Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another new blog

I can't cover the construction of my next model railway on this blog so I've started a new one specifically about small model railway layouts for model railway exhibitions.
Its called Small Model Railways I hope you check it out.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Challenge worth taking?

At the Granite City Train show over the weekend I was challenged to re-create Wingetts recycling in 2-Rail O scale by a 2 Rail modeller there.
I have to admit to being sorely tempted by the idea. I like O scale. I like the size and the feel of the stock. They have a mass that HO scale models just don't have.
Whether I would re-create Wingetts or not is another thing. I wouldn't want to do something exactly the same. But a the idea of a small layout in O scale holds a great deal of fascination for me.
We'll see. I have to build something new for the Easter edition of the Granite City train show anyway.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What a day!

Well we did it!
We managed to go to the Granite City Train show, exhibit and return home all in the grip of a major winter storm.
We left home just before 7am, hoping that would give us plenty of time to get to the show and set up. We needn't have worried. It was still early in the storm and the wind was keeping the road clear of snow in the exposed areas. Though there were deep patches of snow where the road was sheltered by trees and buildings. We managed to make it to the exhibition hall in about 45 minutes only about 10 minutes longer than usual. Though when we got there I discovered that I had forgotten to bring the tripod that supports the fiddle yard. So I ended up building what can only be described as a Jenga tower of freight car boxes under the fiddle yard to give it some support. Apart from that, set up was a breeze and the layout operated very well indeed, which is the norm as regular readers of this blog will know.
Attendance at the show was lower than other years, not surprisingly, and a few other traders and exhibitors did not make the trip. But a lot of the regular usual faces were there and we got to meet and joke with several old friends again.
Another regular occurrence when attending this show is my appearance on AM 1240 W-JON, local radio, being interviewed by local personality Bob Hughes, talking about the layout I have bought along. I do my best to present a positive image of the hobby. I'm getting quite the veteran on local radio now!
With attendance being low due to the weather many exhibitors started to pack up early. An hour early though is way to early in my books and I kept on running trains until about 15 minutes before the close. Normally I would run right up to the end but as there was nary a soul about, it seemed an OK thing to do and we were out of the Hall heading for home 5 minutes after the doors had closed.
I'm glad I went, the show is always enjoyable and I send out a huge vote of thanks to Ed Olsen and all involved with the running of the show. Thanks for a great time and I'll see you all on April 30th 2011, and if you readers know what's good for you, you'll be there too.
With our farewells said we headed home. Once again the roads weren't too much trouble, (unlike those in we are hearing about in Southern Minnesota) and we got home in good time. Then began the hard work of digging our driveway clear of 6-8" of snow so that we could get the car into the garage.

Friday, December 10, 2010

this could be fun...

It's the wonderful Granite City Train Show tomorrow. I wouldn't miss it for the world.
It's just that lining up to the west of the state is a very large snowstorm that could dump up to a foot of snow on the Saint Cloud/Princeton corridor by the end of Saturday. I hope that there won't be too much snow about in the morning when we drive there and that the snow ploughs have the job under control when the show is done. It will be quite the adventure I'm sure.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Once more unto the breach, dear friends

Once more, we head out to an exhibition.
This Saturday I was planning to take Gonou, my T scale layout to the Granite City Train show in St. Cloud, MN but when I got the layout out for a test run this week the controller had developed a mysterious fault. I don't have time to order a replacement controller. So Wingetts Recycling will be heading over there instead.
The Granite City Train Show is at the National Guard Armory in St. Cloud, MN on Saturday December 11th from 9am to 3pm

Monday, November 29, 2010

Exhibition Pictures

Courtesy of fellow exhibitor Barry Schreiber, here are a couple of pictures of me working the layout and keeping the punters interested at the Princeton show over the weekend.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Two days in Princeton

