These were the plans for the layout in the old house and were only partially completed. After moving in 2021, the new house has a finished basement area that we can dedicate to a train layout room, complete with a small crew lounge with seats and shelves to hold the books and magazines. The layout space is almost double what was available in the old house, so these diagrams will be updated soon to reflect the latest configuration. I'll be reusing as much as I can of the old layout, especially the lower level seaport!
On these pages I'll report progress of the layout and show some of the key features, as well as provide background on the inspiration for the design. The layout is under construction as 3 levels - a small shelf at the top for the C.P. interchange; a center shelf that runs a loop fully around the walls to represent mainline traffic; and the lowest level which represents the Western terminus in the Seattle area.
The layout features a "layout-bashing" concept that incorporates some of my favorite published designs, including the switching layouts "3rd Street Industrial District" and a seaport layout "By the Beautiful Sea". These are located near each other and represent some of the seafront industrial areas of the Sea-Tac area and the town of Fircrest, all located along the Pacific coast. From there, the layout snakes around the walls to represent some of the open and mountainous areas west of the Cascade Tunnel. Interchanges with the Canadian Pacific and Spokane, Portland, and Seattle provide traffic and the opportunity to introduce some variety into the operations.
The lower level represents the Sea-Tac region with a yard, industrial/harbor area, and a second industrial area based loosely on the Third Street Industrial District, published in the November 1985 issue of Model Railroader.
This is the middle level, which focuses on a mainline run, staging tracks, and a few remote industries. There is a service facility with a RIP track and a working car scale. This will be a featured article on how I used an Arduino for processing, an LCD display to report car length and weight, a weight sensor to get car weight in Oz or grams, and a sensor that will not only determine when a car is present but find the scale length of the car, calculating the proper target weight for length using NMRA standards.
The top level provides an interchange with the Canadian Pacific, where the GN and CP met near Grand Forks, Canada. Not shown is staging that extends down (South?) from the right end of the layout.
My currently active loco roster.