In the beginning…….

East wall bench

After many years of planning, dreaming and thinking about building a layout, it is finally happening.  I have started to construction on my Proto48 railroad.

The layout is located in a two-car garage so improvements were in order to be able to work year round in the local climate of the Sierra Foothills.   Layout construction started in February but paused as we went through a significant home redo.  Now, the smell of freshly cut pine and the sight of sawdust greets you when entering the layout room.
Over the years, my prototype interests have changed many times.  In recent years, my dream has had a dose of reality in terms what is important to me and what can reasonably be done given the amount time and interest available.  One has to do more in life than playing with trains.

Layout 23JUL13 South Wall

What is important ?
The next installment will touch upon my model building philosophy.

Happy trails,


10 thoughts on “In the beginning…….

  1. Gene — does your garage door have Styrofoam insulation panels? Have you gone to any special effort to seal the edges of the door? I am getting ready to wall off one stall of my two car garage at the beach. This will give me a 9’+ wide by almost 22′ long RR room for my mostly NG enterprise. I will put in a through the wall HVAC as you have. Humidity here is the killer with 90*+ in the summer and low 40* typical in the winter. We do get snow sometimes.

    I plan to put a wall in front of the doors but would love to avoid it as extra work. My garage door is insulated with foam and I could put an insulated drape in front of it to cut down drafts. Still seems to leave opportunity for dust and insect intrusion — but one less wall to drywall.

    Thanks for your thoughts and sharing your experiences.

    • Bill
      My doors have insulating foam panel that I purchased at Lowes. One door is locked and sealed with some rubber weatherseal. It does keep dust out and maybe some cold/heat. The other garage door is only insulated not sealed since it is the alternate escape route.

      The attic has R-39 fiberglass battens. Sidewalls are insulated and the windows are double pane. You might be better off with either a fixed wall or drape. My only insect issue is spiders included black widows. I was more concerned about keeping certain reptiles from wintering in my layout room.


      • Thanks Gene. There are times that prepping the RR room seems more complicated than building the layout!


      • Bill
        In my case, the room was more expensive given the need for a heat pump and the 220V needed to drive it. Working with the benchwork wood is theraputic. Having the right tools really makes it fun.


      • My electric panel is in the “room” and I can drop the new compressor on the other side of the wall next to my existing A/C unit. Our furnace room is on the second floor and aligns with the garage so I will check with my HVAC guy to see if a new duct and return will work at a lower cost. I like the idea of a separate system to keep the shop smells and detritus out of the house. Ceiling is not insulated so will either blow in insulation or put in batts.

        I have a 10′ ceiling in the garage so there is a temptation to put in a primary layout at a normal height and add another alternate system at a higher level — as this is my retirement home no reason to get board in the out years.

      • Bill
        Consider a split heat pump. You only have two pecs tubes and small electrical/control harness going through the wall. I bought a

    • Gene,

      Your last reply was cut off at “I bought a”. I like the idea of an easy installation and not very many holes in the walls. Did you install the unit or did you have a electrician or contractor do it for you? How expensive are the units?

  2. I was looking at the split system based on our friend’s experience on Cape Cod. You see some around here and in the end it is probably best way to go. If I am going to spend a lot of time in the train room, I might as well be comfortable.

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