Well, I took the plunge, and finally ordered a photo backdrop for all of the Onondaga Cutoff!
After extensive research online and discussing with other layout owners, I decided to work with Backdrop Warehouse (backdropwarehouse.com) due to the quality of their base photographs and their ability to allow a 'mockup' on their website so that I could roughly see how things would come together. The backdrop will run over about 90 feet of existing Masonite. I chose scenes that blend in with photographs of the area, and compared that to the Google Earth street views as necessary.
I decided to call the printer directly, using the number on the site, and spoke with Neil several times to get the order put together the way I needed it. He was able to build transitions for me between scenes based on actual photographs and it will add tremendously to the atmosphere in the layout space. The lead time is several weeks - I will update this blog with entries on installation here soon. Exciting developments!
While we await the arrival of the new backdrop, I have taken time to work with Jack to finalize the track layout on the Cazenovia Industrial Track. Once it was set, I glued the track in place and installed all the wiring needed to power it up.
Here above we have the west switch for the runaround track. I used old, beat-up switches I had in my scrap box for this project, and glued the track directly to the painted plywood. This will be buried in mud and ballast in spots, suggesting an old and lesser-maintained piece of railroad.
Using older switches saved me a lot of money and also allowed me to model track that has seen better days. In this photo the switch is installed and weathered with Rail Brown spray paint. After this photo was made, I used a Caboose Industries ground throw with the built-in single-pole double-throw electrical contacts, so that I could power the frog. Slow speed means more potential for stalls, so extra work is needed to prevent that.
This view above shows the main line up to the left, looking east towards Fayetteville, and the industrial track coming out beneath it. Once the new backdrop is up, scenery here can begin in earnest, especially since all track is now in place. It was a nice change of pace to get back to track laying. After 8 years, there isn't too much more track to lay!
This is a view looking the other direction at the same spot. The switch to the left will be the spur for a scrap and recycling dealer. A photo backdrop will greatly enhance this location.
Staying busy laying track and dropping feeders for each rail has filled a week already, and will be work I am glad is done once the backdrop arrives. I am looking forward to the dramatic change that a photo backdrop can provide. Get ready for a big upgrade on the Onondaga Cutoff!