Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Icing Reefers

Woodbury had an icing facility (according to the Eddie Fells track diagrams) but I have been unable to uncover anything about its looks or when it was removed. Anyway, I put an icing facility in my South Woodbury yard so that I have an excuse for more switching. Any trains pacing through Woodbury will have their reefers iced. Since I model the period where the mechanical reefers were starting to arrive on the scene, I have also added an oil delivery truck to handle them.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Merry Christmas

Google has some photo editing features (which I don't know how to find or use) but they took one of my photos and added animation/falling snow to it and I love it.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas Trains

Admit it! At Christmas you couldn't wait for dad to set up the trains around the Christmas tree. Lionel, American Flyer, hand me downs, you didn't care. Christmas and trains went together.

Well Christmas is coming and its time to take a break from the 1950 PRSL and dig out my Christmas trains and have some fun. I've got 3 trains. First the Micro-Train Christmas cars I've collected (10) rumbling through Woodbury:

Who's been naughty and who's been nice?

My favorite, the 1998 Snowball Express:

Here's the Pepsi train (16 cars) crossing the Delaware:

I don't care if we are on the east coast, for Christmas we have to borrow a couple of Sante Fe Super Chief streamliner F7s to pull the Popsicle/Hershey train (11 cars). First we catch it in Westville:

And down the road in Woodbury:

The Pepsi train being assembled in Pavonia yard:

Merry Christmas!

30th Street Progress

The 30th street stone arch bridge section is done and with some shrubbery does a great job of hiding the 3 rear tracks over the desk.

The prototype:

The attempt:

I began the mock-up of the 30th street station area (it will be smaller so it may have to become the 29th street station, 28,..27,..). I have ME bridges to try to duplicate the high line in the back.

The Prototype:

The Mock-up:

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Running Again - Santa will be pleased!

The new "bridge" module connecting the new layout construction is in, the electrical gremlins have been squashed, and we are running again! A lot of work remains but we are once again functional.

The completed layout is designed to run as a 2 tower system. Brown Tower (Camden & Philly) will pass electrical control to trains entering Red Oak tower (Brooklawn, Westville, & Woodbury).  Each tower will have 2 cabs. Everything runs with  common rail (all block's south feeds looped together) wiring.

Here is a scribbled track plan. This is a DC layout using Atlas Selectors for 2 train block control in each section. All my power packs are MRC Tech II 2500s. There are more than 30 electrical blocks and 100+ track leads. In the end I needed to separate the commons at the tower sections meets. Now everything runs fine.

It seems like a whole new world. The previous 2 construction phases left me with a glorified oval. Even though it was an irregular 5'-7'x17' it still had the feel of an oval. When this phase was added it seems like a whole new world. The trains now feel like they are going somewhere. With a mainline run of ~ 3 scale miles it takes a while to get back to the start. Now I need to get the 7 track yard operational. The feeders are wired to terminal blocks but now I need to get a control panel installed. That means miniature SPDT center-off toggles and a soldering nightmare. That will be an after-Christmas project. Now we have to get ready for our 4 kids, spouses, 12 grandkids and monkey bread! Where did I store the Christmas lights (and when is it going to warm up enough outside to put them up)?

Saturday, November 16, 2013


This week I went north to Trenton to visit Rick Spano's famous Scenic and Undecided Railroad. Animation is his forte and you cannot turn anywhere on his large layout and not find something animated. He even has working, noisy fireworks all in N Scale.

He has two mines that load coal into hopper cars, giant moving earth excavators, and fork lifts and trucks moving in and out of animated factories. The star of the show is a working rotary car dump that dumps coal into ships and then runs the empty car down a kick-back track that puts the empty car on an outbound track.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


This week I took an hour's drive (and got lost in Philadelphia several times) in order to visit Ted McLean's open house. And boy was it worth it! He built a layout meant for train watching.

He runs mostly modern CSX through ex-B&O's "Sand Patch" territory. I was amazed that the prototype built most of their bridge supports for 2 tracks but never got around to adding the second track in this area. He has faithfully modeled many of the signature scenes in the area.