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May 2020

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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Make a right-of-way fence

I've been building my On30 Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes RR for nearly a decade. During construction and for many years prior, I read books and watched videos of the prototype. One thing I kept noticing was rough-hewn wood fencing along the railroad right-of-way. The fence both delineated the railroad's boundaries and kept people and livestock off the tracks.

I decided a stretch of similar fencing would look good on the south end of my layout. Here, Main Route 145 from Strong to Kingfield passes in front of the Mountain View Hotel while paralleling the SR&RL main line.

Rolling along the bluffs

The East Bluff Terminal RR (EBT) in my basement in St. Peters, Mo., isn't my first layout set along the bluffs of the Mississippi River. My previous one, built in Salinas, Calif., was a 10 x 10 double-decker with a helix and duckunder. But even that wasn't my first.

My first East Bluff Terminal was two 6-foot modules I built and displayed at train shows with the Monterey & Salinas Valley RR Club. I enjoyed that club and the Bay Area S Scalers for many years. The BASS group has an S scale modular setup that's exhibited at O Scale West and the S Scalers' convention in Santa Clara each year.

Meeting the scrapper's torch

A while ago I stumbled across an interesting picture of an HO scale diorama featuring an Electro-Motive Division (EMD) F unit being torched apart. I liked the idea so much I was inspired to build a similar model myself.

I got on the internet and started looking for parts. First, I needed a decent-looking locomotive model. It didn't have to be superdetailed; I didn't want to spend big bucks on a model I was going to cut apart. I was lucky to find a Life-Like F3 for $60 on eBay.

Mountains and Minute Men

Known as the Route of the Minute Man, the Boston & Maine (B&M) has been the focus of my model railroading efforts for more than 20 years. My HO scale layout was originally featured in the December 2009 issue of Model Railroader. It's a freelanced version of the B&M inspired by scenes of Boston, coastal New England, and the towns and mountains of northern New Hampshire.

As I've continued to work on the railroad, I've written numerous articles for Model Railroader and other hobby publications. Since my first layout story was published, I've expanded it to 18 x 28 feet, featuring more scenes and better prototype-based operation.


Video Plus

See this month's highlights, including free preview videos, from our subscription video channel, Model Railroader Video Plus!

From the Editor

The best in model railroading

Ask MR

How best to shrink a structure's footprint?

Step by Step

Quick and easy freight car weathering

DCC Corner

Block detection, why and how

On Operation

Whistle talk

Trackside Photos

Photos from your fellow model railroaders

Trains of Thought

How bad do you want it?



Five compact track plans.

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