When we moved into our present home in 1987, I claimed a 500 sqft unfinished area in the basement as a trainroom. Trains ran on the floor as I dreamed of a layout filling the space.
Wallboard, wiring, painting, lighting, etc. were completed in 1990. The layout was designed with a folded loop single track mainline and three small yard areas. There were to be four blocks for simple two train operation. (This was pre-TMCC) I initially planned to incorporate a large number of Lionel operating accessories from my Post War Lionel collection, however, I wound up using only the more "scale like" Lionel accessories as the layout progressed.
Benchwork began in 1991 using "L girder" construction. The mainline track was installed and wired by 1994 using Gargraves flexible track/switches - all curves are superelevated. I ran trains with no scenery for almost two years to ensure trouble free, reliable operation - an investment that really paid off!
No real progress was made in 1995-96 due to work commitments.
Scenery installation started in 1997 using the hardshell technique and molding plater for rocks. Over 1,200 handmade trees were installed and give the layout an eastern mountain look. White foam board and a hot knife were used to sculpt tunnel portals, retaining walls and a stone arch viaduct. All major scenery was finished by the fall of 2000.
Sadly, the layout had to be demolished during February of 2004 as part of getting our home ready for sale. It was emotionally hard to destroy a true labor of love, but had to be done. Luckily, it's memory will live on, both here and as a featured layout article in an upcoming issue of "Classic Toy Trains" magazine.
The following pictures show how the now gone Practice Layout was built, take you on a layout tour, show some layout scenes, and some of the fun projects I undertook.
The future? When our new home in Williamsburg, VA is finished, hopefully before January 2005, it will have almost 1000 ft2 available for the next layout.
I hope you enjoy your visit. You can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org