My name is Todd and I started the 8x4 section of this layout back in 1995. My son got a HO trainset for Christmas and we tried to set it up on the floor of the kitchen. It kept derailing and we considered ourselves lucky if we got it to go around once without falling off the tracks. I then purchased an 8x4 piece of plywood and nailed the sectional track directly to the board. Needless to say, it wasn't much better.
At this point I started looking for information on how to lay the track better so that it would at least go around once. That's when I learned about flex track and cork road beds.
I then found a hobby store that was going out of business and found several of the buildings and purchased them at half price or lower. I had tried to build a layout many years ago with my Dad but never really got a lot done on it. So trying to live out my childhood dreams of having a real looking layout I began putting together my layout.
After moving to a new house, a friend of mine, ED, talked me into "adding" to my 8x4 layout. That was in November of 2000 and the work on the new layout eventually flowed back to the old layout and that was then completely redesigned.
Ed does most of the construction and track laying and my speciality is electronics and scenery. The next phase of our construction is to put a fiddle yard underneath the layout so that we can store complete trains and bring them up to the layout when we want to run them. All the major scenery is done so now it's just adding lots and lots of detail.
I moved to Henderson in 2003 and by 2005 I had a home to setup another layout in. The garage in the new house wasn't setup like the old house so I couldn't create a big L-shaped layout so I decided to go with a dog bone layout stretching the length of the garage, leaving plenty of room for my other hobby, a 9-foot pool table.
While getting ready to start the new layout I ended up with some sliding closet doors that seemed pretty lightweight and yet sturdy enough to use as a platform. So I built the dog bone out of that using some shelving brackets. This worked well until I went to install some tortoise switches and the doors were too thick for the spring wire.
So I went ahead and pulled the whole center section out leaving the loops on each end on the old closet doors. I went with some plywood and replaced the center section. Now I have the switches hooked up and working and I'm really happy with the layout now. I'm in the process of doing the detail work now that all the track is laid. This is the part I really like doing.