Another weekend, another train show.
The Rum River Model Railroad Club show in Princeton, MN this time. My home clubs show. It's very brave for a small club to put on a 2 day show but the Princeton club do very well and the show is well supported by the townsfolk.
There was a very varied selection of layouts in all scales. My favourite was a working display of vintage Lionel/Marx tinplate trains from the 1920's and 30's superb stuff that was well cared for and ran beautifully.
I was sited alongside an S scale American Flyer layout. Chock full of working accessories, like coal loaders, sawmills, level crossings, cattle docks. It was really amazing to watch them all and to think that these were all 50 or so years old. It's amazing what they created with electric motors, cams, pulleys and levers back then. I loved it.
Wingetts ran well on both days, though the Kadee couplers didn't work as well as they could, they still need some adjustment. Something to work on.
The atmosphere at this show is quite different to any other I've attended as an exhibitor. Everyone knows everyone and it really is a social gathering for the town. As a consequence operation was less strenuous than at other shows.
Being more relaxed allowed me to people watch while I was operating. I noticed that men just came up and watched the trains only some of them read the blurb accompanying the layout to explain the layouts operation. Whereas the vast majority of women read the blurb first and then watched the layout.
One thing I noticed with small children is that they were more interested in watching the trains when the cars on the layout were brightly coloured i.e Yellow CNW hoppers rather than brown SOO ones. The continual back and forth movement kept them quite occupied.
Once again all viewers were taken with the presentation of the layout, which begs the question.
"Why don't more exhibitors over here do it?"


Last night after the days activities at the Princeton Train show the wife and I headed down to the cinema to see the Railroad themed movie "Unstoppable"
It was OK.
To my mind there have only ever been two good railroad/railway movies made. Buster Keatons "The General" in 1927 and the Ealing classic British Comedy "The Titfield Thunderbolt" from 1953.
Unstoppable is a runaway train movie and once you've seen one runaway train movie you've seen them all. All the same tired old disaster movie cliches are there in great depth. From the relationships of the characters to climactic ending. Even though the tale is based on a true story even the lightest research reveals just how much Hollywood exaggerated things.
That's not to say I didn't enjoy it. I was quite taken in with Tony Scotts direction and the action sequences were well shot. Apparently many of the crashes were actually filmed and not CGI created which in these days of CGI is quite gratifying.
But ultimately I came out of the film feeling quite disappointed.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It ain't over yet

It's the annual Rum River Model Railroad Club Thanksgiving Train Show on Friday and Saturday. A much more relaxed affair than the Worlds Greatest Hobby show.
I'm looking forward to it.
The old Depot 1st Street. Princeton, MN. Friday and Saturday $2 admission.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Spare my blushes

The first embarrassingly positive write up about Wingetts recycling has appeared on the internet

