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October 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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Big-time modern railroading in the East

My journey to re-create CSX's Philadelphia Subdivision began in 1994. I was modeling Burlington Northern in the early 1970s at the time, but was becoming increasingly involved in the local railfan community. With the CSX Philly Sub a mere 10 minutes from my house, I found myself spending more and more time trackside.

Our family was also growing, so we needed to find a larger home. then, while railfanning one day, a lightbulb went off. Why not model the CSX Philadelphia Subdivision? So my wife and I sold our house and built a new one five minutes away. I ripped down my BN layout, and started acquiring locomotives and freight cars for the CSX Philly Sub.

Highball to high tech

How do you build a model railroad when your chosen subject has few commercial products to ease the task? That was the question I asked myself when planning my Aquia Line O scale railroad based on an unusual, but fascinating subject — the United States Military RR (USMRR) during the U.S. Civil War. The answer came from some of the latest technology that's now available to model railroaders, including laser cutting, photo-etching, 3-D printing, battery-powered Digital Command Control (DCC), and microcontrollers.

Even if you're not planning an early steam-era railroad, read on. The high-tech tools and techniques that I describe are sure to be helpful to your projects regardless of the time period modeled.


Build a late-1960s E unit

In the career of a locomotive, modifications may be made that alter its exterior appearance.

Starting in the mid-1960s, several railroads operating Electro-Motive Division (EMD) units began to replace the body side panels of the locomotives due to deterioration. Panels that included porthole window openings presented a particular challenge in having to cut a new replacement panel to fit and install the window assembly, which was largely an aesthetic treatment.


Plans for the East Los Angeles station

The Union Pacific (UP) East Los Angeles Station remains a beloved memory from my childhood. On summer evenings in the late 1950s, my parents would take my brother and me to East L.A. to watch UP's streamlined passenger trains. Once when I was 6 or 7 years old, a kindly engineer invited me up to the cab of an Electro-Motive Division E unit. The streamliners were still running in 1967 when I spent a happy summer between college semesters as a switchman in East Yard, just west of the station.

I'm also an avid model railroader, and I just knew that the station would have to be part of the layout that I plan to build. This article reflects years spent researching and making plans for this someday project.


On the Web

The latest features on our website

From the Editor

Among diamonds, the coal shines brightest

Ask MR

Where do I get Copper Basin Ry. maps?

Heritage Fleet

Milton Cronkhite, Q gauge, and the Santa Fe

Step by Step

Build, paint, and weather a structure kit

DCC Corner

Another look at stay-alives

On Operation

Stations don't need depots

Trackside Photos

Featured layouts from your fellow model railroaders

Index of Advertisers
Trains of Thought

Why paying close attention matters



Freight yard design and operation.

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