Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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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. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Free-mo pictures from NER Convention

I posted pictures of the Free-mo layout assembled at the NER NMRA Convention in Mahwah, NJ on my Flickr site. Click the link below to view the gallery.

It was a good weekend. Set up went pretty well Thursday despite a few unplanned physical obstacles. We ran plenty of trains created with the ModuOps software which generates switch lists for the crews. Convention attendees as well as the Free-mo crew ran over 2 dozen schedules trains Friday and Saturday.

There was talk of maybe having Free-mo at the Syracuse convention next September, but that will probably depend on space available. But certainly it was well received again by the convention attendees. Going back the last few years we've had a Free-mo layout at the Laconia NH convention in 2013, the joint MER-NER Mt. Laurel convention in 2015, the Newport convention in 2017, and now this year in Mahwah NJ.