Thanks Jim

Sunday, November 21, 2010

WGH Show Day 2

Ah, the joys of owning a small layout. Inside 2 hours after the show closes we are home and the layout is unpacked out of the car and I can reflect on another day at the show.
Another interesting day. I awoke with a pounding headache. Not quite a migraine but awfully close. It took well into the afternoon for it to clear. I was thankful for my wifes help to take over some operating duties on the layout while I took it easy at times.
Then there was the issue of actually getting to the hall. No problem you'd think as we had a room in a hotel just across the road. Well just walking there was a problem. Freezing rain in the night had turned the roads and paths into a skating rink, it was a very hairy walk to the hall.
It was difficult to forget about the conditions even after the door opened because attendance was low. People certainly took their time getting in. I cant say i blame them the newspapers say there was some 300 accidents in the metro area.
So to the show, how did the layout perform? Just as well as the previous day. So I can't complain there. Over the two days I'm very very happy with the performance.
The reaction of the public was very much the same as yesterday too. Many were very taken with the presentation. The proscenium arch received countless favourable comments.
The real big surprise came around lunchtime. Two guys stood looking at the layout taking in the scene, passing comments and chuckling to each other. People can chuckle, I don't mind. Just don't make snide comments about the layout to my face. Then one of them spoke.
"You've got a couple of very special guests here today"
"Oh really" said I kind of expecting a joke of some sort.
"We used to be the owners/managers of Phillips recycling"
To say that I was flabbergasted would be a colossal understatement. They had been looking at the photographs I had on display and had been comparing them to the model. They were very positive in their appreciation of the model and I learned quite a bit more about the prototype location. For instance, when applying for planning permission from Saint Cloud city council to build a structure to house a new shredder, they built an N scale model of the premises to show the council so they could see how its construction would affect the surroundings. Needless to say the council appreciated being able to see the plan in 3D and rubber stamped the application in minutes.
I also learned about the marks painted on the ends of the wheel axles, White, Blue and apparently Orange. The colours, as I knew, signified different weights of wheel. White for 50lb wheels. Blue 75lb and Orange for 100 pounders. I remarked that I had never seen any Orange marked wheels before. That is because the 100lb wheels are wanted and can be sold on quickly. Once they get a wagonload of those 100lb wheels they are shipped out straight away. The other weights are not so popular and thus lie around the site for longer lengths of time. This was invaluable information and something that I hope to incorporate onto the layout at a later date.
Meeting these guys was very special and made me very proud of the layout indeed.
Really, you can't top that and the rest of the afternoon passed rather uneventfully by comparison.
However there is more. During one of my afternoon breaks I took a look around some of the traders looking for something to buy. You HAVE to buy something at a model railway exhibition don't you? Well I do...
I was very surprised to see the Atlas Trainman plus Genset switcher for sale. I'd been wanting one for quite some time and had been getting rather fed up with the delays to the delivery to the shops. It looked like a quite beautiful model in the photographs A truly modern up to date prototype, suitable for my modern up to date layouts. I had to have it. It was on sale too. So it was a done deal. I rushed it back to the layout to try it out. I was not disappointed. It looks great and ran as well as it looked. I think that after the layouts reception over the weekend it deserved a treat. Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it...
So all in all I couldn't have had a better weekend for the layout and it doesn't stop there as it is also appearing at the Rum River Model Railroad Club show at the historic Princeton Depot next weekend.
So to close I want to thank Randy Bachmann and his crew at the WGH organisation for putting on a great show and I hope to see them again in another 4 years or so.
But an even bigger thanks goes out to my wife for helping out allowing me to take breaks especially today when I had my pounding headache.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

WGH show Day 1

What a day!
I'm knackered as we Brits like to say.
What a lot to remember I need to note it all down.
It all began when I opened my email at 8am and there was an email from fellow Rum River Model Railroader, Brian Snook he was having problems setting his layout up and could I spare some time to help him. I dashed over as soon as I could and helped as much as I could but I still had a few bits to do to set up Wingetts.
Then at 10am the doors opened and within minutes my first blog "follower" showed up Tracy McKibben.. Great to meet you Tracy I'm glad the layout lived up to your expectations. Next a group of ne'er do wells from the outstateminnesota rail fan group off Yahoo! appeared to show their support for me and the layout I expect pictures and comments to appear on some of their blogs soon.
People stopped and talked all the way through the day be they blog followers or just model railroaders. Some very knowledgeable about microlayouts and others who knew nothing were very excited about the concept of "small but perfectly formed" model railroads. Some people recognized the layouts presentation as something popularized by fellow Brit model railroader Iain C. Rice though luckily no-one confused me with him this time.
One person very interested in the layout was an editor of a certain well known model railroad magazine who suggested that I should submit something to his magazine perhaps for publication. Who knows? You'll have to keep watching this blog...
Someone else who turned up and was most impressed with the layout was Minnesota Viking legend and noted model railroad enthusiast Carl Eller. He certainly liked what he saw.
As for the operation of the layout itself. It had its ups and downs. The locomotives ran flawlessly, without any shadow of a doubt. Full marks to Athearn and Bachmann there. At the Start of the show the layout was nice and square and level and the couplers worked and cars
stayed where they were spotted. However clumsy viewers wether they be adults or children managed to knock things about a bit and by mid afternoon a slight grade had developed and cars started to move of their own volition on the middle road. My perfectly adjusted Kadee couplers became unadjusted after some time, so things aren't set up as well as I thought. But I really prefer operating couplers by hand anyway so that's not too much of a hardship. In the middle of the afternoon one of the turnouts developed a mysterious electrical problem that a bit of cleaning managed to clear up. But that's about it the rest of the way was fine.
I just hope everything will be as good tomorrow. But tomorrow as they say is another day...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Calm before the storm

