Thanks for the plug Mike, I had no idea that even existed. I have a tendency to get a little too focused on the layout construction and miss a lot of the other things in the modeling world. Now I'm curious if I know the person you were talking with.

It has been a busy month working on the layout. Patrick has been here 4 more times since my last update, and Matt has been here twice.

This month has seen less layout construction than other months, but more progress in other important areas.

Here's a quick recap:

 

We finished the lower level lighting in the north half of the room.


IMG_3795

 

We installed the plywood on the upper deck of the second peninsula.

IMG_3798

 

Started the layout lighting in the south half of the room.

IMG_3801

Added another 24' of decking to the second peninsula.


IMG_3806
Suffered a minor setback when the dishwasher blew a hose and leaked down on my new ceiling. No damage to the layout, but the kitchen floor wasn't as lucky. The dishwasher has been repaired, but I'm not sure I trust it enough to fix everything yet.

IMG_3812

 

Matt was on a roll and threw down a half case of Gargraves in a single afternoon.

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It's not quite the Union Pacific's 10 miles of track in a day, but it was pretty darn good in my world.

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We can now turn the layout lights on with a single switch.

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And they're on their own circuit.

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Matt works on a couple of sections of track that will be difficult to access once the backdrop goes up.

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Track power wiring begins, literally tying up loose ends.

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That brings me to Patrick's visit today.

 

We took care of a couple of electrical projects that I had been dreading for quite some time. This first one was a biggie. Those 4 outlets are where the second power supply will plug in. Now all I have to do is add a few small wires to the panel. Then when the the wiring is done on the upper level, a whole new section of the layout will be able to have running trains.

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That bottom piece of conduit coming out of the junction box was a tricky bending job.

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It feeds the last two convenience outlets on the layout. No more long extension cords. You are never more than 6' from an outlet.

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For the last seven months or so, I have been posting daily progress over on "What did you do on your layout today?" 

 

I will continue to do that, and use this topic for monthly recaps.

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I just finished re-reading this thread. I noticed it is almost a year old and I can't believe what a testament it is to overcoming some serious health issues and the development of a year-long (and counting) friendship. This is the stuff Hallmark movies are made of and while the layout itself is awesome, the story is awe inspiring, something much more valuable.

 

I have a nephew who lives in Minneapolis and my wife and I expect to be stopping in later next year. I would love to set up a visit to the layout, if the offer is still open then. This home layout is almost double the size of the club layout in McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park and that layout is amazing.

Thanks Southern.

 

Dave, I really appreciate those kind words. I was lucky to spot your post within a day of you making it. Things can get buried on the forum fairly quickly, especially during the middle of the day.

 

When your visit gets a little closer, drop me an email at the address in my profile, and we can set up a time.

Well, another month is in the books, time to figure out where it went.

Patrick was here 4 times, and Matt was here just once.

 

Pigs Eye yard is the last piece of the main level to get plywood.


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With the plywood installed, all that's needed is the fiberboard.

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I did that part myself between Patrick's visits.

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I also installed some ground throws over in the Newport/St Paul Park industrial area.

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I always install stops, so that the handle doesn't travel past horizontal. I also paint them so the operator can see them better.

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I cleared all the junk out of this corner. Patrick builds the upper deck.


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Last spring, Patrick brought me some cabinets he had salvaged from a bank demolition he had done. I spent all summer trying to figure the best way to use them.

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Between his visits, this is what I came up with.

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Matt came over, and continued to work on wiring. One more session and that section will be done. Then we can work on laying track on the lower level.

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Pigs Eye was supposed to have been a hump yard, but clearly there wasn't enough length to do it right, so it has become a normal flat yard. There will be 5 or 6 tracks, and an engine service area beyond where the bucket is sitting.

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Patrick's next visit, we made additional shelves for the cabinets, installed the doors, and then filled them with tools. The workbench is starting to get that "lived in" look.

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We also took advantage of some otherwise wasted space with some more shelves.

