About the MFR

The Metaline Falls Railroad (MFR) is a proto-freelanced model railroad based on the Pend Oreille Valley Railroad located in northern Idaho and north eastern Washington State. For the very latest on the layout, please visit my YouTube channel and follow along with my Instagram account.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Local Railroad Gets a Fresh New Look

The Metaline Falls Railroad (MFR) continues it's celebration of 20 years of operation today with the unveiling of a brand-new logo. This is the first time the logo has been changed since the railroad's inception.

"Our previous logo was the result of a contest amongst students of the Pend Oreille County School District." says Matt Forcum, Chairman of the MFR. "Though we all appreciated that logo, we never really made much use of it.  As we approached our 20th anniversary, we saw an opportunity to re-invigorate our brand."

Those with an eye for detail might recognize similarites between this new logo and that of another popular railroad. "The BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway) have been good business partners of ours for many years now." Forcum explains. "We worked closely with them to design a logo that calls attention to this relationship while highlighting the important contribution the MFR makes to the success of the larger network of railroads operating in the Pacific Northwest."

The new logo is decidedly fresh and modern, but it also evokes a sense of the past in it's meandering blue line. As Chairman Forcum puts it, "The curvy blue line is a representation of the Pend Oreille River which has played an incredibly important role in the history and development of not only our little railroad, but also the many industries and people the railroad serves along the river valley."


I had a heck of a good time designing this logo. I was inspired to do so by other freelance railroads with fantastic logos such as the Washington Northern, Utah Belt and the Virginia Midland. Hope you all like it! I can't wait to find ways of using it on my layout!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Wordless Wednesday #10

A 2-6-6-2 rolls north up the beautiful Pend Oreille River Valley on the Metaline Falls Branch

Monday, September 17, 2018

Layout Update Video #1 - Surveying the Space

Here is the first of many new videos for the new layout progress series I've started on the new MFR. I wanted to take a moment to share the space and my plans for preparing the room for the layout.

Upon reviewing my video, I'm not a fan of the shaky footage. For future videos I'll be getting an iPhone mount so I can lock my camera down for a nicer viewing experience.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

End of an Era

I stepped away from model railroading for a couple years to take care of a few life events and was was sad to learn upon my return to the hobby that an imaginary development I had created for my tiny freelance railroad had come to pass in real life. The POVA was forced to abandon the trackage north of Usk to Metaline Falls including the fabulous Box Canyon Bridge.

I had created this very scenario for my railroad back in 2013 as a convenient explanation for why I didn't model the railroad as far north as Metaline Falls. Having just a small shelf-style switching layout, there was no way to include both the bridge and the cement plant all the way at Metaline Falls.  Using the justification of "It was just too expensive to maintain the line north of town" seemed plausible at the time and unfortunately it's become a reality.

I'm really sad to learn of this development as I had hoped to one day take that railfanning excursion along the old Metaline Falls Branch. Now that it is gone, I almost want to find a way to work the town of Metaline Falls back into my model railroad as a metaphorical middle finger to the gods of eventuality. I don't think I can make that happen and still meet my goals for this layout however, so for the time being I'll continue including the abandoned trackage north of Box Canyon (while being able save the bridge itself) as part of my freelanced scenario.

I do feel a bit better however knowing that I will still be able to watch trains lumber over that majestic old bridge in miniature on my own little piece of the pacific northwest.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Movie Mondays #7

Youtuber aurthorhouston3 brings us another update to the BNSF Fall River Division.  This railroad keeps getting better and better and these videos are what inspired me to include a just a little bit of "big time" mainline railroading to my new layout.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Up All Night

You know those nights where you are awake until 4:30 in the morning wondering how to best represent modern utility pole manufacturing on your model railroad? These are the things that haunt me these days.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Starting over from Scratch

After spending some time with my current layout in it's new space and trying to come up with a design for the expanded railroad that would include those original modules, I've come to the conclusion that they just would not fit the space well and I'd be better served starting over from scratch. 

With that in mind I dove into researching and designing a brand-new layout that would make best use of the space available and would allow me many, many years of enjoyment. I don't ever plan on moving from this home, so this layout will be my fourth and FINAL layout. My dream railroad.

The track plan above (click to view larger) is still a work in progress but it incorporates just about everything I enjoy in model railroading.  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 scenes found on the prototype including Blueslide tunnel near the crossing of Highway 20, a trestle, and the iconic Box Canyon Bridge.

Designing this track plan has been a challenging and rewarding experience and I have to thank the many talented people on the Model Railroad Hobbyist forums for their expertise in helping me come up with this plan. I'm excited to get started and I cant wait to share my progress with all of you!