Here we are sat in the hotel right across from the exhibition hall resting up ready for tomorrow.
Set up went really well as always. Such is the great advantage of a small layout. You don't even want to know how quickly we set up, you really don't...
It was very definitely a squeeze getting everything that I needed for the show into our little Scion but we got here safe and undamaged and a quick test test run showed everything was OK.
I'm looking forward to the weekend this little layout has garnered quite a bit of interest on the Internet and I'm looking forward to meeting some of its fans.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Squeaky bum time...

No, that's not a song title. Well, not that I know of anyway.
It's getting close. The show is getting close.
Tonight I pack the layout up ready to set up tomorrow night for the weekends great adventure.
So we had a final test run with the layout. And after 15 minutes head scratching wondering where the mysterious electrical short had come from, (note to self don't leave your Kadee coupler gauge on the track...)
A final adjustment on some of the couplers and a few replacements, and now it all works OK.
Now to get those exhibitor badges finished

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


That's much better. The sounds of Eric Clapton and Cream are tumbling through my head now. But what on earth does that have to do with the layout?
Well last night I worked away doing a bit of weathering on rolling stock and scenery. Which looks pretty good for now. Quite pleased with the results, I must say.
Then it hit me. I hadn't made any operators badges for my wife and I for the show.
Badges are one of those small details that help with the presentation. It ties you to the layout and makes the whole thing look professional. I've done them for many of my layouts. It pains me to think I won't have any for this show.
Perhaps I'll have time tonight or tomorrow to knock something up.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Last night

So, taking great care to come up with a post title that doesn't lodge an annoying 80's plastic rock tune in my head. Here's a quick update from last night.
I tried ALL the rolling stock that I intend to use on the layout for the show and the couplers all work perfectly. Excellent news as I was expecting to do some adjusting somewhere. But it looks like it won't be needed.
I also added a few vents to the roof of the building. I felt it needed them. Even though the prototype structure didn't have any. The roof was flat and boring before, the vents add a bit of interest to the roof. They might be totally and utterly prototypically incorrect. But the overall affect over-rides that I feel.
Tonight a bit of weathering perhaps.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The final countdown...

Oh crap!
I wish I hadn't written that. I've got the flippin' tune in my head now...
I've got 4 nights left to get on and finish the layout off.
Well three, as I've got to pack the layout in the car on Thursday night.
Three nights. Couplers, scenic doodads, test running.
I'd better do something to it tonight...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A little diversion...


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Busy Busy Busy (an update)

The World's Greatest Hobby Show in St. Paul grows ever closer and things are coming along with the sprucing up of the layout in preparation. The front track had the uncoupler magnet adjusted and the track was relaid and ballasted.
Some serious track cleaning has gone on, much more serious than expected. The Soo line bandit MP15 works perfectly the same cannot be said for the trackmobile. It is so small and short of weight that it has problems navigating the switches. I've cleaned them until they sparkle like new yet the trackmobile still has issues. I've cleaned the trackmobiles wheels as well as I can and still it stutters and stumbles across the pointwork. Most annoying.
So I took the decision the other day to order a back up loco to work the scrapyard sidings. A Bachmann GE 45 ton switcher. The one with the outside counterweights and connecting rods. This should make the loco interesting to watch as it potters about. I ordered mine from Micromark. They had a deal where if you weren't bothered about the colour (like me) you let them pick the loco off the shelf you'd get it for just about half off the recommended retail price. That, my friends is too good a deal to pass over. I'm looking forward to see it run.
The next task is to sort out the couplers on the cars so they all work perfectly. That will be an interesting job. I am standardising on Kadees and have a selection of them to fit to my cars so they are all the same.
Then there are numerous detailing bits and pieces to do as well. Plenty to keep me going. The show is just a month away...

