This past weekend I attended the Amherst Railway Society’s Railroad Hobby Show at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, MA. The RHS is the largest (in terms of square footage) model railroad related event in North America. Most years it’s a pretty chaotic scene. This year opening day coincided with a major snowstorm so apart from the harrowing drive there, it was pretty relaxed. I didn’t hear the final attendance numbers, but they were definitely low. I spent the weekend at the New England/Northeast RPM booth displaying some models and generally just hanging around. I did manage to wander around a bit though and have included some photos below the cut.
I’ve been writing a lot about my adventures trackside lately, but have neglected to mention the progress I’ve made on the layout. A couple of huge leaps were made over the last few months.
On November 19, 2007 I wrote this post about the model of SNCT #101 that I was just starting to build. Almost seven(!) years later it’s finally done. Granted, most of that time I wasn’t working on it. I got distracted by other projects and life in general, but still, there’s probably at least a good year or two worth of regular work sessions in this model and for the most part I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
Last weekend I attended the 2014 New England/Northeast Railroad Prototype Modelers Meet. It was a great show this year. More models than I think I’ve ever seen and the quality was as excellent as it always is. I don’t really attend clinics, so I can’t say much about them, though I did go to the LokSound USA presentation which I found interesting. Matt explained a lot about the sound decoder market and went over some basic programming techniques using LokSounds Programmer.
I’ve posted all my photo’s below. I tried to caption each one with the modelers name, but I missed a few. If anyone can tell me who built the uncredited one’s, let me know and I’ll update the page. For even more photo’s, check out Stuart Chirls’ gallery too.
In order to better visualize how my layout plan will work, I built a small diorama to test my ideas. It’s the same thickness as the layout baseboards (a 1″ piece of foam with a 2″ piece of foam on top where the track is and a 3/4″ piece of foam for the water, so the maximum thickness is 3″, minimum thickness is 1 3/4″). This will allow me to test my switch machine mounting system, turnout construction and placement, sub-roadbed, and scenery techniques. Read on to see what I’ve done so far.
I’m slowly working my way towards being able to lay track on my model railroad. One big step that I’d been putting off due to the finicky nature of getting it right, was final assembly on all the foam baseboards. Since I live in an apartment and the layout will eventually need to move, the baseboard is divided into three equal sections. That creates two joints that will have many tracks and a large expanse of “water” spanning them. I have a little experience building modules, and I know that if the joints have large gaps and don’t line up vertically, it’s a huge headache later in the building process, so I’m trying to get everything as tight as possible from the very beginning.
One thing that I’ve wanted to do with the BNSF SD40-2’s from the very beginning was to light them as completely as possible. To me, that means more than just the usual ditch light, head light and reverse light. My goal is to have working step lights; truck lights; front, rear and side walkway lights; number board lights and cab interior lighting. This has slowed construction considerably and is going to create a mess of wiring inside the shell, but judging by this latest progress photo, I think it will be worth the effort.
After a frustrating, but important and ultimately successful couple of months, I’ve finished installing the canopy lighting on the layout. I used two parallel runs of LED light strips operating off of their own dedicated power supply to provide consistent illumination to the entire layout. It took some experimentation, but now that it’s done I’m happy with the result.
The one thing that really makes a model stand out, and the one thing I’ve never really enjoyed about building models, is painting. While I fully appreciate a nicely finished model, and I’ve dabbled around with all that a bit, it’s never the relaxing sort of experience that a hobby ought to be. Continue reading
Work on my little model railroad has been progressing slowly and sporadically, but progressing nevertheless. Not long ago I transferred the track plan full size onto the foam insulation panels that I’m using as a base. Continue reading