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  • Hello Everyone

    Let me answer some of the questions offered as guidance.

    1) Where do you live? I reside in Taylorsville, Utah a suburb of SLC. Lived here most my life and travelled all over the world with my"green">

    2) How long have you been a model railroader, and how did you get started in the hobby? I've been involed in the hobby since I was a young boy. Received my first train set for Christmas in 1958. Enjoyed the hobby on and off ever"green">

    3) Do you model a prototype railroad or freelance your layout? I freelance and enjoy small"green">

    4) Do you model a certain era and/or geographic region? I model time periods of the 30's to early 60's, mostly the mining, logging and coastal fishing"green">

    5) How large is your layout and what scale do you model? I have two large spaces in my home that are littered with train runs and dioramas. One room is 15'x 22' and the other 12'x 30', all in HO"green">

    6) What's your favorite part of the hobby? And what do you enjoy least? I love detail and to do realism. Of course, I enjoy running the trains. I hate wiring sound into HO scale"green">

    7) How do you control your trains (DC, DCC, or something else)? I use DC, DCC and manual switches. You need to be involved in the"green">

    8) Tell us anything else about yourself you'd like us to know. I'm a designer. I've designed everything from telephones and utensils for quadriplegics, sets and props for TV and movies, to interiors and architecture. I'm close to retiring and look forward to spending more time with my hobby. Most of my structures, trains and rolling stock are kit-bashed or custom, since as a designer it has to be"green">

    9) Post your picture - if you dare.

    This is me and my partner in crime. We rob"green">

    Download Attachment: .jpg"] 196625_10150144870561585_675276584_6613404_860462_ n[1].jpg
    88.4 KB


    • Welcome aboard, Darrell, Huw and Bruce. Thanks for taking the time to introduce yourselves.

      With sufficient thrust pigs fly just fine.


      • I am located in eastern Massachusetts and I've been an on and off model railroader since Lionel days in the late 1950's. I have built several layouts and presently have a modest HO layout which is mostly around the cellar wall. I don't follow any particular prototype but I grew up with orange and black New Haven Alco diesels and Budd RDC's, then Penn Central F7's, then Conrail and now CSX and MBTA. As a kid, I remember New Haven steam in the 1950's on the Old Colony!! I am also a full scale railran and photographer.

        Early layouts were brass sectional track on fiber ties (ugh! a real maintenance turnoff) and that discouraged me greatly and contributed to periodic exits from the hobby. A 4' x 8' folded dogbone HO layout in the 1960's was all DC power, reversing block switches and dual cabs with tons of DPDT toggle switches. Now with nickel silver track of course, all wheel pickup, flywheels and DCC, operation is wonderful. I am slowly upgrading most loco's to DCC, and most cars to better couplers and metal trucks.

        The present HO layout is a single track along-the-wall design with two reversing loops at either end. One reversing loop has a small yard inside the loop. The whole layout measures about 12 x 4 feet with a thin 1 x 6 foot scenicked center module. It is flextrack with a mix of code 70 and 100. The layout is built modular-style but not to any strict module spec. (I find the module specs very limiting). The modules act as giant removable pieces of sectional track which could be rearranged with some effort. I am designing a 12" x 54" code 83 HO switching module as an end destination and to work out some scenery ideas. I am quite knowledgeable about the hobby. I go back to Linn Westcott, John Allen, Pacific Fast Mail brass and E. Suydam kits! I have watched manufacturers (and most hobby shops!) come and go.

        I am VERY partial to HO. With the "consolidation" of the model railroad hobby, it's very important to have a wide variety of items available. Nothing comes close to HO. For me, it is the ideal mix of enough realism and lots of room for operation. Smaller scales have real trouble with reliable operation and good track contact. Larger scales just eat too much space and cost way more (HO is bad enough!! I remember $5 turnouts!).

        I find that building along the wall forces mostly single track with passing sidings so that adds operation and dispatching challenge. And it does not eat too much cellar space. I am using JMRI and would eventually like to add functional block signals with occupancy detection electronics. My buildings and structures are presently good-quality plastic kits, good painting with interior lighting but I'd like to learn craftsman kits, better decaling and better airbrushing. I have several Hobbytown flywheel drives (the original flywheel drive!) and that got me involved with regearing and remotoring mechanisms.

