Hello Everyone,

I was born and raised in Scranton, PA, current home of Steamtown NatIonal Historic Site.  Many of my ancestors were Pioneer residents of the city, and worked in the iron furnaces, the local coal mines, and on the street cars and railroads.  In fact, I chose the name "Laurel Liner" primarily because my Grandfather was Chief Dispatcher of the Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Railroad (the "Laurel Line").

I plan to honor my heritage by recreating or at least simulating some local landmarks, and by working in scenes related to those places where my family lived, worked, etc. 

I've started out small by creating and adding some custom signage to my MTH brewery building in order to simulate an old local brewery from the past.  I used some old photos found on the web as a reference, recreated the signage using Photoshop, printed it on card stock and then attached it with a glue stick!  I've attached some pictures of my work.

I would love to see what you, my fellow forum members, have added to your layouts that holds special meaning, whether inspired by your community, your family, or even just a place or topic that you are passionate about.

Alan

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Last edited by Laurel Liner
Original Post

Like you, Alan. I have added features to my layout of things reminiscent of a Fallen Flag railroad that I like, namely The Put.

My favorite features are two baseball fields at the Sedgewick Avenue station of The Put in Btonx, NY.

The Polo Grounds:

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And Yankee Stadium:

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I obviously love baseball.

You layout will become special for you when you put what you love on it. Arnold 

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Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari

In the '50's we had a house in Ocean City, NJ.  My father would work in Philly during the week then come down to the shore every Saturday morning.  So Saturdays I would walk to the 14th street train station to meet him.  At the time the area was extended blocks of tall grass and my initial vision of seeing dad was the upper half of the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines RDC floating in along the horizon.

That nostalgic memory is so indelibly set in my mind that  I have Pennsylvania Reading Seashore Lines RDC units in different scales around the house and a fleet on the layout.  Daddy set my path in trains from an early age, I have never spent a say with the layout without wistfully envisioning him there with me.

IMG_8814

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I will be a little "out of season" for my story......

I grew up in the in the Pelham Bay section of the northeast Bronx in the 50s and 60s.

More towards the Central Bronx, Tremont Avenue, north of Parkchester, parallels the New Haven line headed for the HellGate bridge. Between St Raymond's Church (Castel Hill Ave) and Unionport Rd there was a small New Haven freight yard (that by the late 60s had been replaced by the Dept of Motor Vehicles).

As a youngster, I remember going there to buy Christmas trees right off the boxcars.....2x4s were nailed together as an awning and colored lights strung on then. A wood fire in an empty  55 gallon drum warmed everyone up.         

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Peter

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Similar to TomT’s story, we used to drive from Jersey City to the shore (Brick Township) every Friday evening. On Saturday morning my Dad would take me to the Pt. Pleasant train station (NY&LBRR) to pick up my grandfather. Since he was an engineer on the CNJ he had his employee pass. I would constantly look north to see if the Manasquan River bridge was down which meant a train was imminent. Many times, on Sunday, I would ride back to Jersey City with him, a few times these were in the cab. Though many years ago, I can still close my eyes and see that headlight coming off the bridge.

As a little info, the NY&LB (New York and Long Branch Railroad) had no engines or rolling stock, it was serviced by the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Central Railroad of New Jersey (Jersey Central). The line, now owned by the state still exists in basically its original form used for commuter service. The line parallels the Jersey shoreline to Bay Head where there is a return loop and coach yard. The PRR used to continued south to Seaside Heights then turned west where it crossed Barnegate Bay heading to Toms River and further west to Philadelphia, this continuation past Bay Head ended in the 40’s when the trestle across the Barnegate was destroyed by fire.

 I have been collecting CNJ for years and am planning a small layout of the NY&LB in a spare bedroom my wife has recently allocated to me.

Great thread. It’s fun to see how everyone honors their family heritage and fond memories in small ways. I too have done so in a couple of ways.  My Grandfather was a florist in a small town with their own green houses. I found some stationary with their logo and was able to print signage for the store and a red Dodge pickup they used for deliveries. I have a lot of detail and lighting to do yet but here’s a start. 
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My Dad chose to not take over the flower business but chose the dental practice instead.  He had his practice set up in my hometown so I’ve added that as well.

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My Mom’s ‘67 Cougar is parked outside as apparently today is the boys’ day for their dental appointment.  

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Last edited by rjsmithindy
Arnold D. Cribari posted:

Terrific signs, structures and photos, Rob. Arnold

Thanks Arnold - I always enjoy your contributions to the forum!

Oh! For me it is the 117 photos that I have on the train-room walls as the "scenic backdrop" for the PER. As a little kid Dad started taking me with him railfanning  and he always took B&W photos which he (and later I helped) develop and enlarge in his basement darkroom. Thus my early-to-teen memories of trains and riding them are reinforced every time my eyes focus on one of these old photos.

The North wall:

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The South wall, East End:

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South wall, middle:

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South wall, West End:

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Wow, these are great stories and wonderful, tangible, testimonials to each. Thanks for sharing; I'm looking forward to more. This is a great reminder how important it is to help make everyone's life feel special and important. It really matters.

