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Discussion Boards => General Discussion => Topic started by: 81F on August 12, 2013, 05:55:36 PM

Title: What do people model?
Post by: 81F on August 12, 2013, 05:55:36 PM
Just out of interest what do people out there model and what era?

My model is (or will be if I ever finish it) will be based on Chirk Station on the Welsh/English Border on the Great Western Mainline between Shrewsbury and Chester. The era is between the late 1920s and 1935 to enable me to model the interchange between the Narrow gauge Glyn Valley Tramway. The narrow gauge Tramway locos are 009 built from PECO kits using Graham Farish (now owned by Bachmann) n gauge chassis, while the standard gauge is British outline OO using Bachmann, Hornby and various other manufacturers stock.

Best wishes


Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: rogertra on August 12, 2013, 06:45:48 PM
HO Scale, strictly 1958 with hopefully no anachronisms even though I freelance.  Freelancing to me doesn't mean I can run 4-4-0s pulling container stacks alongside some 2000 technotoaster diesel.  To me, that's unrealistic but if someone else gets their pleasure that way, go for it!

I subscribe to the saying "I'm a railroader modeller, not a model railroader."  In other words, I model from the real world and not from what I read and see in the magazines.  I don't model other people's model railroads.  That's not to say I don't borrow ideas from articles but they have to suit my area and my era and be prototypical.  I also model the everyday and common place.  I do not model something just because it's "cool".   Being this strict in my modelling avoids impulse buying.  Some 25 plus years ago, I wrote a history of my model railway from its beginnings in the mid 1800s up to 1972.   1972 because the first GER was set in that year.  I have a complete roster based on steam types typically seen in the Montreal area during my modelling period and therefore I don't impulse buy.  If it's not on my roster, I don't buy it!

However, having said that there are two anomalies.  I have three Spectrum 2-10-0s, which are substitutes for the CPR 2-10-0s rebuilt from the CPR 0-6-6-0 helpers discussed in another thread and three Atlas RS-1s, which never ran new in Canada.  I have the RS-1s as the GER's history says the New England division dieselised in the early 1950s with RS-1s for way freight and yard service and FA-1s for through freights.  I used the RS-1s I like them and they are not untypical of the era and region.  The switcher the CPR actually used was not available at the time.

Freight forwarding using car-cards and waybills and, eventually as the railway expands, timetable and train order operation.

Well, that's it.  You did ask.  :)


Steve, you in Oxford?  If "yes", 81F gives you away.  :)

Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: Balrog21 on August 12, 2013, 08:48:15 PM
I like too many roads to model just one so I made up my own line so I could incorporate and have all of my old favorites running on the layout. I set my line in the San Jose mtns so it would have some sense of being there in the first place. It can connect the up line and the bnsf line when the need arises. I love the old ICG out of all of the lines so I'm heavy in those...a lot, and while I was making up this history I've decided to try and collect ICG's SD40/SD40-2's complete roster. So far I've gotten a pretty good jump on the endeavor.  ;D The SD40-2 is my all time favorite engine. My line will also have some old green BN, and the Chessie system engine and rolling stock. Of course the loco roster of those are SD40-2.  ;) Well, there ya go.

Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: jward on August 12, 2013, 09:30:53 PM
in the past, I have modeled my own line because the railroads I liked didn't run through the places I liked with the locomotives I liked. by creating a fictitious line I could have it all. I even drew up a roster of diesels, and painted and numbered my models according to this plan.

recently, I have taken a break from that and run whatever catches my eye, mostly eastern railroads I saw in person. there are way too many models of old friends to pass up.

my all time favourite locomotives were the alco centuries, followed closely by the emd sd45 and sd35.

Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: Desertdweller on August 12, 2013, 10:24:37 PM
My model railroad is N-scale.  The Denver Union Terminal Railroad.  Era is late 50's to mid-60's.  Almost all operations are passenger.

I picked this subject because the actual place is not too far away and I have ridden many long-distance trains
into and out of that place.