        As you know, model railroading is an umbrella of multiple hobbies - scenery, photography, electronics, tracklaying, prototype operation, carpentry, architectural/historical research, mechanisms, backdrops, lighting, etc. etc. It is hard to be good at all of them and easy to get discouraged. It's important to concentrate on what you are good at but also figure out a way to do the other necessary parts which you are less skilled at. You must do the carpentry, wiring and tracklaying. A layout without scenery is pretty ugly and unsatisfying. But scenery may not be your bag. My challenge now is much better airbrushing, decaling and weathering.

        I am quite "existential" about the hobby. I don't think this has been discussed much. For example, if you double the size of your layout, are you twice as happy?? Probably not since you now have more maintenance, more buildings and cars to dust, more things breaking, etc. etc. But, yes, you do need a bigger layout for interesting operation. Long ago, I transitioned from wanting the whole layout all finished immediately. Now, I find satisfaction in working out a plan and building a new section. Similarly, doing a structure to completion, weathered, illuminated and painted, is very fulfilling. (I have the usual large pile of unopened kits to build). I learned not to collect endless new rolling stock and now prefer a really quality model of a car. I am using older, lower quality cars to experiment with better airbrushing and weathering. Similarly, older loco's which cannot easily be converted to DCC are now getting regearing and remotoring experiments.

        I am looking wistfully at several of my brass loco's still new in the box. They are not all-wheel pickup, probably would take lots of work to add wheel pickup wipers and they all need to be remotored with flywheels and DCC decoders. And you don't want to screw up the painting and weathering. So I am working up the courage to tackle them. Meanwhile, really terrific new RTR loco's (Genesis etc.) are being added to the layout. No, I don't need another loco but getting one which runs super-smooth with all the DCC bells and whistles is extremely satisfying. I have not tackled sound yet. Sound is a black hole I will attempt sometime.

        I now view model railroading as more of a 3D art form plus good operation if you are so inclined. I have no problem tearing something out and completely rebuilding it if I think I can do a better job. For me, the transition from conception to satisfying real model is very gratifying.

        Model railroad club layouts??? Well, if you have absolutely no space, a club layout is a reasonable alternative and you are likely to learn a lot from other experienced members. Just be prepared to spend lots of time on something which is not exactly like having your own layout. Almost anyone can find a little room for a very modest along-the-wall shelf layout in a spare room, porch, shed, garage or even a closet. If you need the room for other things, you can even make the layout storable by retracting out of the way. You can run trains anytime, try out that new decoder and you don't have to drive miles to a club layout which is not really yours. And you can still belong to a club if desired.

        I know a guy whose wife wouldn't let him build a layout in their modest home. Well, she had a point - the small house was bursting. So he built a large shed. Yes, in the winter it gets very nippy and he has to plan ahead a couple hours to warm up the shed with big heaters before operation. He also learned to keep his loco's and DCC electronics in the warm house before putting them on the track. But he's got his layout and his bride is happy (or at least, less grumpy!). He has to wait until warm weather to do his plaster scenery out in the shed but that gives him time to plan the scenery. During the winter, he can build structures, work on rolling stock and paint backdrops in his cellar workshop. Heck, this is not a lot different than guys who keep their hotrod machine shop or ham radio station out in the garage or shed.



        • Darin, Roger, Darrell, Huw, Bruce & Larry,

          Welcome to the forum. We appreciate you taking the time to tell us a bit about yourselves. We hope that you enjoy your time here.


          • Hello everyone here,

            My name is Alex and I'm from Bucuresti, Romania.

            I wish, first of all, to apologize for my English, not so good all the time. I'll try, anyway, to make my self clear.

            And now few words about me.

            I'm a former military modeller and a possible, future railroad modeller. I made, for more than 15 years, military models, most of them in 48th scale, better known here as O gauge.

            I still have some rolling stock in TT gauge but never thought to make me a layout - lack of room and other things. But I was always tempted to built some structures. I remember me a water tower and a burnt railway station, both in HO gauge, done somewhere in 1991. And some armoured russian cars in TT gauge.

            That's, in just few words, all about my modelling history.

            Why I'm here ?

            I discovered, two months ago, this forum and few other similar spaces from here. And I start to study them. I'm know familiar with many of you guys - first class, outstanding modellers and with many, so many of your models. Structures and diorama most of them. So, my apologizes to all rolling stock modellers.

            All of a sudden I told my self that i have to start building such crazy things.

            So ... I'm very interested to built any kind of structure, from scratch in, most of all, 48th scale - O gauge. And ... I'm already dreaming at some PBL dio or a shoe-box dio. Well, maybe later.

            I already have in progress a water tank on sled, but this model was shown on other forum and I think is not cool to post it here as well.

            I hope to have something for next week, also a water tank on sled, a different model.