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Finally it was back to layout construction as Patrick and I extended the layout lighting from the left all the way back around to the right 10' beyond what is visible in the photo.


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When Patrick comes over Monday, we'll get power over to this new string of lights and get more decking on. It is possible we could get the upper deck plywood done before the end of the year.

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It was finally time to replace the old TV. The cabinet will be repurposed into a rack to hold wire spools. I built that 15 years ago to match the book shelves.

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I inherited this 42" LCD from my father-in-law last summer. One day I hope to be able to have a real time track occupancy dispatching panel displayed on it.

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It sure is nice having a proper workbench. I was able to sit down and repair some broken switches the other day.

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So much progress, and the year isn't quite done yet.

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Thanks guys. I enjoy sharing my layout with you, and your comments help to provide me with motivation to keep the ball rolling.

 

Chip, it really is a cave. I designed the house with 2 windows in the train room, and the first thing I did was cover them up with sheetrock. There is one other important element to the "man cave" concept that you haven't seen. Just around the corner, in the other room, there's a full sized refrigerator.

Elliot: First time I read this thread and you are building an AWESOME layout. Continue the great work look forward to watching this thread form this point forward.

Rick

PRRT&HS #8473

N&W HS  #5825

State College, PA

"And the sons of Pullman Porters, and the sons of Engineers

   Ride their father's magic carpet made of steel"

    "This train got the disappearing railroad blues"

 

Rick, welcome aboard. Enjoy the journey.

 

Rich, I don't know where I'd be without Patrick and Matt.

 

Patrick has been with me since the beginning of the year almost every single week, except for September, when I was out of town for 3 weeks. I really owe him most of the credit for the progress.

 

Matt came on board in August, but his schedule hasn't allowed him as many visits. It sounds like things will settle down for him after the holidays. I suspect he will be working with me every other week.

 

I've said this a few times, but I figure if I repeat it enough, it will happen. The plan is to have all the track laid and powered by the end of 2014. I really think we can do this.

 

Originally Posted by Matt Makens:

Dang Elliot I need to get over and get back to work.

Yes you do! Sunday's open, just say the word. PLEASE.

Not only is another month in the books, but an entire year has passed since I started this topic.

 

Let's start with December's progress. Patrick and I started by adding the curved flyover.

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The second deck plywood advances around the east end.

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Layout lights are powered up, now we can see when we are working.

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The continued to move up the peninsula. We are now within 30' of connecting up to the old section. The plan is to build a hump yard there, but I'm not sure if I want to sacrifice smooth operation and potential coupler damage to do it.

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Patrick is nearly done sanding and priming the backdrop. We'll start the new year off with a lot of blue paint.

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We installed a work light under one section of the layout. We'll be adding 2 more banks under different sections in the near future.

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We built some shelves under the workbench, which pretty much completes that project.

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Next week will mark the one year anniversary of Patrick helping me. It would have been impossible for me to accomplish all of this by myself. While this topic has a lot of the photos of what was done in 2013, even more can be found over on "What did you do on your layout today?"

 

Here's a list of the major projects we tackled this year:

  • A new helix
  • 150' of backdrop
  • Lower level plywood completed
  • Upper level plywood 75% complete
  • Layout lighting 50% complete
  • New power supply ready for activation
  • New workbench
  • Drop ceiling
  • Plus a whole lot of smaller projects

I also want to thank Matt, who joined my crew late in the season, but in that short time has been very helpful laying track and wiring. I look forward to seeing what the 3 of us can accomplish in 2014.

 

Finally, here's a little video I shot a few weeks ago.

 

 

Happy New Year!

 

 

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".BTW, I've been a fan of yours since the TM Entertrainment video and when you were "Elliot, the Layout Genie" on a TM how-to layout building video."

 

Same here.  Thanks for making the effort to share your impressive project.

 

I have a sister who lives in St. Paul and will send you an email the next time I visit in hopes of getting to see your progress and make your acquaintance.

Absolutely awesome!  I love all the open running distances.

 

Great job, I wish I had the time, resources, space and knowledge to build something like this.  Heck, I just wish I had a layout so I could show all my trains!

