Showing posts from 2013

Reminder about Meeting Dec 14th

Just a reminder about our meeting on December 14th.  See the post below for times and directions.  At the meeting we will announce details about our first meet in 2014 on February 8th. 

Next Meeting December 14th

December 2013 Meeting DATE: Saturday, December 14, 2013, from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm followed by a layout tour. 9:00 am to 10:00 am - set up and sign-in 10:00 am to Noon -- meeting Noon - 12:30 pm -- clean up Location: Midlothian, Virginia at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer (in Pender Hall) 2341 Winterfield Road, Midlothian, VA 23113 Clinics: Two mini-clinics: (1) Another Angle on a Peninsula Layout - by Keith Pritchard (layout tour will be at Keith's layout) (2) Square Corners on a Building - by Ken Montero Contest (previously announced): Any small on-line structure. Please spread the news, as there is not much time before the meet - and be sure to mark your own calendar with the date. Ken Montero

Dates Set for Next Years MARPM

The Mid-Atlantic Railroad Prototype Modelers Meet will next September 13-14, 2014.  Registration is now open for this meet and details.

Jim Fitzgerald Passes Away

Jim Fitzgerald passed away in the last week at age 90.  Jim was a pillar and glue to the N Scale Community for many in years with a focus on the NTrak community.  He believed that model railroad needed to be brought to the people and the way to do it was by modules at public venues including shows. This editor wishes to express his thanks to Jim for all the work over the years in promoting the hobby.  Our condolences to his family

C&P Junction 2013: Some Thoughts and Observations…

C&P Junction 2013: Some Thoughts and Observations… Gerard Fitzgerald The annual MidEast Region (MER) convention was held over Columbus Day weekend in Rockville, Maryland from Thursday evening October 10th through Sunday morning October 13th.  C&P Junction was co-hosted by two of our closest neighboring NMRA divisions, the Chesapeake Division and the Potomac Division . Featuring over 45 home layout and club tours within easy driving distance, in addition to 40 clinics, a white elephant room, contest, and banquet, the MER convention was one of the most interesting and entertaining NMRA events I have ever attended. Those of us lucky enough to take part owe a great deal of thanks to the organizers and volunteers who put together such a wonderful event. This was my first NMRA regional convention, and in all honesty, I was somewhat apprehensive going in. However this meet was superb from start to finish and I have already made tentative plans to attend the 2014 MER convention i

MER Part 1 of 8

MER Part 1 of 8 by Gerard Fitzgerald  McCook's Landing attracted an audience of young and old alike. The W.H. Whiton switches the D.S. Barmore Sawmill and Shipyard in 1864.

MER Part 2 of 8

MER Part 2 of 8 by Gerard Fitzgerald The N-scale BANTRAK modular layout featured a nice coal facility Tony Koester discusses model railroading with the BANTRAK guys

MER Part 3 of 8

MER Part 3 of 8 by Gerard Fitzgerald The HO MARRS modular group featured a corner module containing a very detailed scratch built module of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

MER Part 4 of 8

MER Part 4 of 8 by Gerard Fitzgerald The Hinton Yard on John Glabb's HO scale Peach Creek Division layout features handlaid track and turnouts built in place which capture the smooth flowing geometry of prototype track.  This scratch built bridge on John Glabb's layout reflects the engineering expertise needed for West Virginia mountain railroading. Wide aisles and superior layout design are one of the hallmarks of John Glabb's approach to replicating C&O operations in the mountains of West Virginia.

MER Part 5 of 8

MER Part 5 of 8 by Gerard Fitzgerald On the other side of the tunnel we find some nifty hand laid track Tunnels are used as view blocks on John Glabb's C&O layout and also act as a geographic signature of the region.

MER Part 6 of 8

MER Part 6 of 8 by Gerard Fitzgerald With track operational and scenery in place scratch built structures are the last item needed for the completion of Busk near the Continental Divide on the Colorado Midland. The yard throat at Arkansaa Junction on Andrew Dodge's Colorado Midland illustrate the possibilities of fine scale handlaid turnouts in Proto48.  One of a series of scratch built Proto48 steam locomotives in the Colorado Midland fleet constructed in O-Scale by Andrew Dodge.

MER Part 8 of 8

MER Part 8 of 8 by Gerard Fitzgerald A Virginia Midland caboose anchors a train in staging before heading out on Steve King's TT&TO layout.

MER Part 7 of 8

MER Part 7 of 8 Gerard Fitzgerald The arrival of the train in Arkansaa Junction brings out others to move material on the Colorado Midland. One of the many super detailed pieces of Proto48 rolling stock on the Colorado Midland.