            I have to tell you that these models are done after what I have seen here, I have no kits or other info materials. Simple models but very good for me to exercise my weathering techniques.

            So ... I'll ask questions and maybe some help for some info. Hope to be not so annoying.

            Well, I think that's all for the moment. Not a good speaker or writer. Hope to find here some good future friends and I'll be glad to answer your questions, if I'll be able to.




            • Thanks for taking time to introduce yourselves, Larry and Alex.

              Alex, go right ahead and post the pictures of your water tank on a sled here. You might post them in Startin’ from Scratch.

              With sufficient thrust pigs fly just fine.


              • I am currently the newest member and I am glad to be here. I have been in model railroading a long, long time and probably

                will be as long as I can. I started in Lionel 027 and progressed to HO and then N. Went back to HO and had a nice home layout

                but had to give it up when I had to reloacate.

                Now that I am retired and live in an apartment I am once again in N scale. I have a nice 12 X 14 room that will be a new layout that

                I have been planning for about 6 months on and off. The layout will take about half the room with other being storage.

                My other hobbies are photography, railfanning, fishing and making Nantucket baskets. I am lucky as my wife shares the same hobbies and we do

                a lot together. As usual, she has the biggest fish this year (22lb striped bass).

                Nice to be here.



                • Hi, I'm Jim and I live in Missouri - along the Mississippi River (smaller town, not St. Louis, though I grew up in northwest St. Louis County). Got started in MRR'ing back in the mid/late 1950's, began to build the HO layout (4 X 8) that was in a series of Boy's Life articles (by Glenn Wagner). Last two years of high school, I was at a military school not far from St. Louis, and while I was in college, my parents moved out of our house to a townhouse apt., leaving the layout (and an upright piano) in the basement. [:-grumpy]

                  By the late 1970's I started back into MRR'ing, got lumber, track, etc. to build the Jerome & Southwestern (John Olson's book). But a few years later, the marriage 'went south', and all my kits, track and MRR stuff went to a storage shed 'til about 5 years ago. Then I debated about building the J&SW, but decided to instead re-purpose the 4X8 sheet of plywood into a more free-form 'sectional' plan. My RR is a fictional freelance (kinda 'what if') set in the Southwestern US (Four Corners area), allegedly acting as a bridge line between the D&RGW (at Farmington, NM) and the AT&SF (at Holbrook). It's set in the mid-to-late 1950's (transition era). So, a bit of ‘creative license’ used.

                  I most of all enjoy structures/kitbashing - putting together the buildings, details & all that make a town look believeable, that set the scene. My least favorite part of MRR’ing would be wiring, since Ohm’s Law and all that stuff is NOT my cup of tea (which I don’t drink much, either).

                  Initially, I will be running my trains with DC (even though I have a Digitrax DB150 that I picked up at a good price), then changing to DCC (once I can afford the throttle and the panel for the fascia).

                  Actually, getting my layout built far enough to call ‘mostly finished’ will be an accomplishment, as neither of my two previous layouts got to the running of trains (due to moves that happened). I still get a kick out of model railroading, and hope to get both my grandsons ‘hooked’ on it, as well. Hope to learn whatever I can from here, and to whatever small degree I can, to provide help, information and/or encouragement (AKA 'attaboys' or 'attagals' for others.

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                  • 1) Where do you live? Minneapolis, MN

                    2) How long have you been a model railroader, and how did you get started in the hobby? Newbie, but had trains when I was young. Still set up an elaborate LGB at Christmas...Loved John Allen and other pioneers but am astounded by the high level of quality possible today and by the modelers on this forum.

                    3) Do you model a prototype railroad or freelance your layout? Freelance mountain shortline. More of a diorama since I am starting out and have space limitations.

                    4) Do you model a certain era and/or geographic region? 1920's western mountains

                    5) How large is your layout and what scale do you model? 3' x 6' HO Scale. I model HOn3 and HOn30, as well as On30 models as well

                    6) What's your favorite part of the hobby? And what do you enjoy least? Favorite: Models and scenery. Very interested in scaling up some kit structures from HO to O. Least Favorite: Wiring (only because I need to learn DCC) and Operations.

                    7) How do you control your trains (DC, DCC, or something else)? DC

                    8) Tell us anything else about yourself you'd like us to know. Always learning new stuff from this forum! Loved geared engines.

                    9) Post your picture - if you dare


                    • Good morning

                      My name is Tom and I live in Perkasie, PA which is a small town between Phila. and Allentown.

                      When that first SS deposit arrives on Sept 12th, I will be officially "retired".

