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

I'm working on an update to the site; check out the public beta at

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Prolific rail photographer passes

The railfanning community lost a significant player recently. I just read that Emery Gulash, a highly respected and well published photographer of mid-20th century railroading, died on February 24, just twelve days after his 88th birthday. Many of his film recordings are now available from Green Frog Productions and many of his still photos are published in books from Morning Sun Books. The family has asked that donations be made in his name to the Alzheimer's Association.

More time to visit the San Diego Model Railroad Museum

If you haven't been to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum yet, you can relax a little longer. I've just heard that the museum has signed a 25-year lease agreement with the clubs that meet there. Also, one of the members who passed away last year willed his house to the clubs, an estate valued at $300 thousand. The money from the estate will be used to improve the public areas of the museum. There's a Trainboard thread with more discussion.

Show me the trains - exhibiting modular layouts

NTrak layout at Trainfest 2004

So you've built a module, tested and scenicked it and now you want to take it to shows to participate in larger modular layouts? Great! Before you head out with your module and a couple trains in the trunk (okay, in the back of your minivan), there are a few things that you need to remember in order to make the show experience a pleasurable one.

Size does matter - selecting a modeling scale

You've decided what you want to model and you know the size of the layout location. There's one more decision yet to make, and it's one that will affect your model building purchases for quite some time. You need to decide on what scale to use in your model building.

Images disappeared - and restored

Have no fear, I know what happened to the article images. I performed a site upgrade this week that overwrote a bunch of directories (I'm glad that I saved my theme files first), and the images directory is one of those places that got whacked. I should have them back up tonight.

They're back now.

Makin' Copies - Casting parts in resin

Think that making a mold and casting your own parts is too hard? Think again. The hardest part is what you already do - make a model. No, really, that's the hardest part! After that, you're just measuruing two liquids, stirring them together and pouring the mixture in place. Once you get to casting the parts, you don't even have to worry about insane calculations because it's a one-to-one mixture! So, let's get started...

Frugal is one thing...

So we've all heard that model railroaders are a cheap bunch. We tend to drive to the other end of town just to save 15¢ on Kadee #5 couplers compared to the shop just three blocks away; when we get new toothbrushes from the dentist, we keep our used toothbrushes (after cleaning them, of course) for painting projects. And, we meticulously save all those lidded cans and shaker bottles that we get with our groceries (you know, like those cans of instant coffee or containers of Italian-style cheeses) to use as scenery materials storage and dispensers. Today I found that saving these containers may take a few extra steps to clean them for our use.

Beyond the plywood plains - building the first ground forms

Once you've gotten to the point in your modeling where you've got trains running, it's time to start thinking about building the scenes through which your trains will run. If you've planned your scenes based on a specific prototype, then you already know what kind of vignette you need to build. If you're proto-freelancing, then you've probably got a good idea of the kind of scene you need to build. If you're just building something to look better than bare plywood, well, think about what kind of terrain you've imagined the trains operating through.

Once you know what kind of terrain you're going to build, how do you do it? Here's one method to get the first landforms in place on your layout.

First try at a site theme

Okay, I know it's not the greatest, but it's at least better than what we had here before. You can probably tell that I'm not much of a graphic artist. Ah well, my own emphasis will be more on content than looks. If you can do better than this, I'd welcome the suggestions.

The feature that I'd most like to see on this site is...

0% (0 votes)
Web links
0% (0 votes)
Events calendar
40% (2 votes)
Software downloads
40% (2 votes)
Something else
20% (1 vote)
Total votes: 5
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