After Ramon's visit last weekend, I decided to do a better job of sketching out what a full expansion of the PoLA layout into the rest of my basement would look like. I took Trevor's advice and laid off the coffee too. That drawing is on the right. On the left is the plan for the final version of the Aquia Line. Once this next book is done I will take a breather and decide what I want to work on next. Time for a model railroad deathmatch!
In the left corner is the USMRR Aquia Line. Weighing in after 7 and a half years of on and off work, the layout is essentially finished from Brooke to Falmouth. It is fully functional. With just a few more freight cars it could do some simple op sessions. It has been featured in Model Railroad Planning and Model Railroad Video Plus. Hundreds of people have visited it and many have taken a train over it.
In the right corner is the upstart challenger, PoLA. I completed the Mormon Island portion in less than one years time. It is fully operational and showcases some of the magnificent RTR cars and engines produced by today's model manufacturers. It is an excellent test bed for new Alkems Scale Model products for HO modern era modelers. In it current form, it offers plenty of industrial switching. It has already hosted several op sessions despite its young age. I plan to operate it in ProRail 2018. So it needs to survive at least that long.
What to do next? If I proceed on the Aquia Line, then the next step is to start laying the track at Aquia Landing and building some freight cars. I have been looking forward to building the Landing for a long time. I saved it for last, as I knew it would keep me motivated to finish the layout.
If I want to take PoLA further, I would build Phase II as shown the diagram. That essentially occupies the area where Aquia Landing would be. Given that the benchwork is already done, and it is a very simple track plan, using flex track and ready-to-run turnouts, building Phase II would not take that long. The ship and cranes would be the most difficult part of the job. I have been wanting to build a really big ship model and the container ship on PoLA Phase II would scratch that itch.
Perhaps a hybrid approach is the answer. That would entail building PoLA phase II next, operate it for a few years until I retire. Then salvage it and finish Aquia Landing as my retirement project. Or, if I find I like the PoLA more, then scrap the Aquia Line and build PoLA Phase III. Either way it will be a lot of fun.
Before you comment, think about what Marcello Mastroianni once told Sophia Loren, "never cry for something that cannot cry for you."