At one time the Jersey City Industrial Railroad was a really big deal for me. The layout had
its own websiteóeven its own domain nameówhich was updated almost in real time as the
layout was being built. And it seemed to have quite a following, as I often received emails
from site visitors asking questions or offering suggestions.
After six months of work, it all went away as my life imploded on me. The layout wound
up in storage along with two others, the Hoboken Manufacturers Railroad and the Trenton
Transportation Company. Since that time itís been joined by four more:
All of this may serve to paint my track record in rather unflattering light, and I certainly
cannot deny that. I can only use the extraordinarily chaotic path my life has taken as
justification, because itís impossible to separate oneís life from oneís hobby. Given that
my life is, to put it bluntly, seriously fucked up right now, chaotic modeling should come
as no surprise; the only glimmer of hope is that Iím still modelingóor trying to.
To this day the Jersey City Industrial stands as my favorite, even as it sits in storage
while I pursue other layouts. It inspired the most intense research, so itís imbued with
the most authentic feel, despite not representing a real railroad or real locations. I
wanted it to feel right, to invoke the sense that it looks familiaróassuming one was
familiar with Jersey City, even in passing.
In the JCIR I found my preferred modeling theme: urban industrial, a setting Iíve used
successfully for many subsequent layouts. I believe it works so well for mini- and micro-
layouts because dense clusters of buildings help disguise absurdly cramped track plans
better than almost anything else. It also provides opportunities for considerable detailing.
At any rate, I've dusted off parts of the Jersey City Industrialís old website in order to offer
visitors a glimpse of the layout that has shaped much of the modeling Iíve done since then.
And itís still a big deal for me; I just need to be in a different state of mind to pick up where
I left off. It may yet happen.
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