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Cuyahoga tenth anniversary


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Remarkably it is now ten years since 'Cuyahoga' my Nickel Plate Railroad layout first appeared in public. Based on the Cuyahoga Flats area of Cleveland Ohio where the Cuyahoga river meets Lake Erie it was an attempt to capture an area where industry, the lake and the railroad meet. I had always wanted to construct a Nickel plate railroad layout since I first read John Rehor's 'The Nickel Plate Story' book as a teenager and had had a go in various scales from H0 up to gauge 1 without success.


The plan was for the layout to make its debut at Zedex 2008, which that year was away from its usual Oxfordshire base and was instead at Northampton. Approaching the show it was touch and go if it would be ready and to be honest it was a bit too raw for my own liking but it ran well and people seemed to like it. The rolling stock as a bit of a mish-mash as it was all I had at the time and the future coach servicing area had to be done as a container terminal to fill the space


Looking very bare!



Guest operator Colin Burns finds his way around the trackplan. At this stage the control panel had a paper front!




Constant development continued and it started to clock up a large number of show appearances on the U.K model railway circuit even continuing to get bookings after my other two layouts 'Shasta' and 'Republic Steel' came online.  Appearances in Z-Track and  Continental Modeller magazines followed and it has featured a lot on my youtube channel and on many of the Z forums



The principal improvements were the development of the high line that runs along the divider between the visible part of the layout and the hidden sidings, the carriage servicing facility and more and more detail everywhere I could think of. The track plan has stayed pretty consistent throughout with Marklin turnouts at the rear and Peter Wright turnouts on the visible section with a couple of Marklin double slips in the dock area. The rest of the track is Peco Streamline and to be honest nobody notices the more European tie spacing at shows. Power was supplied by Marklin Controllers although the Universal power pack that operates all my layouts now has switchable DCC to both inner and outer circuits.





More soon



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Cuyahoga has three main running tracks, the two main lines and the inner Dock track and the dock and Roundhouse area itself can operate independently. This means there is always something moving although we find at shows that the chance to do any switching in the docks is pretty rare as we always seem to be talking to the public and answering their questions.4WGXSXH.jpg


The stock for the layout has grown exponentially since it first went out. Picking up MTL,AZL and Marklin U.S outline isn't easy in the U.K but a certain online website and helpful dealers in the USA has meant I have a wide selection to take to shows. The advent of 3D printing, laser cut and resin casting has allowed me to build up a selection of previously difficult models that would have required scratchbuilding.  The most important thing was to achieve a balanced, authentic and plausible variety in keeping with the era and area. The NKP was one of the last users of main line steam in the U.S and this is reflected in the mix of Mikados and Pacifics and early GP diesels.




Another thing that causes interest at shows is the selection of boats in the harbour. These are a mix of 1/220th and 1/200th plastic kits although some are a bit too modern  really. A 1960s Tug has just been completed and the plan is to retro the marine fleet back when time permits. I'm gradually picking up more of Laszlo's superb Pewter cast 1950-60s American cars to make the road scene more authentic




All of the components for the layout travel in custom built flight cases, The two baseboards, lighting rig, Control panel and power pack. The boats are separate and travel in a box with the removable building s off the high line. These also store these items when not in use out in the layout shed and this has definitely contributed to the layout look as fresh as it does. The only thing that has needed sprucing up was the water in the harbour which has had a couple of fresh coats of varnish to bring back the sparkle.



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Recently with the completion of Republic Steel it is now possible to run them together and the high line starts to make sense. The ground level tracks are not connected but the High line for the blast furnace can be switched from a spur on Cuyahoga. It is however a real effort to set them both up and fill them with stock at a show so appearances in this form will be few.





So it was fairly obvious that this was the layout to take to Zedex 2018. It will be at the Abingdon venue October 14th for its tenth anniversary show





Video of Cuyahoga and Republic together at Accrington show






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