7. The Only Constant

You know the old saying: the only constant is change. And for the modelers who know me, this is never more true than with my layouts. (If you'd predicted this would happen, pat yourself on the back.)

It all started early on the morning of 6 April 2020, when I was posing structures on the layout to get a feel for how the excelsior plant ruins fit into the scene. When I dropped the enginehouse in place, I liked how the two balanced each other out. But then I began to lament not being able to see the fully-detailed enginehouse interior, and that the more interesting side of the structure faced away from the front of the layout. So I fired up AnyRail to see what I could do about this.

And what happened next was a bit disconcerting: I made some fairly significant changes to the track plan. After taking a deep breath and thinking long and hard about what I was contemplating, I decided to set some rules so things wouldn't get out of hand.

  • No new switches. I had to stick with what I had.
  • No major roadbed changes. Except for sidings, nothing could move.
  • No added cost. I had to make do with the materials on hand.
  • No significant time investment. I allowed myself a day to a day and a half, tops.

To ensure I was able to do what I had in mind, I made full-size templates of the two turnouts I intended to relocate, placed them in position on the track, and triple-checked the alignments. Satisfied I could meet the challenge given all of my rules, I broke out my trusty X-Acto knife and started chopping. First, I removed the turnout at the Bearcamp Springs siding (below).

I placed it in the yard and traced the chunk of roadbed so I could create a hole for it.

Next, I extracted the enginehouse foundation and cut a new opening for it.

Then I began reassembling the yard trackage.

The switchback turnout for the old enginehouse track was removed, and the sidings pulled up in preparation for realignment.

The Bearcamp Springs siding had to be removed so it would align with the former enginehouse switchback turnout.

By 3:30 PM, all of the track was reinstalled/relaid/rewired. The only thing left to do was rebuild two turnout controls.

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