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I got detoured a few days this week with the storm knocking down power lines and trees. The main road I take from work is still blocked so I had to head towards Manville where one of the main lines travels through and over the road. I was able to run along the tracks and at least get one picture. I would have tried to get some more since the train was standing still but too many things blocking view.IMG_20200806_152728Just a few cars, would have been better if I could have gotten the longer string of them but I would have had to stop and walk between two buildings and that was not going to happen.

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Well, I'll join in the early start. A few days ago, I was walking past the part of my layout pictured here, and wondered what it would be like to take a photo from water level. I tried it out, and it was pretty cool, so I set up this picture to post this week.  This shows the PRR stone arch bridge carrying what by now was Conrail over the mouth of Tuscarora Creek as it drains into the beloved Juniata River at Port Royal. I built the bridge over the course of a year way back in 2000. I consider it to be the most difficult modeling project I ever attempted since the model, just like the prototype, is built on a curve. This made it's construction very difficult. It is built out of 153 pounds of hydrocal plaster which required four hours to mix and pour. It took SIX weeks for the plaster to fully dry.

If you think that is a long time, consider the fact that it would not be until March 29, 2020 that I finally finished the scene! But the bridge had to go in early on to lay the track in this part of the layout.

This shows the bridge as is would have looked in the early days of Conrail in the mid to late 1970's. The railroad was created in 1976, but just kind of stumbled along until about 1980 when Stanley Crane took over as CEO and finally rebuilt the railroad after the daze of Penn Central. Before his tenure, the bridge still looked like it did in the PRR era.

The second image was taken in 2016 and shows the prototype bridge after it was reinforced by Conrail with the use of concrete columns and horizontal members that prevented outward bowing of the spandrels (side walls). They also replaced the classic PRR pipe railing with new railing made of steel angles. This didn't exactly help the aesthetics of the bridge, but it kept it from falling apart.  This image was taken during a kayaking trip on the Juniata. That is a picture of my son Steven whose kayak is at almost the exact same spot as the two canoes in the model picture.

I've managed to return to the area every year for the past 45 years. I haven't gone back so far this year with the pandemic, but I'm grateful to have the area modeled on my layout. At least when I'm in the layout room, I'm taken back to that day 45 years ago when I first set eyes on the Juniata River Valley. 

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Last edited by PRRMiddleDivision

After many years, I decided to detail the interior two floors of my Walthers Cornerstone Series, Nicole's Java Hut building, which like most buildings is a hollow shell. Added floors, several faux walls to hide Evan Designs lighting wiring, several detail kits from Berkshire Valley Models, and some figures (soda jerk, waitress and business man) from Arttista Figures. Then to top it off, I added a Breyers Ice Cream sign from Miller Engineering to the roof that I've had for a while. Lot of work and tons of fine detailed painting of the Berkshire Valley kit parts, but in the end, it makes this piece much more realistic. 

Here's some interior shots of the two floors before I covered them with the upper floor and roof. Here's the ground floor of the soda shop & cafe.

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Here's the second story floor, a generic office layout. Placed most pieces by the bay window since you don't see much beyond there from the outside view.

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Finally the roof underside, showing the Breyers Ice Cream sign's wire routing.

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Some outside shots.

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Enjoy your weekend!

Tom

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Having allowed myself to re-enter the 3-rail aspect of model trains, my long history of appreciation for traditional-sized trains (all makes/types, not just Lionel) is already causing a flow of acquisitions to my doorstep.

I have a "direction" for my 3-rail, but it will be a while in the transpiring of same (if it comes to pass).

In the meantime, here of late, I've been enjoying posing certain traditional pieces on my existing leftover bench work from layout experiments past, and trying to envision if my ideas for 3-rail could look as good in person as they do in my mind's eye.

Here's one such "posing" effort I shot just a few minutes ago, and if you'll use your imagination along with me, then replace the Marx track with weathered-black GarGraves track, also see in your mind cinder ballast even with the ties and the cinder scrubble of a cinder-based yard, a few weeds, and such as that. Let's title this "12th St Yard Freight Departure"...

2055_WestBottoms3

So far, my little experiments are reinforcing my thinking this could be a fun and personally rewarding approach to model trains.

