It's Been 50 Years Since I Picked Up a Train...

NorthernJerseyRR Mar 17, 2021

  1. NorthernJerseyRR

    NorthernJerseyRR TrainBoard Member

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    Back in the very early 1970s, my dad was building an HO scale railroad in our attic and on occasion I'd help him out. I recall he was following the old Linn Westcott HO Railroad That Grows Great Northern Pacific plan and had the original booklet that was published. Don't know what happened to that layout, train set, or book over the ensuing years, but model railroading has stuck with me.

    Not that I ever built my own layout, but I always wanted to. At some point along the way I even purchased a reprint of that HO Railroad That Grows book, though it has lain hidden for years. Well, I stumbled across it the other day and it immediately renewed the model railroading spark for me. I've been voraciously consuming everything about the topic and I finally decided now is the time to get into the hobby again. I now have the time and wherewithal to actually build a set, though perhaps not the space, which is why I'm going to go N scale.

    My first build is going to be that HO Railroad That Grows layout, if for no other reason than nostalgia. I plan to scale it down to N-size, but I want to be rather faithful to the original, even going so far as to build it in the stages laid out in the book, as a sort of tribute to my dad who planted the model railroading seed in me. It may have been dormant for years, decades even, but it's sprouting now and I'm looking forward to beginning.

    I'm in northern New Jersey, hence the screen name, but I envision my first layout, and any subsequent ones I build, will be modeled on a 1940s-50s New England short line theme as that has a sort of bucolic feel I envision.

    Cheers,
    Rich
     

    Attached Files:

  2. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Member

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    Welcome back to the hobby Rich and welcome to TrainBoard!

    Building a layout to honor your fathers memory is a great idea so is building a layout in stages.
    I hope you keep us posted on your progress.
     
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  3. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Rich, welcome. We're glad you've come aboard. Please keep us posted with your progress, photos especially.
     
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  4. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    Welcome to TrainBoard and N Scale Rich!!!!!
     
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  5. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    Welcome aboard.
     
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  6. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Welcome to Trainboard Rich. To me the most influential books have been "HO Railroad That Grows" and the N Scale Clinchfield book.
     
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  7. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

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    Welcome aboard, Rich.
     
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  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Welcome to TrainBoard!
     
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  9. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    Welcome. "HO Railroad That Grows" is where I learned a lot about building a layout (it was the original version with Linn and his son on the cover). Cutting track pieces, ballasting, the modular wiring units for blocks, etc. I don't know how many times I read it and still do go back and look through it every once in a while.

    One of THE most useful model railroading books ever written. Linn Westcott was a genius, as far as I'm concerned.

    Any chance of you being able to expand an N scale version, at all, which would be a 2' X 4' layout if scaled down?

    Good luck.

    Doug
     
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  10. NorthernJerseyRR

    NorthernJerseyRR TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks to all for the warm welcome. Right now my space is very limited and I'll need to tuck the layout away when it's not in use, so I do plan on scaling it down to 2x4 (well, 26x52 if my math is correct) when I start. Eventually I'd like to dedicate a small room in my basement to a layout (it's currently a mini-nursery for my garden seedlings), which would give me more expansion opportunities later.

    My plan is to use the HORRTG plans to hone my skills on laying track, wiring, running trains, designing scenery, etc. I think as the layout grows from the Stage 1 track to Stage 8, I should be proficient enough to tackle something more ambitious. Looking forward to soaking up the vast knowledge from you more experienced members. I do plan on documenting my evolution in railroading through pictures and video and I'll count on critiques from y'all to keep me heading in the right direction.

    Cheers,
    Rich
     
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  11. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    You're correct, of course, on the dimensions as N scale isn't half the size of HO. It's just that I have been exposed to that generalization for a layout size comparison vis-a-vis HO for almost 60 years.

    :D

    Doug
     
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  12. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Member

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    As long as you are having fun, you are headed in the right direction.
     
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  13. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

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    Welcome, I want to see some more pictures of it from the book. Any chance that can happen? Even if you have start you own thread about your layout.
     
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  14. NorthernJerseyRR

    NorthernJerseyRR TrainBoard Member

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    I could certainly do side-by-side comparisons, that could be fun. The book doesn't have so many scenic pics in it, because it ultimately is a how-to guide, and they're all in black and white since it was originally built in the 1950s, but there are enough photos that I think I can do it.

    Speaking of the 1950's, I was in my local hobby store yesterday and, boy, it was like stepping back in time. It's been years and years and years since I've been inside one and it is like the land that time forgot. Run by an older husband and wife team, it was just floor to ceiling hobby and craft items, many of which you can tell have been there for years. I will say I got sticker shock looking at the prices on locomotives, railcars, and track but I did compare them to similar items on Amazon and they're not that much different, so I plan to patronize my local retailer (and I did buy a few Model Railroader magazines just to have some railroad porn available) because these kinds of places have to be kept going.

    Cheers,
    Rich
     
  15. NorthernJerseyRR

    NorthernJerseyRR TrainBoard Member

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    Ha! S'okay, I had originally thought I would just be able to scale it down like that, but it was only because I had read over the forums that I saw, no, it's really .54% scale (plus a few more decimal points if I wanted to be exact). I realized my size wasn't going to be quite so simple if I wanted to do the replica, which also means if I want to graph the layout over the top my one-foot marks will actually be 6.5 inches. It's going to require a whole new way of thinking about things. I think I better pick up one of those N-scale rulers as one of my first tools!
     
  16. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Boy, you Jerseyites are certainly lucky having brick-n-mortar hobby shops. The shop in south Jersey where I shopped 60 years ago is also alive and well.
     
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  17. NorthernJerseyRR

    NorthernJerseyRR TrainBoard Member

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    Surprisingly and luckily, I have two stores within about 10 minutes of me (the other one was closed yesterday when I visited). There had been a third actually just blocks from my house, but sadly it got crushed out of existence by the pandemic. Back when I was a kid there was a huge store called Hi-Way Hobby House that my dad would go to all the time that had tons and tons of model railroad gear, but it closed down years ago.

    As I said, I'd prefer to visit these local mom-and-pop stores to support them rather than buy from Amazon.

    Cheers,
    Rich
     
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  18. gmorider

    gmorider TrainBoard Member

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    Welcome to TrainBoard. We are all thankful for good dads.
     
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  19. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    It's great receiving trains in the mail but it's even greater walking into a hobby shop, looking around, and walking out the store with the things (with me, it is almost always locomotives) you found and taking them home with you!

    Doug
     

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