The Toad Hollow & Mud Pond Rlwy
The Early Years The Glory Years
Most of the former TH&MP Rlwy ended up in the scrap yard when we sold our Maryland home with its large cellar. The 3' x 9' section shown on this page, along with a 12' yard and engine terminal are all that remain. The yard was in storage in my son's cellar until recently when I gave it away. I orginally built this section in 1975 as an addition to a small 4' x 6' layout. It's now been moved three times - what you see in the first photo is its condition after the most recent move to our single car garage. The top level is what would be a through track; a switchback goes to the right rear, then passes under the through tracks down to the lower front level. For the moment, this is just a little switching layout. Once I get it rehabilitated, I may extend it, but for the moment, it's kind of nice concentrating on a small layout. After completing some renovation work on it in the garage, I was finally able to move the layout into our cellar (scroll down the page a bit).
Here's the layout shortly after arriving at its new home. It survived the move fairly well, but as you can see, the rear of the layout needs some work.
The rehab work has begun. New foam board has been installed. Also, I completely rewired the layout, running two 12-gauge bus wires down the center of the layout. At the moment, this is a single locomotive operation, but eventually I'll build a new panel.
The layout was sitting on top of a pair of storage cabinets, but I wanted a way to easily pull it out so I could work on the back of the layout and also be able to access the wiring more easily. So I put three non-swiveling casters across the back back of the layout and a set of supports fastened to the front of the cabinets. I can lift the front of the layout just a tad and roll it forward until the casters meet the front supports. That ensures that I don't pull it out too far. A temporary leg supports the left front of the layout when extended; the right end is supported by a cleat on the wall.
As you can see, the garage wasn't the most elegant setting for a RR, so I decided I needed to build a "box" or frame around it. The first step was to make a top - nothing too fancy, just a shelf that matches the dimensions of the layout. After this picture was taken, I painted the bottom of the shelf black.
The next step was put a backdrop around the ends and back of the layout. The end wall at the right had sheetrock on it, so I just painted that. A neighbor was throwing out some thin plywood, so I used that for the rear and left side
The backdrop piece on the left side merely hangs in place and can be easily removed to facilitate access to the layout for work. This and the previous picture also show the valance I put across the top.
This picture shows the flourescent light I installed behind the valance. I mounted it angled toward the back.
Here are a couple of my kit-bashing efforts. The building to the left was made with a Gruesome Casket kit attached to two, stacked DPM Laube's Linen Mill kits. The two large buildings behind it were made by slicing a Walthers meat-packing plant diagonally, adding a wall to one section and scratch-building an elevated walkway to connect the two buildings. The little hand-car shed beside the tower was scratchbuilt by my teenage son.
Here's an overall view of most of the layout.
A view looking from the left end.
The tan building is another modified Walthers kit. I cut it into a trapezoidal shape to fit between two tracks and to put the covered loading dock on the front side of the building.
This is a major kit-bash effort, made from a Heljan brewery. Since the back of the building is against the embankment, I was able to use the lower portion of the rear walls to build the right-side higher.
The garage just didn't really work out that well for a model railroad - too hot or too cold. Our basement has a small alcove on one side where, after considerable negotiations, the GM said I could put the layout. In an effort to make housekeeping easier, I installed wood rails on the end walls and built a frame on casters that rolls on the rails. With this arrangement, there are no legs on the floor, simplifying cleaning. With the casters I can pull the layout out several feet when I need to get behind it. I also installed two aim-able recessed ceiling lights and a switched outlet for power.
This is a close-up view of the cross section of the wall rail and how the casters roll along it. This makes it easy to pull the layout forward for access to the rear when necessary.
Here is the layout in its new home. I had to cut about three inches off the right end of the layout so it would fit in the alcove. Fortunately the loss of those three inches does not have a significant impact on operations.
The next step is to install a backdrop that will extend up about six inches more than the tallest buildings - I don't want to block too much of the windows.
In the summer of 09' Toad Hollow was struck by a major cat-astrophe. One of the major industries in town was split wide open by the disaster. The front wall fell all the way down across the tracks, killing several highway workers.
Here you can see the huge 120' smokestack lying on its side. To the left, the railroad's junction tower was also toppled. The station came through in pretty good shape, although it was shifted a foot or two off its foundation.
The railroad's management is studying various proposals to detemine which might be most effective in preventing future feline fractures.