Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hectic Fall . . .

I can't believe we're almost halfway through November. I haven't gotten much done model railroading-wise in the past month - we had two trips to Charleston, SC - one to see my youngest son (who's a senior at The Citadel) get his school ring on Parent's Weekend, the second was last weekend to attend my 25th reunion. In  between I went to the MER convention in Cary, NC.  The one weekend we were home was spent doing fall outdoor chores. 
We have family visiting for Thanksgiving week next week - so essentially November will be over in no time. To top it all off, work has been really nuts lately. 
Bernie Kempinski and I plan to visit and operate on some out of town layouts the first weekend in December - once that trip is done I think I'll stay home for a while!
The shorter days and cooler temps have me all fired up to hunker down and work on some models - but things have just been too hectic. 
I have had a few odd moments to look over the "alcove" area. The current layout plans called for putting Essex Junction along the "long wall" at the entry to the layout area. But that area is not ideal since it's almost too much room for Essex Junction, and the wye would loose one of it's legs. Why not, I thought, move Essex to the alcove - leaving room for me to include White River Junction (or at least the CV-centric elements of WRJ) where I was planning to put Essex Junction? 
Some early tests with mockups show this might work - here's an early sketch showing where Essex Junction would end up. (After looking at this with the full-size mockups, I think the Essex Junction trainshed would actually be better on the peninsula (across the aisle from where it shows on this diagram):

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trip Report - MER 2011 Convention, Cary, NC

I rolled back into town Sunday evening after spending a very enjoyable three days at the NMRA Mid East Regional Convention in Cary, NC. Model railroad conventions can run hot or cold, and I've been to plenty of regional conventions over the years - and frankly some of them have been awful. But not this one. 

First of all, the show went off without a hitch - the hotel (Embassy Suites) was excellent - even the food in the on-site restaurant was pretty good and reasonably priced. The clinic lineup was outstanding - they ran four rooms from 8:00 until 11:00 pm for three days - quite a feat! the weather on the drive down was great, but by Friday the skies had clouded over and it was pretty windy and rainy so I stayed inside most of Friday.  Judging from the audience size in the clinic rooms so did most of the other attendees! 

Bruce DeYoung gave two excellent clinics - one of slate roofs and the other on "Modeling tricks and tips" - here's Bruce showing one of his tips - a great way to spread ballast:

Danial Fisher is a structural engineer who specializes in steel-framed buildings. He gave an "extra fare" clinic on modeling steel framed structures. For $12 I got a GREAT handout and a small kit to build a steel-frame shed (or addition to an older building. Dan displayed this model, which is a Walther's Car shop with complete framing and bracing added to represent a steel-framed building with brick curtain walls. Sorry for the quality of these photos - I took them with my iPhone in the clinic room! Apparently, Dan's factory manufactures droids!:
I did get out of the hotel for a little while. I had lunch with Mike Brestel and John Roberts on Saturday, and then headed over to check out Bruce Faulkner's N scale CSX layout. To give some sense of this project, Bruce's layout is about the same size as mine but is double-deck in N scale. He has a CTC signaling system installed, but is only now really starting to make progress on the scenery. It looks like a great railroad to operate and I may need to get a few of the locals from this area to make it our next operating road trip. 
Here's Bruce:
And here's a view of his main classification yard:

All in an all, an excellent weekend seeing old friends and making new ones!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New blog you might want to check out

My friend George Dutka has started a blog on his White River Division modeling adventures - check it out at .

George's layout is great example of a relatively small layout that provides big modeling opportunities. 

Check it out.