The home of The Rip Track podcast, disseminating information about model railroading and worldwide railroad history.

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Modeler's Moment - Signs can convey history

CN bridge in Toronto

When you're adding signs to your layout, add a couple older logos and slogans for your railroad on some bridges to give the layout a sense of history. This bridge was photographed along the waterfront in Toronto in summer 2004.

Modeler's Moment - Forced perspective

operator viewoverhead view

Make your streets narrower and the details smaller as they approach the backdrop and they will appear longer to your viewers. You can also help the illusion by matching the angles in your backdrop image.

Modeler's Moment - The 1909 gyroscopic monorail

Brennan's monorail

Did you know that Louis Brennan successfully demonstrated a gyroscopically balanced monorail in 1909? It was designed as a cheap method of building transportation infrastructure and the British military was interested but it did not enter production due partly to fears of the gyroscope failing. Model this!

Modeler's Moment - Library of Congress

SP ferry

Looking for another source of reference photos? Try the American Memory collection at the Library of Congress website. This photo of a Southern Pacific Railroad ferry in New Orleans circa 1905 was among the results of a quick search for SP materials today.

Modeler's Moment - Passenger train consists

Diagram of passenger car orientation within a train

On prototype passenger trains, the cars are often switched so that the doors are all at the same end of the car to ensure that passengers don't have to walk more than half the length of a car to board it at a station. Since dining cars normally didn't have station side doors, the door ends usually faced the dining car in the middle of the train.

Modeler's Moment - At the cemetery

What's that at the back of the cemetery?
Who's waiting at the back of the cemetery for today's funeral?

Modeler's Moment - Achievement idea: small bridges

A small railroad bridge in Fitchburg, WI

Have you earned your Master Builder: Structures certificate yet? One of the structures you are required to build to earn this certificate is a bridge, but there is no requirement stated for the size or type of bridge to build. A model of this simple, small bridge in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, will do quite well to satisfy this requirement.

Modeler's Moment - Scenry colors

What color is green? When you're adding scenery to your layout, slight variations in the colors will help give a more realistic appearance. This photo was taken in late May 2003 from the back of the Algoma Central's er Wisconsin Central's um Canadian National's train through Agawa Canyon.

Modeler's Moment - Tip: soldering rail joints

Okay, I need to make more updates here. Well, starting today, I'll be posting (nearly) daily updates called "Modeler's Moments". It's like the various "... Of The Day" features that you're already familiar with, but here the Modeler's Moment will combine a little bit of everything. Some days it will be a website link, others it will be a model photo or a model building tip, still other days it will be something about the prototype railroads or their history. Whatever it is, it'll be a way to get more model railroad information out to both of this website's readers, but in small enough chunks that it won't be too overwhelming.

So, let's start off with a model building tip that has to do with tracklaying....

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