Allen Keller has videotaped literally hundreds of layouts over the last three decades with all kinds of model railroad lighting techniques, but never before has he ever been able to shoot one in natural sunlight just like the prototypes! Join him as he visits Ray and Renee Grosser’s “Nostalgia Trip” HO layout that recreates the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Sainte Marie railroad, better known by its monicker, the Soo Line. Usually stored away in a convention hall and only appearing only at train shows, Allen persuaded the Grossers’ to allow him to shoot in brilliant sunshine, adding to the cinematic realism that most layouts aim for but can never achieve. It’s model railroad lighting on a large scale—a 34′ x 18′ sectional layout—as you rarely see it!
The Soo Line is a Granger road, meaning its topography is relatively flat—a look that is actually more difficult to re-create realistically than one with hills and mountains. In the first part of this nine-part series, Roger reveals to Allen why they chose the Soo to model on this, their fourth layout, and why they named it “Nostalgia Trip.” Turns out it’s an homage to the memories of their childhood spent on the farmlands of Minnesota and the familiar railroads, now Fallen Flags, that once bisected the countryside. See if all-natural model train lighting might be in your future!
For more ideas about lighting on your model railroad, check out this page.