THE POSTWAR LAYOUT
Following on my experience with the layouts at Sunrise Drive, I knew there would be a postwar layout as part of the new layout room. In this case, rather than taking floor space for it, I decided to have it as an upper level over an end of the high rail layout. It is not big, only eight feet on each side in an "L" shape and roughly 48 square feet. But on it there are seven 022 switches and six possible routes the train can take. Needles to say, it is fun to operate.
Everything is what a traditional postwar layout would have. O gauge track is used with Lionel lockons to bring power from an LW transformer. The control panel has lots of red and green lights from the 022 switch controllers as well as a variety of Lionel slide switches and control buttons. Scenery is simply painted onto the white side of the Celotex and grass sprinkled onto white glue. Accessories are a combination of postwar buildings, crossing gates, signals, etc. a selection of the postwar military and space accessories, and an assortment of more contemporary accessories from the cartoon figures of the mid '90s to more recent atomic reactors, aquarium, and shooting gallery. The idea is to have the layout fun to operate.
Another benefit of the postwar layout is that I can operate from my selection of early postwar cataloged sets that I have assembled. There are not a lot, but many of them had sliding shoes for coil couplers which rarely survive trips through Gar Graves switches. In addition, on this layout I don't have to worry about switching from Command Control and they run in the environment for which they were designed.
Even as it was on the Sunrise layout, the highlight of the layout for visitors is the firing of the rocket from the #175 rocket launcher, complete with spying the astronaut climbing the orange stairs and launching the helicopter from the Heliport so we can get photos for the rocket as it rushes downrange. When that excitement calms down, we have a group skills test to see who can blow up the ammunition dump in three tries. And lots of folks are quite surprised when the ammo dump actually does blow up!
This is the view of the Postwar layout you get when entering the train room.
A #218 Santa Fe 027 passenger set is just the right size to zip around on the O gauge curves.
Some of the new accessories are just too good to pass up. On the right is the beautiful aquarium with swimming fish in the windows and on the left the duck shooting gallery complete with sounds of the barker and shooters who can actually knock down the ducks. Great fun.
A #736 Berkshire, many people's favorite Lionel postwar era steamer, pulling set #2205WS from 1953. This was the transition era when Lionel started introducing new styles and more colorful cars. This great loco still smokes and whistles with the best of them.
Here is the postwar layout looking from the high rail layout. The freeway was Mary Jane's idea and proved to be the perfect transition between the two.
The Hot Rod diesel is a show in itself, with sounds of the motor revving, wheels burning through turns and breaks squealing. It is pulling an appropriate mix of Roadrunner, Pluto, Buggs Bunny and Donald Duck cars.
Here is another scene looking towards the Douglas terminal on the high rail layout. You can see some of the accessories as well as the traditional scenic approach used on the layout.
Wiley Coyote will never catch the Roadrunner and spoil his dinner of bird seed. But then on the cars, Pluto will always be chased by the mean cat while Buggs and Yosemite Sam never stop waving at each other.
The Santa Fe streamliner is always a passenger set people want to see on the layout.
Highlight for many visitors is the launch of the #175 rocket followed by the helicopter carrying a camera to catch the flight of the astronaut. But for some reason, adults seem to have less of a problem seeing the astronaut climbing the stairs on the launch tower to get into the capsule than do the youngsters. The younger generation is just too literal!
This is a view looking back at the postwar layout from the high rail layout.
HIGH RAIL LAYOUT
AMERICAN FLYER LAYOUT