Over the years, as my modest Lionel train collection began to grow, I realized that I didn’t have a theme to guide my purchases. I bought based on the look or the price of the item. Then one Christmas about 10 years ago, my wife surprised me with a Lionel Wyandotte Chemicals tank car. I grew up in Wyandotte, Michigan and remember seeing long trains of tankers (and the smell when the winds blew from the East).  I now have four Wyandotte Chemicals tank cars in my roster.

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In addition, I graduated from Lake Superior State University in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan in 1974 and saw multiple Soo Line railcars around the city.  So I’m always on the lookout for Soo Line cars. 

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And finally, I spent the first 10 years of my career working in the Nuclear Power Industry so I’m always on the lookout for these bad boys. 

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All three “themes” have meaning to me and help make the hobby more personal. 

John

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I'm slowly adding places and name that mean something to me.  The cafe where I met my wife, the military bases where I served, towns where we lived, favorite places from my youth, the very many jobs i worked, family members, friends, even a song title or two.  I have a list covering seven pages and only about a dozen structures built......so far.

The fictitious "Acahela National Forest" was named after the Boy Scout camp of my youth:

NF 4

The latrine is an accurate model. 

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Last edited by Avanti
@rjsmithindy posted:

Great thread. It’s fun to see how everyone honors their family heritage and fond memories in small ways. I too have done so in a couple of ways.  My Grandfather was a florist in a small town with their own green houses. I found some stationary with their logo and was able to print signage for the store and a red Dodge pickup they used for deliveries. I have a lot of detail and lighting to do yet but here’s a start. 
67F61EB9-F2D0-4F9C-BB98-20B7DC45F6552C815780-E415-4155-B2E2-D9A4770DB210DC3987BE-586D-44C5-9190-16B9E3806D26
My Dad chose to not take over the flower business but chose the dental practice instead.  He had his practice set up in my hometown so I’ve added that as well.

1522B50F-A1E6-43C4-97D1-BB1C8B45241E

My Mom’s ‘67 Cougar is parked outside as apparently today is the boys’ day for their dental appointment.  

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Strange, your Smith's Florist looks just like my Davis Food Mart, even the same color.

 

Ain't Plasticville buildings just the greatest?  

@Forty Rod posted:

Strange, your Smith's Florist looks just like my Davis Food Mart, even the same color.

 

Ain't Plasticville buildings just the greatest?  

I agree, the Plastcville buildings great.  I plan to detail the interior and weather the exterior eventually, but the building is a good base for period retail.

Our family owned a brewery in Pittsfield "Gimlich and White, Bershire Brewery Association" which thrived from the late 1800's until prohibition. They built a five story structure and sold beer all up and down the east coast. In honor of them I built not the five five story but a copy of one of their out buildings. Only seeing the front I took liberty in designing the rest of the structure as it might look today although it is all gone now. The larger brewery building can be seen in the background.

Gimlich and White ad_111rev3 Gimlich and White building_419b 

IMG_8318Gimlich and White building_413b

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Last edited by sidehack

Hi Pete,

How did you create the flat faced rock work and the waterfall in your Acahela National Forest view posted above?  They are both very realistic. 

John

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@CA John posted:

Hi Pete,

How did you create the flat faced rock work and the waterfall in your Acahela National Forest view posted above?  They are both very realistic. 

John

John,

Thanks for asking.

The mountain is mostly made of paper towels dipped in soupy plaster and draped over cardboard lattice. The large flat rock faces are mostly real stone, blended into the plaster via dry-brushing with the finish colors. In a few places, I used crumpled tinfoil as a mold. The secret of nice mountain terrain is to start by painting the whole thing flat black. This is counterintuitive, but it produces deep shadows that can't really be painted on later. It is sort of a complement to the well-known technique of finishing by dry-brushing with bright white to simulate the glint of sunlight.

As for the waterfall, I used the standard technique of squeezing long thin strips of RTV onto a sheet of plate glass, letting it dry, and then carefully peeling it off. The strips are they laid over a white-painted stream bed. The secret to realism is to add thin wisps pulled from medical cotton.  This nicely simulates water spray and holds up well even on close inspection.

Hope this helps a bit.mountain 5foo 2foo 3NF 1NF 2

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Both my mom and dad grew up in Bentleyville, PA.    This is a small town along the Ellsworth Branch of the Pennsylvania that connected with the Monongehela Division in the town of Monongehela, PA on the river of the same name.    Their families were coal miners and so was my dad until his early 20s (he started at 14) when he got laid off and was recently married.    So they moved north of Pittsburgh to Ambridge PA where got a job in a Jones and Laughlin Steel Plant (J&L Steel).    That was about 20  years before I was born.   

When I was refining my ideas for something to model, I stumbled onto a magazine with track charts of the PRR Monongehela Div and all the branches.    I had always thought of the PRR as the 4 Track main that went by the town I grew up in.    But the Mon Div had all kinds of single track and the Main line was double track.    I originally very very loosely modeled the Ellsworth Branch through Bentleyville and Ellsworth to Cokeburg.    When I moved in the late 80s from western Ohio to Michigan, I decided that focus either too constraining, or required to much imagineering to run much other than coal trains.   So I looked at my track charts and found the connection from Greensburg to the Mon Div main at West Brownsville, that sort of forms a loop to south and then back to Pittsburgh and points west.     And it was single track in fairly modern times.   As most of you have figured out, multiple track mains eat a lot of real estate.    