MER Clinic:Chemistry and the Iron Horse

Chemistry and the Iron Horse: Water Softening and Engineering Practice on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, 1900-1945 Description:      This clinic will be given at the MER NMRA convention in October 2013 Most modelers are aware that the hills, mountains, and valleys of the nation created a seemingly never ending series of civil engineering challenges for railroads as the country embraced industrialization during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is less well known that as steam technology evolved, the water powering locomotives presented railroads with mechanical engineering and infrastructure problems that were just as complex and which were often solved by railroad chemists. The history of American railroad approaches to water softening, chemistry, and chemical engineering will be reviewed against a detailed study of how the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway adopted a more scientific and economic approach to water softenin

CIvil War Road Show at the MER

Did you miss the JRD Civil War open house this summer? Built by Gerry Fitzgerald and Bernie Kempinski If you did not then you will have a chance to see it at the MER and learn more about Civil War Railroading from Bernie Kempinski and his talk about the Aquia Line.

MER Convention coming up

Two Weeks to the C & P Junction Convention. Hop aboard!                 On Columbus Day Weekend, October 10-13, the annual—and big--C & P Junction Convention gets underway. People regret most the things they  don’t  do. So make the call now and ensure that you’re not going to miss an outstanding event. This convention has three things going for it: substance, timing and location. Substance introduces you to some of the nation’s best clinicians, layouts, operations call boards and contests, capped with a Banquet and Auction. Timing gives you a long weekend to enjoy the convention and an extra day to savor Location: the attractions of Washington and Baltimore.  With 250 registrants from 15 states plus Canada we’ve added more operations layouts and a B&O Museum tour (both require advances registration), a hosted DC sightseeing excursion, and a manufacturer tour. So even if you’ve registered early, it’s not too late to add to your registration. And if your schedule is unse

RPM Part 2

After a delay included below are some more pictures from the first RPM meet held in the JRD. Thank you to Gerard Fitzgerald for the following photos. Norm Wolf Norm Wolf Mike Hart Mike Hart Making Trees

The New Jersey Model Railroad Layout Design and Operations Event

The title for this 2 day event November 2nd & 3rd is a mouthful but so is the content of the two days.  Well known names are giving clinics in their areas of expertise.  The full clinic list still is being finalized as of this posting but should give additional food for thought to those who attended the RPM meet in VA last weekend.  The event is an all day clinic on Saturday and layout tours on Sunday. The tours make the event worthwhile by themselves with many well know layouts.  Look at the list and if you don't know the list then you are truly missing out.  Cost for the 2 days is $10 and a list of local hotels is provided on the web site.  Registration is by mail at the moment. The event is sponsored by the Garden State Division, NER, NMRA with an LDSIG tie-in. Link to the website

Mid Atlantic Prototype Modelers Meet Part 1

Friday the 13th and Saturday the 14th of September saw the inaugural Mid Atlantic Prototype Modelers  Meet being held in Stafford, VA.  This was the first RPM meet in Virginia and the first in the JRD.  Several JRD members were present and JRD member Gerry Fitzgerald was a presenter.  The Saturday presentations were all solid and a good report was heard about Bernie Kempinski's Civil War talk on Friday. The venue had its challenges with a boat storage house being used as the clinic room.  There was plenty of space here and the weather was fantastic.  Here the closing clinic is giving and overview of using LED lighting in theory and practice. Of course, there were more challenges than just the size.  The interruptions were the most unusual ever experienced at an RPM meet. Yes, the loading and unloading of boats is probably a first for an RPM meet. Of course, with every bad interruption there are good ones. All photos are courtesy of Gerry Fitzgerald, text by Phili

Civil War Roadshow Open House for the JRD

 American Civil War comes to Charlottesville The Civil War Roadshow came to Charlottesville on August 11th thanks to the Bernie Kempinski and Gerry Fitzgerald.  The JRD was invited to the home of Gerry Fitzgerald and Gabriella Petrick where there was not only a world class layout but a delicious spread of summer food. The roadshow was most recently featured at the NMRA National in Atlanta.  A most appropriate venue for a Civil War Roadshow.  The Roadshow is scheduled for several other appearances later this year.  Stay tuned for more news as it becomes available. So Charlottesville was for a few hours occupied again by Union forces commanded by our two intrepid builders.  The level of workmanship on the modules is museum grade.  There is always a new previously unseen detail when looking over a scene each successive time. The display broke down in a few minutes and Bernie Kempinski was able to load his sections in the back of his vehicle.  Pictured above is the loading

JRD's George Gaige wins 3 prizes in photo contest at NMRA National

George Gaige reports that three photos of his layout took First, Second and Third place in the black & white photo category at NMRA National. Way to go George!!

