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.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Wordless Wednesday #20

Rock Island #886 is dressed for the holidays at the Wheels O' Time Museum in Dunlap, IL

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Wordless Wednesday #19

TP&W Caboose #508 receiving a fresh paint job at the Wheels O' Time Museum in Dunlap IL, (I pass by this caboose every day on my way to work.)

Monday, August 5, 2019

Layout Update #6 - Buried in Benchwork: Part 2

It's been a while since I've posted a solid update on the progress of the layout itself. Well, I've gotten quite a bit done in recent months and I share it with everyone in the latest update video.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Movie Mondays #13

DJ from DJ's Trains has a video up where he shows off some of the key features of short line railroading that make it an ideal subject for model railroaders. Check out this video along with the many more videos he has where he shares his experience as a conductor on a 1:1 scale railroad.


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Wordless Wednesday #18

Union Pacific #5449 crawls through Sandpoint Idaho in the early morning hours on it's way to Spokane Washington

Monday, July 8, 2019

Construction Photo Dump

I've nearly completed my benchwork for the new layout! It's been a herculean effort and taken about 3-and-a-half months to get to this point, but I'm very happy with the results. There were a few surprises along the way, (both good and bad) and I'll be sure to share my thoughts in an update video soon. Until then, here's a whole mess of photos I've taken along the way:

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Rail Ramblin' - The Perfect Layout Size and More!

Three new Rail Ramblin's to share with the blog community. Of course you can subscribe to my Youtube Channel anytime to be sure you won't miss out.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Friday, May 31, 2019

Rail Ramblin' - Why Model Railroading?

I've started a new series on Youtube. These will be short, vlog-style videos where I tackle a single subject related to model railroading. In the first episode I ask and try to answer the question: "Why Model Railroading?"

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Construction Continues

As my Instagram and YouTube activity goes up I've been ignoring this blog a bit. What I am not ignoring however is my layout room. Construction continues even as the weather gets nicer and the great outdoors calls to me. I'm going a bit slow, a bit deliberately, but I am happy with the progress I've made thus far.

I find there is a certain degree of magic in this point of the model railroad construction process. It is the beginning of a long journey. It is no longer just an idea in my mind. It is a sketch, a skeleton about to come to life.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Movie Mondays #12

TSG Multimedia has published a good number of videos about Jack Burgess and his stunning model railroad. In his latest video, Jack talks about the amazing structures on his layout and the amount of effort he put into make them as accurate as possible.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Layout Update #5 - Buried in Benchwork: Part 1

This month I begin the benchwork on my model railroad. Check out the video below!

(Side note: the camera on my phone is busted and is just not cutting it anymore. I've gotta look into getting something better for future updates I think.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Wordless Wednesday #16

A POVA freight  finishes switching Riley Creek Lumber as storm clouds begin to roll in.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Follow me on Instagram

If you haven't already done so, consider following me on Instagram. Now that layout construction is starting to ramp up I am posting images and updates there more often than I will be here on this blog or my Youtube channel. So, if you want to stay on top of the latest happenings on the MFR, head on over to my Instagram page and subscribe today!


Monday, March 25, 2019

No Going Back

This weekend I tore down my old layout modules, cut them to pieces and dumped them outside where they promptly became soaked in the rain.

No going back now!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Keep Sandpoint Rolling

BNSF has been working up plans for a few years to expand the bridge across the lake at Sandpoint, ID. This upgrade would consist of a second bridge allowing for more future rail traffic and a reduction in congestion.

KeepSandpointRolling.com was created by the company to present their plans as well as the benefits of expanded rail operations for the community.

As a railfan, I am excited by the possibility of more trains, but I do understand the concerns of citizens looking to limit industrial intrusion and preserve their beautiful  piece of the country.

photo credit: Chris Bessler, sandpointonline.com

Monday, March 11, 2019

Movie Mondays #11

Posting this one here mostly for posterity as I'll be building no less than TWO swing gates on my layout in the near future. That said, all of Stephen Bennett's layout progress videos are very in-depth and informative. (which I appreciate greatly) Go check them out!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Now It's Getting Fun!

