For quite some time there has been a vague-ish idea bouncing around on the inside of my skull about connecting Dolton Industry Park / Dolton Junction and Illinook Industry Park up together. But the track arrangements on the two layouts has been a major stumbling block to doing that.

Until now.

Last night there was a Eureka type moment, when the way to connect them all up became apparent, and after some experimenting on paper with the various ideas using the scale templates of the garage and the layouts,

Today I spent most of the day reconfiguring Dolton / Dolton Junction by…

  • Adding a curved module
  • Making a dropdown bridge
  • Adding some feeder wires to Dolton Junction so it would still work!
  • And moving Dolton / Dolton Junction and Illinook around according to the plan.

And this is the result.

Above : Dolton, Dolton Junction and Illinook in their new positions and configurations.

The dropdown bridge is easy to see in the photo as is the curved module. The curved module is designed to be used either with the dropdown bridge or connected directly to the Dolton module without the dropdown bridge.

Illinook was not connected up to Dolton Junction today, but it is now in the right position to be connected – all that needs to be done is to add a turnout and track to the “west” end of Dolton Junction to connect to the end of Illinook. This will allow the two layouts to share Dolton Junction as a sort of “staging” module where trains can be made up and switched around.

Above: Dropdown bridge, in the up (operating) position.

The following benefits will result from the two layouts being connected up together:

  • Both layouts become one layout.
  • The larger layout becomes multi-operator friendly.
  • Indiana Harbour Belt (IHB), Chessie (B&O / C&O), Burlington Northern (BN) and Chicago and South Western (C&NW) trains will all be able access Illinook and Dolton industry parks from various locations around Chicago, Illinois! Trains can run onto Illinook instead of being “staged” there. More operating interest.

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