Layout > Construction


In this photo from November 2004, the open-
grid construction is viewed along the area that
became Bull Creek on the upper deck and the
Mudlick/Tip Top area on the lower deck. The
hidden staging area of Williamson is seen
below the lower deck.

Construction of the layout began in January 2004. The walk-in style layout was created to maximize layout size in the allotted space, while eliminating the need for any type of duck-under or lift-out section.

The open-grid benchwork features two decks. The lower deck has a height of 42 inches, while the upper deck is 56 inches above the floor. The subroadbed utilizes the cookie-cutter method using CDX plywood and Homasote, with cork roadbed for the main and branch lines and Homasote underlying the yards. Code 83 track is laid throughout the layout with the exception of the staging yards, which feature Code 100 track. Construction of the benchwork and track was completed in April 2005. Thereafter, the layout was wired for operating with the NCE DCC system. In March 2009, operations were enhanced, with the installation of Tortoise switch machines and the JMRI PanelPro user interface for dispatcher control of mainline switches. Most recently, C/MRI electronic components were installed to provide block occupancy detection and eventually signal control via the JMRI interface.




Layout Specifications
Scale: HO
Dimensions: 26' x 36"
Style: Walk-in; double-deck
Era: modern
Minimum radius: 34" (mainline); 22" (branchlines)
Minimum turnout: No. 6 (mainline); No. 4 (branchlines)
Maximum grade: 2.5% (mainline0; 4% (branchlines)
Mainline run: Approx. 360' (5.9 scale miles) Bluefield to Williamson
Benchwork: Open-grid; 1"x4" standard pine lumber
Height: 42" (lower deck); 56" (upper deck)
Roadbed: Cork on 3/4" CDX plywood & Homasote; Homosote (yards)
Fascia: 1/8" Masonite board (painted green)
Track: Atlas Code 83 flextrack (main); Code 100 (staging);
Atlas & Walthers turnouts
Control: NCE DCC
Dispatching: JMRI PanelPro
Signaling/Block Detection: Computer/Model Railroad Interface (C/MRI)