There seems to be an American layout at every show these days. Perhaps not surprising, as the quality of the models, and the value for money, is high. I started modelling American ‘N’ about 15 years ago as the models coming out of the USA were of much better quality than the early UK offerings.
There was some USA stock on the second-hand stalls. I came away with an early Kato F3B. I will repaint it in Lehigh Valley colours, and will be happy even if it is a poor runner. I want it to run between an RS2 and an RS11 Alco, so it could just as well be a unpowered unit. I was relieved when one trader sold his new Kato Illinois Central E8A+B and 11 or so coaches. I added up the price for all four bits of the train and decided I couldn’t justify buying it – but kept going back for another look. The VIA blue and yellow version that replaced it on the stand was nice, but not as beautiful as the chocolate and orange IC train.
But back to the layouts. This simple module is an essay in understatement, and so realistic.
The main American layout was an N-trak circuit. This three-track module system has been connected to the N-club modules some years, but this time it was an independent display. This allowed a little super-power to be on display, with five units heading a 150 car goods train.
But my favourite layout was a Canadian Pacific based model, logically situated on the Canadian Pacific coast. This ticked all the boxes for me. It had a simple design, with long narrow modules, plain scenery but with well modelled focal points – look for the bear, the afters from a train crash, the wood chipping plant and the bridges and causeway below.
But best of all was the working car float, that moved through real water to take cars from one bank to the other of the bay.