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North Coast Railroad

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  • North Coast Railroad

    The beginnings of the North Coast Railroad in HOn3

    I've been inactive in the hobby for over thirty years. Now as I near retirement, the bug has bit again. I'm actually starting to build some of those kits on the dusty basement shelves.

    While in the USAF in the early 1970's I was stationed in San Antonio. There was a layout at Lackland AFB above the bowling alley. I met several modelers who would become inspirations to me. I hung around with Miles Hale, Dick Schaeffer, Bob Clark and John Lawrence. They got me hooked on Shays and HOn3. My first Shay was in 1972 from Bob Clark(, now deceased) I still have it

    So without further adieu, here's my initial track plan for the North Coast Railroad, Great Lakes based shortline. I was influenced by the real Buffalo Harbor Grain silos, the Bar Mills "Wharf Street, " Mystic Seaport, the Oswego NY Harbor, The Erie Canal, and Tequila.

    OK I was influenced a LOT by Tequila, and not much by anything else.

    Last edited by David_J_Buchholz; 01-18-2022, 11:15 PM.
    Home of the HOn3 North Coast Railroad, along the shores of Lake Ontario.

  • #2
    Nice looking plan. I'm partial to any layout where the rails run to the harbor, so I look forward to your progress!


    • #3
      Good looking plan. If you love structure building this is great.


      • #4
        I like the play, David. I'm looking forward to further posts.


        • #5

          Looks like you have a lot of fun work ahead of you. For structures, do you plan to scratchbuild, build from kits? Are you basically starting from zero with a brave new world ahead or have you been quietly gathering equipment?

          In any case there are lots of interesting and instructional threads on this forum you should find useful. Bruce's ("Dutchman") threads for instance.

          I grew up in Rochester but moved away for work decades ago. I have a sister in Irondeqoit I visit occasionally and our son went to Univ Buffalo. Believe it or not the SUNY schools are still a pretty good deal.

          Anyway, I like your track plan and ideas for scenes, especially the harbor.


          Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. James Baldwin


          • #6
            Quietly gathering, so don't tell my wife.

            Structures are a combination of kits and kit bashing from RDA, Campbell, Seaport Model Works,Railroad Kits,Builders in Scale, Bar Mills, Model Tech Studios, Fos Scale and a few others major players. Some are kit bashing and mingling and others are straight up scratch builds.

            The plan represents a Great Lakes port, exampled by Buffalo on Lake Erie, and in particular, Oswego and Sodus Bay, on Lake Ontario with a little Mystic Seaport thrown in. It represents from the deep water harbor, around to the landing below the town and upriver to the mill areas.

            Currently mold proofing the basement walls. and moving some plumbing, and figuring out ways for the cat to meet an untimely but plausibly deniable end.
            Last edited by David_J_Buchholz; 10-27-2021, 12:52 PM.
            Home of the HOn3 North Coast Railroad, along the shores of Lake Ontario.


            • #7
              Ah, the cat . . . .

              Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. James Baldwin


              • #8
                Is the cat helping you with the plumbing?

                Jeff S.


                • #9
                  W#hat's the size of your room, Dave?

                  Flying is the 2nd greatest thrill known to man. Landing is the first.


                  • #10
                    Room size in the basement is about 9x9 with a hot water heater in what would be the lower right corner of my trackplan, hence the unfilled area. The loop is under the stairs, and provides an elevation change or reversing loop, dependent upon the what direction a hidden turnout is thrown.

                    On this forum, i'm not alone in enjoyment of building structures and scenery. I've partially built up Branchline's Valley Fuel. The basic shell is complete and incredible strong. I could almost stuff the cat in it and punt it, but two problems exist there. the building is strong enough where I think the cat would survive, and I can't lift my leg that high anymore.

                    Dave "Honey, I threw my hip out of joint again" Buchholz
                    Home of the HOn3 North Coast Railroad, along the shores of Lake Ontario.


                    • #11
                      I've been working on room preparation thus far. I live in a 1950's Cape Cod track house. previously the floor had 9x9 vinyl(ish) tiles on it. I had scraped up most of them several years ago, giving the floor a coat of grey concrete paint at that time.

