Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Laying the Track

My son and I now have three weekends into this projects. This past weekend we began laying the track. We quickly found that what looked good on paper did not necessarily work when setting up the real thing. The plan did gave us a good place to start though.

Since we are using track from previous layouts we had to do some prep work on them first, removing old solder joints and cleaning off the oxidation on the rails. Once that was done we began putting down the track. That was fun as we worked together on that.

We also went to a local toy train show. It was more like a toy train garage sale. We did find some cool 1/87 scale Hotwheel cars though and guy selling Atlas diesel locomotives that we like. He had one of the road names we wanted to model. We'll plan on picking it up at the next train show coming up which is incidentally on the next weekend we are together.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some History

Let's jump back on the HO railroad a bit because I thought I would share a little on how this project came to be.

In the past I would typically see my son and daughter a couple of times a week and every other weekend and some holidays. Everything seemed to be going great with them. That was up until three years ago when over the Christmas break my daughter would no longer stay the night. My son shortly followed suit. Over the years that followed I would only see them a few hours during the week to go out to for dinner and then on the occasional weekend afternoon. As that time pasted though my son began to show an increasing desire to spend more time with me and began to come without his sister.

And now my son has been doing a great job in his efforts to spend more time with me. It has taken some time to get back to a more consistent routine but he really wants to spend this time together which is nice.

So, that brings me to were we are now. We wanted to come up with some ongoing project that we could do on those weekends together. After discussing a couple of ideas we settled on the HO layout. I had a lot of the trains, tracks and building left over from previous layouts from my youth, so all we needed to get started was a track plan and some lumber to build the bench work.

After looking over various small track plans from old issues of Model Railroad Magazine and the internet we decided on a more challenging horse shoe style plan over the more traditional 4'x 8' plan. What we settled on as our inspiration was a 10'x 10' plan we found at Costume Model Railroads on the internet. We then pick a time period, theme, and location to model. For that we decided to model the north east United States in a sort of an alternate reality that had a predominately 50's era look but we wanted to let ourselves be free to include road names, rolling stock, vehicles and historic scenarios from any time period.

We then began the building of the bench work. Pictured here is our bench work efforts
we will next work on the track work.

Monday, January 25, 2010

HO Model Railroad

To start out with I thought I would document the progress of a HO scale model railroad layout that my teenage son and I started building as a project to do together on the weekends and holidays he comes over.

We started by cleaning out a corner of the basement. Most of the things in that corner were my son's old toys that have not been seen in years. That turned out to be a nostalgic trip back in time. It's amazing how much sentiment that can be attached to an object, and how that object can transport you back so vividly to memories and the feelings connected with that object. I could tell he was experiencing in some ways some of the bitter sweet side of those memories the same as I was. There is an empty sense of incompleteness associated with many memories when being a divorced dad. From the time he was three I would see him every other weekend and sometimes during the week. So often when he was young we would start some activity together only to have our time run out and it would be weeks until we would get back to it again. By then his interest would change to something else, as young boys would often do, and the scenario would repeat itself all over again.

He is now in his mid teens. So, as we begin the first ongoing activity that we have tried to do together in over four years it will be interesting to see what level of completeness we can achieve.