The First Section Goes Together

Originally published on Model Railroad Hobbyist, March 21

Andrew came by last night and we made a start on assembling the benchwork for Pembroke. I’m planning to do as much assembly as possible out in the garage to keep the mess out of our newly finished basement. So, while it’s not a modular layout, it is being built in three sections – the town, the corner with engine shed, and the staging yard.

Dry fitting the parts for the long module

We had a few parts to finish cutting, but mostly we spent the evening screwing and gluing. Before committing ourselves, however, we plopped everything together to see how it all fit (above), and boy, are we glad we did! Despite my best efforts, all the cross members were about 1 cm too wide in the section that supports the track. So, we hacked them all back, which enables the river to fit in place. This time, I was more prepared for the help, and had spent 20 minutes the night before putting together a to-do list to work from. It even included some drawings so we could remember what we were doing, and a full list of steps. The preparation was nothing fancy, but I think it helped keep us efficient. If Julian had come, I might even have been able to keep us all busy at once. Notebook preparations for Pembroke At the end of the evening, we had all the cross-members in place, and dropped the tops back on for a photo-op and some measurements. The photo below is from the same south-end vantage point as the Facebook photo from last week ( The focal length is completely different, which makes the distance seem greater in the model, but you can see that the elevations are going to work pretty well once the second layer of roadbed is on. You can also see that I’ve had to straighten the curve substantially to keep the world inside my basement, and I chickened out on the grade too. The long module, partly built We got a late start, and Julian wasn’t able to make it, but even so, it’s fabulous to see this layout starting to come together again. Next time, we’ll finish putting this section together, and then it’s on to the corner piece.


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