Another reason I chose it is because most of my favorite railroads of that era used it.  I have made up a schedule for sequence operations with arrival and departure times for 40 train movements, and appropriate power and cars for each train.  I model the station and its platform tracks, tracks for the former D&SL station, and three engine terminals.

Railroads represented on my model railroad are: AT&SF; CB&Q; C&S; D&RGW; MP; RI; and UP.

It was a welcome challenge to model an urban area, as my previous model railroads were rural.

My normal operations are all Dieselized.  I run a mixture of first-generation EMD and ALCO locomotives.
My newest prototype engines are a GP-40 in AT&SF, with backdated 1960's paint, and a AT&SF U30CG.
I do run some off-line baggage/express cars from railroads that connected with my home railroads, for variety.  Also, on my UP trains, Milwaukee Road pool locomotives and cars are seen.

Both streamlined and heavyweight equipment appear.  The premier trains are streamliners, but heavyweight equipment is dominant in secondary trains.

I researched the consists, destinations, and arrival and departure times for each train.  I think that someone familiar with that era would be able to recognize my trains.


Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: Pops on August 12, 2013, 10:57:04 PM
Full details on my web site -


Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: GG1onFordsDTandI on August 13, 2013, 01:14:41 AM
I used to seriously model Autos, running brake and fuel lines, wires, etc. making up small diorama scenes. I just ran my Og trains, but I don't remember not owning a train. The trains as is, were good enough, but I did make up loads, like toilet paper tube cement pipes, "logs", popcorn coal, and pine cone Christmas trees. Then, one day a couple of years ago, there was an accident at the crossing. One of my MPC hoppers got some model paint on it, calling for a quick weathering of it before it set. From there the paint just seemed to just spread. ;), soon the loads got a bit more realistic. Then suddenly the 50 year old accessories weren't enough by themselves, I felt I needed telephone poles, and ...gulp ..streetlamps :-[. . I am now managing these impulses quite well. I've learned to not leave a "plain" item to close to a worked one, else the need to introduce it to "mother nature", might conquer my willpower. My challenge is sometimes not modeling anything too well, so that it doesn't clash too bad with the older or more colorful stuff.   

Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: ebtnut on August 13, 2013, 01:22:16 PM
I model O/On3 circa 1955.  My working theory is that you will most likely enjoy modeling the trains you remember from adolescence - around ages 10-12 or so.  That puts me in the steam-diesel transition era (I was 14 when the N&W dropped the last fire).  My layout is primarily On3, based on the EBT but set a little further east, where there were once a couple more narrow gauge lines.  My road connects the WM with the EBT, which is about 25 real miles.  Coal, brick, limestone and lumber are the primary article of commerce.  The WM side has one Russian Decapod, an RS-3, and a pair of Alco FA's.  The narrow gauge includes a Shay (Kemtron) and a Climax (Bachmann, regauged) for the mine branch, a pair of leased EBT Mikes, a heavy Mike, a pair of Moguls (one NWSL, one regauged Bachmann) and a D&RGW C-19 which is to be rebuilt one of these days to resemble EBT No. 7 as it looked after the shop fire repairs. 

Note this - The WM dropped steam in 1954, but kept some locos around in stand-by for a couple of years after.  The prototype EBT quit as a common carrier in 1956.  There were Shays and Climaxes in service in West Virginia into the late 1950's, so all this more or less hold together. 

Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: WoundedBear on August 13, 2013, 05:00:07 PM
Quick description.........a small fictional shortline on the BC-Alberta border in the Yellowhead Pass region, circa 1932. We run a few mines, a sawmill, a logging area, 2 small towns and a central yard. The layout room is roughly 12 X 22 and I have a 12 X 15 studio in the room next to it. Staging runs through an access hole in the wall and is in the studio room. Minimum radius is 18, but the small equipment I use looks fine. Max grade is 2.2% and there is provision for a continuous run route through staging, or it can be operated as a point to pointer.

