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What's a Bellinadrop?

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OK, I can't fault anyone for not knowing what this is.  Here's the answer -- I used to have a very good friend named Jerry Bellina, who was one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet in the hobby.  Jerry was a brilliant guy -- He invented the Rail-Lynx command control system and held numerous patents for all kind of electronic devices and applications.  He was also a pioneer in the development of the Mushroom style layout, though most folks have never heard of him (There was a small article in Model Railroad Planning a few years ago written by Henry Freeman, you might have caught that).

Anyway, like I said Jerry had a mushroom layout with several short blobs in it.  The aisles were not especially wide and he had a problem with operators standing at the ends of the blobs while their trains ran down into them, circled back and ran up the into the next blob.  This blocked the aisle so it was hard for other operators to get through (on the opposite (outside) wall there was a long helper grade that snaked around the room and generated much walkaround traffic).  Jerry had a brilliant but simple idea -- he put up a backdrop at the end of the blob so you could not see into it from the outside aisle.  This had the desired effect of forcing the operators to move into the aisle between the blobs so they could see their train, and the outside aisle was thusly cleared.

Later I realized that the backdrop at the end of a blob made for a better and more concise transition between scenes on either side of a blob, and that it solved the problem of what to do at the end of a blob -- the scene on each side just ends.  A center backdrop that extends inside the end backdrop keeps operators from seeing across to the other side, so the scenes are separated well without a long run, and the operator has to walk around to the next scene to pick up his train.  You can read more about my ideas and philosophy on this by clicking here.

Sadly, a few years ago Jerry lost his longtime battle with Cancer.  There isn't a day that goes by I don't think of him fondly and wish he were still here (especially when I'm trying to figure out how to wire my layout -- Jerry we REALLY miss you).  And so we honor Jerry's memory and creativity by naming the backdrop at the end of the blob a Bellinadrop.

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