Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Layout Tour #1 - Chris Wiley

Courtesty of Chris Wiley

Chesapeake and Ohio Railway’s

James River Subdivision in N Scale

Researching, searching, and researching this section of the C&O is a big part of what the hobby is all about for me.  Simply put, I am attempting to model parts of the C&O Railway’s James River Subdivision…its scenery, industry, freight traffic, etceteras.

The Setting is August 1957 on C&O Railway’s James River Subdivision.  The island style layout is being constructed in a 25 x 26 foot room.  The track plan is based on the prototype – single track mainline with scattered passing sidings, yards, industrial spurs, and a branch line.  And yes, the rails were pretty much laid on top of the canal towpath, aqueducts and culverts built by the canal company in the 1830’s (many of which are still in use by CSX Transportation).
The Trains – Prototype operations are the ultimate goal.  The main function of this line is hauling West Virginia COAL to eastern ports.  Yes, there are a few name manifest trains and two passenger trains, but coal is King.  Passenger service, well you won’t see the George Washington, or the Sportsman, but you will see "the Dinky".  Freight will be moves using the “Car Orders System”, timetable, and an “Overview of Operations” has been developed to support prototype operating sessions in the future.  The yards on each end of the subdivision will serve as staging yards to support operations.
The Scenery around the railroad includes the mountainous James River Valley, open bottomland farms, and a few small towns.  The base for much of the layout is polyextruded foam board.  Some of the above ground rocks are hydrocal, plaster, tree bark, and some are real rocks.    Everything is covered with latex painted “dirt”, ground foam “grass, weeds, and bushes” and lichen covered hills and Super Trees everywhere else.  Envirotex “water” is starting to flow in some parts of the river and tributary creeks.  Many buildings were scratch built, some custom made laser kits, and some are commercially available kits.  The paper buildings and roofing materials are all Radical FlatsTM available from  Beware; I have a few mirrors that always seem to confuse everyone.
The History.  This is the third N Scale layout I have built.  Research and planning for this layout started in the early 1980’s with the purchase of C&O Track Diagram Charts from the C&O Historical Society (  Construction for the Gladstone tracks began in 1990 while in Miami FL.  In 1995 began building bench work for the rest.

Train control   Digitrax Super Chief radio controls the trains.  Locomotive decoders installed by   The CTC machine at the dispatcher’s desk will control train movements across the entire subdivision.  We use JLC Enterprise’s DCC optimized detectors, and your CMRI operates off a custom QB 4.5 program. The I/O logic is handled by JLC Enterprise SMINI nodes.  Mike Burgett ( designed and built the CTC Machine and Signal System.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Water is not Water and Paint is not Paint

JRD Meet Summary from February 5th

This past Saturday was a very good JRD meet near Zion Crossroads, VA.  The two clinics cleared up the misconception that water is water and paint is paint.

Gerard Fitzgerald cleared up the what most modelers assume in relation to what goes into the boiler of a steam locomotive is just water.  Gerard gave the history of how railroads and in particular the C&O began in the 1920s in studying and treating the water that was put in the tender.  With an average of 5 lbs of solids per 1000 gallons it would not take long for impurities to accumulate and impair the efficiency of steam locomotives.  The growth of the treatment plants was in the 1920s which could be as simple as a storage shed and as large as the storage tanks themselves.  Several photos of the different types of treatment plants for both the C&O and the N&W and Gerry gave modeling ideas which may be incorporated into a future how-to model the infrastructure clinic.  The audience interrupted the talk at numerous times with questions about water systems and implications for modeling.  Thanks Gerard

The recent demise of the old standard paint lines in the model railroad hobby has led to much wailing and moaning about the decline of the hobby.  Believing that this was more being stuck in the mud and behind the times (read behind military and figure modelers along with most other modeling hobbies) the organizer of the event asked proprietor Bret Jones of Rail Tales to demonstrate the Vallejo paint system.  Bret gave a quick overview of the various Vallejo paints lines and went into a demonstration of how to use the line to weather a locomotive.  This included using both a brush and an airbrush.  Many of the attendees were impressed with the paints and washes including one lucky winner who won the door prize and took home a set of the paints and washes used in the demos compliments of Rail Tales.  Thanks Brett. 

After lunch the JRD took in 2 home layout tours in the area.  George Gaige is shown in the midst of his basement empire where he demonstrated the various animations he has built into the layout including operating water tank spouts.  The crews are required to lower the spout and press the sound effects button and wait for the end to put up the spout.  George did say that some of his operators do forgot to do this occasionally which means the next train may knock down the spout.  Guests took turns operating various trains on the layout and watching the video feed from the camera mounted in a box car to gain an appreciation of the layout which had a photo in the January 2014 MR Trackside Photos.  Thanks George

Len Bozza opened his O Gauge layout to view for the JRD members.  There are three operating loops with a trolley, elevated and steam line with a Chicago flavor.  Len has built custom cabinets to hold his collection which should serve as an inspiration to those with brass collections on a great way to display their models.  Thanks Len for opening for the JRD.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Meeting Reminder

Date: 8 February 2014
Place: Bybee's Road Baptist Church, 4989 Bybee's Church Road, Troy, VA 22974

Take I64 to Zion Crossroads -Exit 136
Take US15 South to US 250 (0.4 miles)
Go East (Left Turn) on US 250
Go 1.1 miles and turn right on Bybee Rd (SR 607)
Go 1.1 miles and turn right on Bybee Church Rd (SR 613)
Church is on the Right in 0.5 miles
Enter in either side doors


Time: 9 AM to 10 AM - Set up and Sign In

10 AM to Noon - Meeting

Noon to 1230 PM - Clean Up

Clinic 1: C&O Water in the Steam Era

Clinic 2: Weathering with Valejo Paints

Contest: Truck Tractor/Trailer with a detailed load

Lunch: Bull Session at local restaurant

Layout Tours: George Gaige & Len Bozza

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Layout Tour 2

Our 2nd layout tour this Saturday will be courtesy of Len Bozza who has a fun Toy Train Layout.  The layout has made the local Fluvanna Review which has both a description and some photos. 

We will see this Saturday.   The Meetings Page of the blog has directions and the agenda

Meeting This Saturday

Our next meting will be on July 13th in Farmville VA at the Historic Train Station.  Link To GOOGLE MAPS  I am looking forward to the panel ...