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I'm doing a clinic for a group in Olympia, WA tonight, which will be on Zoom. It'll be a presentation on military railroads, with much of the same info for the OGR article I wrote that ran in the October/November issue.

Since the mid-Nineteenth Century, the use of railroads by armies have helped win wars all over the world.

Peaking in WW2, the US Military had a massive network of railroad operations and ran trains everywhere they had troops.

Lee Bishop will present a program discussing the history of military railroad operations with an emphasis on the WW2 era. This will also cover how military railway operations can be used on any layout.

Lee will show photos historical photos and model photos from his own On30 layout and go into detail on what is likely the first-ever fictional Railway Operation unit represented within the hobby.

Time: Feb 10, 2023 07:00 PM Pacific Time:

Last edited by p51

The Army RR clinic went well, I think. I got nothing but kudos on it, anyway.

Last night, I started the process of turning a Bachmann On30 2-6-0 tender into a water tank. I'd had the platform for it a while back, and I decided I need to get the tank done in anticipation of the 4th region NMRA convention in May.

I'm using the 'oil tank' top from one of their ten wheelers, cut down with a brass K27 tender water hatch installed to look very similar to the water car I made out of another such tender before the pandemic. On the side is a mixture of the angle from a water tank and the valve and swivel nozzle from a water column kit, both white metal from old kits found recently. On the wood platform I already have for it, it should line up perfectly with my trench engine. The nozzle will be on the opposite side from the layout viewers, the the end of nozzle folded against the tender should be just visible when it's all together.


I'll also add a drain valve on the side facing the viewers as well as some grab irons on the back of the shell to gain access to the deck as needed.

Don't pay attention to the colors. I stripped the markings off the tender shell, and shall paint it black with a single (faded) loco number on the side and back.

I changed the water tank just a little. First, I moved the tank to where the drain hung over the end. I then placed a barrel underneath that spot and put a ladder adjacent to it. I then placed a bunch of Scenic Express super turf under the platform to represent where no people would tread and then likely affect of water dripping there over time.



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Coincidences can be so odd sometimes.
A friend of mine got stacks of paperwork from a friend, from a guy in the 40s who wrote to railroads asking for timetables. Included was a letter from the ET&WNC which mentioned a specific timetable. Turns out, I had one of those! It's one of only three original ET&WNC timetables I have.
Naturally, I had to set them side by side!


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Thanks, Rich!

I hadn't done one of these update videos since 2020, but that's the last time I made a substantial change (at the start of the pandemic when nobody was going anywhere here) by adding a new store and some new rolling stock.
The next update, I guess, will be once I swap out one of the scratchbuilt water towers for a 3D print one of the ET&WNC tower at the Bemberg depot. I just need to figure out which one has to go, once the 3D print has been painted and weathered and details added for the chains and weights...
When I was planning a layout themed for the narrow gauge ET&WNC, I knew i couldn't do justice to the real locations, so I went with a fictional branch line, a railroad that ran near the real line and was bought out by the "Tweetsie" before WW2.
Early in the process, I wrote a detailed history of this fictional branch line and I adhered strongly to it in all aspects of planning and execution. If something wasn't explainable under this concept, out it went.
Everything has a history.  Take this water tower for example:
The Stoney Creek Southern, the company which owned this line before the Tweetsie bought it out, had a few aging 4-4-0s. When the ET&WNC brought in their ten-wheelers, out came the torches.
Here we are, in the late summer of 1943.
When the men of the 796th Railway Operating Battalion (a fictional unit, I wrote the history of that, too), they found number 3 sitting rusting away, where it'd last been used as a backup. The soldier/railroaders hoped to get it running again but found the flues and cylinders in terrible shape, along with a collapsed dry pipe. Once word came that three former WW1 'trench' engines would be regauged at the shops in Johnson City, out came the torches.
There's a low gondola filled with the rods, a few drivers and other parts. There are some wheels and axles still sitting in the weeds from #s 2 and 3, waiting to be lifted onto a car once a crane shows ups. In this timeframe, there are very few metal items rusting away, as everything has gone off to wartime scrap drives. There are even rumors that the civil war cannon barrel at the war memorial nearby will be melted down for shell casings.
The tender for #3 was in halfway decent shape and the soldiers needed a water tank.  They badly wanted the water car hauled on a platform, but the ET&WNC still had use for it. So, some metal patches were riveted in place along with a metal plate to cover the top.
They had no paint and little time, so they used the remains of a water column and quickly erected a platform from materials left over from a bridge they had just completed near Carter, TN. It worked just fine for Army # 5069.
The only other remains of the SCS's 4-4-0s is the former tender from #2, which was turned into a water tank in 1936, after the locomotive was involved in a nasty grade-crossing accident near Speedwell. It was one of the last pieces of equipment that was lettered for the SCS
Last edited by p51

