After 12 years of construction and operations, the Potomac & Patuxent Railroad was de-constructed between Memorial Day and Columbus Day. For a variety of reasons explained on the website, I decided that I wanted a new railroad. Actually, I am planning to build two railroads: a switching railroad and a continuous running railroad.
The upper railroad will be an O scale, standard gauge, point-to-point, urban industrial switching layout (see sketch on page 2). I want to incorporate sound, both for the locomotives and for the environment. And, to ensure slow operation, every operating session will be during the night. This will require extensive lighting in and around the buildings on the layout. I am even trying to figure out a way to activate the headlights on the automobiles and trucks. A nod-under will be required. At the moment, I intend to re-use the Digitrax digital command control (DCC) system that I had on the old railroad. I investigated switching to a different DCC manufacturer, but the costs are steep. I may have to do it, but I want to try the Digitrax one more time.
The lower railroad will be a continuous running, around the room railroad that has separate tracks for 2-rail and 3-rail operations. This will be the display layout for the entertainment of friends and neighbors. It will also provide a place for me to relax when I just want to see trains run. The 3-rail track will be used to operate my legacy trains—my dad’s 1930’s era O Gauge American Flyer and my 1950’s era Marx train set. I also hope to use and display many of the O gauge accessories that I have been storing. A lift out will be required.
The old railroad was slowly “deconstructed” because I wanted to salvage reusable electrical components, flex track, hand-laid rail, turnouts, and Tortoise turnout motors. I did not try to save roadbed, ties, and most of the bus wiring.
This year, the P&P debuted on the World Wide Web. It was a project in a web development class that I was taking last winter. For those of you with Internet access, check us out at http://www.geocities.com/oscaledc. You will find photos of the old layout plus motive power on the site. I will be posting construction photos as I begin building the new P&P.
Two operating sessions were completed before the railroad was unplugged. In total, we completed 20 operating sessions on the old railroad.
In July, I journeyed to St. Louis for the NMRA National Convention. I concentrated on the layout tours that included O scale layouts. I was not disappointed by any of them. Unfortunately, I dropped my camera getting off a tour bus and lost an entire roll of film. All those memories down the drain. I was successful at the silent auction unloading an assortment of railroad paraphernalia. The National Train Show was held under the TWA Dome. That place is so large; there was always plenty of room in the aisles.
There were no major purchases of motive power or rolling stock this year, but I have been buying urban structures for the new railroad. I sold a large number of unused DCC components, recovering some of my investment.
The names and reporting marks of the Potomac & Patuxent Railroad (P&P) and Rock Bottom & Stony End Railway (RBSE) were re-registered with the NMRA in its Pike Registry program. The RBSE is a coal-hauling subsidiary of the P&P.