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Just published latest layout update/overview video.   I go into detail about using various foam products to elevate track and create inclines.   More Potomac river railroad bridge history and inspiration.   Finally some train running action featuring recently added B&O, C&O and N&W engines.   I've gotten a lot of new subscribers since my Greenbrier video.   Will be trying to publish new videos twice a month.   Let me know what you want to see.   I've got the 'new train' bug bad now that I have a working layout.   Might go to York to meet other Youtubers (and buy trains ;-)

Ken.....you do great work! Love your explanations......you are a great teacher!

Peter

Peter, thanks I really appreciate the compliment.   I used to teach a computer mapping (GIS) software class at the local University.   I enjoy sharing my project via YouTube since I don't know any local train guys.   I enjoy other peoples detailed descriptions of how they built there layout.   Before YouTube there was CD's and I really enjoyed ToyTrainsOnTrack Black Diamond Railroad series by Rich Battista.

@Bill Park posted:

Great start on what looks like a very interesting layout. I think it will be spectacular when the scenery is done Nice track plan, interesting to watch.

Bill, what you see is just phase 1.   I have an extension I've already planned that will increase main line track by about 30-40%.  That's the reason I used O-63 on inner loop so I could 'twist and fold' the dog bone in area near Potomac river.   Will post plan once I buy additional track.  I promised I wouldn't start on expansion until I got some of scenery done on East (viaduct) side of layout.

@Chugman posted:

It's really looking good, Ken!  I enjoy seeing your progress.  I love scenery and obviously so do you.

Art

Chugman, I think of model trains as actors and scenery as the set.   A beautiful setting will make the ugliest actor look better.   My goal with this layout is to make scenes that are recognizable by their prototypes.   Unlike HO and smaller scales, it is challenging to represent O scale scenery in the space that most of us have.   For example the prototype Potomac river bridges on my layout are 2.5x wider.   Thanks for the compliment.

Another Lionel engine!   What happened to the MTH guy!?   I'll tell you...  I discovered that I can run TMCC effectively and cheaply with my DCS remote.   Since adding TMCC to the layout last year I've added 5 Lionel engines.  The TMCC engines are great values too, I paid no more than $800 for any of them.  All except the Legacy Chessie Greenbrier are TMCC (I run the Chessie with LionChief app and TMCC).   This C&O F19 Pacific has Railsounds 5 and honestly more detail than some MTH Premier and Lionel Legacy engines I have.   Check it out:

Please like and subscribe.   I'm trying to build the channel with my new layout.

https://youtube.com/shorts/whw...?si=V7aofstdiimly7na

Testing continues with my WM M2 Challenger 4-6-6-4.   As the name of engine implies it has 'challenged' some of my layout design decisions.   The swing out boiler of articulateds don't like S-turns or curves into bridges/tunnels (needs at least a 10" straight beforehand or boiler will clip bridge).  Atlas track is 4.5" on center which is barely enough to avoid the swing out boiler when it is on the inner curve.   On the plus side, several of my MTH articulateds (Challenger, Allegheny, Class A) will negotiate O-63 (my smallest mainline curve) without derailing.

Last edited by Obsidian

Mark, you'll be glad to know that I've decided to extend the layout to Cumberland.   I originally was going to Martinsburg but with a handful of WM engines (expecting the Lionel 1309 next year) Cumberland was a better destination.   Besides the MTH passenger station that I already have closely resembles the Cumberland station.

The extension will turn my existing dogbone plan into a twisted, folded dogbone.   It'll add about 50% to mainline which will make runs a lot longer.  I had planned on waiting till I did some scenery but that would require nailing down track.   Testing has revealed that I need to completed track plan to make sure all fits in room.   Trying to include a O72 loop for Texan, EM1, Turbotrain, etc.

Hey Mark, I've got the WM itch bad.   It gets worse during York week :-)

Glad I bought these new MTH WM coal hoppers.   Didn't realize MTH had added so much detail to newer models.   700 subscribers!   If you haven't subbed yet please do.   It really helps my channel and encourages me to make more content like this.

Ken Holbert's Trains

Added a wiring panel to organize my track power and command control components.   Simple but very satisfying project that will enhance control of layout power and improve wire management.  No progress on real scenery or making track permanent since I plan to start expansion this winter.   Expansion will shift some existing track alignments.   Will post a track plan expansion vid soon.   Please subscribe if havent already.   I truly appreciate and welcome your feedback.

Last edited by Obsidian

Ken, the caboose looks great!  I like the boxcars and hoppers.  The RailKing cars do have a lot of detail!  My Premier and Atlas cars have so much add on detail, I have to be very careful handling them with aging hands and eyes!  Whoops!  😬 Out comes the super glue bottle again!  🤦‍♂️

All the trains look great!  I do like the Challenger and I like your planned expansion to Cumberland!  Yes, it is a great ride!!

