Thought I would drop a note hello since I have not posted since the dark days of the OGR forums. And as I discovered, my posts are gone from that era too, between all the forum software switches, the changes through the years etc. at least my original joining date is still viable. After the first years, I would lurk and check in, but once part A of my original Missouri plywood hi-rail layout (as I called it back then) was built, I just enjoyed my trains and the hobby on my own for the next few decades.
I was a long time train buff and had several friends whose fathers had Lionel layouts in the 70s when I was in JH and HS. In addition I had my grandfathers old Flyer loop and a box of trains that I played with when I was in elementary school. I grew up, went to college, married, had a daughter, (Kristin) and it gave me the excuse to get back into toy trains. My first “good” train purchase was the Lionel FM Trainmaster in 1994, PRR livery., and the rest was history. I fell in love with the new O Scale offerings from MTH, etc. and plunged full bore into being a collector/operator. I run most everything I buy, (only exception is few unique rolling stock pieces that I have duplicates). I have around 25 MTH proto 1 Diesels and early first run steamers all Proto 1, all retrofitted with BCR units, and I currently run conventional. I love scale cars and engines. However, I am not a rivet counter. I enjoy a variety of road names, and like having a wide variety and example of different diesel and steamer types pulling unique and different scale cars.
I completed phase one of my Missouri Plywood RR in 1998. It was a 2x4 leg/frame table, 1/2” plywood on the frame, 1/2 acoustical foam on top which I isolated and attached with subfloor acoustical adhesive and then I glued a piece of 1/4” Luan on top so I could place my Ross sectional track on the cork roadbed and just nail the track into the top 1/4” Luan to keep the noise down. I love Ross track and switches. Steve was a great help in the mid 90’s. My bench system worked fairly well, and the basement was already dry walled, acoustical ceiling tiles, and the floor had carpeting which also helped with the noise.
I was young, happy, in my 30s and my daughter liked trains too. The “C” shaped 7’ square by 4’x4’ by 7’ square semi dog bone layout was accessible with a tall ladder and my youthful flexibility. I had an outer loop of 72” turns, an inner track with 064 and a yard area all with Ross Custom Switches and smaller radius track in the yard. Table height was 50” to allow my daughter a play area underneath that was carpeted and well lit for her Barbies. Several Barbie and Ken dates were part of the Missouri Plywood RR with empty coal cars serving as the transportation cars, and on more than one occasion, rolling stock was decorated with valentines and other decorations and multiple Barbies and Kens. She easily handled the trains and understood the physics involved and rarely had issues. When she did, my plexiglass layout railings took the brunt, (see photos) and the Z4000 rarely tripped it’s safety. (Pics attached are part of the layout as I was removing engines, bubble wrapping, moving rolling stock and dusting things off.)
The 90s rolled into the early 2000s, plans were to expand from a hi-rail plywood to a full scenic layout with second levels, a mountain division for my Shay, and include a double line elevated trestle area and duck under bridge at 5’6” off the ground between the square sections of the C shaped layout.
In 2000 Proto 2 came out, I ordered a few diesels, loved the new features and prototypical speeds. New rolling stock kept coming into the house for a variety of long consists on my 60’ mainline, then in 2002 DCS was introduced. I was a bit shocked. I had a huge inventory of Proto 1 diesels, and 4 big steamers, (I knew I could upgrade those if needed,) but wow, I felt a bit frustrated. I stopped buying all power units, put on hold all future layout expansion, and kept the layout at it’s current point. Another reason for the hold, was we knew we were going to eventually move a final time after retirement. I had a great collection of Lionel O scale cars, a few Lionel post war and some Lionel modern diesels from the 90s, and most of the good MTH Premiere rolling stock of that era. (Not including those with Zinc Rot.. ggrrrrrrr. You can see a recent truck repair taking place on the layout.) Regardless I had plenty to run, switch and operate as I was still busy with my career and a growing boy crazy daughter.
2002-2009 the RR operated sporadically but enough to keep the dust at bay, especially during our cold Midwest winters. I always expanded at Christmas with a large upstairs 072 Christmas floor layout that was all over the entire living room and around the tree. Our Daughter graduated HS in 2010, but we bought our farm in 2009, so any spare time was spent there on weekends and holidays until we both retired a few years later. Starting around 2014 everything collected dust on the layout except the Christmas layout. We retired, built our final home, and although we are now in our new home for a few years, the layout and rolling stock still was in the burbs of St. Louis. (Go Cards) My spouse kept subbing for a few years after retirement so we kept the house, but with Covid, that ended. Time to move the layout and sell the house. I did contemplate selling out, but my wonderful spouse assured me (more like talked sense into me not to sell) that once we move into our new home, your enthusiasm will come back. Maybe it was chasing the UP 4014 Big Boy for a day here in Southeast Missouri, but my original layout plans I had in the past have continued to dwell and expand in my mind and I am enthused once again.
Three weeks ago, the process of packing and moving the trains and track started, and the first business was to gather all the powered units, dust them off, box a few up, bubble wrap most, and haul them and their boxes to the new basement home. (2.3 hours away) Next phase in a few weeks is moving all the rolling stock. Finally I will pull all the Ross track and switches and possibly the cork roadbed. The 2x4 benchwork will be salvaged for scrap wood, and the plywood top, foam tile, luan, will be cut up and thrown away because of the adhesive.
This ends my catching up post. Another post/installment on my future layout, The Ozark Mountain RR, will be forthcoming in this thread in a few weeks. I look forward to your thoughts and comments. Fortunately having done something once, I can avoid SOME errors, but know that others will occur. I apologize for my much to long reintroduction at the OGR forums. In my next followup post in this thread I will announce my intention and plans for the new layout, how much room I have been allocated in the basement and what my plans are for operating the Ozark Mountain RR.
Thanks for taking the time to read. Glad to be back on board. Life is good.