Blog entries from August 2017 and earlier have been migrated from a former site and many of the images are incorrectly linked. These will be repaired over time.

While it's been a while since my last update, a lot has been going on. I've been mired down with selling off all of the paper from the spring acquisition. Though it's kept me off the model railroad, it's provided welcome revenue for projects moving forward.

I started plastering the mountains in the Manns Narrows area. Though the results are acceptable, it has proven quite time consuming. I can only cover about two square feet with one batch of plaster, which has a working time of 6-8 minutes. Unfortunately, I have to crawl under a portion of the benchwork to get to the mountain area. This is proving to be a tiring process. It is probably more conducive to being a two person project -- one in the hole plastering and the other cleaning out the mixing pan between batches.

Today I managed to mount all 17 switch machines in the Yeagertown area. I also formulated the design plan for the fascia-mounted control panels. I have 6 more track power drops and 2 frog power drops to implement yet, then this area will be ready for the fascia.

I've also redesigned the web site a bit, making it more representative of a real railroad. Enjoy!

Cardboard mesh framing for the Mann's Narrows mountains.

You may have noticed in the background of photos posted a few weeks ago that I was starting to build the shape of the mountains for Mann's Narrows out of foam.

This was my first use of foam. I had purchased some 2" thick and 3/4" thick sheets and had built up a few layers. I started carving and decided it was not for me! I think foam is a perfect medium for small areas and perhaps "trivial" hills -- as well as for keeping things light for a portable layout -- but it wasn't giving me the control and the feel that I was hoping for.

Last evening I completed the wiring to the newly laid track through Mann's Narrows through KV Junction. I now have about 60 feet of the Milroy Secondary laid, out of a total of about 100 feet. I have track laid from the east end of Burnham, through Yeagertown, Mann's Narrows, and KV Junction. A nice 12 foot lead is in place for KV staging, and a temporary connection bridges KV Junction to Milroy. (Reedsville, Honey Creek, and Naginey will be added later.)

I placed an InterMountain F7 on the rails and it ran superbly over the new track... with excellent slow speeds and no hiccups with the sound... Awesome!

Next up is the scenery base through Mann's Narrows. I have some supplies to secure at the Timonium show this coming weekend.

I'm hoping to begin mini-op sessions on the branch in the fall.


Train room viewed from the bottom of the stairway.

The project included three light fixtures. I installed "daylight" tubes. I will soon replace the "cool white" tubes in the existing fixtures in the other room. You can see the color difference in the photos.



Work continues on the HO scale Middle Division...

Since last report I have added the backdrops to the framework extensions and painted them sky blue.

I've built the framing that connects that extension with the upper level of the existing framing... in other words, the area of Mann's Narrows that exists between Yeagertown and KV Junction. KV Junction is a few hundred yards railroad west of Reedsville.

Two views of Yeagertown, under construction. The tracks are operational and have become storage for freight cars as they are built.

Yeagertown, looking east towards Milroy




The wife left for Vegas this morning for five days... so I get five days of "training" at home. Luck be a Lady!

I didn't waste any time and got down to business on a 16' by 4' extension into the rec room... passing through where the wall used to be.

On top of these I attached the superstructure components I previously built-up assembly line style. This worked out super well. It only took an hour to install all of the superstructures.

Over the past few weeks, interspersed with other projects, I managed to complete a home for my railroad's nerve center.

Underneath the future home of Standard Steel in Burnham, Pa., I had an "L" shaped area with no intended use. The tabletop level adjoined the main line near LEWIS tower. There were no prototypical opportunities for layout expansion, and I didn't want to waste the space on storage. Then it occured to me to create an operations area.

It's been quite a while since my last construction update, though construction has certainly continued. A lot has taken place in the household and my time on the model railroad has been inconsistent as I dealt with unusual weather, my first going to college, etc. I hope to provide a video update in a few weeks.

Over the holidays I completed the top level of the railroad, which represents the Bellefonte Central Railroad. It will be more for display than anything, but it is schematically correct and functional.