The names are fictional as well.....the small town of Lye Flats is where Lye Flats Lumber Co has their mill. Main street consists of a store, fire hall, station, and other buildings. It leads up a road past some company houses to the largest mine on the layout. The centrally located Stihl Yards look after servicing and repairing all of the LS&D's equipment as well as doing work on the privately owned units of the mines and lumber company. The other town on the line is Djheet Valley with a number of various industries and a layover stock yard. There is a station here as well.

Down the line is the logging area and a wye, then on towards a few more mines and finally into staging. It's a single main with limited passing. At Stihl there is only a small 4 track stub yard. Big power is a Mantua brings the weekly freight drag into the area.  The workhorses of the fleet are three Bachmann 4-6-0's with the 52" drivers. They are responsible for passenger service and hauling the local freight.

The mines and sawmill run Shays and Climaxes. The mines have both 2 and 3 truck Climaxes, a 2 truck Climax will handle yard switching and Shays pulling Rivarossi log cars are everywhere. There is also a Concor Pierce Arrow Galloping Goose that hauls hot shot freight to the mines.


Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: Desertdweller on August 13, 2013, 06:53:53 PM
These railroads all sound very interesting!

Let me tell you about my previous railroad.

This too was N-scale.  It was a small railroad built of two layers of Celotex textured ceiling tile over 3/4" plywood.  You might say it was overbuilt, but it traveled well.

It was the West Central Nebraska.  A fictional UP branchline in the 1960's.  It began life in Minnesota in 1979, then moved with me to South Dakota, then to Texas, then to Mississippi, then finally to (you guessed it) West Central Nebraska.  After 28 years it was scrapped and replaced by my Denver Union Terminal Railroad.

It featured reverse-signaled CTC main line and full structure and area lighting.

It featured freight operation with a car-card and waybill system.  This was very realistic, in my opinion, but it also was a problem in that, for eight years of operation, my job was in station operations where my work consisted largely of car distribution, train planning, and record keeping.  At times, it was too much like my own job to really be an escape.

My first N-scale railroad was the Bonanza Borax Road.  This was an unfinished layout I bought from a friend and completed.  It was actually built in a desk drawer.  A twice-around folded loop, complete with a suitably spindly trestle I scratch built.  It featured Death-Valley style desert scenery, and all rolling stock and locos looked like they had been left in the sun too long.  I could only use small locos and 40' cars.  Power was a pair of Bachmann 6-wheel Plymouths and an Atlas Geep.  One siding that had a switch in it served the mine: a Quonset Hut made from a paper towel tube and a Heljan gravel loading tower.  Another single-ended siding in front was the interchange with the rest of the world.  Switches were operated by stiff wire rods.

I loaned this railroad to a friend of mine who was killed in an industrial accident.  His girlfriend, thinking it was his, sold it at a garage sale. :'(

I modeled in HO from 1968 to 1978.  I just couldn't build the size layouts I wanted in the space I had, so switched to N.  I have plenty of room for HO now, so I built a good-sized N scale railroad instead.


Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: Mdaskalos on August 14, 2013, 08:03:40 AM
I'm modeling the C&O, New River Subdivision, in N scale in the late steam era. Modeling it rather loosely, but the two bridges will resemble the one at Hawks Nest (although only a single truss), and the deck truss bridge over the New River near Gauley Bridge.

Since the purpose of this is mainly to get my sons into model railroading, I'm going to have to be flexible regarding what runs on the railroad...they're buying some of their own engines and rolling stock that suit their fancy.

A major home project has interrupted construction of the railroad in a rather early state. my sons have called it the "Great West Virginia Desert Railroad", as I just barely have the landscape built and painted an earth tone, and only about 3 feet of track down.


Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: Len on August 14, 2013, 11:21:26 AM
While I dable with several scales, my primary layout is the KL&B Eastern Lines Railroad Museum in HO.