So now I have built a model of the line from just south of Greensburg on the Pittsburgh Div main through Brownsville with staging tracks feeding both directions.    I model a yard at Youngwood, which is much much compressed.    the track is still very loosely based on the prototype but is easier to justify a few general through freights which actually did run from Pitcairn to Uniontown.    I decided mine through past uniontown and on to Conway Yard and originate in Enola, both locations as staging tracks.    I also kept passenger service still running with a secondary through train and a commuter local in each direction.    With connections at each end to major mains  it is much easier to tell people there is through freight with an M1 coming by.   

So I still model the area that my family came from, but not quite the hometown.    On the other hand, I have a Spang Chalfant pipe plant from my hometown, an American Rolling Mill (makes rolled metal roofing) from my Ohio employer who started that way, and an Isaly's Dairy plant which was common over that area with stores in every small town.   I also have Newman Packing Co named for my father in law who loved his steaks.    And I have a small general store/post office named after my Grand Father - Zilka's general store.     The rolling stock includes two JLSX tank cars for hauling Coke Byproducts  using in making tar and other products.    JLSX is the private reporting marks for J&L steel and both cars are "Return to Aliquippa Works" where my dad worked.

So there is a lot inspiration from family and personal history on my layout.

Hi Pete,

Thanks for the response. One way to make your rock work look real is to … use real rocks!  Since I didn’t design that kind of load into my benchwork I’ll stick with the light weight approach. I’ll look into the RTV for a waterfall. That looks great as well. 

John

@CA John posted:

Hi Pete,

Thanks for the response. One way to make your rock work look real is to … use real rocks!  Since I didn’t design that kind of load into my benchwork I’ll stick with the light weight approach. 

John

Well, yeah. But there are only three or four thin, flat pieces of stone blended in with the plaster.  They really don't weight much. Give it a try!

Papier Mâché-style products like Scuplta-mold work well for blending the materials.

I grew up in Peoria, IL during in the 1940s and 50s. At that time passenger service (to/from Chicago) was offered by the Rock Island (CRI&P) as the PEORIA ROCKET. I rode on that train many times.  I re-entered the train hobby when I turned 50, and I decided to collect all of the Lionel trains of the RI. That didn't take long so to keep the momentum going, I expanded my collecting to trains made by MTH, Weaver, Williams, Marx, and some now-defunct brands.  Due to medical issues, I sold the entire collection, many action accessories, and related gear at auction via Stout Auctions.  Most all of my RI stuff was sold in a weekend. I kept two RI trains as mementos; a Lionel E6A RI passenger set and a RI "Mikado" steam loco with several RI freight cars.

Later on (to my surprise), I experienced full recovery from a stroke and a cardiac incident, so I designed and built an L-shaped layout at home. For this venture, I decided to collect DEPT 56 lighted porcelain North Pole Village buildings -- items that were related to my family: the Bakery (for my dad, a baker), KOLD Radio (for my career in radio broadcasting), the Naughty or Nice Detective Agency (for my mom who kept a close watch on me and my two sisters), and many other buildings - 35 total. The buildings are now placed along the perimeter of the upper level of my layout, which also has three short trolley lines. Pix attached.  I didn't apply new signage to the DEPT 56 buildings, but I explain to visitors "the rest of the story."

Mike Mottler     LCCA 12394

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Last edited by Mike H Mottler

First time I have heard about the flat black base color for "earth", and mountains.  I used brown, then an India ink/ alcohol spray to get features. 

But the black would be a great idea- too bad my land forms are finished.

@Avanti posted:

The fictitious "Acahela National Forest" was named after the Boy Scout camp of my youth:

NF 4

The latrine is an accurate model. 

That latrine looks very similar to what I dealt with at all the scout camps of my youth.   You just need a sign reminding people to put the lids down and a few scale mosquitoes!

@jhz563 posted:

That latrine looks very similar to what I dealt with at all the scout camps of my youth.   You just need a sign reminding people to put the lids down and a few scale mosquitoes!

I've lived in places where mosquitos were the size of turkeys.  Shouldn't be too hard to model. 

Great question.  I don't anything done enough to be worthy to share as a photo, but for me every building is somehow related to family history or my history.  Either somewhere i've worked, a family member worked, or I lived.  Fortunately I have a good bit of family history documented to know what to include.
A couple examples are the pharmacy my grandfather worked, the factory my other grandfather worked, and several factories where I've worked for an extended period of time.  Then also an A&W rootbeer for my mom that was a carhop once upon a time...

 

Half my layout is an homage to northeastern PA where I grew up.  Also some family in that area.  My uncle Al never bought a new car in his life.  The Miller sign speaks for itself.  Scranton was one of the first if not the first cities to have electric trolleys.100_0870100_1634

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