Throwback Thursday

I’ve been working off and on on a family history. In doing so, I’ve been plowing through some old boxes in my basement and just today I came upon a trove of photos. Among them were some black and whites from 1964 of an early effort I made at a small layout.

Model RR 1964

Based on the date, this must have been when my dad was stationed in Dayton, Ohio on his last assignment before retiring as an Air Force officer. I was in boarding school in Massachusetts and would fly out for my winter and summer vacations.

I had nothing to do, no friends and no knowledge of the area. But I did find a very fine local hobby store and that’s where I bought my first brass engine, the 0-6-0 seen above. Sometime after this photo was taken I took it back to the same store and had it custom painted and lettered for my Eureka and South Pass RR, which was then just a dream.

Model RR 1964 2

I still have some of the items seen in this photo in addition to the locomotive. That passenger car down in the lower right, the coaling tower in the center and the horse-drawn wagons. They’re all on my current layout. The plastic pine trees are in storage.

The Ambroid snowplow car up there on the left is awaiting major repairs but will someday find a place on the present E&SP.

Model RR 1964 3

Some of the figures, which like the plastic pines came from Germany, are also still hanging around. Wonderful how they never age, unlike someone else I know!

The Time Has Come…

…for me to set aside my other pre-holiday chores and get cracking on building the rolling stock for my prototype model diorama set around the Woodsboro MD train station.

I needed certain supplies to do this and they have now arrived, including this special set of mini drill bits and a new drill I’ll need to make holes for hand grabs and the like.


The drilling equipment came from Micromark. My other supply need was fresh super-glue (Loctite) and MicroSol and MicroSet decal solutions (via Amazon).


These will all help when I start on the two Westerfield resin old-time boxcar kits.

IMG_0370 2

And my ancient LaBelle RPO kit.


Nothing like a good challenge. Which is probably why the NMRA Achievement Program describes Master Builder Prototype Models as perhaps “the most challenging” of all the AP categories.

Good luck to me. Whatever the outcome, it will be fun!



Guarding The Ore

While we were cavorting around Fallingwater, work at the Flack Mine didn’t stop. In fact, a fresh load of gold-bearing ore was dug up and readied for shipment on the E&SP. It was considered such a valuable load that the mine supervisor contracted for an armed guard to keep it safe.


I have always admired those little cars from Cache Creek models. I recently learned the man behind it has retired or otherwise gone out of business. They’re finicky little things, so lightweight that some of mine are prone to derailing. But I still love the look.

Nothing To Do with Railroads

Spent the weekend with my daughter up in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania, not researching railroads but visiting one of the greatest examples of modern architecture in the world: Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater.”


It was a cool crisp day, but the fact that it was Autumn probably gave us a better view because there was less foliage.

We had a wonderful tour led by a skilled, knowledgeable guide. We were able to go into and examine all the rooms in addition to walking the grounds.

I would recommend a visit to Fallingwater to anyone.  And now back to railroads and modeling.

My two Westerfield boxcars have finally arrived to replicate the Pennsylvania RR’s “Union Line” rolling stock visible in old photos of Woodsboro. Between these and my LaBelle RPO car, I’ll have my hands full for several weeks ahead.

Proof of Survival, Nevada Style

You may recall this past summer we traveled out west to visit national parks and meet up with family members. Part of the trip took Pat and myself to Eureka, Nevada, and the home of the historic Northern Nevada Railway museum in Ely, NV.


Eureka is of course the main city in my model Eureka and South Pass Railroad. I didn’t know it existed until well after I built it. So I had to go there to see.


The road to Eureka (and Ely) is along Nevada’s Route 50, dubbed “the loneliest road in America” many years back by, as I recall, Life Magazine. The savvy folks in Nevada’s travel promotion agency decided to turn this lemon into lemonade, passing out small booklets at major tourist stops such as parks and stores and museums along Route 50. They encourage travelers to get their handbooks stamped at each location. Once you have five such stamps, you can mail in a page of the booklet and eventually you receive a certificate and a lapel pin.


Pat and I each received certificates and pins.

Uncommon courage! And proof of survival!

Good on you, Nevada!

Woodsboro Diorama Back Home

I went up to Woodsboro (MD) last weekend to retrieve my diorama of the old train station, adjacent mill and other structures that existed in the town around 1900. It had been on display for the last month in the old train station courtesy of the Woodsboro Historical Society whose photos and other artifacts helped in the construction.


It’s now in my living room, up on top of a old Bavarian “kastentisch” or box table.


The project, intended to meet the requirements of the NMRA’s Prototype Model Achievement certificate, now awaits the addition of a locomotive and rolling stock that are appropriate to the 1900 timeframe of the diorama.

As previously mentioned, I have an old LaBelle RPO, railway post office, car kit ready to work on plus I’m awaiting two Westerfield box car kits. My Ken Kidder 4-4-0 is in need of a little more detail and a re-lettering for the Pennsylvania RR which ran the line through Woodsboro down to Frederick MD.


Back To The Mine

The other day, while messing around on my layout, I somehow managed to break off the wall mount light I had installed on my Parker’s Peak Mine.  Which meant I had to remove the wiring that ran down through the mine, through the base of the layout and into a viper’s nest of wiring on the underside.

I had to replace it. And I decided it was the perfect time to install a second light on the back, mountain side of the mine for better illumination. Tedious work, but necessary.


You can see the glow now on the mountainside coming off the lamp at the rear of the mine as well as the light from the frontside light that had to be replaced. Here’s another look at the back.


Since I had to remove the mine building from the layout to install the lights and run the wiring down through to the bottom of the structure, I decided I needed to dull the shiny siding. I had originally painted it with some rust and dosed it with some weathering powders and Dullcote. But this time I used the magic of Pan Pastels, which do a much better weathering job.

Here’s a straight on view.


OK. Enough of that. Tomorrow I’m off to Woodsboro to retrieve my diorama, which has been on display for the past month. I need to get it back so when I start building the rolling stock that will sit on it I can make sure it all looks correct.