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This blog is limited to articles; random photos or quick updates are posted to the FaceBook page.

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

Undaunted by Hurricane Sandy bearing down on central Pennsylvania, I made use of the Governor's closure of the state to work on the turnout control wiring in Yeagertown.

This past weekend at the Timonium show I picked up wiring connectors for Tortoise switch machines. Though these add to the cost per turnout, they allow you to perform all of the wire soldering on the bench and then slip the connector over the card edge of the switch motor. It also allows you to more easily swap out a switch machine without having to resolder anything.

Nothing better than a holiday without family plans, and Columbus Day was one of them. A whole day in the train room!

The first task at hand was installation in the fascia of a Digitrax UR-91 radio receiver and a Logic Rail Technologies LocoNet Fast Clock. May seem like a simple task, but it took a lot more effort than I had anticipated to make it look good. Also had to provide power to both, home-runned to the UPS system at the Power Desk. Had to also run a LocoNet home run back to the Power Desk.

Mann's Narrows Progress

With an assist from my son, Andrew, I got the first coat of plaster on the main mountain that forms the backdrop of the Milroy Branch as it runs through Mann's Narrows, between Yeagertown and Reedsville.

I'm using plaster-of-paris with paper towels over a cardboard web. I've found that I need to make the plaster a little wetter than the recipe dictates. Without the extra shot of water, the plaster was lumpy and way too thick.

Scenery has never been my forte, but this section will be very hard to access once the Lewistown Yard is constructed on the lower level. The trackage of the upper level will be accessible, but the back edge of the mountains will have to go untouched until the end of time!


The last time Broadway Limited Importsran the PRR M1 4-8-2 Mountains, I was still in N scale. Actually, I had just made the decision to switch back to HO, and I scrambled to find two of the locomotives. That release was in the Blue Line series and I secured an M1a and an M1b.

M1's are prohibited on the Lewistown and Milroy secondaries that I model, but I needed them for main line service. Also, the Lewistown engine house kept a Mountain or two on standby for the mainline. So when Broadway Limited announced a rerun in the Paragon2 series, I jumped at the opportunity and ordered another M1a and another M1b.

With the Blue Line's still in the box, I learned that they had non-functional front couplers (really?) and that they were somewhat difficult to consist with their QSI or Paragon2 counterparts. That said, I opted to sell them on eBay and ordered an additional two Paragon2 units.

This week the Middle Division took receipt of all four Paragon2 locomotives -- two M1a's and two M1b's.

Next up: An Alco RSD-15 due in November.

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!

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