Friday, July 9, 2010

So unlike me

It really is so unlike me.
To get on and replace and reballast the track so quickly. But it's 90F outside and there is no way I'm mowing the lawn in that heat... So this morning after work I headed down to Hub Hobby in Richfield and picked up a couple of lengths of Atlas Cose 83 flex-track and some Chooch scrap bale loads for the gondolas. Therefore a few hours after I had got home things were looking pretty much as they were before I ripped the trackwork up.

The remounted Kadee coupler magnet works a treat. So another important task before the show will be to make sure all my stock has Kadees on them, all properly adjusted.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Here we go..

The track is now lifted and the magnet removed. All I needed to do to bring it down to the correct thickness was remove the plate that is used to increase the magnetic field.
Next task, buy another piece of flex track...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Ayes have it.

OK then. that was easy enough. The form is filled in and mailed off.
Time to think about what needs to be done.
First and foremost I should probably re-lay that front siding so that there is no slight hump over the hidden uncoupler magnet. I should probably do that soon too so if I screw things up really badly I have time to rebuild everything
Then standardize on couplers - Kadees. Get them fitted and properly adjusted on all the stock. Be nice to have them working perfectly it does look good when they work properly.
Another task should be to finish my Northern Lines GP10 conversion finally by adding the decals and handrails and bits.
Rolling stock. I pretty much have everything I need on that score. I'd like to do some extra weathering on them some of them are much too clean.
I'm sure there are some other miscellaneous bits and pieces that I could find to do. Details to finish the scenes different scrap loads for the gondolas. Plenty of things. If any of you think of anything post it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Perhaps the story is not over.

Wingett's recycling sits in the model railway room untouched but not unforgotten. Why just this weekend I started on a article about it to submit to Model Railroader magazine.
To a certain extent layout building interests have moved on. But then today something happened to make me think about the model again.
I received an invite to the Worlds Greatest Hobby on Tour show at the Saint Paul River Center on November 20-21st 2010. A great show. A great BIG show. When I took Purespring Watercress to the 2006 show the estimated attendance was over 30,000.
I love exhibiting model railroad layouts and I think Wingetts recycling deserves a big audience. Don't you?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Granite City Train show report

Another show done.
The Granite City Train show is always fun. It's good to meet up with old friends and share stories, catch up with what's going on.
Wingett's performed well, though not perfectly. I know what needs to be done and that will involve relaying some of the track. But I don't have to think about that now.
I even appeared on local radio once again to talk about the layout as it was inspired by a local industry. That drew a few people to come and see the layout later on in the day.
A rather glowing write up of a persons impression of the layout can be read here...
Now I think layout development will shift back to my T scale projects until I decide what to do about relaying that track.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm a B-a-a-a-d Boy...

March 15th. Thats when the last post was dated and thats when I said I was going to start work on prepping the layout for the Granite City Train show.
Have I started?
Have I heck. I went out and bought myself a new camera and embarked on a picture a day project.
Though give me my due. I have turned the layout around so I can work on it from the rear to build the extension to the fiddle yard.
I find myself with two weeks to do the tasks I need to do.
Build a fiddle yard extension, paint and decal my locomotive conversion, add some scenic details and make sure it still all runs...

No problems...

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's Time...

