An Illinois RVer transforms a basement-storage bay in his fifth-wheel into a model-train depot
When I got my Jayco Eagle HT 28.5RSTS fifth-wheel and posted the first picture on Facebook, a friend joked that now that I had such a big trailer, I should build a model railroad in it. That seemed like a pretty good idea, and talking around the campfire one night, my son suggested that I should model the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad where my father served as a docent in Nevada City, California, when he retired.
Not wanting to let a good idea go to waste, I was soon hard at work on the railroad. My first purchase was a sliding trunk tray to house the layout in the pass-through storage compartment. The tray slides out under the awning, making it an ideal modeling space. I work in N scale, which is small but detailed, allowing me to pack a lot into a 28-by-42-inch area.
I typically spend an hour or two working on the railroad during weekend campouts and a little longer on vacations, and I hope to spend many more years completing it. So far, my expenses have included the sliding tray ($400), track ($50), locomotive ($90), Hydrocal plaster ($20), craft wood ($15), and a transformer, wire and solder ($80).
Some of the railroad features I’m incorporating are not available commercially, and I’m finding it necessary to scratch-build things like the Bear River Bridge and the Empire Mine skip head. When complete, the layout will feature mountains, forests, a river, tunnel, vertical and horizontal mine shafts, and who knows what else will come to mind over the years.
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