Saturday, December 7, 2013

This Might Be Taking Things Too Far...

Several years ago I contributed an article to the O&WRHS web site that shared some photos of the scrap crews tearing up the tracks in Livingston Manor in 1958, the year after the O&W ceased operations. Continuing my attempt at modeling the O&W as accurately as possible (!?), I will very soon be emulating these images.

Well, OK, I hadn't exactly planned it that way, but...

I started construction on my O&W layout more than fifteen years ago now. Family needs now require that the spare room (well, the formerly spare room...) in which it has been housed be converted for other uses. While this is a bit bittersweet to be sure, as Jason pointed out to me recently, I have been able to do something that many modelers never get to do. namely, actually build a layout and bring it to a fairly high level of completion, so I really can't complain. I've even been lucky enough to have the layout featured in several magazines and have photos published in a couple of books. Most importantly, through the construction and operating of this layout I have been introduced to many great people and have formed several lasting friendships that will continue even after the trains have stopped running.

As for the physical layout itself, well, it's not all bad news. One of those above-mentioned friends plans to use sections of it to get a jump start on a layout project that he has been planning on and off for a while. The locomotives and some of the equipment will go into storage waiting for the next project, but I firmly believe that they would be better off operating somewhere rather than just collecting dust in a box. As a result, some of the freight cars will be turning a wheel on some local layouts like those being built by friends and operators Randy Hammill and Chris Adams.

I'll continue to build models. In fact, this will free up some time to complete numerous locos and cars that I offered to build to the RPI club (how do I get myself into these things?). As for the future of this blog, I'm hoping that it will morph into more of a general prototype and O&W and prototype modeling blog including submissions from other like-minded modelers.

As for my own layout projects, I'll probably spend a few years scheming about what I might be able to fit... somewhere... sometime... and I'll probably build a diorama or two just to keep my hands dirty. Also, I'll continue to operate on other layouts as I am invited and able. So, to (probably mis-) quote Winston Churchill:

"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. 
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Finally, thanks are due to everybody who has been interested in my efforts over the years, and to my incredibly supportive family and my wife, Theresa, who have allowed me both the space and the time to build and enjoy this layout.



  1. Bill -

    I didn't suggest this earlier to you, but you can always look at some of the ideas at the late Carl Arendt's Micro/Small Layouts for Model Railroads website at:



  2. Bill,

    While I have never seen your layout in person your photos and articles over the years have always been an inspiration. I am sure I speak for many in saying the upcoming demolition of your layout will be a loss to the hobby. However it is nice to read you look at this situation as the next step in a journey to something new. Best of luck in the future and thanks for sharing your craftsmanship and photographic skills. I very much look forward to seeing what you build next.



    Gerard J. Fitzgerald
    Charlottesville, Virginia

  3. Bittersweet indeed, Bill. Best wishes as you move forward, and thanks for sharing the Old Woman in the Back Bedroom with all of us!


  4. That comparison photo of Livingston Manor - prototype & model - is worth a million words. Not only for the obvious taking-up-the-rail, but as just a small but powerful example of what you were able to accomplish on this layout (and an inspiration for what I hope someday to accomplish on mine). Every element, every structure is there - you can hardly notice any difference between the two photos. And all done in a mere, what, 2x9'?! Truly remarkable in every way. I'll miss the O&W, but appreciate so much your taking so much time to share your modeling, philosophy, and techniques with us!

  5. Bill,
    Very sad to see the Old & Weary following it's prototype into the history books. Several years ago I had to make a move to a two bedroom apartment and that is when I was introduced "N" scale Hollow Core Door layouts. Having been a HO modeler my entire life, I found trying a new scale reinvigorated my hobby interest. Something to keep in the back of your mind and the best thing with HCD layouts is they can be stored under beds. Best of luck in your future modeling and looking forward to future "New, Young, Out & Working" Blog updates.

    Rich S.

  6. Hello Bill,

    what ballast did you use for the grey track beds, please?
    They look so realistic. Or did you paint them with an airbrush?
    I wrote you a couple of E-Mails during the last months but I think they did not make it to you.


  7. Hi Stephan. Sorry for the late reply but the last month or so have been a challenge...

    For most of the ballast on the main tracks I used Woodland Scenics fine cinders - here

    On some of the sidings I experimented with Highball Products Z-scale cinders which are much finer and a little lighter - here

    The darker Woodland Scenics ballast did lighten up over the years (dust?!) and in the end I was happy with the appearance of both.


    1. Thank you for letting me know. My own O&W project is still in planning progress...

  8. Hi Bill,

    is there anything about the Livingston Manor track plan that you would change if you had the chance to start all over?


  9. I am sad to see the O W in the Back bedroom has gone. I miss the original website for the Old Woman layout. I used to look at the trackplan and layout pictures frequently. What was the original website name? I desire to look it up on the internet archive - just want to catalog it for memory sake. thanks for sharing the Old Woman with us all!

  10. I just saw this update - in 2017. Im proud to say I helped contribute to the "Old Woman in the back Bedroom" back in 2002, when I designed the diode based switching for your signal lights. I hope my minor contribution served you well, and I wish you the best of luck.