With the Granite City Train show looming (now under 6 weeks away) It's time to devote some attention to Wingetts'. Not all that much to do though to be honest. The two most important things to do are build a fiddle yard (offstage storage) and finish painting my GP10 so that it will pass as a copy of the loco that used to serve Phillips up until last year.
The other tasks are some detailing like painting the axle ends on some of the wheels blue and adding another building (perhaps two) to the backscene. If I was panicking I'd be doing all this on the night before. But I'll try to avoid that I really will...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

the layout effect

Once in a while something happens. Something that comes at you so totally out of the blue that just blows you away. Wingetts recycling has already done that to me once with Jeremiah and Brandon at the Princeton Train show and yesterday it happened again.
I was presenting the first of a series of workshops on designing and building a small model railroad at the Princeton Model Train Club. The first session was well attended and I think I captured a few peoples imagination.
One person in particular. We shall call him Tim (for I think that was his name, sometimes I'm so bad remembering names). He had bought has father along to attend the workshop. He wasn't really all that interested in Model Railroads. But then he took a look at Wingetts and pulled up a chair and started to take a very serious interest in the model. It turned out that he works at Phillips Recycling! He recognised the building and the piles of wheels. He was very impressed with the model the atmosphere was exactly right. The only thing that he could see missing was some holes in the sheet metal walls of the building.
I did glean some interesting tidbits about the real thing. For example you will have seen in some of my pictures of Phillips that the piles of wheels have white and blue patches painted on the end of the axles. I often wondered why this was. It turns out that this was to identify different size and weight of wheels for when they are sold on.
Once again, I was blown away that this little model, that I knocked up in less than a week could interest someone so much.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

More T please

Is the name of my blog covering my activities in T scale the worlds smallest model railroading scale. You should pop over there to see some inspirational examples of work that T scalers produce. I'm all fired up to work in T again.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Another layout, another blog

As you may well be aware if you have been following this blog I am to be presenting a series of small layout workshops at the Princeton Model Train Club in the forthcoming weeks. I was planning to use the layout featured in my protocrastinator blog as the example for the workshop students to follow along with. Well. I had a rethink and I thought that it might be a bit big and involved for that purpose. As a result I have started to develop a new idea. A much smaller layout that will be much easier to build and complete in the alotted time set out by the workshop classes. As you may well know all my layouts have a blog and this new one will be no exception. You'll be able to follow it at Cwm Lwch. There you go, another layout, another blog. I'm a troubled soul I really am...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


So here you go. After a little bit of cutting, filing and filling I'm just about ready to nip over to a hobby shop and get some grey, black and yellow paints for this project. Though I might try to find some yellow striping instead of paint, as yellow paint is notoriously lacking in its coverage powers.
To be honest I'm really pleased with how it's shaping up. I never expected to be doing a kitbash/conversion like this. So expectations weren't that high. But I think I'm doing OK. Paint will tell.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Welcome new visitors!

Hello there!
Wingett's recycling has just appeared in this months edition of Carl Arendts small layout scrapbook. (Thanks Carl)
To those of you dropping in for the first time. A big hello to you all.
Those 7 (well 5 actually) days that were taken to build the layout seem so long ago now. But the layout still serves me well. In fact for those of you resident in Minnesota Wingetts will be at the Granite City Train show in Saint Cloud, MN in April if you want to come along and take a look.
So all you new visitors you might want to pull up a comfy seat and a glass of your favourite tipple and read the entire story that starts back in September of 2009...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Git back on yer bike...

