#29 Status Report

March 3, 2009

We had an amazing turnout for the November MVGRS meeting at EnterTRAINment Junction, and I hope those of you who came were not disappointed by what you saw in the layout.


As you know by now from the previous articles, changes to the layout continue to be made as time goes on, and there are quite a few new things just since the November meeting.


Sharon Wilson, Liz Barnhart, and Mary Kammer have been working on houses decorated for Christmas and installed them between the mainline tracks and the aisle in the Modern City (Figure 1).  Figure 2 shows one of the houses in detail.  They’ve also added a skaters’ pond, a cemetery, and a crèche adjacent to the church.  All add a little holiday spirit to the layout.



Figure 1  Liz, Gordon, Sharon, and the Christmas Houses




Figure 2  One of the Christmas Houses


Gordon Havens has constructed and installed new details to the roofs of some of the Modern City buildings, including a helicopter for the hospital and air conditioning units on a number of the buildings (Figure 3).



Figure 3  Details on Modern City Roofs


We’ve finally added the planned traffic circle and fountain at the top of the main street in the Modern City, courtesy of Mike Barnhard (Figure 4).  Mike, however, is innocent of the monument in the center of the fountain, which I added to pay satiric homage to city folks’ lust for storefront coffee and to politicians who would happily use the earth as a bowling ball.

Figure 4  The Modern City Traffic Circle and Fountain


In the Middle Era engine servicing facility, we’ve added the supporting track and rollers for the bridge in the turntable pit (Figure 5).  They aren’t functional yet but they do improve the appearance.


Figure 5  Turntable Track and Rollers


In the Early Period, near the lake, there’s a shop for the construction of railroad cars, with three cars in various stages of assembly.  One of those is shown in Figure 6.



Figure 6  Early Era Railroad Car Contstruction


Outside the layout there are also changes.  The future hobby shop doesn’t have a permanent operator yet, but Watts of Indianapolis is setting up a temporary sales area where they’ll sell G-gauge starter sets during the holidays.  If sales go well, they may establish a permanent and more fully stocked store at EJ.


In addition, the hobby shop area has become the location for several holiday displays which will be open to the public at no charge.  A Cincinnati Hallmark store has provided an extensive display of Department 56 items arranged in layout fashion to show them off in a very effective and artful way (Figure 7).

Figure 7  Department 56 Display


A snowy G-gauge layout occupies a large portion of the back of the room (Figure 8).  It features track on three levels and a mirror lake in the layout’s center.


Figure 8  G-Gauge Holiday Layout


The third display is an S-gauge layout with a number of individual scenes depicting different types of landscape, scenery, and towns (Figure 9).

Figure 9  One of the Scenes on the S-Scale Holiday Layout


The children’s play area, Imagination Junction, has also gotten a new addition.   It’s a nicely detailed Thomas the Tank Engine HO layout, provided by Bachmann, which the children can operate using various push buttons around the layout (Figure 10).


Figure 10  Thomas the Tank Engine HO Layout


Finally, the halloween maze has been converted to now let visitors to experience the Dickens Christmas Carol story and to visit Santa at his North Pole village.


So, as always, here’s the invitation to join us as volunteers to continue the work on the layout.  Or, just come periodically to see the layout and other attractions as they continue to change and improve.


© 2008 Tom Bartsch

MVGRS Big Train Project Coordinator