I was looking at Google Maps and I found a simple group of tracks. They appear to be a mix of a pair of popular model railroad switching puzzles. If you look closely, it is the three sidings of an Inglenook and the switchback of a Timesaver. This could be my future extention to my layout.
So, Model Railroad Hobbyist E-Zine had a track planning contest to design and build a layout for $500. The $500 includes track, a power pack, motive power, cars, buildings and scenery.
I went to Lowes and I bought three 1×4 furring strips, trimmed them down to size, used a pair of sides from a broken Ikea dresser for a surface. The benchwork is a pair of 14″x37″ boxes, the layout is now about 14x 86, the benchwork cost me a whopping $13.00 including the hardware. With my GP35R that was purchased used for $55.00, and has $14.00 worth of detail parts and a $35.00 power pack, I have already blown through $117.00 of the budget.
Five #6 Atlas code 80 switches and Caboose Hobby ground throws brings the total up an additional $77.00, add in another $22.00 in flex track, and $11.00 in 18 gauge wire (Wal-Mart sells 40 ft of 18ga wire in the auto section, only in red and black, for about $5.50) brings me up to $227.00, add in my bay window caboose, and I am up to $257.00. I have now used 51.4% of my total budget.
Now, if we look at the rolling stock that I have picked up, we are adding in an additional $169.00, meaning that I have $74.00 to add structures, paint, scenery and ballast my track. My house walls are already a tan, and must of the layout is going to be dirt (free and free). While I have ballast and ground foam, I have not removed them from my budget YET. I also bought a Walthers ADM grain elevator for $30.00 on a Walthers special will bring me down to $37.00……will I be able to build a warehouse and a liquid feeds plant, convert a pair of OLD Atlas tank cars to Micro Trains couplers for under $37.00?
Time will tell, and I still need to buy a little more paint for the fascia, I plan to paint that Southern Pacific Lark Gray. Hopefully, someone out there would send me an O Scale Southern Pacific loco decal.
The 2 mile hike up the mountain with the “CG” gave us a unique perspective of the Casa Grande Valley. It also shows how often the Borg runs their freights through, and how much I wish that Tunnels were pulling them. Getting up, out of the valley was a fun experience, and it shows that my compressed track plan really does not give the sense of how large this small city is…Do I continue with my 8 foot plan or stretch it out for a longer run?
I have been thinking that I need to design a new plan of Casa Grande. In the plans are Arizona Grain, the oil distribution company, and a cotton mill. I am going to use the Walthers ADM grain elevator for Arizona Grain, New Jersy Intl. has a oil company, add in a few more tanks of random size, and the cotton mill is going to have to be scratch built. Fortunatly, they look pretty straight forward, with few windows and corigated metal exterior walls. I have yet to see a photo of one while they were served by the SP, but there is one on Thorton between 9th and Main and another in Maricopa.
Now I can get close-enough’s or easy scratchbuilds, but the 1939 art deco station is going to be difficult to scratch build. The prototype burnt down 2 years ago, and while there are a few good photos, the Borg even tore out the foundation. One option would be to use the Model Railroad Way-Back Machine. in 1939, the orrigional Southern Pacific depot that was built arround 1880, was simular to the SP Type 22, and American Model Builders has one in N Scale…oh the choices…