Reflections on Year 4

I’m pleased with how much I’ve managed to accomplish in four years: On this date (October 13) in 2011, my friend Pierre Oliver visited and we assembled the benchwork for my Port Rowan layout – marking the official start of construction.

As I look back over the past 12 months, I see that the layout is maturing. I’m doing fewer big projects and fewer essential pieces. Instead, I’m enjoying tackling more esoteric projects – things that the layout does not need, but that I want because they’re neat.

 photo YearFour-Wrap_zpsqnazvciv.jpg
(Enjoyable diversions)

The most obvious examples can be found in my equipment roster. I’ve enjoyed working on a number of S scale items that are not required for the layout – including some things that, frankly, would never show up in Port Rowan. These include CNR 44 Tonner Number 1CNR RS18 3640CNR gas electric 15815… and CNR scale test car 52274*.

Beyond working on new equipment, I also tuned up some existing stock. For example, I upgraded my steam fleet with WOWSound decoders and Keep-Alive modules. And a trip to the New England Northeast RPM prompted me to check my fleet for damaged or missing parts and perform all those little repairs that can otherwise build up.

Layout-wise, the biggest change over the past year was building and installing approximately 50 new trees in St. Williams:

 photo Trees-StW-2015-12_zps5xnme94o.jpg
(Click on the photo to see a before and after comparison)

This has made a huge difference to the appearance of this part of the layout and will inspire me to continue to add more trees in the coming year – especially in Port Rowan.

Finally, it was an important year for getting out of the layout room.

For starters, over the past 12 months I’ve done a lot of work with Barry Silverthorn at TrainMasters TV. I graduated from a radio and TV program a quarter century ago and many of the skills I learned at school are finally being put to some use. I’m learning something new – about the hobby and about myself – every time I do a show with Barry, and I’m looking forward to doing more in the coming year.

Also significant, a year ago I organized a monthly supper club for some fellow railway enthusiasts in the region. This has been a great success and I encourage others to do it, too: It’s easy to organize and very rewarding. Unless you’re brand new to this blog, you’ll know I’m an advocate for combining the hobby with more social elements. Ops sessions almost always involve a meal, and I have an entire blog category devoted to “eat, drink and be merry“.

 photo Supper-20150323-03_zps1fhryssg.jpg

No matter how seriously we take the hobby, it is still a hobby – it’s supposed to be fun (and if it isn’t, you’re doing something wrong). It’s time with friends, doing something we all enjoy. So make the most of it!

Whether you’re new to the blog or have been following since the beginning, thanks for reading. And a special thanks to those of you who have contributed through the comments function – from information to “attaboys”. I enjoy the exchanges.

The house renovations continue and my tools and projects remain packed away. But I still have access to the layout (as the lead photo suggests) and I’m enjoying running the Daily Mixed, or a Freight Extra, to Port Rowan and back as time allows. As the renovations wind down, I’ll return to the workbench and have more to write about here.

Stay tuned!

(*By the way, I’m looking for a second model of the scale test car. This was imported by South Wind Models. If you have one you would like to turn into hobby dollars, please visit my About the Author page and use the form at the bottom of the page to get in touch.)

(UPDATE: It only took a few hours. Thanks to Sam for pointing me at a scale test car. I have purchased it and eagerly await its arrival. S scale is cool: There’s a lot of stuff available, but unlike in other scales in which I’ve worked, you have to ask for it to find out about it…)

11 thoughts on “Reflections on Year 4

  1. Congratulations on year four.

    I always enjoy following along on the next project on the layout not just to see another model but to follow along with how that model came together – it’s been one heck of a lot of fun. Thanks.

    It must be neat to read back through your posts over the past four years on anniversaries like this one to track progress. Further, to compare how things evolved as compared to how you thought they might go.



  2. It has been fun following your sometimes winding path. Reminds me of the old Family Circus cartons that trace the kid’s paths from point A to B – the journey is half the fun.

  3. I completely agree with the comments already made. As an “outsider” (I model in N scale) I have enjoyed each and every post I have read on your blog. The work you have shown, including what you have picked from others, has been inspiring to me, and I’m sure many others. Please keep up with this as I feel everyone can learn from everyone, regardless of scale/gauge. The opportunity to learn from others is why I take part in every layout tour that I possibly can. Walt

  4. Interesting modeling progression…I tend to continually build structures and rolling stock before track! Someday, hopefully soon, turnouts and track will absorb my time.

  5. Congratulations on 4 years (already?!) I wish I had as much progress on my layout to show over the last 4 years as you do. Your modeling is as motivating as it is inspiring – thanks for sharing it with us all here. And here’s to the next 4 years – and counting!


  6. I have very much enjoyed reading your experiences and your thoughts and insights have helped me with my H.O. layout that features a fictitious CPR branch line in eastern Ontario. I look forward to more stories about the Port Rowan branch.

  7. Congratulations, Trevor

    I’ve really enjoyed reading about your layout, and am always impressed by your modeling efforts. I also appreciate the diversions you take occasionally, and would like to introduce some of the social aspects you enjoy into my own world.

    I’m anxious for your remodel project to come to an end so that your layout projects can once again blossom.


  8. that is certainly the fun stage of a layout: where you can focus the right rolling stock (rather than anything can be made to run that’s about right), build the scenes and generally focus on “telling the story” rather than getting it built.

  9. Congrats on the 4 year mark Trevor. I have been following along silently with your blog and have always appreciated your output both written, presented and modelled. Just been re-watching your youtube vids of Port Rowan maybe one day you will do an ops session vid or even periscope it šŸ™‚ Regards Tom

  10. Congratulations on the 4 years! Is it really that long?
    As one says, a layout is never finished, there is always that little something extra that can be added / done.

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