                      A few weeks back I purchased cheap peel and stick 12x12 tiles. They peeled but didn't stick, or where it did, it simply pulled up the paint. It is a huge mess! Luckily I didn't get too far on the the floor. I pulled up what tiles were down, and tried sanding off the paint with a belt sander, then using vinyl tile adhesive. The Jury is still out on whether it's working or not. Some tiles seem a little loose and curling up still. Doesn't seem encouraging so far.

                      On the model side of things, I bought a Hydrocal Hermansen's Mill kit from Railway Design associates. One main wall was received broken. Both main walls have a slight bow to them. The break actually helped flatten one of them. Also it looks like when the were poured, the mold was not level as there is a difference in the wall thickness from top to bottom of about 1/8 inch. Although the detail of the stone work is great,the poor packaging and lack of attention during the pour leaves a lot to be desired.

                      A kit I started last Winter was the Valley Fuel by Branchline Trains. It has progressed well, and makes a SOLID box with the laser cutting. It's on the bench awaiting lighting inside before the main structure is sealed up. It has been heavily braced internally. Generally if something calls for 1/8 bracing, I use the next size up, like 3/16 to keep the walls straight.

                      I had an issue with a Bar Mills kit, were the supplied bracing was not thick enough to prevent warping. I usually brace before painting, to prevent curl while drying.

                      Any suggestions for the floor are most welcome.
                      Home of the HOn3 North Coast Railroad, along the shores of Lake Ontario.


                      • #12
                        My late brother the carpenter suggested this, which I've used twice and have been happy with it:

                        Get 1x4 pressure treated wood, rip it into 1x2 strips. Lay a grid on 16" centers with some gaps so air can move from square to square, gluing them into place with Liquid Nails. Where you'll have 4x8 sheets of plywood overlapping, use a full 1x4 piece. When the grid is dry, lay 3/4 tongue & groove plywood, screw into the 1x4 using 1 1/4 wallboard screws. Then apply some leveling compound. When that's dry, apply the vinyl tiles. I used the cheapo self-stick tiles, and if they start to curl up, warm them with a hair drier.

                        Modeling 1890s (because the voices in my head told me to)


                        • #13
                          Dave, They sell 16 x 16 rubber tiles 1/2 inch thick. They are made for basements and work well. No gluing, they interlock. Harbor freight has them, and Amazon as well. $4 per tile was the cost last year'..Well worth it. They can also be used out doors on patios...



                          • #14
                            With no disrespect to other ideas, on the basement floor issue, I went to Home Depot today and found 4 packs of 16x16" interlocking rubber tiles that Quartergauger spoke of. They were easy to put down and reasonable at $18.00 per pack. Will be needing more, but my thanks go to Ted for the suggestion. Actually kept my feet warmer, and when gravity reaches up and speeds something to the floor as it will inevitably do some day, at least there is a bit of a cushion now.

                            On the modeling front, been working on the Hermanson Mill walls, windows and tower. (It would be handy if I remembered how to post pictures -senior moment- gotta find that picture post thread again ) I'll insert pictures later I guess. I keep getting "OPERATION NOT ALLOWED" Wondering if it's re-size issue

                            The walls were cleaned up and the edges flattened on a piece of 36 sandpaper. 60 grit clogged to easy. One main wall needing repair was glued back together. The tower walls needed the most help as they were badly warped. They were cut into three pieces between the windows, sanded flat and glued back together.

                            About the windows, there is a Hermanson Mills build thread on anther forum that I viewed. The author mounted the windows from the rear. What pain in the butt! Not for me, there was a flat shoulder on every window that I must assume was intended for the window to be mounted on So that's where they are going.

                            I hope to post a few other pics here shortly of last winter's projects, but need to get past the "operation" issue first.

                            (edit... turns out that "Web-resizier" works with .jpg files and I was trying to send it .bmp files. Had to convert files types)
                            Last edited by David_J_Buchholz; 01-18-2022, 11:22 PM.
                            Home of the HOn3 North Coast Railroad, along the shores of Lake Ontario.


                            • #15

                              Here's the location for hints and methods for posting pictures:

                              Generally you want images to be 800 pixels wide.

                              I don't know what that error message means but you could be right that it relates to image size.


                              Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. James Baldwin