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April 2019

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 small slice of the Big Apple

Since I first became interested in North American railroads in the early 1980s, building a U.S.-themed switching layout has been high on my priority list. One of my friends loaned me a diesel and a couple of boxcars to see if North American prototype modeling was really for me.

The Athearn "blue box" diesel featured all-wheel drive and electrical pickup, and ran better than the British models I was used to. But it was the Kadee couplers that, most of the time, allowed for hands-free uncoupling. This convinced me to make the switch to American HO scale modeling.

How to model hardwood trees

For nearly 30 years, when we lived in upstate New York, I would occasionally watch my husband, Lou, making trees for his HO scale West Hoosic Division RR. Over the years, together with his friend, Pete Darling, he managed to build and plant more than 4,000 HO scale hardwoods on his 22 x 26-foot layout.

Eight years ago, Lou tore down his HO scale layout. He started construction on an On30 model railroad in our new home in North Carolina. This time around, he opted to model the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes in Maine as it existed in the mid-1930s.

In quest of more realism

When my son, Dan, was 15, we were looking for a project to share and settled on a small railroad layout. He liked the Chessie System's blue, yellow, and vermillion paint scheme. For some specific modeling challenges, I wanted to model a town with a river. A former railroader friend suggested the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) in Athens, Ohio, home of Ohio University.

Build the N scale Canadian Canyons, Part 4

The double-deck N scale Canadian Canyons layout features stunning scenery and meticulous modeling, but I find what's going on under the benchwork to be just as impressive. The Model Railroader and Model Railroader Video Plus staffs have built layouts wired for Digital Command Control (DCC) before, but never to the extent of this railroad. Using block detection, stationary decoders, and custom control panels, this 5'-7" x 8'-0" project layout shows the capabilities of DCC beyond simply being able to run multiple trains.

Alternative thoughts on view blocks

In any pursuit there are practices and techniques that become popular. In model railroading, one is the use of view blocks or backdrops to separate scenes. Backdrops make a lot of sense and are employed effectively and frequently. When I visited Mat Thompson's then-under-construction HO scale Oregon Coast RR [Mat's layout was featured in Great Model Railroads 2014 – Ed.], I asked how high the backdrop would be to separate the main yard from a town scene down the line. Though the town was reached via a different aisle, there was a little physical separation between the two back-to-back points on the railroad. 


On the Web

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Step by Step

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On Operation

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Trackside Photos

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Index of Advertisers
Trains of Thought

The trick to getting a needed model



How to personalize your model railroad.

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