Oh how my moods shift!
To think that not but a few short hours ago I was feeling pretty darned sorry for myself at the thought of having ruined my GP10 project.
It's at times like this I remember the words of my late Dad. Who, when I fell off my bike when learning to ride as a child would tell me to get back on and not let it beat me.
So I took a closer look at the chassis and the body together and saw that there was no way on earth that the body would fit over the chassis. The weight was far too big for a start, it was shaped for a hi-nose not the cut away nose of the kit.
I saw that it wouldn't take too much work to trim the weight to fit. So I decided that the best course of action would be to cut the weight down to size and then splice the Kaslo kit cab and nose onto the P2000 GP7 body. This I did rather speedily and a picture of a test fit can be seen below...
I think it's going to work... (by the way that large lump of metal is the weight removed from the nose)

Box o' junk

Well that didn't last very long. My first foray into the H0 scale resin kit assembly that is.
I assembled all the stair treads onto the front and rear steps and fixed them in place continuing on from yesterdays slow start. Then, after that had set, I decided to pop the body onto the chassis to see what it looked like. Like a GP10, I hoped. The body was a very tight fit over the weight on the chassis. It was supposed to be a "drop on fit" according to the instructions. So I set to and started to file some of the inside of the casting away so it would fit easier testing the fit every so often. It started to go on easier. Then at one point it slid on a ways and then stopped. It was stuck. I tried to carefully ease it off and then CRACK! The side walkways broke clean off and the rear steps as well.
So there we go. The kit would appear to be pretty much toast. Perhaps I could try and stick the broken pieces back on or, I could try to graft the undamaged nose section onto the P2000 body.
Whatever I do I'm not in a hurry to do it. It kind of hurt to take the photograph and write about it. Confidence took a battering today.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Box o' fun

For quite some time now I've had this below...
A kit from Kaslo shops for a Paducah rebuilt EMD GP10. For the most part that used to mean nothing to me. But it is was what the Northern Lines Railway out of St. Cloud operate and that is what I intend to model. You can even see I've marked the box RLCX 1704 which as it happens is the loco below. For a few years the NLR operated RLCX 1703 and 1704 they were leased from Relco locomotive services from the start of the lines operation.
So the plan is to model #1704. I took plenty of pictures of it So hopefully I will be able to get it right. I have the Proto 2000 GP7 chassis to fit underneath it so it's all a question of putting everything together. It's a bit more of a complex kit than I'm used to and it took me about an hour last night to add just 4 stair treads to the front nose steps. I'll do bits to it here and there but it would be nice to have it finished ready for the Granite City Train Show and see if anyone recognises it

Monday, January 25, 2010

Model Railroad Planning 2010

I've done a considerable amount of model railroad/railway planning in my time so I'm always open to picking up books and magazines on the subject to see what they have to say. MRP2010 by Kalmbach is no exception.
I've always had a soft spot for the MRP series ever since they featured on of my plan back in the 2004 issue. (If anyone has the issue I'm on the page opposite the inside of the back cover...)
More often than not MRP features the diametric opposite attitude to planning of my viewpoint. They feature the big basement filling opus. I like the smaller layouts. MRP 2010 is no exception.
That is not to say there is nothing in it for me. Far from it.
There's a very interesting feature on the Richmond Pacific Railroad in California. Some very inspirational pictures. Though the actual plans discussed later are large room filling empires. I bet there are plenty of locations on this line that would be very suitable for the small/micro layout builder. My interest in the line is most definitely piqued.
There's also some super pictures of a Midwestern Prairie Layout with some unconventional baseboard construction and scenery that just shows you don't have to stick to the established ideas.
Layouts for smaller spaces do get a look in with a feature on a shelf layout creating a SOO Line scene in Minneapolis.
Freemo modular model railroading, DCC for interlocking, and turning passenger trains are some of the other subjects covered.
So all in all quite a reasonable magazine that you might want to consider buying.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

