2016 Highlights, 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....
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?
Completed the rest of the trackwork (golden spike here)
And Old Saybrook is just about done - only an overpass and some additional details are left to do
Since we're still working on Saybrook, I haven't gotten to Wethersfield - not to mention Dividend or Cromwell
But I had NINE (count'em - 9!) operating sessions in 2016, including two in March alone!
And - BONUS! - I (and by "I" I mean mostly/almost all BillS) did the Shailerville Bridge scene, start to finish
New England ProtoMeet (the ProtoMeet formerly known as "Collinsville")
The Missus submitted a guest post (more to come in 2017)
Got into decoder programming (and discovered some sharp, pointy teeth down the rabbit hole)
And, one of the biggest highlights of all: Doing an entire layout, start to finish, in six weeks! Ok, it was only a Christmas diorama, but still...
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 class J-1 2-8-2 #3022
Detailing, painting, weathering
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.