Hoboken Manufacturers Railroad

Chapter 1: Introducing Another Fluke

The Hoboken Manufacturers Railroad shares the same origins as a number of other
layouts I’ve built: it started with a plan done for someone else. In this case, it was
a plan designed to fit dimensions set by a modeling competition of sorts. I submitted
perhaps a half-dozen designs, and while none of them were accepted, I developed
an attachment to one variation.

The initial plan was pretty simple, with two levels: an oval on the lower level, and a
switching puzzle on the upper. After several iterations, I arrived at a version that I
started building.

I’d even started bashing structures for this version of the layout when I realized that the
passing siding on the upper level created a dense, awkward-looking cluster of tracks on
the left. I tore the layout half apart so I could move the passing siding. While I was at it,
I also added a passing siding on the hidden portion of the loop to allow two trains to do
the rounds. And, I raised part of the upper level (dark blue) a half-inch to add more visual
interest; this allowed me to add one more classic industry: a coal trestle.

Once I’d at last firmly established the plan, I realized it shared a lot in common with the
Jersey City Industrial, and so I named it for Jersey City’s neighbor, Hoboken. I then added
an elevated line (orange) and a trolley line (dark green). Thus I arrived at the layout as it
is today—albeit in storage.

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