2017 Highlights & 2018 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 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 they give 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 2017 dawned . . .

Goals for 2017
  • 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
So, how'd I do?
  • The Saybrook Scene is still where it was this time last year; however, I did install fascia curtains.
  • The Berlin Branch is operational - including the bridge - and even has a few mockup structures.
  • Layout construction is "pretty much" done - all the feeders and cab bus got finished. But I still need to install masonite behind the Airline/above the West End Loop and extend the Saybrook scene "east" past the doorway - maybe . . .
  • WRT the Wethersfield scene - ugh. I've made progress - thanks in HUGE part to BillS and DaveM (more on that below). But it's still no where near finished.
  • Class J-1 2-8-2 #3022 still sits where it did this time last year. <sigh>

HOWEVER - I will STILL claim 2017 a success since, though I didn't accomplish all (or even most) of my stated goals for the year, I DID still make a lot of progress in other areas:
So, what's up for 2018?
  • Finish Wethersfield
    • Gra-Rock building
    • John Wallace's house
    • Hartford Skyline backdrop
    • Rt. 15 Overpass
    • Photo backdrop, scenery & details
  • Finish Saybrook
    • Ballast track
    • Rt. 1 Overpass
    • Ford dealership & background/backdrop buildings
    • Signal bridges
    • Photo backdrop, final scenery & details
  • Finish East Berlin
    • Stan-Chem plant
    • Abandoned station
    • Photo backdrop, scenery & details
  • Finish Class J-1 2-8-2 #3022
    • Tender mods
    • Boiler detailing
    • Painting/weathering
    • Decoder install (Loksound steam?)
This is, of course, not an exhaustive list - there are MANY MANY other things to do on this layout (I haven't even begun to think of the line from Essex to East Haddam yet, not to mention south of Rocky Hill and to Middletown - ugh!) - but if I can look back next New Year's Day and see those 4 bullets above actually finished, that'll be a HUGE accomplishment.

In the meantime, I want to finish my B&O P-11 flatcar and continue with the ops sessions - especially since those sessions is where it all really boils down for me: getting together with my friends to run the railroad.

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, 2018 can't help but be successful.
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