I started this layout in October 1998. I have used, for the most part nothing but Kato Unitrack. In my personal opinion it is the easiest to work with and changes are very easy to make. My layout is presently U shaped, it is 9' on each side and 12' across the base. The control center at this time is located in the middle. The layout includes 4 complete loops and 5 industrial spurs. There are 24 #6 turnouts, 2 #4 turnouts, 4 Double crossover tracks.
I have run as many as 9 locomotives at one time. This is only possible because of Digital Command Control. I started with an MRC Command 2000, and was happy with that until I decided I wanted to do more then just "run" trains. I sold my MRC set and purchased a Digitrax Chief Starter Set. (See DCC above.) This was by far the best investment that I have made for my model railroad. I have 21 Decoder equipped locomotives. Most of which are Kato. I have 19 Kato locomotives, 4 Atlas, 1 Life Like, and 1 Bachmann, though not all of these are decoder equipped. (See Locomotive Roster above.)
I have made some major changes to the layout. I completely changed the path of the inner main and it actually disappears into tunnels and reappears on the other side of the layout giving the impression of the train traveling a long distance. I am also starting to make the bench work to install a 2 foot shelf on the wall behind existing layout and to the left of existing layout. This will add a phenomenal amount of mainline track to the layout and at least 5 or 6 more industrial spurs.
12/15/2001: I started creating the mountains on the back of the layout. I am using foam and just trying out my artistic talent. (Boy am I in trouble.) Will try to have pictures of new additions by the end of next week.
12/23/2001: The mountains are roughed in along the back. Need to start painting them now. I used white foam that I got out of boxes from where I work, don't know if it is the correct kind but it appears to work. I will be buying some ground foam and gravel after Christmas. I have approximately 200 trees to paint and apply foliage to. These will be spread out on the mountain later on.
01/20/2002: Starting to wire turnouts. I have two Digitrax DS-54s that I am going to try and connect in the next couple of days. These will be connected to the turnouts by the mountain in the back. I need to have route capabilities here so this is where I am going to install the first two. I will document installation as best I can for all you Kato Unitrack / Digitrax users.
04/29/2002: Added a Kato Station platform. I had to file corner of platform to allow passenger cars to clear corner. I may have to relocate the double crossover track a little further down from it's current location.
07/28/2002: The long awaited addition of the shelf around the walls has started. I am adding an 18" shelf around the existing layout and am connecting it to the yard side of my existing layout.
09/08/2002: Check out the "Updates" page for latest pictures of new shelf addition. Still have a lot of work to do completing this section. Have to build up the terrain, run loconet, run power bus, etc... The track is just sitting on bench work and by no means is it the final configuration.
02/16/2003: I have installed 3 Digitrax DS-54's and 2 homemade turnout controller made by my friend. Yard turnouts are now remote controlled along with the turnouts on the raised section on the back edge of main layout. I have installed a Digitrax UP5 panels on each side of the layout and on each leg of addition. I have 7 more DS-54's to hook up. Infrared operation is now possible. I am waiting for delivery of UR90 radio receiver, then I will have radio and infrared capability.
03/25/2003: Infrared and radio operation both available now. I have connected Digitrax UR-90 radio receiver which is both infrared and radio capable. I have temporarily disconnected UR-91 infrared receiver which I will relocate in another position since I mounted UR-90 were it was originally. Once this is reconnected I will have better infrared coverage, as there are a couple of blind spots in coverage.
05/08/2005: After being idle for the longest time I have started working on the layout again. But I have been re-thinking my plans and am going to tear down the current layout which fills my two car garage, and build a two deck layout on half of the garage. As I also enjoy wood working, but lack the space to be able to set up any of my tools. This would give me back half of the garage as a shop / work area.
03/06/2006: New bench work almost complete. Now I have to clean out the rest of the garage and build some more shelves and install some more electrical outlets before I can continue working on the layout.
06/07/2006: New bench complete. Now need to install track power bus around layout and also accessory power bus to power turnouts and other things.
02/20/2009: ***News Break**** My new Duplex 5 Amp Radio Chief Xtra has been installed and is working great! Now all I have to do is update 5 throttles. Will need to leave old radio system active as I have a couple of DT300r throttles that I like to use but will not be able to convert those to the Duplex System.
09/23/2009: After a long time of not being able to work on the layout, I have been able to work a couple nights a month for the last couple of months. Progress will start again. I now have a dedicated Computer in the garage. I have installed the JMRI Software on the laptop and will connect it to the layout via a USB Locobuffer. I have continued to grow my collection of Locomotives and rolling stock.
08/05/2011: Been a long time since my last entry, work has been slow over the last few years due to job layoffs, lengthy unemployment, etc. But things are getting back on track and progress is starting again.
03/14/2012: Progress is slow but have started the upper level where I am going to put the Walthers turntable and a yard of some sort, the track plan for the upper level is still not finalized. I am still unsure of method of travel from lower level to upper level. Do I just use a gradual incline up to it or a helix, which would eat up a lot of space on the lower level.