I just came home from the NMRA 4th region convention. It was a nice event, I gave a presentation on military railroad operations for model railroads.


I also won third place overall for the photo contest. They combined the real and model photos and mine was the only model photo to place.

Here's the original photo:



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Last edited by p51
@p51 posted:

I just came home from the NMRA 4th region convention. It was a nice event, I gave a presentation on military railroad operations for model railroads.

I also won third place overall for the photo contest. They combined the real and model photos and mine was the only model photo to place.
It would have scored 1st had they done a separate model category, but I'm happy anyway.

Congrats, Lee! Your modeling and creativity is superb!

@Khayden93 posted:

Would definitely buy that photo as a print if you ever released prints.

It never crossed my mind anyone would want to pay for a print of one of my photos. In all humility, I know I'm not a bad photographer, but I'd never seen anyone try to sell their shots. But then again, I miscalculated interest in the patches I'd made for my fictional army railroad unit (which sold out in less than a week), so maybe there is interest beyond yourself (and thanks for the offer to buy one, by the way, that meant a great deal to me).

I do plan on putting together a self-published book about my layout within a year or so, and if/when I do, I'll shill the heck out of it everywhere I can.

But prints? Hmmm. You've given my something to think of.

I recently acquired this Custom Dioramics resin M1934 squad tent off eBay. I'd never seen one before and though I could say I wish I could get more, I only have room for one anyway.


My plan is to mount it on a board with strings to represent the needed ropes and blend in the scenery around it when it's done.

They still making/selling those tents? I will have to check it out. Could probably use about 8-10 of them.

I wish they were. Their site only has them in 1/35 scale. The odd thing is I can't find any record online showing they ever made them in 1/48, but I assure you I have one in the box with their label on it!

If I find any more, I'll let you know right away.

Last edited by p51
It's been a bad couple of weeks for me and I'm just in a place where I can post about it.
My parents were both born in 1936, and well into their 30s when I was born. They had all the types of issues you expect from people past their mid-80s.
Dad got sick, went to the hospital, got COVID along the way (the hospital and the assisted living place are pointing at each other as to how he got it) and from those complications, he passed away on June 6. I find that date ironic as I've always been into military history and June 6 will never again be mainly the anniversary of the Normandy Landings in 1944..
I DO NOT want a bunch of responses to this or platitudes. I've got more of that than I could ever use at this point.
Dad was not only a great man (kind, funny, and the smartest person I've ever known), he was finest craftsman. In the 60s, he built a Civil War cannon (a M1841 6-pounder) that we re-enacted with into the 1990s.
Other than the barrel (the only thing he couldn't cast), he made every single piece of it, and anything that could be bronze, he made it as such. He couldn't bring himself to paint it after making those wheels.
He also built several cannon models, and this 1/6 scale James Rifle appeared in Finescale Modeler from this series of photos I took of it.
As for how this factors into my layout, Dad's last gun barrel is on my layout. I wanted a memorial on my layout to that unpleasantness in the 1860s (some Southerners call it, "The War of Northern Aggression,
but East Tennessee was quite pro-Union during that timeframe, something I bet they're proud of in a PC-centric world). He said he only needed to know what kind of gun barrel and scale I wanted. As I know the types, I said I wanted a 12-pounder 'Napoleon' in 1/48 scale, and it showed up in the mail about a week or so later. I jokingly said he didn't drill the vent at the back, which would be smaller than a tiny fraction of the diameter of a human hair. He thought that response was funny.
I made the pedestal, and I still can't bring myself to weather it as it'd look (all such bronze barrels outside are oxidized in green unless someone polishes them regularly).
I just wish he'd been able to see the layout. I miss you, Dad.
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