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Wild Horse Island Railroad

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  • I've not been posting lately, mostly because work on the Wildhorse RR has come to a halt. It's now a bittersweet notice that I'm tearing it down (more on the sweet later). I achieved a lot of my original goals particularly those of a marshland environment and using all of the n-scale buildings that I've constructed over the years on a layout. I'd gotten to where I felt that the macro scenery was done and it was a decision point as to whether to start on the details. I elected not to continue for the following reasons; I know I'll be moving in the next few years (probably around 5 or less) and that my goal is to move to a larger scale not to continue this build, and I got enjoyment from seeing most of my vision in creating scenery that I'd been dreaming of for years. But the thing that probably influenced my decision most was the frustrations I was having with Kato track, particularly the switches. They never were a strong point and I'd bought many more than I should've as some worked fantastic and others were more derailers than switches. Since I really enjoy slow speed operations and switching industries instead of rail fanning, I continued to get more and more frustrated. I actually had more success on my layout when I built Code 40 switches using FastTrack jigs than with the Kato products.

    Another problem was self induced. When I laid the Kato track, I used double-sided tape to keep it down. I found that the engines would cause compression of the tape and cause the track to lean under the engine weight (even with n-scale 4-wheel truck GEEPs) which would occasionally cause electrical contact issues. All said, there were times where things were running perfectly and I had an Atlas engine with an ESU sound decoder creeping along with sound one day, to having to continually touch the engine multiple times to keep it going the next. But it was really the switches that did it for me.

    It was a hard decision to make as I really enjoy just looking a the layout without even running the trains; it takes me to an area of the country that I appreciate. Also, as noted in a previous post, I was anxious about the buildings. I'd put so much time into them creating pretty good replicas of original structures and didn't want to throw them out or put them in boxes knowing they wouldn't be used again and just carrying the boxes around from place to place.

    Now the sweet part. There's a small museum on the Eastern Shore in Parksley, VA called the Eastern Shore Railroad Museum. After contacting them, explaining my situation, and sending them some pictures, they're now willing to accept my buildings into their collection. Even if they never display them, knowing that I'm sending my work to somewhere other than a black hole is comforting with hopes that they'll be appreciated by others.

    So this weekend I started taking things down. I'll send some pics prior to shipping out to the museum and then will close out this thread, but not my model railroading. I am thinking about using some HO equipment I have stored in a box to make a very small switching layout to keep my occupied until my next major build.

    That where things stand now and I appreciate everyone who's expressed interest in my work.



    • Sorry to hear the railroad is going to come down. But after reading your reasoning I can why. Glad you found a home for all your work you put into the buildings.

      Your work was just outstanding and I'm sure it gave a lot of people incentive to build there's.

      I'll be following along on your next build for sure.

      Looking forward to future posts Dave.

      "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." A. Lincoln


      • Dave, sorry to read that the layout is coming down, but good news that the buildings will be saved and used again.
        We'll all look forward to when you start a new layout.
        Follow along as my dog and I travel the country in our van.
        FaceBook link:


        • Dave,

          I have always found your work inspirational. I recently went through your photos here and on your previous thread as a sort of preparation to doing some N scale modeling.

          I'm glad you found a home for your structures. I thought of seeing if you would consider an offer but I was not sure how well our club could display your structures on our new N scale layout. In some ways they would have fit, although not the more maritime ones, being that we are representing Appalachia .

          Anyway, I wish you the best in your future modeling. In addition to your modeling skills and artistic eye, I enjoy seeing how you evoke the look of a particular


          Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. James Baldwin


          • I am sorry to hear the Kato track didn't work out; I recall admiring your Code 40 track on the previous layout but understood completely why you didn't repeat it. I'm glad your structures will have a home, and I'm looking forward to seeing what you do next. Which is more or less what Bruce said, but ....


            • I've enjoyed watching your layout progress, Dave. You've done an excellent job of, representing railroading on the Delmarva Peninsula. I've driven past the Eastern Shore Railroad Museum on a number of occasions. I need to stop and check it out.

              Good luck on your future layout.

              Flying is the 2nd greatest thrill known to man. Landing is the first.


              • Hello Dave. Sorry to here of your disappointment of the track / switches are not working properly for you.
                And for any model railroad, if they fail to work, then it just becomes a frustrating large diorama.

                But on the bright side, a new layout to come in the future. and a change of scale, sometimes helps too.
                Good luck with it all. I've really enjoyed your work here, and look forward to seeing you new modelling adventure.
                Regards Rob

                Despite the cost of living, it's still popular

                My current build.



                • Sorry to hear the layout is coming down, but looking forward to your next build. If you do anything in N scale in the future I would suggest Peco Electro Frog switches and code 55 track. I have used them for over twenty years now and have had no problems.


                  • Dave,
                    I really enjoyed your layout and modeling skills. I am sorry you have to dismantle it, but I hope you enjoy your next endeavor.



                    • Thanks to everyone for the encouraging and gracious comments. The railroad is no more. I actually feel pretty good having packed up the structures and prepared the for shipping to the Eastern Shore RR Museum. I do have some unused KATO track, not a lot. I'd like to give it away to a group that would put it to good use, but if unable, I'd be willing to send to an individual free of cost. Would be a shame to just trash the track. If anyone knows of a good place to donate the track please contact me. I'm putting together some of the pictures of the railroad and will post soon.


                      • Don't know anyone that can use the track but I am looking forward to your pics Dave.