More from ExactRail

Following a previous review of an ExactRail product you will know that I'm very impressed with them and that I want more of them. This, as regular followers of this blog will know has been fraught with difficulty. I've missed out on the Thrall Railgon, the Pulpwood cars and the Gunderson gondola in the past few weeks. Clearly these cars are very popular and many folks feel the same as I do.
However quite by chance the other day, whilst searching for something else I came across the website for Traintimehobby and they had the Gunderson gondola in stock. Well, I didn't think twice. I ordered the baby there and then. Within three days it was with me. Superb speedy service. Thanks. Here it is.
I'm going to use it to help recreate this detail that I saw on a gondola over in Staples a couple of years ago. I find the fact that the ID number is sprayed on like a graffiti artist would do most amusing.
So let's talk a little about the model. ExactRail have four levels of model. Express, (the basic level) through Evolution, Platinum and Signature which I assume to be the highest standard. The Railbox was an Evolution level model and was stunning I hate to think just how good Signature might be.
The Thrall gondola is an Express model, the basic level. But don't be fooled by the term basic this model still has the equalized trucks of the more detailed models.
The most noticeable difference is in the detailing on the car where the laddering on the Railbox was seperately applied here it is integrally moulded. That was an initial disappointment but heck I paid under $20 for it. My LBF railbox that I love so much also has moulded handrails so it's comparable there. There is also more detail below floor level than on some of my other cars
For its small size it is suprisingly heavy. I noticed that the moment I picked it up. Something else I noticed immediately is that that the interior floor appears to be too high. When you look at the outside of the model it appears that the inside should be about 19mm deep in reality is 16mm deep so perhaps that extra depth is used to hide the exceptional weight. It's really not an issue though as on Wingetts you would rarely be able to see inside anyway. It's just something I noticed that's all. It comes with McHenry sprung couplers like the railbox. My preference is for Kadees though so I'll replace them. Again, not an issue. I know folks who love McHenry's.
It's the kind of model that will look perfect on Wingett's.
Once again, I'm very happy with it.

Ain't nothin' like the real thing...

Last Monday was the Martin Luther King Jnr. holiday hereabouts and as a result I had the day off work. The weather forecast had been quite promising so I decided to go over to Saint Cloud to photograph and film some trains on the main line. (I am TrainspotterUSA after all) Unfortunately the predicted sunshine never materialised. So all my photographs and video are somewhat grey. But I was rewarded with some film of the Northern Lines Railway working the Northern Siding at Phillips recycling. The Northern siding is where the gondolas are loaded with scrap metal.

After I had posted this on YouTube, Jake Nelson, a fellow outstate Minnesota railfan alerted me to some film he shot a while back of the Northern lines working the West siding. This is where cars are left for scrapping. His video is here:

With these two pieces of film you get an insight into the rail operations at this small industry.
If you want to see more of my Youtube railfanning videos they are on my YouTube channel

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Icicle works...

Some of you will have seen this already if you're on your toes.
Otherwise http://railwayeye.blogspot.com/2010/01/ice-to-see-you-to-see-you-ice.html
What I find fascinating is that the icicle is pretty much shaped to the loading gauge...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Do us a favour will you?

Pop on over to Terry's blog for his hobby shop http://lakesidehobby.blogspot.com/ and answer one of his monthly questionnaires will you?
Lakeside hobby is a brand new hobby shop and with these questionnaires Terry is trying to get a handle on what consumers want and are looking for in a hobby shop.
With more feedback it will help Terry make his (and my) Local Hobby Shop a better hobby shop...

The new header photo

Do you like it?
I do.
Two things that bug me about it though. So I must make a point of correcting them before the Granite City Train show.
Can you spot them?
The first one concerns the pile of junk wheels. There's quite a lot of wheels in that pile there with pin-point axles on them. Real wagon wheels don't have pin-point axles. Need to flatten the points and paint them white or even blue like the ones in Phillips yard.
The other one. That roller door in the wall there is unpainted plastic as it came from the Walthers kit.
Still it's a short list of things to do so the addition of a couple of other small tasks doesn't matter much.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Exhibition news

Wingetts recycling is now confirmed for the Granite City trainshow in Saint Cloud, MN on April 24th at the National Guard Armory.
It's a very good show, one of the best that Minnesota has to offer. With the layout being inspired by a Saint Cloud location I'm looking forward to attending and seeing if the residents recognise the inspiration.