Alas, summer! Time to take a break from trains, right? Not for some of us members of the Casey Jones Hi-railers. We have been working hard to rebuild the layout that is a main feature of the local TCA train shows held in Germantown, TN.
The current traveling layout has just gotten too heavy to haul around. It measures 5' X 20' and is constructed out of seems like concrete masonry blocks. We are currently knee-deep into building a new layout almost entirely out of foam. The foam we are using is not the typical blue or pink stuff one finds at a local home improvement store. This foam is a special material used to insulate pharmaceuticals during shipment. The only traits it shares in common with regular insulation foam is its blue color and 2" thickness. Otherwise, it is much stronger and more rigid than the normal blue stuff.
The current layout uses the older tubular O-gauge track, has two mainlines and several sidings, and it features several postwar operating accessories. Our new foam layout will use FasTrack and feature three mainlines. There will be single passing siding that retains the more traditional tubular track to simplify the reinstallation of older accessories. Otherwise, it is all foam and FasTrack.
Whereas our current layout is composed of four heavy sections that each require two people to move, our new layout will consist of ten smaller and much lighter-weight sections. One person can easily move two of the new sections at a time. The sections will be arranged in a rectangle doughnut-like shape measuring approximately 10' X 15'. The foam base will rest on two sets of collapsable 2x2 wooden rails that rest nicely in notched plastic sawhorses. The rails are constructed in such a way that allows them to fold down to under five feet. Every aspect of the layout is designed and being constructed with easy transport and storage in mind.
We hope our new layout gives show attendees something fresh to look at and enjoy and be easier to manage for our Hi-railer helpers. It will certainly be a lot lighter, if nothing else.
We kicked off our project back in June and are about a third of the way through. Anywhere for four to eight members get together every Saturday morning to complete the tasks outlined in our project plan. Our objective is to complete the rebuild in time for our season opener show on October 6th. The project is tracking pretty close to plan and we should be finished in time for our first show of the new season.
Below are a few shots from our first few working sessions.