But how about something a lot more visual? See where things were at the beginning of the previous year and where they are today? I really wish I'd thought to do this all along - especially during the huge build-out of the layout that occurred over an 18-month period from February 2015 through the summer of 2016. Comparing before and after photos from that time shows a lot of dramatic progress as I doubled the size of the layout, adding the Shoreline and the line from Old Saybrook all the way up to Middletown(!)
But since the first shake-down session on the "completed" railroad (at least as far as trackwork was concerned), progress on the layout itself has been a bit less dramatic. But there's still visual/scenic progress being made.
So first, here are some photos taken near the beginning of 2019 (and I'll follow-up with a complete photo tour of the layout's status as of this week).
|Valley Coal - just track and a couple of structures.|
|Wethersfield - Cape Cod house done, but John's house is still a mockup.|
|Looking south toward Church Street from Jordan Lane. Gra-Rock is just a mockup.|
|I'd just started laying additional foundation (plywood) for the Rt. 15 overpass and decided to redo some of the terrain in the process.|
|Essex, looking north|
|Deep River, looking north|
And here's where things are as of today - you'll see some familiar scenes, some of which have changed a lot for the better! There are a lot of photos, but they cover the whole layout (except staging) and will provide a nice baseline for when I do this comparison this time next year.
Don't forget, you can always click on a photo for a larger view. And for more information on any particular area, be sure to check out the "Topics" list on the right side of the page.
|End of the Berlin Branch at East Berlin, CT. All major structures in as well as backdrop & base scenery|
|Panning left, we see the Rt. 15 overpass and part of Wethersfield.|
|Wethersfield, including John Wallace's house completed.|
|Panning left and looking south toward Valley Coal. Gra-Rock building is done and waiting for surrounding scenery.|
|Valley Coal - some base scenery is in, but still need to do the backdrop.|
|Goff Brook area of Rocky Hill, just south of the Wethersfield line. With the pouring of the water, this scene is definitely at a level of "done-ness"|
|Continuing south around the end of the peninsula, we come into the Rocky Hill station area, which was one of the first areas to get full treatment (except for backdrop).|
|Continuing south into Cromwell, this area - like so many during 2019 - gained a bunch of buildings courtesy Bill Maguire.|
|Connecticut River lowlands area between Cromwell and Middletown - shot mostly in hopes this area will see big improvement in 2020.|
|North end of Middletown|
|Panning left toward the south, we see more of Middletown, including the Airline diamond.|
|South end of Middletown. There'd be almost nothing here were it not for BillM.|
|Continuing south, we see Davis Lumber with the old Hartford Rayon mockup in the background.|
|Further south of Middletown, we cross the scenic highlight of the line - the high bridge in the Shailerville section of Haddam. This scene (like Rocky Hill) courtesy Bill Schneider.|
|Panning right (south) we see the hill at Camp Bethel. Per the prototype, there will be a couple of Methodist camp meeting cottages on top of the hill here. East Haddam is in the distance.|
|Continuing south from Deep River, we head around the end of the peninsula towards Essex.|
|All these structures/bridges stored here are surplus - so let me know if you see anything you're interested in!|
You can just start to make out Essex as we head south into town.
|Comparing this scene to the same shot from last year, you can tell what a dramatic difference the Dickinson warehouse has made.|
|Finally - the wye at Saybrook Junction and the famed NYNH&H Shoreline route. Scenery & structures courtesy BillS.|
|Looking west along the Shoreline.|
|The west end of the Shoreline (return loop) is now under the Air Line which is heading northeast (toward us) from Cedar Hill yard in New Haven.|
|Looking northeast along the Air Line.|
|Continuing northeast toward Middletown, the Air Line goes through the first of two fictional towns along the way. This is Somerset.|
|Southwest view of the town of Somerset|
|The second of two fictional towns along the Air Line - This is the south end of Mill Hollow.|
|You can just about make out the entire town of Mill Hollow in this northeast view.|
|Mill Hollow, looking west.|
|Southwest view of Mill Hollow|
As I said, there's a lot of photos here, but I thought it'd be nice for you to see the layout in its entirety - warts and all. And it's especially nice for me to have a baseline against which to measure any progress I make in any of these areas during 2020.
Hopefully this time next year the "Layout Status" photos will look a lot different than they do today!