of luck with your N empire... I assume the GG1’s will be well represented  


Techno-Peasant of the First Order

Provisionary Member - Brotherhood of the Crappy Basement Layout

 TCA 15-70689

LCCA RM-39621

LOTS RM-9326

Thanks for the encouragement!  It's not as if I'm abandoning O scale, just enjoying that aspect of the hobby a little differently. 

There need be no worries at all.  The N scale roster already includes 4 GG1s.  4902 in the Golden Spike Centennial Blue for the PC clockers, two Amtrak 900 series versions in black and red/white and blue, and finally 5 stripe DGLE 4935 which would also be correct pulling Amtrak. 

I was able to dig out most of my custom painted Phase III heritage fleet cars last night as well.  They were better than I remember them and included a dorm/baggage and a heritage lounge among some other misc. cars.  Those are cars I still haven't found in O scale yet. 

Photos to come!



GOOD LUCK with your move to a smaller scale for spatial reasons. ☺ At 77 with my current eyesight and level of manual dexterity, I must stick with standard gauge and G on a 90" X 96" layout in a small spare bedroom. Just wish I had a little more strength to lift my large heavy engines in both scales! LOL!

vita sine litteris mors est  (Seneca)

GG1 4877 posted:

... Funny how a small endeavor like this has brought excitement back to the idea of this hobby again! ...

I know exactly how you feel. It's great.

For me, a little HO "industrial switching layout" along a wall in my home office.


GG1 4877 posted:


Wow … what a great layout … with many features. N scale is cool.

Have fun.

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