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Building a Block for Oakland Part 1

My friend Dave Houseman asked me to build a block of buildings for his new Oakland scene on his Chicago, Denver and Pacific Railroad. We started with three Bachmann buildings. As is my custom, I never like to create a structure as the designers intended. I always try to make some differences, otherwise Dave’s buildings…

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Circus Passenger Cars

After building all my circus flatcars and wagons, I needed some way for the performers and workers to travel, so I decided to construct two passenger cars for my Keljan Circus. I began with two AHM 10-6 sleepers and painted them red with a silver roof. I added wire grab irons and railings. I also…

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It’s Train Time in the Mountains

The beautiful mountains and lakes of North Carolina were home for 3 days of model railroading fun for members of the National Model Railroad Association’s Southeastern Region during late May. The convention was held near the town of Waynesville, North Carolina, not far from Asheville. It was sponsored by the Carolina Mountain Division of the…

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Let’s Make the Water Move

One of the questions I get asked most when people see my layout or pictures of it is “How do you make the water look like it’s moving”? It’s really a simple process that anyone can do with the right equipment: paint and varnish. This scene is the Mississippi River between Memphis and Arkansas on…

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Car Forwarding is Fun

There are a number of schemes designed to move cars around a model railroad, but I prefer the time-tested 4 cycle waybill popularized by Doug Smith in the 1960s. I have used this system since we began operations on my Bluff City Southern in 1999 with great results. It’s just plain fun, and never the same.

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Adding the Dwarf Signals to Bridge Junction

Here is the diagram for Bridge Junction on Allen’s Bluff City Southern. In earlier blogs Kevin Kizer and I installed the approach signals and the train order signal inside the wye. Kevin, a retired signal maintainer, determined that we needed dwarf signals at the 3 locations marked 1,2 and 3. Location 1 is the lead to Bluff City yard. Location 2 is the lead to the coach yard and location 3 is the lead to the engine service facility inside the wye itself. Kevin said the signals will tell the engineer if the switch is aligned properly to exit the location.

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Private Rail Trip: Part 2

In the first part of this series, I told you about our private car trip aboard the Dover Harbor from Washington to Chicago for out anniversary. This segment picks up with the car having left Chicago heading to Memphis on the City of New Orleans. Janet and I wanted to take this 8-day trip because…

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Great Lakes Getaway Operations Weekend

Every two years since 2003, there is one operating event that stands out for model railroaders across the U.S. It’s the great Lakes Getaway operating weekend. It now features 8 different layouts for 40 invited operators to explore. Each operator gets to select 3 railroads to visit during the weekend. Doug Tagsold and Bruce Carpenter…

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Private Rail Trip: Part 1

For over a year my wife and I had planned a trip on a private railroad car for our anniversary, so we were especially excited to arrive at Washington’s Union Station for the beginning of our adventure. The station sees over 100,000 riders daily many on Amtrak trains and many others on the D.C. area…

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