Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
Click image to link to my web site,

Monday, January 07, 2019

End of 2018, into 2019

First off, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to all of you who follow along with the blog, and for some who also see the layout in person. I'm glad to be able to share what I am doing with you and I enjoy the interactions and friendships that have developed over the years.

As I wrap up 2018 and move into 2019, I thought I would share a couple photos and some information on recent work. As noted earlier, I focused on some scenery prior to the November open house. I also did some work on the town scene for Whitefield. I have had mocked up buildings there for a while but I decided to start roughing in the roadway and sone of the scenery. I also finished off a couple buildings adding some interior details and lighting with LED strips.

I roughed in scenery tasing foam, then added some Sculptamold to smooth the contours. I applied another coat of Fast 'n Final to the road, using a much lighter color to better represent older asphalt.

I restaged the buildings I have and plan to use. The first 3 from the left are essentially complete. I created sidewalks using a photo from actual concrete, wrapped around gator board. The interior for the diner was finished and I paved the parking lot with newer looking asphalt. The second building was completed well over 20 years ago and is just dropped in place on the sidewalk section I created for the diner. Across the B&M tracks I created the Whitefield Tavern, finishing off a DPM kit with signs and interior details. Inside a band is playing. The remaining structures are loosely placed and will be worked on over time. The white farmhouse will get a prominent spot across the road up on a hill side.
I should mention that the photo image I used for the sidewalks came from Lance Mindhiem's site. He has lots of great information and also some nice images to download.

Here are a couple of close up shots showing the interior details a little better.

The darker section in the middle of the road is from  a gloss coat I sprayed as I get ready to apply yellow stripe details.

A band is playing inside on this Saturday afternoon,
I have my layout open for the New Jersey Division Meet coming up on Saturday January 12th, so I've held off doing to much other work. With holidays, there was not much time to work anyway.

After the open house, I'll start getting ready for the Springfield show at the end of the month. I'll be taking the modules on the road again to include in the large, multi-group Free-mo layout in the Mallary building. Stop by and say hello. Although I may be away from the layout at times, but hopefully I will not miss seeing you.

Back to Christmas, and I got this really nice Exactrail bulkhead flat from my wife,. I confess that I did provide her a wish list, but still I had not seen the car in person and sorta forgot it was on the list, so it was fun to open on Christmas morning.

The wood deck is a separate laser cut piece that I look forward to weathering before applying. Note that the 2 consolidated lube placards came off (see the white spot to the right. These seem to have been glued with a less than stellar product, but luckily I retrieved both small pieces before they were lost.
I received a really nice Christmas card and layout update from Greg McComas who lives down in Texas. It was a really nice picture he staged with his Michigan Interstate Railroad locos in the snow. Check out Greg's blog, it is really interesting how he keeps the railroad up to date and writes about the projects for his layout with a prototypical slant.

And finally, my wife and I visited Longwood Gardens during the holidays. It is a really spectacular location with gardens, fountains, a spectacular conservatory and much more. I particularly enjoy the outdoor beer garden and food. We are members and go often - I highly recommend a visit if you live in or find your self in the Philadelphia area.

For the holidays they have outdoor lighting that was the main attraction for us. But we also got to check out their garden railway display, which is set up just for the holidays. Really nicely done, and lots of greenery despite the cold winter weather.

Multiple trains running at once on what I believe were 5 separate loops. You can see part of the beer garden buildings and tents in the background.

Really nicely done as I would expect from Longwood. I'm just surprised that do not have a garden railway all year long given the work involved in building it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A railfanning break

It was a good open house last weekend. I had 50 or so people, some who had not stopped by in a few years, and some first timers. Glad to talk and share the layout with those who made it.

Taking a break from the layout posts, here are some pictures from a rail fanning excursion. 2 years ago in October 2016 I was up in Bethlehem PA for a work event. I had a few hours to get trackside before the evening's events so I drove around a bit and found some good spots to catch trains. I saw plenty of trains, all  Norfolk Southern. But lots of activity.

Going through pictures in my Photos app, I came across these and did a little editing on them and trashed the ones that did not come out too good. Here is a quick look at some of the shots from that afternoon.

It was a nice fall day to be out, a warm mid-October day, with some good colors in the sunshine. I came across these GP38-3's in the yard at Bethlehem.

Driving a bit further west I found a good spot where the main line came right up to the road. I'm sure it is a popular spot to watch trains, but I was the only one there that day. I saw quite a few trains and some light engine moves while I was there.