 

Follow your progress daily, love the updates.

 

 

Thank you all!

 

Spence, Marty and tr18, I hope to have a new video later this month which will be more of a guided tour with me doing the narration.

 

Peter, it has been a little over 20 years since enterTRAINment. Those were some exciting but difficult times. That layout was also done with the help of others, but to a much greater extent. Back then we got the keys to the space in March, and had to have a working and presentable layout by early August (1992). By the following October (1993) it was all over, but fortunately Tom McComas has allowed it to live on.

 

Billshoff, for the record, there is only one wallet behind this project. Sadly, I did not win the lottery.

 

As Bob points out, large layouts like this are built over time. This layout has been under construction for a little over 10 years, though six of those were lost to my cancer encounter, and thus wasted.

 

All of the track used so far was purchased for enterTRAINment, including most of the switches. The wire was all salvaged as well. A lot of the lumber has been recovered from layouts dating back more than 35 years. I haven't been keeping track, but I would estimate that construction materials ran about $10,000 in 2013. However, I won't have to spend that money again.

 

I have also picked up 7 cases of Gargraves, but I'm not sure if that will be enough to finish. It may still take a few more to finish the track in 2014.

 

Landsteiner, visitors are always welcome. A couple weeks advance notice works best, if possible. I'm usually around.

 

86TA355SR, I understand that very few people have the resources and desire to do something of this magnitude. Sharing the experience and process, makes the time and money spent doing it all worthwhile.

Can you tell me the name of the TM how to video?
Thanks
Originally Posted by Putnam Division:

WOW!

 

Elliot.....incredible work....BTW, I've been a fan of yours since the TM Entertrainment video and when you were "Elliot, the Layout Genie" on a TM how-to layout building video.

 

Peter

 

Originally Posted by Garfield:
Can you tell me the name of the TM how to video?
Thanks

Great Toy Train Layouts of America, Part 6:

"The Mall of America provides a spectacular backdrop for EnterTRAINment, a sensational nine-level layout featuring eight-foot bridges, 17 Lionel Modern Era trains in action, accessories you can operate, waterfalls, and great scenery."

Rob

I'm speechless! WOW!

 

Fantastic views of progress over the year. Very nice video! It shows just how smooth your bench and track work are! Congratulations!!!

 

I have followed your thread on and off over the year, reading and admiring. Like the others, I look forward to future updates, especially as you progress into and through scenery!

 

Once again, Very Nice!

 Happy New!

Henry J.

TCA 10-65709

 

D&H, WMRy & Reading RR Fan

Originally Posted by Big_Boy_4005

 

86TA355SR, I understand that very few people have the resources and desire to do something of this magnitude. Sharing the experience and process, makes the time and money spent doing it all worthwhile.

I am certainly glad you have shared this project. I love seeing your progress!

 

Keep up the great work!

Originally Posted by ADCX Rob:
Originally Posted by Garfield:
Can you tell me the name of the TM how to video?
Thanks

Great Toy Train Layouts of America, Part 6:

"The Mall of America provides a spectacular backdrop for EnterTRAINment, a sensational nine-level layout featuring eight-foot bridges, 17 Lionel Modern Era trains in action, accessories you can operate, waterfalls, and great scenery."

Actually Rob, I think the one Garfield is looking for is "How to build a toy train layout vol 1".

 

I went to Tom's place, and we shot that in a weekend. We covered a variety of basic construction topics while building a classic 4x8 layout. Even though it was done 20 years ago, the material is pretty timeless. I think Tom went on to do a volume 2, but I wasn't involved in that one.

 

I just went to the website, and it looks like there is an all new DVD called "How to build an O gauge layout beginner & advanced". I watched the preview, and at the very end it mentioned bonus footage from the original. I'm not sure just how much of it is included.


 

 

Thanks Henry. Lots more progress is planned for 2014, stay tuned.

 

Thanks Peter, my copy is buried somewhere. I don't know if it ever made it to DVD in that form. And we all know VHS is dead.

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