As I prepared for last week’s trip to Austin for the NMRA Lone Star Region’s annual convention, I mentioned my plans on my blog – and Gene Deimling reminded me that one of the layouts on the tour was the superb Proto:48 layout being built by Jim Zwernemann. I immediately made plans to visit – and I’m so glad I did.
Jim is well known in the Proto:48 community for his beautiful scratch-built freight cars. He’s also an accomplished structure builder.
What he has not been until relatively recently is a layout builder – but he decided that he needed a place to showcase his work. And what a beautiful showcase it is. Jim is modelling a general theme featuring two transition-era prototypes: the Southern Pacific’s Texas & New Orleans, and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas. The layout features a single-track mainline that hugs the walls of a 30′ x 25′ space, with a peninsula in the middle to provide some additional switching opportunities. Jim’s workshop is located in a room-within-the-room, in the centre of the layout space.
As the photos show, the layout is still very much under construction – but the pieces that are finished are excellent:
While all of Jim’s work is lovely, I was particularly impressed by his scratch-built model of the MKT’s freight terminal in downtown Austin:
This structure would make a terrific anchor for a shelf-style switching layout.
O scale has always been my favourite – even though I currently model in S, and have never built a layout in 1:48. But I do love the presence of the equipment and the massiveness of O scale structures. Visiting Jim’s layout has me thinking again about how I could fit an O scale layout in my space. I don’t intend to move from S – not in the foreseeable future. But I may tackle some O scale designs purely as a planning exercise.
Thanks, Jim, for opening your layout to the convention. It was great to meet you and well worth the trip!