NMRA Atlanta National: My First Three Days… pt 1

The last three days have been a whirlwind as I have… Driven from Charlottesville to Atlanta, given two clinics, attended five other clinics, helped assemble the Civil War Roadshow for display and guest operations, pitched in to assemble the rest of the displays brought by other members of the Civil War RR SIG for our SIG room, driven all around greater Atlanta on the Layout Design SIG home layout tour, drove to a local Michaels to buy supplies and glue, attended the LDSIG annual business meeting, caught up with old friends, made plenty of new friends, visited the NMRA contest room, made photocopies of my clinic handouts, not slept much, eaten too much pizza, and just had a great time. This was originally going to be a Wordless Wednesday Blog post but if I just posted pictures with captions (and yes our blog page will get better) it might seem a tad under contextualized. To make a long story short…the Civil War Roadshow seems to be a big hit as people have been stopping by all d

NMRA Atlanta National: My First Three Days… pt 2

As far as giving clinics, I had two 90 minute clinics back to back and showed 235 Powerpoint slides to two slightly overlapping audiences of apparently intrigued model railroaders (?) on two very different topics. In my first clinic, “The Delicate Stomach of the Iron Horse:Water Supply, Purification, and Water Engineering Practice on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, 1918-1948,” I explained the importance of university trained chemists hired by the railroad to successfully respond to the a quest to lower locomotive and operating efficiency costs by avoiding mechanical breakdown due to hard water. To be honest… it is more interesting than it sounds! In my second clinic “‘Going to War with the Railroad You Have:’ Designing and Operating the Chesapeake & Ohio’s Olby Branch in 1944,” I explored the possibilities of designing, operating, and building a C&O layout during WWII using the industrial expansion of the American chemical industry to diversify/complicate operations

Civil War Roadshow Update

The Civil War Roadshow proved to be very popular this week from early morning until the SIG room doors were locked at 10:30PM.  Here volunteers, along with a crowd of   visitors who crowded around to watch, run an operations session with scale link and pin couplers in O-Scale.   The Civil War RR SIG Room has been a busy place all week demonstrating to model railroaders the possibilities of modeling railroads during the war in various scales among a number of prototypes. by Gerard Fitzgerald

Kitbashing by Tony Koester

Tony Koester gave a wonderful clinic on structure kitbashing on Wednesday evening that featured models from his home layout and examples from other layouts across the country. by Gerard Fitzgerald

NMRA Contest Room

The NMRA contest room featured many interesting and highly detailed models including structures, locomotives, and rolling stock. by Gerard Fitzgerald

Military Loads in the Contest Room

As someone who models the C&O during World War II, I found the military loads train built by modeler Bruce Smith down in the Contest room to be a clinic all by itself. Dr. Smith also gave a regular clinic on the topic this week in Atlanta.    By Gerard Fitzgerald

Young Engineer

The engineer in this photo, who wandered in and was given the Roadshow throttle after showing some interest, demonstrates that model railroading’s future (which for some always seems to be in doubt) will be just fine.  by Gerard Fitzgerald

Brian Rudco’s Pender Street Mills

One of the most interesting displays in the contest room was Brian Rudco’s Pender Street Mills, a Gn15 layout. Gn15 is G scale industrial/narrow gauge using HO standard gauge track. The portable layout replicates a very highly detailed manufacturing plant with various visual and acoustic effects.    Courtesy of Gerry Fitzgerald

Philip Stead’s 30’ x 52’ O/On3

The LDSIG layout tour featured the Philip Stead’s 30’ x 52’ O/On3 layout which replicates operations on the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad ( Pueblo Division , Alamosa/Chama Subdivision) on September 23, 1949. Brass K-36s, bridges, and mountain scenery make it a great place to visit and operate.      Courtesy of Gerard Fitzgerald

The W.H. Whiton blows her whistle and officially commences operation of the Civil War Roadshow at the 2013 NMRA Atlanta Convention. Huzzzzahhhh!


Bill Welch and Gabriella add a finishing touch to the Civil War Roadshow


Paul Dobbs mans the main desk at the American Civil War Rail Road Historical Society table in the Civil War SIG room.


The Civil War Road show layout that Gerard Fitzgerald built with Bernie Kimpinski was assembled and operational in less than an hour with the help of a few friends and a cordless drill.