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Visiting Alex Bogaski

Back in August, after visiting Scott Lister, I made a trip over to see Alex Bogaski and operate on his layout. Alex is modeling Farmrail “South End of the Grainbelt” for his small 11' X 10'6" L shaped switching layout.

The layout is based on the Farmrail/Grainbelt System in Frederick, Oklahoma. It has come a long way in the past two years since I first wrote about it in a blog back in May, 2020. Check out that blog to see his track plan. The layout is now essentially complete, with scenery and structures.

Alex is moving to a new home before the end of the year and I really wanted to operate on his layout before he took it down. Layouts don’t last forever. Your modeling goals change, life changes, and unexpected events happen, all of which all impact on a model railroad. That is one of the advantages of having a smaller layout like Alex does, it has the possibility to be moved if you want to keep it, or if you decide to build something else, you don’t feel like you have lost several years of work.

During our ops session one car needs to be picked up from the fertilizer facility. The Farmer's Co-op grain elevator is in the background.

After meeting his family, Alex and I had an informal operating session on his layout. The layout lived up to my expectations, lots of fun to operate and very realistic. We picked up and set out several cars, and crossing the WT&J “main line” track added an extra step when switching the industries. Before crossing the other railroads line, you have to stop, blow the horn, and then after checking it is clear, proceed across the diamonds. This is exactly what the prototype does. Following a few of the prototype procedures and steps adds time to an ops session without building more structures or adding track.

Above is the crossing with the WT&J and the interchange track on the left. Lots of open spaces immediately lets you know you are in Oklahoma. The water tower is a signature scene on the prototype.

Alex did a great job designing his layout. He did not fall into the trap of trying to include too much. He has plenty of “negative space”, which is abundant in Oklahoma and makes the layout look prototypical.

Alex still has some sidings that he needs to add to his N scale layout, but it is operational and a fun layout to switch.

While I was visiting Alex showed me his latest project, an N scale layout. It was still in the “rough” stage of construction, but we were able to hold a short ops session and switch some cars. The benefit to this layout is that it is easily portable and can be moved to his new house, giving him a layout to operate on while he contemplates his next one. This type of N scale switching layout would be ideal for someone that does not have a lot of room to build a layout. It could be placed on one wall in a common room or bedroom, still leaving lots of space for other furniture and uses.

I had a great visit with Alex and his family. That is one of the best parts of the hobby, meeting other model railroaders and sharing a common passion for trains.

Until next time, stay safe and keep model railroading.

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