Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

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

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Annual Open House Dates for November

Just a quick note about the annual open house dates for this year. My layout will be open as part of the overall NJ/PA/DE/MD open house schedule (see for full schedule).

I'll be open on Sunday November 10th from 12:30pm to 4:30pm.

I'll also be open Saturday November 16th from 12:30pm to 4:30pm.

There are other NJ layouts open as well, plus ones in PA, so use the open house web site to plan your route.

Hope to see you!

Recent work has included adding trees along the backdrop of Whitefield.

Things look a lot better now with trees in place!

Monday, August 05, 2019

No much posting,,,,

Sorry for the lack of posting here. It is not due to inactivity on the layout or model railroading in general. I just find it much easier to throw out an update on my Facebook layout page, than to take the time to post here. I will admit that this blog is a little easier to search and write longer form, but it definitely requires setting aside a segment of time to prepare and upload pictures, and then do the writing. So probably will not be as much here regularly, but I will try to post now and again.

Recent work has been on getting North Stratford started. Until recently it has been a shelf only, good for storage and initiating/terminating the MEC TY/YT trains to St. Johnsbury and back. I have now gotten all the track in place and run to Beecher Falls and the Ethan Allen plant to be serviced by the North Stratford Railway (using a little license here on the timeframe of when MEC operated to N. Stratford and when NSRC was in operation).

ABOVE: The start of North Stratford comes through the wall of the closet on the elevated shelf above Groveton. I added some scenery to disguise this opening. I have also been working on a Sheepscot kit, acquired in early 1990s, for a Maine Central freight house. Here I am checking the placement. I have since moved the spur in front to make more space for the loading dock (not built yet).Behind the depot is the MEC main line, and behind that are the Grand Trunk tracks.

ABOVE: The corner of the shelf section, I have the station I built earlier this year in place to represent the Grand Trunk's North Stratford station. The 2 tracks here represent the GT. The one closest to the wall will be non operational. I plan to stage freight cars there to help hide the transition to the photo backdrop. The very corner itself will get disguised with some trees. The closer track is operational and will be used as the interchange between MEC and GT.

The 2 tracks in front of the depot represent the MEC Line up to Beecher Falls and a passing siding.

ABOVE: The end of the shelf will terminate with 2 tracks serving the Ethan Allen Furniture plant. The rear track will be inside the factory (a shallow building flat) while the front track will be for overflow car storage. The NSRC will need to switch cars for the plant, pulling loads out of the building and spotting empty 40' boxcars inside. The loaded cars will then need to be delivered to the GT/MEC interchange.  A true short line operation! Below is part of the paper mill building mock up for Gilman VT, served by the MEC.

As of right now, all track is in place, wired and painted and weathered. I did test runs and applied CRC 2-26. The turnouts (6 total) have ground throws installed, pulled out to the front edge. I also installed magnetic uncoupling ramps to make things easier on the operators. The height makes them hard to see from a scenic perspective, and should reduce needing to reach in to manually uncouple. I tried to strategically place the magnets so they can serve multiple purposes using delayed uncoupling.

I need to update my paperwork for the NSRC train (which has never run yet) and the MEC TY-2 train, which will need to assemble its cars into a train instead of just pulling out from what was essentially a staging track.

ABOVE: Overview of the corner of the layout, with the paper mill in Groveton NH seen below, and North Stratford NH above. To the right is Beecher Falls. I had to pull out all the buildings in Groveton to do the wiring above. Really, it makes sense to do the upper levels first before the lower levels, but alls well in the end!

I'll probably hold off on any scenery until I get another Op session in and run up top to see how things go. But it won't take much really to get scenery in most areas. It will just be dirt and static grass mainly. There will be a need for trees near the station and out to the Ethan Allen plant. And then the plant structure itself. We'll see how that goes as I do need a number of trees in other parts of the layout to get them looking more finished.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

TBT - Kadee Ad 1980

I was going through the October 1980 issue of RMC to get an article for someone, and while paging through I cam across this ad from Kadee. It really took me back to my earliest days in model railroading with the simple fascination of a working coupler like this. A huge leap from the X2f couplers I had on all my equipment.

Also interesting to note the style of the ad. Look at all that text! You never see anything like that today. A lot of information and salesmanship going on there, but times sure have changed in advertising!

Interesting to note this is the days before the Kadee patent ran out and no one but Kadee made these couplers. A point they mention. The interesting thing is that I (and many others) still feel they make the best version despite new competition. I think that only helped drive them into new products, lie the scale head coupler.

I like the line that you should use Kadee couplers because your friends are!

Thursday, January 31, 2019


A question came up on a comment about obtaining Homabed, as I mention it own some posts and it shows up in photos.

July 15, 2003 - Homabed on top of spline in Hardwick Vermont. Homasote section to left is staging for Richford VT.

I first ordered Homabed in the early 1990s when it was made by B.O. Manufacturing in New York. Later it moved to California Roadbed company. I believe CA Roadbed is out of business.

April 10, 2009 - Homabed installed on my Woodstown Jct. Free-mo module 

But good news! A new source of Homabed is Cascade Rail Supply. You can get to it easily using They have been around for a few years now, and I have heard positive things about their product, although I have not had the need to order myself (I still have a little Homabed supply to use when needed). They also seem to have a much larger catalog of products.

Cascade Rail Supply -

Monday, January 21, 2019

Springfield 2019

Yes, it is that time of year agin, the Springfield train show! I'll be attending again with my Woodstown Jct. Free-mo modules in the Mallary building. Hopefully if you are attending also we'll get a chance to say hi!

Here is the working plan for the Free-mo layout this year, as designed by James Koretsky of New England Free-mo.

My Woodstown Jct 3-section module is at the lower right, a separate peninsula to itself

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.