Originally much smaller, the KL&B was able to expand when the Class-I (CSX) serving the area decided to abandon a 35 mile branch line. Local businesses that depended on the branch worked a deal with the KL&B and the Class-I where cars would be dropped off near the KL&B, and the KL&B would use it's equipment to make deliveries along the branch.

This generates much greater revenue than general admissions and scenic rides that the KL&B is able to use for restoration projects that otherwise wouldn't happen. So any given day you may see a ex-New Haven RS-3 hauling pellets to the styrofoam cooler plant, or an ex-NC&StL 4-6-2 bringing a string of boxcars from the paper box plant down to the interchange.

By the way, the museum defines "Eastern Lines" as anything that operated east of the Continental Divide.


Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: Thomas1911 on August 14, 2013, 02:48:57 PM
My layout is similar to Sidís except quite a bit smaller with logging and local freight only.  It is a fictional HO railroad set on the edge of a forest somewhere during the transition era (mid-late 50ís).  I wrote a history for my railroad as Roger did, however, it hasnít helped me at all with the impulse buying.  I do have some what-if's, but try to keep things plausible.

Layout is 10íx11í and includes/will include a logging area, sawmill, engine terminal and small town.  Originally planned to have coal operations, but recently decided to concentrate on just the logging as I donít quite have the room for both currently.  Trackplan is a folded loop, single-track main with passing sidings.  Will be reworking the layout over the coming few months to make things flow a bit better.

Motive power is the typical geared locomotives, currently two Shayís and a Heisler.  Also, run a 2-4-4-2, two GE 44-Tonners, two SD7ís, and a VO-1000.  Pretty full on locomotives already, but would like to add a 2-6-6-2T, one or two smaller rod engines to the fleet and possibly a Climax.

If all goes as planned, this layout will be incorporated into a larger layout at some point in the future.  Hopefully, get those coal mines and some other industries going.

Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: ryeguyisme on August 14, 2013, 04:22:01 PM
Mainly HO freelance version of Standard gauged Denver and Rio Grande Western steam from early as 1920's to 1950's, but Primarily I like to stick to the 40's mainly for wartime traffic.

I do model N scale but my idea for that is for travel and a background forced perspective layout from my HO layout.

I'm BIG into STEAM, like articulateds and heavy duty mountain road engines.

I collect private freelance railroad cars as well as if to add to the dimension of my freelance world.

I spend more time on steam locomotives than anything else, which means the layout gets highly neglected, both time spent on it and financially. Brass engines are expensive despite my efforts bargain hunting, my dedication to my steam locomotives is definitely a labor of love. I would spend up to 4-5 hours daily just researching different engines and styles and the history surround certain railroads in the time period I model.

I still have steam locomotive projects lined up that need to be finished before I start new endeavors so I'm going to start focusing on them for now like my recently finished 2-10-4.

I have plans to do HOn3 Narrow gauge now that Blackstone has announced the K-36 so that will be a prominent  part of my layout as well.

My inspirations in the Hobby include the likes of John Allen, Malcolm Furlow, John Olsen, Jim Findley among other 'artists' and kitbashers in the hobby.

Right now my funding is cut short due to pending hospital bills and the need for a car, and regular bills.....darned responsibilities :-\

Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: GG1onFordsDTandI on August 16, 2013, 04:21:36 AM
On the subjects of names, places, scenarios,... I give names all the time, change them even more. My time machine can produce some incredible scenarios (I.e. I like my imagination). Most often Im running a Great Lakes loop from Detroit either north to the Straights of Mackinaw over the converted Mackinaw bridge, to SOO station, or east thru the Port Huron Tunnel. Both go to Buffalo thru Canada. The return leg of the loop is southwest around Erie. Penn., Ohio., back to Mi. ..The Alternate is any other Great Lakes loop combo that comes to mind. Chicago was never rebuilt after the fire is the only given factor :o.  :D
 Or maybe it goes like this, After departure from the Watsamatau yard, the C&O Kawanna, with a mail/baggage combo, and milk car in tow already, crosses the Nolike bridge stopping at the Tis City industrial park for a liquid Tanker and a flat of scrap Iron, copper, etc. from JOC E's repair shop. Then Around to The Best, Meataume, & Herattatha Station for a Fri night private Party car. The station stop is lightning fast. Mail and baggage handlers buzz around quickly and the next thing you know she off and roaring, not due to stop Till The AM. Just Kiddeg mountain tunnel to go Though then home.
Sorry, sugar crash, will finish next time...need food :-*

Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: jonathan on August 16, 2013, 06:46:00 AM
...B&O, 1950's, as the steamers were starting to disappear.  As such, my locomotives are getting weathered to reflect a bit of neglect.  What can I say? I fell in love with America's first railroad.  They were never the largest railroad, but certainly quirky and innovative.

The layout started out pretty generic, but the various trackside structures and scenery elements are slowly being replaced by B&O specific pieces.

Have no plans to represent a specific time and place.  The layout will have a flavor of the era.

Industries include a wheel factory, furniture factory, and coal mine.  There is a Union Terminal where passengers and freight can transfer to other railroads, when I'm in the mood to run a PRR or C&O train (not often).  Passengers can even travel in time and ride the Acela.  :)



Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: Doneldon on August 16, 2013, 06:57:38 AM
What do I model should probably include what did I model, too.

In the distant past my brother and I had two 4x8s with Lionel trains, including a magna traction diesel that could pull a train up the basement stairs as long as there were steel rails. I'm not sure that it wouldn't have run across the ceiling had we given it a chance. But I still liked our old smoking 2-6-2 the best. All good things come to an end, however, and we moved to California so we sold all of our Lionel and used the money to purchase a couple of Athearn HO sets, both diesel.

We had fixed sectional and flex track so our rails stayed together but there's more to good trackwork than that. Between the inexpensive set trains, X2f couplers and the general state of the art in 1959, our layout wasn't a complete success. But we learned that we wanted trains and HO was the size. My brother joined a RR club and I occasionally got to tag along, including on a trip to see John Allen's masterpiece. That's where I decided that things didn't need to be clean, shiny and perfect. I also learned what a big part humor can play in a model railroad. These were crucial lessons which are important to me to this day.

A variety of things began to go haywire with our family leading to a couple of cross-country moves and culminating in my Dad's death on Christmas in 1961. My mother, brother and I moved back to Chicago where my mother had friends and family, my brother left for college and I was stuck in a small apartment with no place for a train. I did build models and tried some temporary things but, as those of you who were in the hobby before roadbed sectional track, nothing really worked out. Then it was college, grad school and the Navy for me so I took an extended hiatus from model railroading, as do so many of us. Eventually I had a couple of super step sons who liked trains so we built a small HO layout -- strictly for them, you understand -- and that started a major fire in me again. Over the years we built a second HO pike but that left with the kids when their mother and I divorced. That led to another hiatus, this one due to financial issues related to my being somewhat disabled, as a result of the Navy, and some difficulty earning the money I needed to support my train habit.

Everything worked out eventually and I built another HO railroad which the people who bought my house wanted so I sold it to them. My new house, which my current wife and I designed and built, had space for a large but disappearing large-scale railroad so I busied myself with that for many years, although I continued to accumulate (my wife says "amass") HO equipment and paraphernalia for a return to HO. Well, we sold that house and downsized a year ago so now I'm in possession of a dedicated 13x14 train room which also has possibilities for hidden staging in an adjacent storage room. However, I haven't started construction yet because I've been building Thomas layouts and two HO layouts for grandsons, and a tour-de-force Victorian doll house for my granddaughter. Present projections are to complete the last HO set-up, Thomas layout and doll house by spring and then go deeply into my planned HO pike.

