Penn Central Stockton Branch

Chapter 4: Resurrection and Reboot

Construction had begun 26 October 2014; I’d gotten as far as building the base and
laying the track when work halted. It was built following my own personal “best practice”
methods I’ve used for most of my portable layouts: the base was two layers of half-inch
Gatorfoam laminated together. A strip along the edge of the top layer was cut and raised
to form the transition grade between levels. The upper level was 3/16-inch Gatorfoam
erected on Gatorfoam risers. The track was laid by simply holding it in place and running
a bead of super glue along each edge of the roadbed.

Fresh out of storage, January 2017.

One may wonder at my choice of Kato Unitrack, especially given that I’m ordinarily a bit
more “fussy.” This particular layout was never envisioned as being a stop-gap or substitute
for a permanent one of my own; had that been the case, I might have opted for Atlas
Code 55. But, as I’ve already noted, I had to accept the layout as it was, Unitrack and all.

Unitrack on the Trenton Transportation Company.

Although Untrack is, to be frank, rather unsightly, I’ve had some good success in the past
minimizing its bulky appearance by painting it, re-ballasting it, and applying a healthy dose
of weeds and clutter. I also “bury the bulk” by building up the terrain along the sides of the
roadbed with 3/16-inch foamcore. This brings buildings and streets up closer to track level
in the urban and industrial areas, and, as a bonus, reduces the amount of ballast required.

Track choice notwithstanding, I had the foundation for a layout that offered opportunities
to model at least some of the things I’ve wanted to for a long time.

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