Andre

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@laming posted:

Having allowed myself to re-enter the 3-rail aspect of model trains, my long history of appreciation for traditional-sized trains (all makes/types, not just Lionel) is already causing a flow of acquisitions to my doorstep.

I have a "direction" for my 3-rail, but it will be a while in the transpiring of same (if it comes to pass).

In the meantime, here of late, I've been enjoying posing certain traditional pieces on my existing leftover bench work from layout experiments past, and trying to envision if my ideas for 3-rail could look as good in person as they do in my mind's eye.

Here's one such "posing" effort I shot just a few minutes ago, and if you'll use your imagination along with me, then replace the Marx track with weathered-black GarGraves track, also see in your mind cinder ballast even with the ties and the cinder scrubble of a cinder-based yard, a few weeds, and such as that. Let's title this "12th St Yard Freight Departure"...

2055_WestBottoms3

So far, my little experiments are reinforcing my thinking this could be a fun and personally rewarding approach to model trains.

Andre

In a word .... AWESOME!!!  The figures posed in the foreground allow the the mind to interpret/appreciate the vast size of the steam locomotive.  The postwar Erie boxcar is posed perfectly, giving a sense of forced perspective.  Tying the scene all together is the perfect choice ( IMHO ) of background buildings you have chosen.  Keep the photos coming Andre'!!

I realize I am a week late for Christmas in July but thought I would share my 2019 Christmas layout. My daughter, who turns two tomorrow, was so interested in the trains this year. Although she was scared of the Legacy Polar Express on the lowest level at first. 

I can’t wait to see her excitement this year when we add levels 4 and 5. 
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Birthday gift from my wife and daughter earlier this year. She said she picked it out because I had just started a project with Union Pacific at work. Seems like a good excuse to finally have a modern diesel. 

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And my Father’s Day gifts from the two of them. 

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Yesterday I was fooling around with Google Maps and following an old rail line that ran past my boyhood home.

While I traced the line all the way from Detroit to Grand Rapids, Mi, I decided to take a look at the Owosso, Mi to look at the Steam Railroading Institute were 1225 is housed.

Lo and behold I saw the following - 1225 sitting on a side track with an empty coal tender behind her.  Imagery isn't the best but better than nothing.

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Last edited by Allegheny

Thanks t-train.

I appreciate your kind words.

As for that scene: Years ago I lucked-out on the backdrop work. The above series of "PhotoFlats" I created for the scene ended up really working well together, even better than I was hoping for. Seeing as I'm considering reusing the same bench work for a small 3-rail layout... it's a shame the backdrop buildings and alley scene were put in place for one of my non-3-rail extended scale experiments. In this case, they're S scale!

Perhaps I can get away with it. The 6464's don't look too bad posed with the "S scale" PhotoFlats... and a 6464 would be the largest of the boxcars I'll use. I would dread the thought of tearing them out and replacing with up-sized images, for that would throw off the geometry in regards to the distance between the right hand wall and the tall PhotoFlat that covers the window: Dilemma.

Tom:

That's some superb work there. Truly excellent.

All:

Lots of good pics in this thread, as always. Thanks for making the effort to shoot and post.

Andre

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Off to another great start this weekend guys, thanks so much for the outstanding pictures, lots of great inspiration and some offering some great ideas for storage and others offering some great ideas for interior detailing.  Now all someone needs to do is post a video on how to stuff 334 sq ft into 153 sq ft because I'm sure having a hard time figuring it out.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, stay safe and healthy,

@NYC2UP posted:

After many years, I decided to detail the interior two floors of my Walthers Cornerstone Series, Nicole's Java Hut building, which like most buildings is a hollow shell. Added floors, several faux walls to hide Evan Designs lighting wiring, several detail kits from Berkshire Valley Models, and some figures (soda jerk, waitress and business man) from Arttista Figures. Then to top it off, I added a Breyers Ice Cream sign from Miller Engineering to the roof that I've had for a while. Lot of work and tons of fine detailed painting of the Berkshire Valley kit parts, but in the end, it makes this piece much more realistic. 

