Bruce Carpenter

How Long it Took to Build the BNSF Model Railway

Bruce Carpenter
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If you’re planning a layout, then setting realistic goals is usually a must in order not to suffer (too much) frustration and anxiety along the way! However, everyone’s expectations and work ethic are different. And so it was when Bruce Carpenter planned to have his huge 25′ x 62′ HO layout operational in just six months.

In his continuing interview with Bruce, MRA’s Allen Keller is incredulous that he would set what seems to be such an un-realistic goal—and then meet it! We hear how Bruce had been dreaming of building a layout since he read his first Model Railroader magazine as a youth, and years later started designing his layout two years before he had a house to put it in.

But designing the house and layout continued in tandem; even some modules like his highly detailed Chillicothe River bridge crossing were finished a year before the house was built.

Puttering with the footprint and carefully planning the design over that time to accommodate the type of operations he envisioned obviously paid off, so that when the basement was finished Bruce and his friends could move into the layout construction phase quickly and efficiently. Starting operations on such a large scale within half a year would not normally be recommended, but Bruce’s BNSF layout is a reminder that there’s an exception to every rule—providing you plan carefully and proceed efficiently.

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