A Railroad with Relevance

First Train to Traverse the Upper Deck

Written By: Alan - Jul• 11•16

It has been more than six years in the making and the day has finally arrived. The very first train to traverse the upper deck from end to end. Can I get a hallelujah?

The layout is nowhere close to ready for train operation. Minor detail. 🙂 The fascia panels don’t yet exist so the control wires are taped to the benchwork preventing shorting to one another and so I can have some measure of turnout control.

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A few temporary bridges are in place. The bridge decks (3/8″ plywood) sit on brads driven into the ends of the sub-roadbed modules and are secured in place with masking tape. We’re talking high tech here!


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With a contiguous upper deck route it is time to fire up the railroad and take her for a spin. Our train journey will begin as we clear Spur 4 entering the west end of Brittain Yard and continue on until we ultimately reach Kitzmiller siding.

Once we have traveled the length of the yard, at a quickened yard speed <wink wink>, we will exit the east yard limit headed for Akron. On our way through Akron we will pass the rubber shops complex – Goodyear, Firestone, and General Tire, pass through the Akron Barberton Belt RR interchange, then more industries, and finally head out of town over the River Styx bridge. A few minutes in rolling hills finds us rounding the bend where we will enter Lapeer passing by the Saginaw Street switching spur. From there it is on to the mountains of Maryland. On the mountainous side of the layout we will rumble past the Mettiki Mine loadout before taking a sweeping curve descending into the Potomac River valley. Once across the Potomac River bridge in Kitzmiller our train will slow to a stop and hold the main bringing our trip to an end. The train is 16 cars long with a single power unit which happens to be the “standard train” used during design.

Join me as we follow the first ever revenue freight on LK&O rails.



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  1. Arthur Flatray says:

    I’m sure this will give you great satisfaction and a feeling of accomplishment. All of your attention to detail is paying off. Your track
    work is beautiful as I didn’t see even one wiggle or bounce of cars
    going over rail joints or switch frogs.
    Take care

  2. Rob Dove says:

    I knew this would be a major motion picture event. Way to go Alan. Your attention to detail sure showed it to be worth while the way that train rolled down the tracks. Beautiful flowing track and it really looks great! I just picked up another H liner this one has sound, the Lok sound decoder. It is very impressive. I know it is not something that would work with your rail pro system but it sure does have great sound!.

  3. David Stewart says:

    O frabjous day!

    Smooth and sweet and a nice long run. You must be jacked to see all the careful workmanship paying such dividends. You are an inspiration!

    Another literary allusion: and miles to go…

  4. AM David says:


  5. David Oyler says:

    To you, Sir. This morning I raise my cup of coffee to this momentous occasion! Looks like all of your hard work and attention to detail is paying off in spades! Nicely done and a very smooth transit across the upper deck! Conratulations.

  6. Rob Clark says:

    Wasn’t sure you would reach this point while I was still alive, but you have.
    Thanks for sharing this momentous moment.

  7. Jeff Youst says:

    Congratulations. I’ve been watching along with numerous others on your progress and it is even satisfying for me here in Northern Indiana to see this momentous occasion take place for you. Well done sir.

  8. alan says:

    Thanks for the compliments, guys. It was fun making the movie. What am I saying, it has been fun all along the way. It is even more exciting to think about what lay ahead. What a great hobby!

  9. alan says:

    Rob Dove, I have heard nothing but great things about Lok sound. Congratulations on your new loco purchase. RailPro has sound available (rumored not Lok sound quality) but I have decided to forego any on-board sound. I want sound but I don’t want the sonic limitations imposed by little tiny speakers and 1 watt amplifiers. I don’t have an alternate solution in mind although I like the SoundTraxx concept. That’s way off in the future for me so not worrying about it now.

    As a side note, I normally have music playing anytime I am in the train room. I didn’t while filming. Noticed that some wheel sets make a very realistic, although subdued, flange squeal in the curved yard tracks. It was very cool and demonstrated just how much sound enhances the experience.

  10. Clark Cone says:

    Break out the champagne! Time for a golden spike ceremony, eh? Congratulations!

  11. TomO says:

    Congrats Alan

    A great milestone and I agree, all the hard work has paid off in the flawless trackwork.

    Onward sir


  12. Arthur Armani says:

    Congratulation! Your layout is inspirational.

  13. Brad says:

    Congratulations. Video was great to watch…
    Keep on a train-ing.

  14. David Oyler says:


    In all the excitement of watching your initial run, I failed to notice the nuance of the super elevation when leaving Mittiki Mine on the way to Kitzmiller. On second viewing, that looks fantastic, well worth the effort!

  15. alan says:

    It is a shame our model railroads have such short and sharp curves. It would be cool to super elevate every curve just like a real railroad.

  16. George Booth says:

    Awesome. Congratulations. And not a single module collapsed under the weight of the train! Engineering at it’s finest.

  17. Ken Weidner says:

    Congratulations, Alan. I’ve enjoyed following your progress, solving one problem after another, after another. I agree with you that this is an outstanding hobby and am looking forward to your continuing progress.

  18. Bob Courtney says:

    Congratulations on this milestone! It had to be fun to do. Thanks so much for the effort you put into documenting your build. Its inspiring and educational. Looking forward to more. Will you do a little scenery and ‘play’ with the upper deck after panels or is it on down to the lower deck?

  19. alan says:

    It all depends on the definition of scenery playing. 🙂

    The focus now is on fascia and control panels completion of which will allow the upper deck to be operated. That will be a big milestone. After that, I do plan on creating blank card stock structure stand-ins so I can get a sense of how the final picture goes together. That will be sort of scenery-like.

    No scenery in the conventional sense is planned until after the lower deck is operational. I want to operate the completed layout for a period of time to determine if any significant track alterations are needed. Once I am satisfied with the entire layout’s operational functionality then it will be full speed ahead with scenery.

    By the grand plan, heavy construction is the pre-retirement hobby. Scenery and operating are the retirement hobby. I’m not yet retired. 🙂

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