This layout is not for everybody. But perhaps you are looking for something different from the usual freight train switching under the remorseless gaze of a fast clock. Perhaps you would like to recapture the romance of train travel in the Golden Age of the Pullman. If so, you have come to the right place: The New York Central Toledo Terminal District modeling the Golden Age of train travel 1947-1948:
End of Commercial (Ask your Doctor if my layout is right for you).
Toledo Union Station (TUS) sits at the cross-roads of the NYC Water Level Route (Chicago - New York City) and the NYC line from Detroit to Cincinnati. The former was double-tracked on the approaches to TUS, and triple or four-tracked beyond (mostly). The NYC also had lines North of Detroit as far as Mackinaw City. The Toledo - Columbus (OH) portion of this North - South line was former Toledo & Ohio Central (T&OC).
The only station on the layout is TUS. It was operated by the NYC. C&O and B&O entered TUS from the south and continued to Detroit. The Wabash ran just one train, a stub of the St. Louis Ltd (St. Louis to Detroit) from the West. The Pennsy had its own depot (of course), and so did the Ann Arbor Railroad. Too bad, as I lust after a K4.
The two staging yards, Gilbert Yard and Hokenson Yard, where trains are assembled and disassembled, are in the lower level of this two level layout, connected by double-track approaches to TUS from the West and the East (the Water Level Route). The T&OC approach, as well as the foreign road lines from the South and West are represented by the “Helix from Hell” (don’t ask). The line to Detroit is represented by a track that sneaks behind Airline Yard, and then, having no other place to go, rejoins the the Water Level Route (sorry).
With a full crew of 4 or 5, Gilbert and Hokenson yard have two full-time operators who also function as tower operators for the east and west end of TUS. Otherwise the work is done by the two engineers. Also, a session typically begins with one or more trains “pre-assembled” and ready to go.
Scenery is minimal: a work-in-progress. Toledo station will be a scratch-building project as yet beyond my abilities (Google the station to see why). Passenger cars, which have proven to be unruly prima-donnas that love to uncouple or derail seemingly at whim, have mostly been whipped into shape (ask me about my latest acquisitions, the Atlas (nee Branchline) 10-1-1s which have required a staging track of their own).
Turnouts are all Peco hand-thrown. The plan is to have mainline turnouts powered in the near future. I also dream of installing the iconic NYC signals (which actually will be more decorative than functional, truth be told, as operation on a double track mainline does not require it) . But they will sure look cool. You should live so long.
Layout photos (click to enlarge):
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