I had done little planning but there were a few things I knew I wanted for sure. I wanted several bridges, a bit of a yard, some sort of industry for switching. Most of all however, I wanted to loosely model Atlantic Canada, particurally the Gaspe region. We have always had two or three hobby shops on the Island, but by this time they had long since stopped carrying anything related to model railroading. I quickly learned two things: 1) scratchbuild what I can or use what is available locally and 2) mail order for the rest. The idea of scratchbuilding has stuck with me ever since and my skills have come a long way.
Here's an example of my early scratchbuilding and using what was available. The ballast was sand with gray primer or small rocks added. The hopper car loads were made from sand glued to stiff paper painted gray.
I worked on the scenery on and off for a few years, thinking that it would make up for the poor track standards...and boy was I wrong. Overtime, I began to upgrade my locomotives and old cars and eventually, I ended up retiring all of them. I now have quite a fleet of CN power, from the smoking MLW's to the old reliable GMDD's.
Late last summer I decided that I was going bite the bullet and relay all the track. I can now say that I am nearly finished, except for the yard leads and the track connecting the tall bridge to the rest of the mainline. It runs much better now and I am beginning to see my work pay off.
As of tonight, it looks like this:
Head on meet at Bedfore Station between two pairs of GMDD GP40-2(W)'s and MLW C630M's.
To sum it all up, it certainly isn't big, and I really wish it was a shelf/walkaround type layout but this is what came out of the limited space and student budget I have. As I post more, I'll talk about the locomotives, weathering, scratchbuilding and especially lessons I've learned!