Happy New Year!!! I have started again in earnest on the layout during the cold weather months. With house prices higher than a kite in March, we are going to sit tight for now. I am going ahead with the design for the new place; and Bob will start on that plan at the end of the month. But, for now, a few modifications have been made to the existing plan. We revised the Zeigler 4 footprint to more represent the prototype; although it still requires a hole piercing the wall into the shop.

The layout plan has been updated. We added the siding that used to be the joint CB&Q and MP/CEI access to Zeigler 4 back in the day…but all that remained was two or three tracks if I remember correctly. Those tracks went across the old West Frankfort/Johnston City Road and were frequently blocked at night. I think a fatal motorcycle accident happened at this site where an unsuspecting rider hit a stopped coal train across the tracks here back in the mid-1970’s. We won’t be replicating that, however I did go with a lap siding setup to allow for a 20 car train to be ran around and shoved in from behind…into the prep plant tail tracks. This is the way I have always wanted it…and Bob and I will include these operations in the updated plan which will allow full scale length (or close) of West Frankfort and the related tracks to the mines; as well as perhaps an operating Benton Junction with MP Chicago-Texas Traffic running through that interlocking.

It turned off cold so I was unable to get more legs setup for my layout as I am building it with the heights in the plan. I am planning on having this thing running around April…as I have made up my mind for once and am pressing ahead with this plan. It’s too nice to just not build it and wait. I want to run some coal trains, too. And, I would love to see Bob’s creation in full swing. Check out the new updated lower level with the relocated Zeigler 4 tracks.

COVID continues to dominate work and I am now temporarily reassigned to another facility to help out while they vet the successor. It’s a huge challenge and takes up my off days as well as my work days. I hope to be back at my original facility near the end of the Month. Just in time for February. Please take precautions out there and wear your masks until its’ deemed safe to go without. We have lost quite a few friends and acquaintances; as well as my friends have suffered great losses in their immediate families. This stuff is no joke.

The southern half of the layout has been let go of…and all stuff that went with that area has been sold off. The proceeds will go towards the new plan and having custom Micro Engineering curved switches built to complete the trackage on this plan. I am really excited for the first time in many many years.

I wish all of you health, prosperity, peace in 2022. I am going to finally take charge of my health and get it squared away. It’s time to hit the bike trails again (not right now…it’s too cold; even for me) this year. I’ll spend the winter training indoors and lifting weights here.

I’ll build some engines and hopefully be running trains soon. I will be able to post videos here and links to my YouTube site when the lines are up and running. Soon, you’ll be able to watch train 409 switch Zeigler four in 4K!!

Happy New Year once again…We will see you next month.

Categories: Uncategorized

Thomas Austin

I am a Southern Illinois Native. I am a fan of nostalgia, and the history of Southern Illinois. Model Railroading has been a large part of my life; and it helps serve that interest. Through this interest I have learned much about the region; the people; and the industries that gave us all hope of building a life beyond our formal education. Small Towns in the Midwest built this nation...and this site aims to share that fact with the world.

1 Comment

Bill Waterhouse · January 2, 2022 at 11:50 pm

Hi Tom,
I’ve been following you for sometime and look forward to your updates.
Sounds like you have really got some momentum, keep up the good work.
Good to hear you are also focussed on your health. I appreciate in your part of the world it is not the time to be outside for long periods of time so it must be hard to stay healthy.

Regards from Queensland Australia
Bill Waterhouse
Take care.
Regards from Queensland Australia
Bill Waterhouse

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