And plenty of crew around as well, doing various things.
Here was a crew change in progress. A van had pulled up and a crew came out. The crew on board had just dropped a trash bag out the locomotive window (the white spot in front of the lead truck). This was cool to watch the changeover.

Further to the west was a large yard but I really could not find a way to get anywhere to easily take some photos. I could see things from the road as it elevated on the adjacent hillside, but there was not a good spot to pull over. A lot of engine movements came in and out this end of the yard.

Hey, got one of those Spring Mill Depot PD3000 covered hoppers that needs some current day weathering? Here is one in a plain NAHX paint scheme.

This was an interesting movement. This was an RPU6 slug, attached to an SD40-2. More info on the RPU6s here.

The steel mill stacks in Bethlehem are easily seen from all over the area. 

The old mill is now an interesting area with a museum, an outdoor theater, bar, restaurant, and more. It is adjacent to the casino. I have a lot of pics of the museum, but that could be a separate post really. Well worth a visit. 
A nice elevated "park" gets you up close to the stacks and other parts of the mill. There are even a few old hopper cars here on some elevated track showing how coal was delivered.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Open House Sunday November 11, 12pm-5pm

Just a quick note that my layout is included in the NJ-PA-DE-MD open house schedule again this year. I am open on Sunday, 11/11, from 12 to 5. See the full listing with maps at the web site

Here are a few pics of things I completed since last year. This is not everything, just some of the highlights.

I'm looking forward to seeing you!

I've enjoyed finally getting to work on this road scene for Whitefield. Two buildings here have interior details with lighting. Just getting started overall, but nice to move on from the exposed foam!

For whatever reason, this scene in Hardwick was never finished and remained in brown painted foam board for the past 12 years or so. I decided to at least add a basic ground covering to the area and re-install a weathered version of the old creamery building. This will no longer be active, but I plan to use the half the track as a team, track, and later add a simple unloading platform for transferring boxcar loads to trucks.

I noted this scene ion a previous post, but it too now has a finished look, making all of Hardwick now looking much more complete.

This side of the Whitefield diamond was done earlier and also brings a greater level of completeness to the layout. The other half is getting started as seen in the first photo with the road and buildings going in.

Over ibn Johnson I completed the background and roadway. Not seen is the area in front where I did paint the exposed plywood and foam a solid color. I still need to build the talc mill and then finish the scenery, but this now looks a lot better overall.

Not really changed, but I did cleanup a few details here. Still real happy with this initial scene when you first enter the layout area.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Fall scenery work

I've spent bits and pieces of time during the summer and early fall doing some light scenery projects. I also finished off the New England Farmhouse kit, minus some details once I determine the exact layout placement.

Here is a look a the finished farmhouse from Mount Blue Model Co. And a link to their website.

I have an open house coning up on November 11th (see for a full schedule). With that n mind I've turned my attention to trying to add some scenery into places where it will help make the layout look more finished.

One conspicuous area is the pulpwood loading siding in Whitefield, right along the edge of the layout. I put in dirt, stone and ground cover to finish what was started on the other side of the diamond earlier this year.

Basic ground cover and sone piles of pulpwood go a long way to ,making things look more finished. In that big open area, I'll drop in a piece of foam painted an earth color, until I work out the final scenic treatment.

For the look of bark that comes off the pulpwood, I use tea leaves, emptied from inexpensive tea bags.

Over on the other side of the layout, the Hardwick scene on the Lamoille Valley had scenery put in well over 10 years ago. It even has some details added including figures, vehicles, telephone poles, etc. But as I never worked out the final idea for the quarry and the area between that and the church, I never finished off the scene.

To the left of the church, I placed some structures and vehicles, but this is just painted foam. I wanted to make a more elaborate quarry scene, so I held off doing much else here.
I decided that investing a few hours into making this scene look complete, even if it may not be my final idea for this scene, would go a long way to making this how section look complete. I decided to simply add a gravel parking area where trucks would be turned and stored, plus a small shanty. The rest of the quarry would be further down, somewhat obscured by trees.

It was fun bringing this scene to life, adding the utility poles and wires, and stage a few vehicles. I need to get some appropriate dump trucks but for now I'm happy with the results.

At first I did not have that pine tree at the area where the road leads into the gravel lot. But after adding it it really helped the scene, adding some vertical element to this area.

I have more things to do in the next couple weeks before the open house. I also had a light fixture fail, so that is next up to fix.