The End of an Era

You might think it was a New Year’s Eve thing, but I’ve been thinking about it for days, if not weeks. I’ve decided that staying the course with the Cajon layout is not what I want to do.

My style of model railroading has become social, and consumable. I love the interaction with others, and once something is done, I’m done with it, and I usually give it away. I look at the Cajon layout and see all of the extra infrastructure like dust control, and lighting, and realize it is not what I enjoy about model railroading. I look at the compromises of a 12” minimum radius and realize I’ll have to apologize to others and myself for the rest of the layout’s lifespan.

I like modular railroading. I get the social interactions. I get the vain displays of my work. I get to experiment. I get the freedom of ditching what doesn’t work for me. I get to feel the satisfaction of completion over and over again.

I’m ready to tear out the Cajon layout and re-task the garage as a workshop for modular model railroading and other projects. I am imagining cabinets for dust free storage of modules. I am imagining a modest test layout, a spray booth and a workbench.

I think my next modular project will be a staging yard similar to what Bernd built for their group. Even though I will be using Code 55 for all my modules, I have a considerable amount of Code 80 turnouts and track that will work for a utilitarian staging yard. Sure there will be a transition to Code 55, but Code 80 is robust and perfect for the utility of the yard.

The yard, and most of my modules for that matter, will probably be 16” wide. I think that is a great width for single-track modular railroading. A 24” wide module is too cumbersome for one person, and a 12” wide module is too skinny. A module width of 16” has the advantage of portability and the economy of a standard dimension that cuts cleanly from four-foot timber.

I don't regret any of this. It has, and continues to be a wonderful hobby for me. Cajon Pass is still in my neighborhood, and I will continue to draw upon it for inspiration. Now if you excuse me, I have to go clean the garage.

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