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August 2015

Model Railroader has been the leading model train magazine for the past 75 years.  Each month, we bring you step-by-step modeling projects, fascinating photo tours of model train layouts, unbiased product reviews, new product announcements, tips from the experts and much more!

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Modeling streets and highways

Streets and roads have always played big roles on my model train layouts. They're wonderful scenic elements. Now that I'm working on a new model railroad, it's time to consider them again. My new HO scale layout will still feature the Union Pacific, but now I'm focusing on operations and scenery in the Midwest instead of the Southwest.

Scratchbuild an 1870s water tower

A short while back in an effort to break out of a modeling “slump,” I picked up a long neglected HO scale model and sat appraising its sad, broken state. By coercing myself to repair and rebuild it. I was hoping in the process to awaken and channel some of the zest and enthusiasm for modeling and model railroading I once felt on a certain, long-ago day. The model before me was a railroad water tank, but not just any water tank.

I first discovered this water tank at my hometown model train hobby shop in Reading, Pa., in 1956. It was on the cover of the September issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. I was strangely attracted to its unusual look and simple open-top design. It instantly called out to me and said, “Build”!


11 ways to make peel-and-stick parts

When I started working for General Motors Styling Center more than 30 years ago, I learned about 3M Adhesive Transfer Tape. I started using it in projects for my model railroad, beginning with my first scratchbuilt structure. Since then I’ve found it to be an indispensable addition to my modeling supplies.

In today’s world of specialized adhesives like cyanoacrylate “super glue” and liquid solvents for plastics, this low-tech product has some unique and beneficial attributes. I’ve found many uses for adhesive transfer tape on my S scale model train layout, the Buffalo Creek & Gauley RR.


N scale Tehachapi sub in 11 x 13 feet

Growing up in California, I’ve visited many railfanning hot spots in the Golden State, including Donner Pass, the Sierra RR, the San Francisco Bay area, and Cajon Pass. However, Tehachapi Pass, with its single track, passing sidings, tunnels, bridges, and the famous Tehachapi Loop, remains my favorite spot. My 11 x 13-foot N scale Tehachapi Subdivision model railroad features Santa Fe and Southern Pacific locomotives hauling long strings of model freight trains.

Installing a layout skirt on straight and curved fascia

Jeff Sargeant needed to find a way to make a skirt for his model railroad that would follow the irregular contour of the fascia. Using PVC pipe and cup hooks, he came up with a solution.

Railfanning coast to coast

Born in 1929, Bob Spaulding was a Depression baby, and money in his family was very short. Bob’s first electric model train didn’t come along until he was 14. Now retired, Bob has built a 20 x 24-foot S scale model train layout. His All American Railroads plays host to S scale model trains depicting railroads from across the country in the 1950s.


On the Web
From the Editor
Information Desk

Temporary depots help maintain service


Build a portable track gang

Heritage Fleet

Fluid drive: an early choice for smoother operation

Step by Step

How to model an enginehouse - part 1

DCC Corner

Computer interface options for DCC

Trackside Photos

Featured layouts from your fellow model railroaders

Trains of Thought

A detour move satisfies itch for F units

Index of Advertisers
The Operators

Reading the fine print

Great Scenery Tips

Great Scenery Tips

Realistic creeks and streams.

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