Time to start the ball rolling.
I'm Paul Race, living near Springfield, Ohio. I've been involved in Large Scale railroading since the 1980s and have been writing about it nearly that long. Needless to say, I've see a lot of changes over the years, but I still believe in the hobby and this web page is one way I hope to keep it going and growing.
After sixteen years of operating a retaining-wall-and-dirt railroad that required constant, almost overwhelming maintenance, including two major restoration efforts, we moved. The NEW New Boston and Donnels Creek Rail Road is being built entirely above ground, using ground-rated lumber throughout. I've been using it as a "proof of concept" for raised platform railroads, which require much less maintenance and are often cheaper to build than traditional retaining-wall-and-dirt railroads that are similar in size and height.
Here's the original RR:
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This photo is from the "left" end looking toward the "right" end.
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This photo is from the middle looking toward the "left" end.
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I love a dogbone railroad, the effect of the train going away and coming back. Over the years, I had up to three cities with turn-of-the-last century buildings, and lots of figures and other accessories. I also had two open RRs for the National Garden Railway Conventions in Cincinnati, and nine Christmas-themed open railroads with additional trains for kids to run, etc.
But my gravel-in-a-trench section became a roller coaster after burrowing critters starting using it as an underground ROW, so I pulled up the track and gravel and replaced it with concrete. In addition, the railroad ties I used to frame the "back" of the railroad (from the visitor's viewpoint) began disintegrating, and needed replaced. And in the meantime, each time I was going to have folks over, I had to spend a week weeding, even in places I had placed barriers just a year earlier.
Part of that was that, by the sheer nature of the design, I had dirt a lot of places where I didn't really need dirt, like under the cities, and under much of the track. So a design that puts dirt only where you need it was also a priority for the next railroad.