                      I have had a life long affinity for trains both real and modeled. Now I have time.

                      I am planning a 3 wall shelf HO layout in my "office" at home. It will be a 1930s New England "wharf and dock" type layout very loosely based on Rockland ME.

                      I have spent the last 6 months collecting some kits (many OOP) that I think will provide a good foundation to the story I want to tell.

                      My latest search is for a "Ships Chandler" kit.

                      I suffer from the same malady as many mature modelers; "Big ideas....Small dollars."

                      I could really use any help or directions on where to find help for specific models of freight cars that would have been seen on the MEC and B&M in the late 1930s.

                      Looking forward to meeting new friends.



                      • Welcome aboard, Dennis, Jim and the two Toms. It’s good to see a wide variety of interests from western mountains to New England sea coast. Join in the discussions and keep us posted on your MRR activities.

                        With sufficient thrust pigs fly just fine.


                        • Howdy All,

                          I live in Bryan, College Staion, Texas which is on the former T&NO line between Houston and Dallas, and it serves as my reason for getting into model railroading. In the mid 50's, I was able to watch the daily passage of the "Sunbeam" and numerous freights pulled by Black Widow SP units. I am therefore modeling the SP from the 40's to today. I am working on a P87 layout and currently am modifying an ABBA set of Alco PA/PB's to PA2 configuration and P87 standards. All of this is HO. I havent decided on the area to model, but here in east Texas will probably be the geography thats incorporated. At some point I will be going to DCC as budget constraints permit. Thanks much for the invite, its much appreciated.



                          PS: Apologies if this isnt where its supposed to be, but concerning my PA project, I know that the Jan/Feb 1980 issue of Mainline Modeler had an article writtn by Robert Zenk that addressed the very modifications that I am attempting to do. Because of moves and a divorce, my copy is no longer available, and wanted to ask if anyone on the forum has that issue and would be willing to make a copy of it? Whatever costs are involved I would gladly cover.


                          • Hey all, my name is Eric I'm 27 born and raised in Lafayette, IN. I've been off and on model railroader most of my life, but really haven't hit modeling bug till just recently. I model proto-freelance Indiana Harbor Belt, and a freelance regional North Central Indiana & Southern. I like pretty much anything with railroading but mostly grain elevators and covered hoppers. I have a currently have a L-shape 11 1/2 by 16 1/2 ft switching layout that is run by MRC annolog controller. I love this hobby cause its more like hobby inside of a hobby. You get to meet tons of new people and pick up new ideas and methods. Hope to meet some of you down the road.

                            Eric G


                            • Darin, Roger, Darrell, Huw, Bruce & Larry, Alex, Jim, Dennis, Tommy, TallTom, Allen and Eric, welcome to the forum.

                              Take your time and surf through all the threads. I guarantee you will find a lot of things to catch your attention and a lot of things to learn.

                              Welcome Aboard,

                              Growing Old is Mandatory
                              .... Growing up is optional!


                              • Good Morning. After lurking for some time [and losing my login info] I have re-registered for the forum.

                                My name is Ted McCormack and I live in Midlothian, VA which is a suburb of Richmond, a great railroad town.

                                Like many, I got my start in model railroading when my father gave me his Lionel set from the 1930s. I dabbled a little bit in HO in the 1960s, but did not go all in until 1977 with N scale when I lived in Lynchburg, VA. A new hobby shop opened in the city and the owner sponsored an Ntrak club to help build interest and I was 'bitten.' A few years later, helped start an Ntrak club in Richmond and was active there for 20 years.

                                After an interesting detour into Nn3, I realized that at my 'mature' status, my fingers had grown too large and my eyesight too dim to realize the N scale empire I had always wanted. Sold off 25 years of collecting, including most anything L&N or related, and plunged into On30.

                                I model freelance,sort of. My grandfather had a coal company in New Castle, AL [hence the name] that shipped product via the L&N, so my On30 empire will be loosely based on an Alabama coal mine operation and coal camp. The era will be 1920s-1930s.

                                In addition to a 4x8 home layout with two 4x2 wings, I also have a 2x4 and 1x4 On30 module that is part of the James River Divsion On30 modular group. I use DCC.

                                My favorite part of the hobby is structure building, either kit or scratch. I enjoy least things electronic.

                                As an On30 modeler, I am friends with Mark Chase, Jeff Patelski, and Tom Sullivan who hang out at the On30 Forum. That is one of the reasons I wanted to 'rejoin.'

                                Come see me/us at Hickory in September.

                                If you want to learn more about the New Castle operation, go to the Birmingham Rails website [].