N Scale Layout Number 2, Port Royal & Yemassee Railroad

N Scale Layout Number 2, Port Royal & Yemassee:

After moving to South Carolina in October of 2007, my hobby of Model Railroading wound up on hold for a while as moving plus other interests took up most of my time. However my father and I did plan on building an O-Gauge layout but that was still months, perhaps even years off. To scratch my model railroading itch in the meantime I built a small diorama depicting Table Rock state park in Pickens County, SC.

Shortly after completing the above diorama, I displayed it at the Welcome Center in Hadeeville for a month. During that time I amassed a small fleet of N Scale equipment. I soon realized that I wanted a bigger layout to play with. In that spirit I went down to the local hobby shop and bought a random assortment of Atlas Code 80 track. And then nothing happened. Christmas came and I got distracted with a temporary O-Gauge holiday layout.

Then in January 2009 I found out I was being laid off from my job. My stress level was instantly ratcheted up as high as it could go. I had the pressure of finding a job and dealing with unemployment.  I needed a distraction in the worst way possible. Then I remembered the afore-mentioned Atlas track. I got it out and fooled around with it until I came up with a decent track plan.

Here’s an early shot:

As you can see the track plan is a very simple oval roundy-rounder with a passing siding and an industrial siding. I didn’t have any particular plan in mind with this layout. I really just wanted something to allow me to run my trains and keep me busy. One decision I regretted was making this layout modular. Yeah, it made it easier to move but joining the to modules was a total pain in the ass. In addition, the foam core board base warped quite badly when painted causing bumps at the module joints. These bumps resulted in breakaways and balky operation.

As you can see nearly every aspect of this layout was done on the “make it up as you go along” plan. One exception to that was the overall theme. For that I chose to model the South Carolina low country. The layout was loosely based on the old Port Royal Railroad running between Port Royal and Yemassee, SC, hence the name. Being in my parents’ house, this layout had to fit under my bed when not in use and thusly flat as possible. That was another reason for the low country theme.

As time wore on with this layout I got more creative. I experimented with using dirt to break up the golf course look of Woodland Scenics turf. I also played around with creating small vignettes such as the one seen in the above photo.

At any rate here are a few more shots of the layout:

Here’s another shot of the lake park and dock area…

Here’s a Model Power signal. I wired this laout for block control and these inexpensive signals not only enhance the realism of the scene but also serve as a power indicator for the block they’re wired to.

And here’s my salute to all those South Carolina trailer people who when confronted with our state’s natural beauty, choose to plank their mobile home down by the side of the highway and fill their yards with derelict cars and other junk. The trailer and cars are both NuComp Minature products.

The morning passenger train arrives at Yemassee. The depot is from Walters Cornerstone while the tall building in the background is Model Power’s “Oscar Meyer.”

Here we are on the inside track. The passenger train is passing and AHM wearhouse building.

And passing the lake park, again. I won’t lie, this is one of my favorite parts of this layout.

Some Final Rumination on the PR&Y:

This layout really helped me build on my modeling skills. It’s far from perfect but it’s lightyears beyond the layouts I built as a kid in the 1990s. That said there is a lot of room for improvement. For one thing, the next layout is going to planned out; no more winging it. Second, I’d like some more dramatic scenery. The downside of modeling the low country is that it’s flat and kind of boring. There are no tunnels or canyons or bridges. Third, my method of using pre-mix patching plaster for the roads was bad idea. The roads on this layout look like shit. Fourth, I’d like to run more than one train at a time. At any rate, that does it for PR&Y, this layout has been dismantled and most of it salvaged for use on my next layout Cherokee Foothills Lines.

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