"Dutch" helps a visitor.
The club maintains two HO layouts: a permanent one in the clubroom and a modular one used for public displays. Both have seen many changes over the years. In 1993, wiring problems were discovered, the track was aging, and a new demand by longer trains made the tight turns and short passing sidings incompatible with modern operations. These and other requirements led the members to the tough decision to dismantle the original permanent layout.
Since then, the club's members have worked diligently building several "test" layouts as they strive for the "perfect" layout that will encompass the vision of all members. Each layout has helped the members grow in their modeling skills, and has shown what will work, and what won't. Recurring themes focus on interests in long mainlines, narrow gauge, and traction. Our present permanent layout tries to incorporate the many interests expressed throughout the developing period. One unique feature incorporated is the ability to connect our modules to the main layout; thus, creating even a much larger layout. This ability is occasionally demonstrated at the club Open Houses.
The years and longer trains with longer cars had their effect on the modules, too, and in 1994, most of the club's existing modules were rebuilt. These new modules featured corners with six-foot radii, a new classification yard, new mainline scenes, and numerous hand laid turnouts.
Below are some photo's of the HO layout taken during the summer of 00. As you can see there is a lot of work to be done. Keep in mind this layout was less than three years old. The layout has three levels of track connected by a helix and a long climb along one wall. At this time, all the track is in. The main line crossovers all have Tortoise switch machines installed as well as the upper and lower operating yards. The layout is wired for DCC with a Digitrax Chief system including; 1 DCS100, 1 DB200, 2 DB100. The club also owns numerous throttles for members to use. With DCC we get realistic control of each locomotive and still we're able to run one set of standard wired locomotives (with out a decoder).
The main layout is in the scenery stage, so there are an abundance of projects to be completed. Our modular system continues to be upgraded and occasionally a module or two undergo a complete rebuild. Our primary show with the modules is The Great Train Show held each year in the Historical Alaska Railroad Depot during the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous. Nine great days of trains !