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February 2019

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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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Features

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It started with a train ride

The story of my freelanced HO scale Red Mountain RR goes back to the summer of 1961. I was living in western Pennsylvania and visited the East Broad Top RR (EBT) in Orbisonia, Pa., shortly after the line reopened as a tourist operation. My father, uncle, brother, younger sister, and three cousins all rode the train and toured the facility.

I became enamored with the EBT after that visit and envisioned a model railroad similar to the prototype. In my mind, the railroad would be a small coal-hauling line that connected with the Pennsylvania RR (PRR). The coal mines would be located near the fictional Red Mountain, the railroad’s namesake.

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A camera car for the railroad

Lights! Camera! Action! The movie cameras start to roll and the railroad is the star. The Edison Studios started making motion pictures, many of them involving railroads, in the 1890s, and other studios have continued shooting on the rails up to this day.

Many memorable railroad scenes have been shot from a moving train. I’ve always wanted to make such a video on my layout. Unfortunately, three things have held me back.

The first was getting a camera that would fit on an HO scale car. The second was that the camera always seemed to catch all the details of the lighting behind the valance, which was distracting to the viewer. The third was that, when going around a curve, the camera looked to the outside of the curve rather than to the center of the track.

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Build the N scale Canadian Canyons

Standing trackside at Savona, British Columbia, your pulse quickens at the sound of an approaching train. A pair of bright red Canadian Pacific General Electric diesels thunder through the Thompson River canyon at the head of a double-stack container train. The well cars snake endlessly along the river’s banks. Finally the rumble of another red GE running as a distributed-power unit (DPU) heralds the end of the train.

Soon the canyon walls echo again with the growl of another train. This time it’s a Canadian National unit coal train. Black-and-red diesels are followed by a procession of red and silver coal gons. Flanges squeal on the rails, as nearly every inch of track on this line is built on a curve. This is just a taste of the excitement in store for you when you build a railfan’s model railroad.

When designing our N scale Canadian Canyons layout, featured in the January 2019 Model Railroader, I knew it wasn’t going to be enough to model just the majestic hills and dramatic rivers of British Columbia. We would also need to model the trains that run through them. The jointly operated CN (westbound) and CP (east) main lines each see 30 trains or more a day, so we needed to supply a parade of trains for the layout to look right, and that meant one or more staging yards.
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Scratchbuilding a vintage freight motor

One of the unique aspects of the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders club is the club’s location in the Vienna, Va., depot that once belonged to the Washington & Old Dominion RR (W&OD). The railroad is long gone, but its history has been preserved in print.

The single-track line meandered under wire through Northern Virginia from Alexandria to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Both passenger and freight service were provided.

The railroad began in late 1847 and lasted until 1968. The line was rarely far ahead of financial difficulties and relied on creative innovation to remain solvent. Its right-of-way has been turned into a trail by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
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Railroading in the mountains of Colorado

The first thing that strikes you as you walk into Matt Carpenter’s basement and look at his N scale Rio Grande Alpine Division layout is the flowing curves. There’s little straight track, as Matt prefers the look of the track and trains winding through mountain scenery. Even his yard is laid out in a large, sweeping arc.

Matt has been an N scaler since he entered the hobby as a child. “I blame my 95-year-old mother for my obsession with model trains,” he said.

“She claims it’s a conspiracy and denies any involvement. But 45 years ago, a Wisconsin mother did buy her 12-year-old son a birthday gift, an N scale starter set.”

Departments

On the Web

The latest features on our website

From the Editor

Have you set modeling goals yet?

Ask MR
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How can I print my own sign decals?

Heritage Fleet
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Live-steam Hudsons were popular models

Step by Step
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Weathering N scale locomotives

DCC Corner
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Using cell phones as throttles with DCC

On Operation
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Using lineups for track car movements

Trackside Photos
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Featured layouts from your fellow model railroader

Index of Advertisers
Cartoon
Trains of Thought
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Model railroading's most dangerous word

Great Scenery Tips

Great Scenery Tips

Realistic creeks and streams.

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