The Annie - a Basement Empire in N Scale
SPECIAL NOTE: the "Annie pages" listed below will take you into a series of related pages about this N Scale layout. If you wish to view other layouts on, please return to the main layouts page by clicking on the layout tab at the top of the page.
[ Intro ] research ] design ] revision ] projects ] roster ] [video]

This is the first in a special series that will be dedicated to sharing information about my dream layout. As each new part is published, an active link will be added to these pages so that you can journey with me as I go step-by-step through the process of building my basement empire.

Whether you are building your very first layout or you want to fill a basement, my goal is to provide modeling information that is helpful to everyone. As we progress through the many stages of developing a dream layout, I'm hoping that you will find stories and tips that you can use to make your own modeling more rewarding. To aid in that purpose, I will provide photos and drawings whenever possible.

Background: the Dream Begins
Having built and enjoyed several layouts featuring steam engines and scenes from the Pennsylvania Railroad, I began to realize that there was something missing from my modeling. How could I build all these layouts, each one a little better than the one before, yet each time feel like it's just not right?

And then I got it: there was no personal connection. I had never seen a real Pennsy train. The layouts weren't right because they didn't represent my railroad memories.

As a modeler with a 30 year passion for trains, my first advice for any model railroader is to sit down and examine your personal train experiences. Then write down the things that you want to see on your model railroad. This step helped me decide to model something important and personal that would always have a strong memory for me: the Ann Arbor Railroad.

Choosing a Time and Place - what, where, when, why?
I have a childhood memory of sitting on a hill eating donuts and looking at the exact same scene that you see in the top right picture, which was probably taken sometime in the mid-late 1970's. To me, NOTHING is more wonderful than Autumn in Michigan - so I decided to model the Ann Arbor Railroad in the Fall of 1980.

Next Time: Research on the Prototype

Crossing Lake Michigan for 90 years!
The car ferry Viking docked in the west slip at the northern terminal of the Ann Arbor Rail Road.

My very first attempt at recreating an Ann Arbor GP35 in N scale.

That's a lot of Annie orange!
Here are some original GP35's at a service facility sometime in the 1970's.

They never stayed clean for long!
A pair of my GP35 models staged on an old layout just waiting for the new layout to be done!!


2012 Leaders & Best Consulting

questions or comments

site updated: 02/21/12