Last edited by Mark Boyce

I'm continuing to test my collection on the new layout.   Have added extra clearance to S-curve at Harpers Ferry station to allow for articulated engine overhangs.   Also I've added a couple of J's to my N&W roster.   One is the Unshrouded that I've wanted for year and the 2nd is a newer PS2 model.   Please check out the comparison video of all 3 of my Class J's:

Obsidian - I love your layout and watching you build it.  I like your style and I can tell you are having fun, bravo.

I have fond memories of the time I visited Harper’s Ferry.  Long story short, I come from a family of 7 kids, I think we piled 5 of us into the family station wagon and did a road trip to the DC area prob around 76,  did all the sights, Gettysburg, that was creepy in a way, but the funnest part for me was HF.  True stories, I made my two little brothers walk with me half way across that black truss bridge you have on your layout.  We could see the water rushing below thru the ties, and the tunnel thru the mountain was just on the other side of the bridge, staring at you, just calling for a train to come bursting thru forcing us to jump into the river below.  We made it back out alive then we went to a small section of rocky beach at the juncture of the two rivers where there was the perfect stones for skipping against the current.  Ok, on any family road trip at this time the Guinness book of world records was a staple, a must, don’t get in the rear facing seat in the station wagon with 4 annoying siblings without it.  That said, I broke the world record not once, but 3x for skipping stones at that spot.  The record in the book was 16 skips, I had a 22, a 21 and an 18. One of my all time greatest athletic feats and I’m sure my stupid little brothers don’t remember it.  But I do, that is a really cool spot, Harper’s Ferry.

Keep going, love your layout, concept and execution.  Something tells me if I tried to walk across that bridge again I’d have a ball and chain on my leg in a hoosegow on the wrong end of the tracks this time.  Cheers W1

Another bereavement purchase.   I've now lost both of my parents.   No wonder this past year has seen so many train boxes arrive at my house.   I appreciate the support that I have received from my friends and family.   Spent the last 3 months helping take care of my Dad.   He enjoyed watching my model train videos I showed him when I was visiting.

https://youtu.be/cx1PG0ovm0c?si=3hwaluD85R24ARb8

Last edited by Obsidian
@William 1 posted:

Obsidian - I love your layout and watching you build it.  I like your style and I can tell you are having fun, bravo.

I have fond memories of the time I visited Harper’s Ferry.  Long story short, I come from a family of 7 kids, I think we piled 5 of us into the family station wagon and did a road trip to the DC area prob around 76,  did all the sights, Gettysburg, that was creepy in a way, but the funnest part for me was HF.  True stories, I made my two little brothers walk with me half way across that black truss bridge you have on your layout.  We could see the water rushing below thru the ties, and the tunnel thru the mountain was just on the other side of the bridge, staring at you, just calling for a train to come bursting thru forcing us to jump into the river below.  We made it back out alive then we went to a small section of rocky beach at the juncture of the two rivers where there was the perfect stones for skipping against the current.  Ok, on any family road trip at this time the Guinness book of world records was a staple, a must, don’t get in the rear facing seat in the station wagon with 4 annoying siblings without it.  That said, I broke the world record not once, but 3x for skipping stones at that spot.  The record in the book was 16 skips, I had a 22, a 21 and an 18. One of my all time greatest athletic feats and I’m sure my stupid little brothers don’t remember it.  But I do, that is a really cool spot, Harper’s Ferry.

Keep going, love your layout, concept and execution.  Something tells me if I tried to walk across that bridge again I’d have a ball and chain on my leg in a hoosegow on the wrong end of the tracks this time.  Cheers W1

William, thank you for the great HF story.  The location is steeped with US & local history.   Not unlike my HF llayouts, the track plan has changed numerous times.   In fact the location of the passenger station used to be closer to the switch on the Truss bridge you crossed.   Next time I go with the dog I'll try skipping stones from the beach.   Going to start mountain building soon, but will start with the Potomac river water scenery.    Thanks for watching and sharing!

Ken

@Obsidian posted:

Another bereavement purchase.   I've now lost both of my parents.   No wonder this past year has seen so many train boxes arrive at my house.   I appreciate the support that I have received from my friends and family.   Spent the last 3 months helping take care of my Dad.   He enjoyed watching my model train videos I showed him when I was visiting.



Sorry to hear of your losses.  The passing of a good model railroading friend and then my dad a few years later set my modeling desires behind 5 years at least.  Just getting going last few years on bulindg the new layout and i lost my best friend last November. He was instrumental in obtaining free lumber from his workplace every chance he could to contribute to the layout...but i am not letting that one get me down. 

First and foremost, I want to extend my condolences for your loss. I know that the last several months hasn't been easy. Thank you for still showcasing your layout and the additions you have added to it. I'm sure in many ways it has been therapeutic as this hobby can be for many of us. Your videos are always fun and your enthusiasm always shows. The Atlantic looks like a good model. Look forward to your layout updates.

Dave

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