The guard changes: Old test track gone, meet the new test track

Posted by Bob Keller
on Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A 2008 photo of the CTT test track we had used since about 1998. The inner loops had been removed by this time and many O-72 locomotives could, in fact, be run on the O-54 track. I would love to once again have the problem of too many locomotives waiting to be reviewed!

When I arrived at CTT nearly 22 years ago, the way locomotives were tested was to connect a ring of O-72 track on the Model Railroader workshop floor and test away.

This was far from perfect, but the guys at MR didn't want to surrender the space to us for a fixed layout. When our previous editor arrived, I made the case for a fixed test track and I got my wish. I brought in my original "adult" layout from home (roughly 5x9), we carpeted it, and installed O-54, O-31, and S gauge loops on it. O-72 gear that couldn't run on our O-54 track (yes such things are possible) were tested on my home layout.

The test track was heavy, but it could be moved. It needed to be disassembled and you needed four bodies to do it. But it beat the heck out of sitting on the floor with a train and a ZW and have a tour group walk in and someone say "Oh, you're the guy who gets to play with trains all day."

Demobilized and dumpster bound.

Eventually, with Model Railroader Video Plus taking up so much workshop time, a lighter and more mobile (one or two person) layout replaced it. It lacked O-54 curves, but it was a good track plan and one could run two locomotives on it if you wished. The previous test track went into the dumpster.

This morning I stripped the last of the usable gear off of the "new" old test track and it will probably be in the dumpster by days end. 

Replacing it is a very nice layout done totally by Model Railroader Video Plus, with former CTT staffer Kent Johnson, now a video producer, in the lead. 

You'll see more in the magazine and video on MRVP in the future.

It was a bit sad, but I'll probably be running a test on the new layout next week. Time does move on. Sniffle.

The new test track will be carry on the spirit of the old layout, mainly because it uses the same legs and casters!!

On November 30th I did the first locomotive test on the new layout. The subject was an MTH RailKing US Air Force SW8 (marked for the Titan program). The diesel will be reviewed in our March issue.

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