My mobility is quite compromised (when they tossed me out of the Navy in 1973 they told me I would never walk and I wouldn't live five years but I've been hiking in the Sierras since they told me that) due to old problems resurfacing so I'm going to have the benchwork, track and power done for me. That way I'll be able to get to the stuff I enjoy most and am physically able to do. The railroad to be will be two levels, connected by a track which climbs between them (no helix). The time will be August, 1939, right before the whole world lost its mind. The setting will be Colorado and Arizona, with the D&RGW running on the upper (mountainous) level and the Santa Fe running on the lower desert level. A mythical connecting southwestern railroad which runs more or less from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Tucson, Arizona, will connect the two levels, with implied interchanges with the UP in Cheyenne and the SP in Tucson, in addition to the Rio Grande and Santa Fe. Thus the hidden staging. Given the era, motive power will be mostly steam and early diesel, but I'm willing to run the occasional anachronism, too.

In addition, I build and collect passenger cars from all railroads with neat paint jobs and brass locomotives. Some of the latter will be regular fixtures on the new pike; others will stay in the display cases. The passenger cars may make a guest appearance on the railroad from time to time, too.

So that's my life in model railroading. I come from a railroad family (my Dad was a dining car steward for the Central and the Santa Fe) so my interest is natural. I worked one summer for the Santa Fe during college, myself. The job was essentially walking from Chicago to Los Angeles and back, the hardest job I ever had. But it sure made me appreciate how hard my Dad worked. The job was a killer.

Too much information? I think so but I'm not about to wipe it all out now.

                                                                                                                -- D

Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: jonathan on August 16, 2013, 07:12:42 AM


CPO, USN(ret)

Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: Desertdweller on August 16, 2013, 10:38:43 AM

No Chicago!

That is going to mess up the names of a lot of railroads in your era.


Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: GG1onFordsDTandI on August 16, 2013, 02:14:08 PM
No Chicago!
That is going to mess up the names of a lot of railroads in your era.
Gary exploded the night Chicago died. na na na na na ...the night Chi... :-\sorry.....Im not sorry ;D
Not even named Chicago anymore. They renamed part of it Lion. An ad mans campaign to sell overpriced real estate. They have a yard and station, and do run a high speed elevated commuter service, the LION EL ::) between Milwaukee and Gary. The rest is now known as Williams City. A nice down to earth town, things just seem nicer there. 
There is only one big flag left for each coast, Michigan Central and Great Northern. But in the name of preserving history, nothing has been repainted and its now illegal to scrap steam unless its approved by Rail Terminal Management Co a short line and narrow gauge management team also specializing in down sizing and repurposing equipment.
 :D Fun but Im out of ammo, see you later.


Title: Re: What do people model?
Post by: Doneldon on August 16, 2013, 07:45:31 PM


CPO, USN(ret)


Aye, Aye. Actually, I was a Medical Services Corps officer so I considered it kind of the pretend Navy but it was clear I was pretty much alone with that opinion. The Navy certainly took my being there quite seriously.

Mainly what I did was throw people out of the Navy, primarily from boot or the service schools. I also got to help some of the kids who really wanted to be there stay there and that was rewarding. What was really interesting was what happened at the beginning of the all-volunteer force. During the draft era we held weekly discharge boards for about 80-90 recruits. Within a month of the all-volunteer force we were holding boards twice a week with 120-140 kids at each one. The recruiters were really up to some serious mischief.

I also did psych evals for stuff like submarine service and Operation Deep Freeze. Then there were all of the Robert Johnsons whose files were lost and whose reports went straight to San Diego with no local record maintained and no copy to BUPERS. The first one was just odd, the second a little too coincidental to be believed. The third Robert Johnson whose file was lost and had special handling of his report pretty much convinced me they were all spooks. Judging by their overall superiority, both physical and intellectual, I'm pretty sure they were SEALS. Most of them were also really scary psychologically. But I suppose that's what it takes. I'm still amazed that the Navy didn't think that giving them all the same name would be giving something away. Overall, though, I'm really proud to have been in the Navy and I'm grateful for many of the experiences I had there.

                                                                                                                        -- D