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February 2016

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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How to model a flatcar full of tractors

Are you looking for an interesting load for your flatcar? The author explains how he added tractors and prototype blocking to an HO scale flatcar. He also shares how to incorporate the load into multiple operating sessions.

Scratchbuild a crossing guard's shanty

Before the invention of automatic crossing gates, railroad crossing guards protected grade crossings. Usually holding a flag, lantern, or stop sign or operating a manual crossing gate, the crossing guard would warn motorists of an approaching train. A simple wooden shanty provided shelter for the crossing guard.

I wanted to add a crossing guard shanty to a grade crossing on my On30 Marshfield & Old Colony RR. The plans for my O scale shanty are inspired by several photos I found online.

Although automatic crossing gates and signals replaced most crossing guards by the 1950s, some locations still used them into the 1960s, and many abandoned shanties stood for years. Whatever your modeling scale, a crossing shanty is a quick, easy, and fun scratchbuilding project.


Club railroading in a depot

On this Tuesday evening, members are arriving for another night at the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders club. The club’s extensive HO scale layout depicts the Southern Ry. in North Carolina from the cities of Spencer and Salisbury to Asheville.

Founded in 1949, the club has been headquartered in the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) railroad depot in the town of Vienna, Va., since 1976. The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority and the town of Vienna gave the club support and access to the building in return for the club holding monthly free open houses for the public.


Point-and-shoot camera tips for model railroaders

Many modelers think they need an expensive digital single-lens-reflex (DSLR) camera and fancy lighting rigs to take quality model railroad photos. However, it’s possible to take almost as good photos with a less expensive “point and shoot” camera.

Many point-and-shoot cameras, including the Sony DSC-H5 that I use, have adjustable features beyond the general scene modes of landscape or portrait. I’ll show you which features to look for and how to use them. Note that not all the features that I discuss will be supported by every camera. A camera’s advanced features will be outlined in its user manual.


Rocky Mountain showcase

Lynn Draper vividly remembered family trips spent exploring abandoned rights-of-way, defunct stamp mills, and ghost towns in southern Colorado’s “mineral country.” The Rocky Mountain scenery and narrow gauge lines inspired Lynn’s freelanced HO scale standard gauge layout, the Fremont & South Park RR. Set in the 1940s, the 14 x 51-foot model railroad filled Lynn’s basement with steam locomotives, superdetailed scratchbuilt structures, and benchwork-to-ceiling scenery.

Build a lift-up section that safely locks in place

My layout design required the track to cross a door opening, so I needed an easy-to-use and safe way to get into the layout area. The device had to be convenient and reliable. My simple, easy-to-build lift-up does all this, and is fun to operate.


On the Web
From the Editor
Ask MR

Dullcote dulls weathering powders

Heritage Fleet

When O scale brass was cheap

Step by Step

Build the benchwork for the Eagle Mountain RR

DCC Corner

Improve power and signal pickup for DCC

Trackside Photos

Featured layouts from your fellow model railroaders

Index of Advertisers
Trains of Thought

Limiting your options



How to personalize your model railroad.

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