Greetings from New Jersey

sp005 Feb 12, 2021

  1. sp005

    sp005 TrainBoard Member

    I am new here, but have been 'playing with trains' for over 40 years. We always had a loop under the tree, sometimes HO, other times N. I had a small double loop n scale layout built into a book case in my room growing up and that is what I always gravitated to. I always had a desire to build something larger, but never got around to it. Engines were moved to the shelf and only brought out at Christmas.

    In the past 5 years I have been slowly building my layout, and over the past year making some nice progress. I have 3 separate DC zones, 4 passing sidings, a full crossover, and a number of other spurs. A total of 14 switches in all. I run Kato track exclusively. My rolling stock is what I still had from when I was a kid, more sentimental than anything else, although I am slowly adding some new cars. Trains have always brought me happiness. I grew up in a town with both an active commuter and freight line and hearing a train whistle was a normal sound. My grandfather lived 1 block from the Leigh Valley/Conrail lines so we would walk the tracks all the time looking for spikes. So many good memories.

    With my new layout I am making it a fictional town based here in NJ. My current town has an old Erie Lackawanna right of way, so one consist is EL. Another consist is Norfolk Southern which goes by my office and I will see when out for a walk at lumch. My passenger line is NJ transit and Amtrak, and I hope to pick up a CSX in the next few months. The town itself has a few buildings either leftover from my childhood setup or replacements for ones I knew I had. I have struggled a lot with trying to find the right age for the town and a balance of homes to industries and especially placement. So many buildings from the major companies appear based on the old molds and just look dated to me. To get around that I have begun to model all the homes of the real life houses of my family members. Over the last month I have 3D printed my current home, my former home, my childhood home, and those houses of both sets of grandparents. The housing development had really grown and it is begining to fill out the layout nicely. What I need to work on most is the landscaping at this time.

    I look forward to being an active community member here. I Iave popped in to a few different model railroad forums over the past few years, some either didn't get the traffic or else the user base appeared dead. I am hoping this board is a little more active and prone to sharing ideas and having active discussions. Nothing like being excited to share something you made and having it get 300 page views, 30 likes and not a single comment. Somewhat discouraging. I like when we can learn from each other.
  2. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall TrainBoard Member


    Like you, I'm old to the hobby but new to the forum. Love how you are using a mix of old and new to build the layout.

    What type of 3d printer are you using? I've got an Elegoo Mars 2 pro, but thinking of adding a something like a Ender 3 v2 to make some bigger builds.

  3. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome sp005.
    Sounds like you are having fun. It's great that you are using some items from when you were a kid.
    Any pictures?

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome to TrainBoard sp005!
  5. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

    Hi sp005, welcome. I like your approach of having two eras, one from your youth and one modern-ish. Your structures can support both eras if you're not picky. For instance my house in south Jersey was built around 1920, but it looked current in 1960 when I lived in it, and still does today when I see it on Google Earth Street View.

    Some folks make a layout that represents a specific point in time, while others make one that represents nothing specific, just gives them pleasure. Hey, it's your layout. You're from Joisey, you don't take guff from nobody. (lousy grammar, but you get my point. LOL)
    SecretWeapon likes this.
  6. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    That would be me as well. I still like running my old freight cars bought in the 1970s, though I have many newer ones too. Welcome to TrainBoard -- you'll definitely find yourself at home here. (y)
  7. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

    Welcome aboard, sp005 and thank you for sharing your experience in the hobby.
  8. gmorider

    gmorider TrainBoard Member

    Welcome to TrainBoard.
  9. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett TrainBoard Member

    Welcome Aboard.
  10. sp005

    sp005 TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for the welcome. Attached is the latest photo I have of the layout. When I decided to get back in and started looking at Kato track, I spent about 6 months chasing large lots on eBay. I found one that had so much track, every size imaginable of radius and length. It was mixed new and used, mostly still in the package. I watched it slowly inch up in price over the week, but I calculated the full retail and tossed out a big number that still worked out to 70% off retail and won in closing seconds. From there I spent about six months trying a bunch of different configurations until I found the one I liked best. Then I ended up building the table you see in the photo.

    I'll do some targeted shots of the 3D printed houses in the appropriate forum later this weekend. I am using a Prusa MK3, which I love. I can't recommend the model enough. I had another model for about 3 years and it was fun and made small toys, this one makes actual products and useful items. I just finished the case for a homemade sound controller that should been done this weekend. I love setting something up to run overnight and then waking up with it done. Talk about instant gratification.

    Attached Files:

  11. sp005

    sp005 TrainBoard Member

    I will say, the one thing that is still taking me a while to get used to are 2021 prices. In my head I am still stuck in 1985 when a Bachmann Old-timer car was less than $5 at Kaybee toys or the local hobby shop and an Amtrak engine cost me only $25. The quality is so far superior and in many cases worth the full asking price, but I pause for a little bit making sure what I want. I miss train shows during the current virus restrictions. There I can still find things for $5.
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  12. SecretWeapon

    SecretWeapon TrainBoard Member

    hey!!! where in Jersey are you? i'm in brick. n scale.
  13. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome to TrainBoard!
  14. sp005

    sp005 TrainBoard Member

    I am in Essex County.

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