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The SLF is my second attempt to model something of the railways of Italy in N scale during the period referred to by European modelers as Era IV (or to be more precise, Era IV, Period a; the 1970s). I was first introduced to model railroading in 1976 when I was a new USAF recruit. Early on, I moved from HO to N and shortly thereafter decided to follow Italian (and Swiss) prototypes.

The previous layout was started in the late Eighties while I was stationed at Scott AFB, Illinois. Both this layout and its predecessor were built following a concept for a "Bookshelf Layout" that was featured in the January and February 1977 issues of Model Railroader. The layout survived a transfer to Kirtland AFB, New Mexico where I installed it in an extra room in my Government-assigned quarters. From left to right, the layout consists of a 48" terminal section, a 32"-square corner, a 48" straight-through section, and a 48" loop section.

This design followed the published concept by using "C" shaped structural members positioned every 16" to correspond with standard U.S. wall stud spacing. Metal shelf standards are screwed through the wall into the studs. A standard aluminum shelf bracket is attached to each "C" member that allows the section to be suspended from the wall.

The bottom of the "C" cradles the layout. The top supports a useful 10" deep shelf that also doubles as a ceiling for the layout and a valance for small light fixtures. The back of the "C" makes for a good place to fasten hardboard and "plant" a backdrop.

Due to its portability, I was able to take the layout "on the road." The SLF has appeared at Great American Train Shows in both Albuquerque and St. Louis, placing as high as 2nd overall.

See what's in the works for the New SLF!

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