Sunday, September 2, 2012

Half my life is an act of revision. - John Irving

One of the things I found out a long time ago was that the fear of making revisions in a plan, or to a layout can be just as bad as analysis paralysis.  You can easily get so hung up on having to rip out some work you have done prior, that instead you put it off, or worse yet, never do it at all.  This can be one of the factors that leads to dissatisfaction and long periods of inactivity with working on a layout.  Ultimately, if the frustration level gets to be too much, the layout comes down.

I've learned from some of my good friends here in NJ not to fear revisions, especially if they make the layout better, and ultimately myself more happy with the end product.  My friend Dave Ramos is just finishing up a major revision of the New York Central RR High Line portion of his NY Harbor Railway.  The lift bridge section that spanned the entrance to the bathroom always seemed to have problems and he had compromised on the prototype's track arrangement in order to put a few extra turnouts he thought the operators would need while working the industries in the area.  The problems bugged him enough that finally, after the last op session before the summer, he tore out that entire section and rebuilt it simpler, and more close to the prototype's track arrangement.

Another good friend, Craig Bisgeier, has made many, many, MANY changes to the layout that we have been helping him build over the past decade.  At one point we considered changing his name to Craig Change-Order Bisgeier!  But, what it boiled down to was this: when he found a new bit of info about the Housatonic RR that he didn't know before, and that info affected how the layout would operate, or how the scene being modeled would have to look, he made no bones about changing it.  Knowing the stickler that Craig is about these things, I know he'd be unhappy if he just left things be.

Which brings me to the point of this post:  I have a section of the railroad that bugged me enough that I decided to rip up the roadbed and fix it.  If you remember a few months back I was working on the section of the upper deck that has the T.H. Knisely coal dealership.  The section where this was located was just single track on the prototype, but I felt maybe I needed an extra runaround siding here to help serve T.H. Knisely and the York County Chair Company which is located at the opposite end of this section of the upper deck.  What it wound up looking like was a double track section of railroad, which didn't exist on the prototype Ma & Pa at this location.

The area around T.H. Knisley Coal.

This picture shows the single track and the turnout to the siding for T.H. Knisley Coal.  This picture was taken after the coal shed had been torn down.  Photo taken June 1971, by Ernest W. Colwell, and is from the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad Historical Society's archives.

This photo shows the section as first built.  It was two tracks almost for the entire length of this section.

This how this section now looks, after it had been revised to be single tracked.

I think this section looks better and will be more close to the prototype ( not exact, but close).  Any worries I had about run around moves will be moot, because engines can run around their train in two other locations on the upper deck:  One on the passing siding which is close by on the top loop of the helix, and the other which is about 7 feet away on a small siding which will be located at the Red Lion Station.  I just recently found a track map that showed the existence of this siding, so it will be added.

I'm glad I made the change earlier, rather than trying to force the scene.  Even if it had gotten to the point of being well along scenically, I still would not hesitate to change it if I wasn't happy with it.  

A bit of Model Railroad Zen advice:  Don't fear the revision my friends, be one with the revision... Ommmmm... Ommmmm...

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