About the MFR

The Metaline Falls Railroad (MFR) is a proto-freelanced model railroad based on the Pend Oreille Valley Railroad located in northern Idaho and north eastern Washington State. For the very latest on the layout, please visit my YouTube channel and follow along with my Instagram account.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Now It's Getting Fun!

I'm taking a page from Marty McGuirk's playbook and painting the lower half of my walls the same color that my fascia will be on my layout.  I think this will look pretty clean and should frame my shelf-style layout nicely. Deciding on a color has been a tricky (yet fun) process. I think I've decided I want to go with a darker color that will compliment the scenery (which will be very similar in color to that of my old layout) but do I go with a green or a brown color? Perhaps something more neutral?

I've also been struggling with that all important consideration of layout height. My old layout was at about 51 inches which was great for viewing but slightly awkward for reaching cars and switches towards the back of the layout. Lowering my new layout an inch or so would go a long way to making operations more comfortable, but I'd have to bend that much lower to view the cars at track level. Should I favor railfanning or operations with my railroad height?

Decisions, decisions.

All said, I'm glad to finally be in a position to consider these things for my layout. Now it's getting fun!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Layout Update #3 - Construction and Destruction

This month I finish a wall, replace a door, and emphasize the importance of finishing the layout room before beginning the benchwork.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Givens and Druthers (UPDATED for new layout)

There is a popular term amongst model railroaders known as "Givens and Druthers". This refers to a list of "Givens" (hard and fast requirements for a model railroad which act as constraints for the modeler to work within)  and "Druthers" (design guidelines that help to set direction for the modeler)

And so, seeing as how I'm starting all over again from scratch, I think it's a perfect time to review and update my requirements and goals for the layout.

  • The model railroad will be a (mostly) around-the-wall style cantilever (suspended) layout with considerations for a hidden yet easily accessible staging area.
  • The layout must be designed with comfort for operators in mind. Layout height, wiring, coupler, turnout, and locomotive control should all be designed for both ease of use and enjoyment.
  • Though operations is the main focus, the design must allow for continuous running giving the operators an opportunity to just sit back and watch trains run.
  • The layout must be built to a level of quality that approaches that of "art" in that entering the layout room is akin that that of stepping into a museum installation. This design philosophy is carried through not only the quality of the modeling, but also the design and construction of the benchwork and the preparation and presentation of the room itself.

  • Operations should be simple, yet elegant.  The emphasis will be on fewer industries and longer sidings as opposed to a lot of industries, short sidings and overly complicated track work.
  • Operational design should allow for a typical ops session lasting between an hour to two hours depending on the number of cars requiring movement.
  • The design should include large industrial complexes and expansive scenic areas as showcases for intricate design and modeling techniques and to serve as focused points-of-interest for the layout.
  • The design should also include a faithful representation of a number of prototypical scenes found within the Pend Orelle Valley in the Northeastern Washington/Idaho area.
  • The overall theme of the model railroad is one of a small shortline struggling to earn it's keep with few customers and difficult economic conditions.  All artistic design considerations, (from choosing which season to model, to detailing the level of distress on mainline track) should be made with the layout's theme in mind.
That should about do it.  I've found that by distilling all of my wants and needs down to a few small bullet points, I end up with a plan that feels very focused and purposeful.  I feel that focus and purpose is key to the success of any model railroad, but when you are limited by time and money, (as I am)  this list of "Givens and Druthers" becomes all the more important.