As I’ve spent more time analyzing train traffic on BN/BNSF’s Seattle Subdivision it’s become apparent that though the timber industry had lost much of its pre-World War 2 luster by the 1990’s, forestry-related products still made up a very large percentage of loads headed south. Though standard and bulkhead flats could still be found moving this traffic, the center beam was king.
With that in mind, I took a look at my ever increasing roster of completed rolling stock and decided it was high time I added a few of these ubiquitous cars to the mix.
For the last couple of months I’ve been slowly cutting and gluing the baseboards for the layout. I needed to do this now so that I would know for sure where the bottom edge of the backdrop should be. I’m a little over half done but that’s enough to let me start hanging the backdrop, so I figured I’d write this up now before I change tacks.
If you’ve been following along since I began this series on my layout build, it probably appears as though I spent three years dawdling over the basement remodel then magically had the benchwork built and installed over the course of a month while simultaneously caring for a new baby.
Though this benchwork system is pretty quick to build, it didn’t quite happen like that. In fact the components have been complete (but un-assembled) for well over a year now and the main tables were in use as a flat surface to build the basement wall panels on. All I really needed to do was screw the various tables and modules together.
This update is clearly way overdue but the summer modeling doldrums hit hard this year and I ended up spending most of my free time working on outdoor projects and other things I can only do when the weather is nice. That said, I did manage to complete the basement renovations and am only one small push away from getting the backdrop hung on the wall.
A lot of the stuff I’ve been working on was identical to the stuff I highlighted in previous posts so this update will be shorter than normal but there were a few unique challenges to solve and hopefully this will be a good capstone to this phase of the layout.
I think it’s reasonable to argue that the SD40-2 was the defining example of 2nd generation diesel locomotives in North America. They were purchased in huge numbers by most Class 1 railroads and have developed a reputation for reliability over decades of operation. Today they’re less common on Class 1’s, but many are being rebuilt to extend their lives and quite a few are well into second careers on regional and short lines. It has therefore been rather unfortunate that HO scale modelers have never had a really good plastic model of the SD40-2 (I’d argue that there’s never been a really good brass model either, because, well. Brass.) Many companies have made an attempt at the SD40-2, but most have gotten stuff wrong (Athearn, Intermountain) and no one has made a stab at the huge amount of variations that occurred over the twelve year production run (Kato). Athearn could and should have put an SD40-2 in their Genesis line to go along with the GP models they’ve been releasing but they never did.
Therefore, it was no small thing when I cam home from work about a year ago to find a box from Scale Trains sitting on the stoop. Inside, I hoped, was the SD40-2 so many of us have been waiting for.
My dad and I took this series of photos in Steilacoom on what appears to be a cold, late fall or early spring morning. That’s me standing on the rip-rap in the blue jacket but I’m unsure of the exact day or even year. I’m 99% certain we’re looking at the Coast Starlight though if this is before May of 1997 it could be the Pioneer. I had that jacket for ages so it doesn’t provide much of a timestamp however I don’t think I look old enough to be in high school. Based on that alone I’d say it’s pre-’97.
The 2016 New England/Northeast RPM is wrapping up as I’m writing this. The meet moved to a new location this year and it seems like it was a success. There were a lot of models on display and quite a few interesting clinics. The new venue isn’t perfect, but I think it’s an improvement over the old location.
I’ve been attending the New England/Northeast RPM Meet in Connecticut since 2007, but in that time haven’t been to any of the numerous other RPM meets that are held regularly across the country. I like these events because they have a heavy focus on modeling and there is often a lot of really excellent work on display.
So, this past weekend I tagged along with some friends who were going to the Valley Forge RPM Meet in Malvern, PA. The model room wasn’t huge, but there was some stuff I hadn’t seen before and I managed to take quite a few photos. There were also a lot of clinics on the schedule, but I only made it to Andy Rubbo’s talk on the construction of his impressive Pennsy Northeast Corridor layout.
We also hit up some hobby shops and managed to get trackside in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I haven’t looked at those photos yet, but if they’re any good I’ll post them here or on Facebook. It’ll be the usual NS/CSX/Amtrak stuff, but I did see one interesting thing 😉
Over the last few months I’ve finished detailing the Gunderson Twin-Stacks. This last bit of work focused primarily on the trucks, couplers and end walkways though I made a few modifications elsewhere as well. Continue reading “Gunderson Twin-Stack – Part 2”