Modeler's Moment - Repaints and fallen flags

Double CNW logo on INRD 43429

When equipment is sold to another railroad, the buyer will often paint over the car with the new owner's official colors. Sometimes, the original owner's logo and paint shows through, giving us a clue as to the equipment's heritage. The same effects can be seen when a railroad upgrades its official paint scheme as can be seen here on this former Chicago and North Western Railway hopper. The old and larger CNW logo outline is clearly visible under the new and smaller logo, which thankfully has not been itself painted over yet. This car and another of CNW heritage were spotted behind the MG&E power plant in Madison, Wisconsin today.

Modeler's Moment - Avoid a "rippled" sky

Modeler's Moment - Plan your estate now

I just got word that a model railroading friend of mine passed away early this morning. She was an active model railroader, and was a regular attendee at many of the shows that I attended too. We will miss her. Wherever she is, may the dispatcher always give her a clear signal ahead.


Modeler's Moment - A very useful engine

Here's a quick twelve second video I made at the 2004 Trainfest in Milwaukee. Amtrak's Empire Builder needs a little more power to get over the Rockies today while the US Army train goes by in the opposite direction...

Modeler's Moment - Recess some doorways

Storefront under construction

When you build your layout's city center shopping district, break up the walls on some of the storefronts to recess the doorways. In colder climates, this was often done to provide customers with a place where they could make necessary adjustments when entering or leaving a store to account for the weather outside. The DPM kit shown here already has the doorway molded as a separate piece so adding a couple walls is a trivial matter, but don't be afraid to cut into the kits you're building to add such an alcove. Sometimes the doorways could be recessed as far as 10 feet with large sheet glass windows on the sides to give the stores some additional display space. Look around your city's shopping area and use your imagination here.

Modeler's Moment - Seldom modeled details

freight car truck details

If you're going for a merit award with your rolling stock models, take a very close look at the prototype you're modeling. Most cars have quite a bit more detail than ever get modeled, like on this detail shot of an airplane parts car. The brake chain is probably on the model, but is the AEI tag (in the upper left corner of the photo) on the model? Did you add the embossed numbers or the car's reporting marks to the truck sideframes? Also notice the different shades of rust colors on the truck parts; most of the sideframe is a fairly even dark gray color while more orange and red appears around the axle bearings. In NMRA Achievement Program judging, the AEI tag will help with the detail grading while the color variations and reporting marks will help with the paint and finishing grading. These aren't big additions to a model, but they could add that extra 1/2 point where it's needed.

John Shedd Reed: 1917-2008

There are various stories around the news sites today that John Shedd Reed, president of the Santa Fe Railroad from 1967 to 1986, passed away over the weekend. The AP says it happened on Sunday, but the Chicago Tribune says Saturday. Whichever day it happened (and if you have more information please let me know), the railroad industry lost an influential executive. Reed was the grandson of John G. Shedd, the second president of Marshall Field and the founder of Shedd Aquarium (Reed himself was president of the aquarium from 1984 to 1994). As president of the Santa Fe, Reed took the railroad through the deregulation period of the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was also under his leadership that the Santa Fe told Amtrak it could no longer use the "Chief" or "Super Chief" names on its passenger trains in 1976 due to a significant decrease in the perceived quality of a ride aboard them.

More information:

Modeler's Moment - Light the hidden track

Lighting hidden track

If you've got hidden track under your layout for staging or for a long tunnel section, consider how well you'll be able to see trains and equipment in those areas. If you can, add a light in those areas to ease visibility. The light doesn't need to be on for the whole operating session, just turn it on when you need to see in there. While strings of holiday lights can be inexpensive, they can also be fragile and they can also run at a high temperature; compact fluorescent fixtures will often run cooler and use less electricity.

Early locomotive construction depicted on worldwide postage stamps

The current issue of Topical Time, the bimonthly publication of the American Topical Association, arrived in my mailbox yesterday. The important item here for us ferroequinologists is the first cover story about the history of early steam locomotive development as depicted on postage stamps of the world. I read through it today and while there were a couple of typos (e.g. "Ross Winang" when it should be "Ross Winans", and "Golden Stake" when it should be "Golden Spike"), I didn't see anything glaringly wrong in the history. Now I wonder if I should submit my article titled "EMD F-units; on Sierra Leone 1850 (Scott) sheetlet" from a year ago. Maybe I will after adding information on other F-unit appearances on postage stamps. Or maybe it's time to put together the article I've been thinking about writing on the RPO inception and development.

Modeler's Moment - Simple trackside details

Spare crossing parts

If your model railroad junk box looks anything like mine, you've got a bunch of track scraps that will never see a rail wheel on them again. Here's something that you can do with them. Rust them up and simply place them next to similar track pieces that are in use on your layout. The prototype railroads will often stage complex track pieces next to their replacement locations, like this diamond frog I found in Muncie, Indiana, when I attended the Midwest Region Convention last year. Old rails are also often left next to the tracks for a while when they are replaced, so you can use plain rail sections this way too.


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