Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 In Review - 2017 Goals


With the changing of the calendar comes the best opportunity to reflect, assess, and plan. This year is no exception, though with the so-called low hanging fruit of layout construction (mostly) done, future projects on the Valley Line promise to be a bit more involved, complicated, and slow-moving. But it's a hobby, not a job - thankfully - and that's all part of the fun. I actually look forward to these annual posts since it gives me an often-much-needed reminder of how far I've come (even while reminding me how far I still have yet to go). So, without any further ado, here's a look back and a look forward....

Here's where I started as 2016 dawned:

Goals for 2016
  • By June 1 (in time for the NE Proto Meet (formerly Collinsville)):
    • Finish the rest of the trackwork, including new "west end" staging yard as well as Essex/Deep River/East Haddam
    • Install the rest of the backdrops & fascia
    • Install the rest of the lighting
    • Have either Old Saybrook or Wethersfield "done" - backdrop, buildings, signals, scenery.
  • By December 31:
    • Have either Old Saybrook or Wethersfield "done" (whichever isn't done already)
    • At least start on Dividend and Cromwell, including the huge Hartford Rayon complex in Dividend.
    • Have at least 4 operating sessions over the course of the year.

So, how'd I do?
Some highlights
Some failures things to work on:
  • Still didn't get to many any of my large pile of freight car kits - though I DID do a "shake and take" boxcar that I started at Collinsville, oops, "Enfield."
  • Related to the above, I didn't spend much time at the bench. My J-1 2-8-2 project has languished on the back burner for at least over 3 years now (a search for a post on it came up empty, so I realized that that project predates this blog!)
Overall and all things considered, I'd call 2016 a resounding success for the Valley Line. Sure, I didn't get to a few things I'd set as goals for the year - but OTOH that was mostly, if not entirely, due to the fact that I ended up accomplishing different things that I hadn't planned on.

So, what's all this mean for 2017? Without going into the many punch list items there are to do, here's a list of the more major things I'd like to accomplish in the coming year:
  • Finish the Saybrook Scene
    • Rt 1 overpass
    • Ford dealership & background/backdrop buildings
    • Signal bridges (ugh - signaling?!)
  • Complete Berlin Branch for operations
    • Install bridge & finish trackwork/sidings
    • Buildings & scenery later
  • Truly and finally, finish layout construction
    • Masonite behind the Airline & above the west end loop
    • Extend Saybrook scene "east" past doorway
      • Install masonite backdrop & false wall/viewblock
  • Start/Finish the Wethersfield side of the peninsula
    • Finish Ballantine's and Wethersfield Lumber (been in medias res for about 2 yrs now)
    • Hartford skyline backdrop
    • John Wallace's house
    • Various minor buildings
  • Finish class J-1 2-8-2 #3022
    • Tender mods
    • Detailing, painting, weathering
    • Decoder install
This time next year, if I can report most/all of these things done I'll be very happy (and, frankly, not a little surprised). But as they say - "shoot for the stars and you'll at least hit the moon" or some such thing. Far too often, my reach exceeds my grasp - but with the help of my very generous and hard-working friends, I think we can get a lot of these items crossed off the list. So stay tuned!

Whether I get all - or even none of these things done though, at the end of the day this whole project is about spending time with those friends and sharing a hobby that drives - and sometimes consumes us. And as long as we have our health and some spare time to get down to the basement, 2017 can't help but be successful.

So here's wishing you and yours all the health and time you need to make your model railroad dreams come true - Happy New Year!

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