Here's some interior shots of the two floors before I covered them with the upper floor and roof. Here's the ground floor of the soda shop & cafe.

IMG_3149IMG_3151IMG_3154

IMG_3152IMG_3153IMG_3150

Here's the second story floor, a generic office layout. Placed most pieces by the bay window since you don't see much beyond there from the outside view.

IMG_3175IMG_3176IMG_3178IMG_3177

Finally the roof underside, showing the Breyers Ice Cream sign's wire routing.

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Some outside shots.

IMG_3166IMG_3167IMG_3183

IMG_3180IMG_3181IMG_3182

Enjoy your weekend!

Tom

 Tom, Excellent work'.. I would like to see the Bryers sign in action and on the structure, as I'm confused how you have it hooked up and getting power to it.......

@laming posted:

Having allowed myself to re-enter the 3-rail aspect of model trains, my long history of appreciation for traditional-sized trains (all makes/types, not just Lionel) is already causing a flow of acquisitions to my doorstep.

I have a "direction" for my 3-rail, but it will be a while in the transpiring of same (if it comes to pass).

In the meantime, here of late, I've been enjoying posing certain traditional pieces on my existing leftover bench work from layout experiments past, and trying to envision if my ideas for 3-rail could look as good in person as they do in my mind's eye.

Here's one such "posing" effort I shot just a few minutes ago, and if you'll use your imagination along with me, then replace the Marx track with weathered-black GarGraves track, also see in your mind cinder ballast even with the ties and the cinder scrubble of a cinder-based yard, a few weeds, and such as that. Let's title this "12th St Yard Freight Departure"...

2055_WestBottoms3

So far, my little experiments are reinforcing my thinking this could be a fun and personally rewarding approach to model trains.

Andre

 I love this kind of photography... I share your imagination of the finished tracks, ballast, weeds, etc.  I like the buildings and the sky line'.. good blending'...  So as Patrick say's, keep going'. you have a fan club in the making'....😀⭐👌⭐ 

Thanks Ted.

You guys are the best bunch of "enablers" on a train forum I've ever seen.   I think our train addictions run deep in us.

Perfect timing:

'Tis perfect timing that "Christopher2025" should post at this point, for much of Christopher's approach to utilizing traditional trains was one of the top reasons that my interest in 3-rail continued to smolder through the "non-involved" years. (BTW, great pics again, Christopher!)

"Close" and hand grenades:

I was "sort of" on the right track well over a decade ago during my extended 3-rail experiment, but I fumbled the ball in trying to take 3-rail a direction it wouldn't work for me. I was "close, but no cigar". However, as the old saying goes, "close" only works in hand grenades.

In this often-used picture of mine (taken toward the end of my aforementioned 3-rail experiment), there are several of the elements already present that I have now distilled and incorporated into my "Givens n' Druthers". These are elements that are needed in order for my 3-rail interest to be sustained.

Namely, GarGraves track (though unpainted as yet), traditional equipment, urban/industrial setting, headed toward a gritty "cinder-based" ground cover treatment (already the Homasote had been painted charcoal black), and the creation and use of PhotoFlats was already being developed.

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Unfortunately, the downfall of my "Great 3-Rail Experiment" is also hinted at on the lower left: Scale sized equipment. However, that long and winding road of a story has been shared in my "Scent Of Ozone" thread and other of my threads, so I'll just leave it at that. For me though, it was a lesson learned.

Hopefully, I'll stay on track this time around with my 3-rail!

All fer now!

Andre

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Just received these user-painted cast frame FA's late this afternoon. (They will have the user-paint stripped, and I'll repaint/reletter. Haven't decided what road yet.)

Anyway, threw them up on the bench work to take a quick pic...

Hogger "Stringbean" Collins and Ashcat "Shovel Butt" Sanderson stand in front of their steam hog they'll be climbin' on shortly, and are given the newcomers an eyein' over. Things are sure changin' fast on the rails the past couple years as more and more of these "diesel electric" locomotives keep showing up.

"They've got no soul" says Stringbean.

"Yeah, but you ain't the one havin' to sweat bullets keepin' these old hogs steamin' hot!" retorts Shovel Butt.

