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YOUR DREAM LAYOUT ! - The Chance To Own ANY Legendary Layout Throughout History ?
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 Posted: Sun Sep 15th, 2019 03:05 am
51st Post
W C Greene

Joined: Fri May 4th, 2007
Location: Royse City, Texas USA
Posts: 8252
OK, some of you "older"guys may remember Bill McClannahan's Texas & Rio Grande HO layout.
Mr. McClannahan wrote the Kalmbach book on scenery for model railroads,
which had his photo on the cover in front of his beautiful layout.

Here's my story...
I was about 10 or 11 years old and my dad took me to Dallas' Hall's Hobby House
(THE place for model trains for many years). 
The owner, Mrs. Hall had known me for a couple of years and knew that I was rabid about trains.
Dad & I walked in the back door, next to the magazine & book rack,
and I saw Mrs. Hall talking with Mr. McClannahan
(he was smoking his pipe, just like on the cover of the book!).

I told dad who he was, dad said "how do you know that?"...
"His photo is on the cover of this book!" was my reply.
Mrs. H told us to come up & meet the gent, he asked us if we'd like to see his train layout...
We followed him to his home where the incredible layout was in the upstairs attic,
I had never seen scenery on a layout
(back then, all the layouts I knew about were vast sheets of plywood,
with miles of Tru-Scale track and not a rock or tree in sight!).

Mr. McClannahan was a political and sports cartoonist for the Dallas Morning News,
he and dad talked about that, the Korean war, those pesky Russkies, and Detroit iron,
while I looked at everything and watched 2 trains slowly running around through this realistic scene.

After that, there was no more flat plywood for me,
I wanted my layout to look like his layout, although I didn't have the skills or "seasoning" to do the job.
I still think that I don't have it right but I try...and try.
This old story happened about 1959 and I suppose that Mr. Mc's layout was my "DREAM LAYOUT",
I will never forget it.


It doesn't matter if you win or lose, its' how you rig the game.
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 Posted: Sun Sep 15th, 2019 04:09 am
52nd Post
Tom Harbin

Joined: Sat Sep 1st, 2018
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 300
Glad I finally read this thread.
It brings back memories of many fine MRRs that I've marveled at in the various magazines.

The only one I could say I ever wanted to own,
would be the very first rendition of the Gorre and Daphetid before ANY of the additions.
I always felt there was a certain purity of mission with that layout.

I've of course greatly admired many layouts,
including several owned by current contributors on Freerails. 

To tell the truth, I don't think I would want anyone else's layout,
unless it was left to me to care for and enjoy.
For me, I really enjoy watching the creativity of others and marveling at their skill,
but it is the building, and messing up, and re-doing yet again that makes the hobby fun.
I may never have a good layout but at least I'll know I tried.

BTW, I still refer to Bill McClanahan's scenery book.
One of the best ever written.


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 Posted: Mon Sep 16th, 2019 01:13 am
53rd Post
Steven B

Joined: Thu Aug 13th, 2015
Location: Virginia USA
Posts: 425
So the first layout that really got my blood racing was Harry Brunk's C&S. 
I had just discovered NG&SL Gazette about the time he started writing. 
I went and bought all the back issues that I could find and afford just for his work. 
It was also about the time that Malcolm Furlow did the San Juan Southern.  

I had never been to Colorado, knew nothing about it except for what John Denver sang.
But I was able to discover Fred Shaw and Bray Dickenson at the local library,
and a few other authors who wrote about narrow gauge railroads other than Colorado's. 
One was even in my back yard... imagine my surprise and frothing. 

I didn't really get into narrow gauge railroading until the 1990s. 
But that was before DCC and it was HOn3 and I was never happy with it. 
So I went back into Standard Gauge HO 1967. 

Jack Burgess' Yosemite Valley was an inspiration,
but by 2000 I had fallen in with two local guys who had substantial layouts. 
John Zach's Sierra is still a good one to operate on
and I became involved in operations and found that to be a area that I enjoyed. 
By the time we moved I decided to sell off my vast HO collection... still selling,
and made the leap to On30 and my first love... the late 1800s. 

There are a bunch of great layouts and modelers right here,
which is what drew me to membership in FreeRails five or six years ago. 
I get massive inspiration from reading all of your posts. 
I can't wait to finish this stinkin' house and have some fun building some trains.


Steven B.
Humboldt & Toiyabe Rwy
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 Posted: Mon Sep 16th, 2019 11:32 am
54th Post
Rick Dow

Joined: Wed Nov 1st, 2017
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 164
Great posts, guys. 
Such fun reading.

In 1959, I can recall sitting in a chinese food restaurant in Ottawa, with my parents.
I was reading a Model Railroader magazine I'd bought that same day,
and was amazed at the mountain scenery pictured in black and white photos therein.
My parents were busy chatting and I was engrossed in the magazine while I ate.
Like you, I'm still trying to get things right. 

So very many of us came from a background of exposure to model trains while young. 
I've given myself till Christmas to complete the trackwork on my current layout,
in order to get my grandchildren operating.
I feel like it's the only true way to pass on the interest in trains. 
I hope it's not a dying hobby like some articles claim it is.


When you come to a fork in the road - take it.... Yogi Berra
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 Posted: Sat Nov 23rd, 2019 07:27 am
55th Post

Joined: Thu Feb 23rd, 2012
Location: London
Posts: 5337
" There are a bunch of great layouts and modelers right here,
which is what drew me to membership in FreeRails five or six years ago. 
I get massive inspiration from reading all of your posts."

Hi Steven, Rick, Guys  :wave:

I have to agree with Steven.  :old dude:

The great modelling & inspiring layouts on Freerails ...

... are almost enough to totally boggle this aging but fertile mind !  :P

Do I have a favouite ?  ???

Mmm.  L:

IMPOSSIBLE to even begin to say.  :us:

From ancient history ?  :cool:

I would freely admit to being a BIG fan of 'The Crooked Mountain Lines' ...  :thumb:

... which I first saw years ago & couldn't stop gawping at those photos, as a kid.  :)

Keep up the great work Guys !  [toast]




' Mysterious Moose Mountain ' - 1:35n2 - pt.II

' M:R:W Motor Speedway !!! ' - 1:32 Slotcar Racing Layout
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