I'm taking a page from Marty McGuirk's playbook and painting the lower half of my walls the same color that my fascia will be on my layout.  I think this will look pretty clean and should frame my shelf-style layout nicely. Deciding on a color has been a tricky (yet fun) process. I think I've decided I want to go with a darker color that will compliment the scenery (which will be very similar in color to that of my old layout) but do I go with a green or a brown color? Perhaps something more neutral?

I've also been struggling with that all important consideration of layout height. My old layout was at about 51 inches which was great for viewing but slightly awkward for reaching cars and switches towards the back of the layout. Lowering my new layout an inch or so would go a long way to making operations more comfortable, but I'd have to bend that much lower to view the cars at track level. Should I favor railfanning or operations with my railroad height?

Decisions, decisions.

All said, I'm glad to finally be in a position to consider these things for my layout. Now it's getting fun!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Layout Update #3 - Construction and Destruction

This month I finish a wall, replace a door, and emphasize the importance of finishing the layout room before beginning the benchwork.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Givens and Druthers (UPDATED for new layout)

There is a popular term amongst model railroaders known as "Givens and Druthers". This refers to a list of "Givens" (hard and fast requirements for a model railroad which act as constraints for the modeler to work within)  and "Druthers" (design guidelines that help to set direction for the modeler)

And so, seeing as how I'm starting all over again from scratch, I think it's a perfect time to review and update my requirements and goals for the layout.

  • The model railroad will be a (mostly) around-the-wall style cantilever (suspended) layout with considerations for a hidden yet easily accessible staging area.
  • The layout must be designed with comfort for operators in mind. Layout height, wiring, coupler, turnout, and locomotive control should all be designed for both ease of use and enjoyment.
  • Though operations is the main focus, the design must allow for continuous running giving the operators an opportunity to just sit back and watch trains run.
  • The layout must be built to a level of quality that approaches that of "art" in that entering the layout room is akin that that of stepping into a museum installation. This design philosophy is carried through not only the quality of the modeling, but also the design and construction of the benchwork and the preparation and presentation of the room itself.

  • Operations should be simple, yet elegant.  The emphasis will be on fewer industries and longer sidings as opposed to a lot of industries, short sidings and overly complicated track work.
  • Operational design should allow for a typical ops session lasting between an hour to two hours depending on the number of cars requiring movement.
  • The design should include large industrial complexes and expansive scenic areas as showcases for intricate design and modeling techniques and to serve as focused points-of-interest for the layout.
  • The design should also include a faithful representation of a number of prototypical scenes found within the Pend Orelle Valley in the Northeastern Washington/Idaho area.
  • The overall theme of the model railroad is one of a small shortline struggling to earn it's keep with few customers and difficult economic conditions.  All artistic design considerations, (from choosing which season to model, to detailing the level of distress on mainline track) should be made with the layout's theme in mind.
That should about do it.  I've found that by distilling all of my wants and needs down to a few small bullet points, I end up with a plan that feels very focused and purposeful.  I feel that focus and purpose is key to the success of any model railroad, but when you are limited by time and money, (as I am)  this list of "Givens and Druthers" becomes all the more important.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Metaline Falls Railroad Jumps Into the World of Motorsports!?

Why did the Metaline Falls Railroad decide to sponsor a GT3 racing team? Where did they find the budget to do so?  WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!?

(I've fallen in love with the livery editor in Gran Turismo Sport on the Playstation 4. It reminds me a lot of this NASCAR racing game I used to play as a kid in the mid nineties. I spent more time in that game painting rivets on the car than I did actually racing it.)

I will say it is a lot of fun racing around a track with a big link to my blog on the back end of my car.  I wonder if anyone will ever get curious enough to look it up...

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Wordless Wednesday #14

A train, dwarfed by the snow-covered trees surrounding it, rumbles along the Montana Rail Link's 4th sub.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Layout Update Video #2 - New Toys, New Wall, New Year Resolutions

It's a new year and I've got a new video discussing some of the latest happenings on the MFR. Check it out!