Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Friday, November 30, 2018

Heavy Haulers on the MFR

In the past I had resigned myself to the fact that I'd never get the opportunity to run big, modern road units on my home layout. I was mostly fine with this as my interests in the hobby at that time revolved around short lines and small switchers. Thing changed however, when I started watching railfanning videos on Youtube. I found myself more and more wanting to replicate even just a little bit of the big time railroading I was seeing on my own model railroad.

Luckily I was able to work some mainline operation into my new layout and so, being too excited to wait, I went ahead and splurged on a pair of Athearn Genesis ES44ACs in both UP and CP Liveries.



These units are beautiful and come equipped with LED lights and Tsunami 2 sound decoders. They look and sound great idling on my little module and are the perfect motivation for me to get moving on building my layout so I can get these babies running!


Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Track Plan

Whelp, I've done it. I've finally landed on a track plan for my new layout. This plan is the result of months of design and deliberation. It incorporates nearly all of the features I love in model railroading and should provide me many years of enjoyment. I go in-depth into the design of the track plan in the following video:



The plan is simple, but allows an operator or two plenty of operational enjoyment. If I'm not in the mood for operations, I can even sit back with a beer and enjoy running a couple of trains around in circles. I've included a yard, a nice industrial area, and a couple nice, unencumbered areas where I can enjoy my favorite kind of modeling: Scenery.

True to proto-freelance modeling, the towns and industries located on the layout exist in real life. (though I've taken plenty of liberties with the locations and track arrangement to best serve my needs) The town of Usk stands-in for several towns found in the Pend Oreille Valley and just like on the prototype, the yard at Sandpoint is the valley's connection with the rest of the world. I've also included a few key scenic features found on the prototype including the old Great Northern Depot at Sandpoint, the bridges over the Pend Oreille River, Blueslide tunnel near the crossing of Highway 20, and the iconic Box Canyon Bridge.
(click to view larger)

Let's take a moment to look at the industries represented on the layout and learn about their freelanced (i.e. pretend) histories:
  • Lehigh Cement: With operations beginning in 1911, Lehigh Cement is the oldest rail-served industry in the valley, This historic factory once towered over the town of Metaline Falls however, the factory's advanced age required the owners to shutter operations at it's original location and build a new, modern plant south at Usk Washington. The factory ships 4-6 2-bay covered hoppers an operating session. 
  • Ponderay Newsprint Company: Ponderay has been the one of the valley's largest rail customers since it began operations in 1989. The plant ships around 2-3 boxcars loaded with newsprint an operating session and receives boxcars loaded with recycled paper materials as well as tank cars loaded with kaolin and other chemicals on an as-needed basis.
  • Vaagen Brothers Pole Mill: Headquartered in nearby Coelville Washington, the Vaagen Brothers Lumber Company decided to expand operations by purchasing the mill in Usk Washington in 2006 and shifting focus from small diameter lumber to utility pole production. The mill ships around 2 bulkhead flat cars loaded with poles an operating session.
  • Riley Creek Lumber: Part of the Idaho Forrest Group, this mill has been supplying America with high quality wood products for decades. Due to a recent lull in the new construction market, the mill only ships around 2 loads of lumber on center partition cars during most operating sessions. 
  • Pacific Steel and Recycling: A small employee-owned recycling facility which receives loads of scrap steel and other recyclable products via boxcar and gondola only on occasion.
This plan is sure to change a bit once flextrack meets plywood, but I'm pretty happy with where it stands right now. It was a lot of fun to put together and I can't wait to get started building benchwork!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

What is Best in Life?

What is Best in Life? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to find your favorite layout on the cover of a magazine.


Monday, November 12, 2018

Construction Begins


Just a quick update today. I borrowed my dad's truck and ran to Menards for what it sure to be the first of many, many trips related to this railroad.  I purchased all the lumber needed to frame the wall that will separate the room in two. I also purchased a pre-framed and finished door along with a bunch of new tools needed for the job. Things are starting to move!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Good Lord This Hobby is Not Cheap!

Earlier this month I decided it was time to start ordering all the track and turnouts I'd need for my new layout. I jumped on my favorite hobby store website and began clicking away!  Many hundreds of dollars later I realized I had filled my shopping cart with less than half the amount of stuff I'd need to complete my railroad.

Good lord this hobby is not cheap!


So, I'm going to have to spread out my purchases over the next few months with hopefully having everything I need to get a good ways into this layout project purchased by the end of December. In the mean time my plan is to get the doors and walls up next month, the ceiling painted, and just have everything generally ready to go for when the winter hits and I am in full model railroading mode.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Wordless Wednesday #12

"On a crisp, early autumn day, a trio of Montana Rail Link SD45s power a BNSF freight westbound into Algoma, Idaho, only moments after crossing the bridge over Lake Pend Oreille from Sandpoint, on October 3, 2014." Photo by Mike Dannerman