Little do either of them realize just how quickly the diesels will totally displace the fire breathing glory machines, one of which they'll be manning tonight. Yes, all too soon, these spectacular machines will be no more. However tonight, time will stand still as that proud old gal, the 2055, will be struttin' her stuff like she's done for years... blowing billows of  smoke into the crisp night air... as the glow of the firebox dances along on the cinder ballast below.

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Andre

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I have lived near the Grand Trunk Western main line tracks for many years. O scale models of GTW locos in the blue scheme are hard to find.

So I ordered these GTW ex-DT&I SD38 models from Charles Ro Supply Co. and Mr. Muffin's Trains. 

Video of the new LIONEL O scale Grand Trunk Western SD38 diesel engine-electric motor locomotive models. 

The sounds effects have more metal on metal sounds in them than the SD40. 


Andrew

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The new LIONEL Grand Trunk Western SD38 diesel engine-electric motor locomotive set.

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I got both of them because all of the production runs of GTW O sale diesel locos by Mike's Train House have become scarce and they should work with the LIONEL GTW SD40 set that was made about 4 to 5 years ago. 

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Andrew

Falcon Service

 

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2025 Week on the layout - 

 

So far I've been strong about resisting the urge to consider one of these engines, for it has a distinctive "Belpaire" firebox and that "Keystone" number plate on the front. Don't think a Pennsy engine would be seen in my KC area "theme".

Then a pic like the above shows up that really showcases the locomotive: Dramatic track-level perspective, classic "side rods down", sitting in a nice scene... and I think "Hmmmm".

Andre "Oh Look, Another Train!" Ming

Thanks for all the kind words guys regarding the Nicole's Java Hut interior upgrade project. Admittedly this project got way more involved than I initially planned it to be. Sort of a "If You Give A Pig A Pancake" story, for those that know that children's book. All I wanted to do was add the Breyers Ice Cream sign from Miller Engineering to the roof, which I did, but hey, while I'm in there...

Answering the questions posted above.

Neal - I built this Walthers Cornerstone kit 18+ years ago so I don't recall if it was brittle or not. I don't believe it was. I had no problems building it then. Even to this day it handles fine while I was completing this project.

Trumptrain - here's the list of all the items used for those interiors;

Figures: Ice Cream Vendor (soda jerk), painted - Arttista #1428,  Waitress Taking Order, painted - Arttista #1555,  Man In Suit Walking, painted - Arttista #1498,  Five seated people at tables and counter, painted - Woodland Scenics Train Figures #A2731

Cafe furniture: Soda Counter w/Stools & Accessories, unpainted - Berkshire Valley Models #456,  Small Shelving Unit, unpainted - Berkshire Valley Models #722,  Assorted Cans & Jugs, 15 piece - unpainted - Berkshire Valley Models #624,  tables & chairs - Mini Dollhouse Furniture, 1/48th Scale 8 Piece Dining Room Set, two sets - #? (see picture below), place settings - Scale City Designs, unpainted - #48-579 (see picture below)

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Office furniture: Office Desk Set (includes chair, file cabinet, books, lamp, typewriter, phone), unpainted - Berkshire Valley Models #451,  Safe, unpainted - Berkshire Valley Models #606

Flooring: picked up these sheets of flooring stock sometime / somewhere over the years, probably at various hobby stores I've visited (see picture below), which I glued to thick (3/32" / 2.4mm) card stock I keep from packaging and shipments I receive.

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Ted - below is a brief, crummy video of the Breyers Ice Cream sign in operation, and the cafe lit up. I added a few more pics showing the way I had to mount the sign. That required cutting a thin slot into the roof piece just behind the store front cornice, to allow the power ribbon cable to pass into the building's interior. And since that roof sloped, I had to add some custom made footings made out of old plastic stock materials to the sign's Billboard Supports (#990), also from Miller Engineering, so the sign would be plumb.

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The sign's power ribbon cable is fairly long, so I ran it under the roof, shown in the original posting above, down into the first floor, where the sign's power module is hidden behind the cafe's false wall at the back where the buffet table sits. Sorry, forgot to take a picture of that. Then ran the 4.5V DC power wires from the power module through the floor.

Tom

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