Time to lay the first tracks...
.. and run the first trains!
With a barbecue for the Great Lakes ETE Chapter looming and sufficient tables finished to set up a few trains, I decided to put together a temporary layout in the garage. It wouldn't be Carstenbahn One, as I don't yet have enough tables or tracks for that, but it would be enough to run some decent-length trains when the train guys get here...
This was the first layout, taking about two hours to put together. Okay, it's not the massive Carstenbahn One layout, so I have affectionately dubbed it "Carstenbahn 0.5". The six tables were arranged in a square configuration, which took up about one-and-a-half stalls of our two-stall garage. The track plan was a simple pair of circles with a passing siding on the outside circle.
Here is another view of the first layout. The station in the foreground is the Piko "Goepplingen" station. It looks a little small when compared to the locomotive shed. It is actually the shed which is the wrong scale.
Later that weekend (and at night, obviously) I changed the shape of the layout to 9' x 15' to not only allow space for one car to be in the garage, but also because I wanted some longer straight sections, and something less of a circle. This layout shape seems much better.
Again, I made two circles of track. The outside circle is digital, while the inside circle is analog. That beautiful BR78 belongs to Marc Gesink, a fellow ETE member and Marklin fanatic.
Here are the two digital trains ready to head out. I have now installed sound in both, thanks to the expert advice Jun Maeda has on his website. Having the train layout in the garage like this offer two advantages. First, there is a decent amount of space to enjoy a nicely-sized layout. Second, if you make the layout big enough, it's impossible to get at the garden tools, so you are unable to do yard work!
After watching the trains run for a few days, I knew I was hooked, and would be building the Carstenbahn as I had dreamed, but I had a few obstacles left. The first would be the roadbed. Commercial roadbeds for 1-scale are few and far between, and not inexpensive, either. I would have to come up with an inexpensive roadbed, ballast it myself, and hope for the best. But how? Little did I know that the solution was in the hands of my two-year-old...