It is May 1949 in the rural community of Geneseo. The long economic drought caused by the Great Depression and followed by World War II has finally come to an end. Still the effects are being felt and show in the ravaged condition of buildings an equipment.
The town is served by a light industrial 18" narrow gauge railway developed to serve local industries. It once connected to the outside world through its interchange with a mainline standard gauge railroad. But now improved roadways and modern trucks have rendered that unnecessary.
The railways 4 miles of rail still operate providing for movement of goods to the small businesses in the community. The equipment is aged and in poor condition. There is not enough revenue to justify anything more than essential repairs. Certainly, no consideration of replacement. Abandonment is a real possibility in the foreseeable future.
A little about Geneseo Railway. For the past few years I have been building small Gn15 display layouts. In January of 2015 I decided the furnace room was big enough to build a small switching layout. After removing all the items stored there I sheetrocked the walls, added a dropped ceiling and built shelf style benchwork along two walls. The area is L shaped 13 ft on each wall and 2 ft deep. Each side has a switching (industrial) area with a run around track and a few sidings. This provides a lot of operation for two operators. Movements from one side to the other require coordination as there is a single track connecting the sides of the L.
I liked the extreme narrow gauge engines and rolling stock I had been building in Gn15 so decided the layout would be 1/24th scale approximately 18" gauge using HO scale mechanisms and wheel sets. That is what led me to the small industrial type gas mechanical critters. I had just begun experimenting with battery power radio control and decided to make the layout dead rail. I have used DelTang radio receivers and transmitters. The four critters are all powered by Bachmann GE44 ton power trucks using a single lipo cell with a Pololu step up voltage regulator. Coupling is by three link chains which are also handled manually.
Track work is all hand laid code 83 rail with stub turnouts. I used Caboose Hobbies ground throws and everything is manually operated.
Then a bit of ballast and color to the track work. Over the past couple winters I swept up the sand, gravel and dirt deposited on the garage floor after snow storms. The texture is not bad and it is free!
Considering the deteriorated condition of the equipment it was a necessity to have a small engine repair shed. The shed also reflects the thrifty approach to the railway. I do intend to outfit it with a work bench and some tools.