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October 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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A craftsman’s O scale showcase

Filling a 24 x 24-foot space in the basement of his home, Tom Staton’s On3 (O scale, 3 foot gauge) Narragansett RR features scenes of 1950s New England that are layered with detail. Buildings have illuminated interiors and figures are thoughtfully arranged in realistic vignettes. The model railroad is freelanced, but that hasn’t stopped some people from insisting his fictional scenes existed in real life.

Build a coal truck dump

My HO scale Backwater Division is inspired by the Western Maryland Ry. Thomas Subdivision that ran between Thomas and Elkins, W.Va., circa 1949 to 1952. In addition to the large coal mines served by the WM, there were several smaller loading facilities where coal was brought trackside by truck. One such location was the Polino Ramp at Beaver Yard, which was east of Thomas. Follow along as I show you how I built my HO scale version of the Polino Ramp.

Layout planning, one block at a time

Designing a new model railroad on a blank sheet of paper or computer screen can be intimidating. But if we have scale drawings of all of the key parts of a layout – each town, yard, major industry, signature scene, and so on – all that remains is to arrange them in a logical order. The task is much more manageable, almost plug and play. In this article, the author shares the basics of prototypical Layout Design Elements.


40 years modeling one day

While researching railroad folk music in the 1960s, I learned several songs memorialized accidents on the Chesapeake & Ohio RR. Searching for the facts behind the songs, I ran across the place-name Sewell in one stanza. I determined it’s a ghost town deep in West Virginia’s New River Gorge.

The narrow gauge Mann’s Creek Ry. ran 9 miles “up the mountain” from Sewell to coal mines at Clifftop. It hauled coal for almost 70 years, from 1886 to 1955. In addition to a large beehive coke oven operation at Sewell, over 40,000 surrounding acres of virgin hardwood timber were logged from 1909 to 1929.

Model a Trinity two-bay cement hopper

After spotting some Trinity two-bay covered hoppers on his prototype railroad, the author kitbashed some of his own, starting with a three-bay Athearn car.

Compact depot easy to model

The Lehigh Valley was a major coal hauler, carrying anthracite from Pennsylvania’s mines across northern New Jersey to wharves across the Hudson River from New York City. In the latter 1800s, it was in the midst of expansion, building new lines and acquiring existing ones that had routes it wanted. One of those expansions was in the form of the subsidiary Easton & Amboy RR. The E&A went through Bloomsbury, arriving after the CNJ, and built its line along the south side of town in 1875. Passenger service was important to the LV, and it soon built a wooden depot on the north side of its new main line. The author has drawn scale plans for scratchbuilding the depot, available as an online extra for registered users.


On the Web
From the Editor
Information Desk

Model a mini-mill to add a compact heavy industry to your railroad

Workshop Tips

Budget-priced telephones for your layout

Heritage Fleet

The end of medieval HO - 1939

Step by Step

How to make trees from a natural kit

DCC Corner

Add sweet sound to an Alco RS-1

Trackside Photos

Featured layouts from your fellow model railroaders

Trains of Thought

Two for the price of one

Index of Advertisers
The Operators

Using whistle (and horn) signals



13 yard ideas for design and operation.

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