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The First James River Branch

The first James River Branch was a fictional Pennsylvania Railroad branch located somewhere in northeastern Pennsylvania. The plan was very simply a figure eight with a helix at each end, which is not far removed from the window display layout I'd built decades earlier.

James River Branch track plan, version 1a

Design work started in November 2006, and by late December construction was under way. Meanwhile, a curious thing happened: the process of building this website gave rise to a substantial design revision. During my research, I started finding new structure kits and other goodies that had become available since the last time I was active in Z, and with limited time for my hobby, I was willing to make use of kits to save construction time. As a result, the original strictly rural setting (above) was reworked to include a well-populated town (below).

James River Branch track plan, version 1e

With the exception of the track plan itself, the layout experienced almost continuous design revision. But as construction dragged on, the inherent problems with the layout seemed to loom ever larger, and my enthusiasm for it began to wane. On 5 July 2007, I finally decided to start over.

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