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September 2018

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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Missabe Juntion revisted

Steve Miazga grew up in Rhinelander, Wis., where he saw the ebb and flow of railroading on the Soo Line and Chicago & North Western Ry. Over time the C&NW pulled up its tracks, and the Soo gave way to the Wisconsin Central and eventually the Canadian National.

During the time the WC served the line, locomotives from the Fox River Valley RR; Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe; and Burlington Northern were seen here, as well as units from the Duluth, Missabe, & Iron Range, hauling ore from the Minnesota Iron Range to the ore docks at Escanaba, Mich. This is where the seed for Steve’s N scale Missabe Junction Ry. was planted.

If Steve and his railroad sound familiar, it’s because they were featured in the November 2013 issue of Model Railroader.

Drawings for a small-town depot

In order to get data for drawings of prototype structures, I visit the towns along a railroad’s route. In 1973 my son, Michael, and I visited Avoca, N.Y., a town of around 2,000 residents in the south-central part of the state that was along the route of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western (DL&W).

The DL&W was noted for its pagoda-style depots, whose main characteristics were a roof that curved sharply upward at the end; fancy roof braces, some of which featured a circle; and finials at the roof’s peak. Structures with similar architecture were built around the early 1880s.

B&O in a bonus room

Jim Babcock lives in North Carolina, but in the “bonus” room above his two-car garage, it’s always summer 1966 in western Pennsylvania. That’s the setting of his 19'-6" x 23'-3" HO scale Baltimore & Ohio, Pittsburgh & Western Subdivision. The choice of setting was an easy one for Jim, as he grew up about a mile away from the prototype P&W Sub. “1966 also happens to be the year I got married,” Jim added.

The P&W Sub ran from Pittsburgh to New Castle, Pa. The line was an important connection for the B&O between Pittsburgh and the road’s western divisions to Chicago as well as its northern divisions to Buffalo, N.Y.

Scratchbuild a California tank house

My home layout depicts Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe’s Surf Line in Southern California. This area was known for the citrus industry and its related features like orchards, packinghouses, and refrigerator cars.

In a thread on the Citrus Industry Modeling Group (, I learned about another fixture commonly found in the citrus-growing areas of California, the tank house.

It’s a water tower enclosed by siding, making it a “house” with usable interior space. They were built almost exclusively from redwood. Their heyday was from the 1850s to the 1930s, making them an important part of California’s agricultural heritage.


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