I’ve always loved trains, and growing up overseas in China where we frequently rode the train only fueled the obsession. I’ve had two false starts at building model railroads before, and now I’m onto my third effort. Hopefully I’ve solved the problems the first two suffered from.Model railroad #1 was started between the summer of my eighth and ninth grade year in school, and was never completed past the basic track stage with a little plaster scenery. I was mainly hampered by lack of funds (spending my life savings of 300 bucks still didn’t get very far) and I tried to stuff too much railroad (modeling in HO scale) into too small of a space.Model Railroad #2 was started in the spring of 2004, and I switched to N Scale to solve some of the space problems, but I decided to go with snaptrack (Kato’s Unitrack) and hated the way it turned out in photos. I also bit off more than I could chew with a massive 9’x5′ footprint that meant you couldn’t reach any part of the layout and was impossible to move, and I was constantly hampered by my tendency (with modeling) to build things too quickly, not plan very well, all part of the mad rush to get it DONE.This effort, my third, will address the funds part, the space part, the biting-off-more-than-I-can-chew part, the poor planning and high speed construction parts, and the looks part, all in one. Whew.I’ve been following Tim Warris’ two excellent blogs, the Port Kelsey Railway and the Bronx Terminal and in the process he introduced me to his concept of hand laying track using metal machined jigs, which he’s since turned into a business called Fast Tracks. I’ve always loved the look of hand laid track (for those that aren’t familiar, the main differences are the guard rails, frog section, and the points which give away tha the track is a model) but figured it would be well beyond my modeling skills for quite some time. Tim convinced me through his tutorials and videos that I could maybe do it, so I ponied up, bought a kit, and decided it would be part of the fun in building a very small portable shelf layout (1 foot by 4 feet to start).I’ve got some pictures of some of the progress I’ve made over the last few weeks which I’ll put up here soon.