Boston & Maine - in Thailand

daniel_leavitt2000 Dec 13, 2016

  1. daniel_leavitt2000

    daniel_leavitt2000 TrainBoard Member

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    Back story:

    My wife and I have been building a small house in southern Thailand where she grew up. The new home was to serve as a new house for her mother, who will live on the first floor, and a second floor apartment for us during our long summer vacations there. The project went seriously over budget (by more than 50%) earlier this year, depleting our savings. As things went haywire there due to the inability of Joy to manage the project from here, the construction put our marriage, house in the states and her job in jeopardy.

    Ultimately, we came up with a plan: rent a room out of our home, obtain a home equity loan and Joy would resign her position to move to Thailand for a few months to oversee completion of the house. Things went shockingly well, and she was granted a 11 week leave of absence from her job, so she didn't have to resign.

    We are still deeply in debt, but we have a way out. The house will be completed before the apartment Joy's mom is living in is sold. This has put a stopper on my Boston Line layout, which is at the beginning stages of benchwork. Luckily, I have enough small projects to work on for years.

    The Thai house serves as a bit of a western oasis for me. I had gone back and forth with the architect for over a year (with Joy translating EVERYTHING) on the plan. It was quite a challenge getting him to see why I wanted the design I did and how it should look. Even small details like light switch height, dual US/Asian style outlets and solar tinting on the windows were detailed. At one point, I had to show the mason how to lay imitation wood floor tile (real wood rots in monsoon country) in a 1/3 overlap pattern. Of course a new house needs trains!

    The layout:
    I want something different from my modern Conrail layout at home. Since I have a few B&M steam engines, this would be a great place to showcase them. The layout would be set in the 1930's, feature only steam and will model a branch line to the fictional mill town of Clarkton, ME.

    Because space is at an absolute premium, this will be a shelf layout. And because this is Thailand, everything needs to be designed in metric. In addition to all of this, the complete lack of modeling supplies in SE Asia means that EVERYTHING will need to be imported in luggage.

    We have several large suitcases that are on their last legs. I plan to build a cage inside them to which small layout sections will be bolted. Basic scenery and track will be built into the sections, with buildings and fragile items to be carried separately in other luggage. High priced items (engines, rolling stock) will travel with me in carry-on. It will probably take me 2-3 trips to build out the layout, or about 3 years.

    Equipment:
    My current equipment includes: Bachmann 2-8-0, 2-6-0, MP 4-4-0 and a Athearn 2-6-0 painted in BM. I also have a LL 0-8-0 and Bachmann 0-6-0 being detailed and painted into BM. Another Bachmann 0-6-0 will be painted in MEC for transfers. In addition, I have a Bachmann 10 wheeler and Light Mountain currently unlettered and waiting for ideas. Display engines on additional shelves will include a W&LE 2-6-6-2 ATSF Northern and N&W J. Although many of these have DCC, I do not plan that as of right now.
     
  2. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    Sounds like a fun layout. Do you have a track plan?
     
  3. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    Another thought...Japan isn't that far away. Have you thought about using Kato Unitrack and have it sent to you?
     
  4. daniel_leavitt2000

    daniel_leavitt2000 TrainBoard Member

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    Just an idea of one. Branch goes right to left. Starts in a wooded area, passes a dilapidated house with faux brick tarpaper siding, goes over a small river and into an industrial area with brick and wooden factories and warehouses. I would love some ideas for a track plan and buildings. Set to late fall.

    Atlas C55 and ME C40 track. This will be as much a museum/conversation piece as it is an actual railroad. Unitrack just doesn't look good enough. Also, shipping anything to Thailand is insanely expensive and items can be lost. On top of that, they usually deliver on unsecured motorcycle. And you have to deal with 30% customs. They do not check incoming baggage of "farangs" (white people). Joy usually puts her high dollar items in my luggage because she will be inspected where I would not. Thailand is as much an adventure as it is a place. Always a little unexpected and chaotic.
     
  5. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    How large of an area do you have?
     
  6. daniel_leavitt2000

    daniel_leavitt2000 TrainBoard Member

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    It will be at least 2m, possibly up to 3.5m width will probably by 30-38CM (12-15"). I should have final dimensions after the furniture is delivered.

    This layout will live on a floating bookshelf. Since the walls are concrete over brick, I can install threaded rod. The bookcase would have slots that would slide over the threaded rod. This would create a very sturdy hidden mount to the wall.

    There would be at least 3 shelves: Lower shelf for books. Middle shelf would be the layout and upper shelf would contain hidden LED lighting for the layout and display area for equipment above.
     
  7. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    That's smaller than I was expecting. If it was me, I would be looking at an early road switcher or a 2-8-0 as my biggest power. That size screams industrial area to me, with some street running. I get what you are trying to do, but have you considered setting the year to 1945 and using an Arnold SW1?
     
  8. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    I don't think he needs more power. He has switchers. I love the all-steam idea.

    End loops would be a wonderful thing, especially with all that equipment. It would allow you to run trains in and out. A couple of chairs at an angle in the corners of the room could sit in front of them. They could be hidden, too--just a source for trains to emerge, run across and disappear again. With that power, you could probably nest two loops on each end in something that only protrudes 35 cm or so from the wall at its widest point. Two loops per end would allow you three mainline trains to run across now and then--a freight for the Consolidation (which could stop to trade out cars), a local freight or mixed for the Mogul (which could do the same) and a local passenger for the 4-4-0 (totally appropriate for the B&M, even in the 1930s). Put a nice tabletop above the tracks and there's more room for plants, books, lamps or whatever--even a desktop. Just make sure you can get at the tracks from the side or underneath in case of derailment or a momentary loss of contact.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
  9. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    The width is too narrow to turn trains on anything other than a turntable or a wye...as for the SW1, it fits all but the steam thing and is a great runner. I have one on order that is going to be a Pacific Electric unit
     
  10. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Well, a wye can be made to take up a little less space than a loop, yes. But it honestly isn't any narrower...
     
  11. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    I have a photo of a 4-4-0 in the mid/late 1940s with a commuter run at the Beverly, MA station. Also steam on the Williamstown, MA turn out of Mechanicville, NY wasn't replaced by an ALCO(IIRC) switcher until 1949 or 1950.
     
    acptulsa likes this.
  12. daniel_leavitt2000

    daniel_leavitt2000 TrainBoard Member

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    We measured the wall and it is a good 3 meters long. The width of the shelves can't be more than 20-30cm, so no return loops.

    An industrial area would work well. I'm not sure about passenger service. I imagine must of my trains will be run by 0-6-0 or 2-6-0 engines with the rest there for variety.

    I actually have two SW1s in B&M but have no interest in running them here. This is my escape from my diesel world.

    I attached a few sketches of the room I will be building in. The blank wall is the one I have to work with.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    How many switches are you planning on having and what building kits were you thinking about?
     
  14. atsf_arizona

    atsf_arizona TrainBoard Supporter

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    Daniel, you are a good man and supporting your family and wife well. Wishing you all the best and for everything to turn out well in the end.

    Post pics when you get a chance. Happy Holidays.
     

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