East of the Blue Ridge

Chronicles of an On30 quarry railroad

G&PC - A trickle to a flood

Dan George's Spring Creek Lumber Company HO scale layout | April 2005

April 17, 2004

Rebuilding the Winterburn Lead turnout for the third time, and for the first time I can say that I have built about as good a turnout as anyone could build. And so, the prospect is upon me to go back and rebuild all the turnouts - but to what end? To fix this layout? Is it worth it?

Not long ago I was pulling Virginia Creeper Trail slides for Chris Jessee. There it was again. The rocks, the water, the trestles, the trees, the twisting and turning grade, Creek Junction. I mention this wave of recollection of what it felt like to be out on the old Abingdon Branch to Dan George in an email, and how my layout did not seem to embody any of that. Dan suggested that my layout is a failure, and I should tear it out immediately.

But whenever I give thought to planning a new layout, I tend to end up swerving back to the same old layout. My process of layout planning yields the layout I have now. The
Simple Ideal of a Producer and a Consumer connected by a meandering mainline does not come to mind easily. It is hard to stay focused on an abstract Ideal while trying to design a layout for a specific space.

I quickly sketch out a layout that is nothing like what I am building. It is loose and somewhat irrational. It doesn't make good use of space. It doesn't take advantage of every opportunity to squeeze something else in. It is just different from what I am doing now; a reaction to what I don't like about my present layout.