Payback is sometimes sweet….

Indeed it is. Payback that is. Most think of payback as a bad thing, a chance to get even. My payback is a chance to thank those that have helped over the years with the layout, or long-time friends. That’s one of the joys of model railroading, especially a free lanced layout, where every siding or industry can be named after a family member or friend.

Although of course my layout is not free lanced, I still have to take a few liberties or modeler’s license whichever you prefer to call it, to fit industries in that I had or wanted that in the prototype did not belong there. For instance, the ADM elevator in Dickinson. However, that being said, I do have other industries named after actual locations, such as Spring Street yard, Holsum Baking, Allied Chemical, Davis Wholesale, etc.

In deciding on a larger freight house for Dickinson, being placed along the back edge of the yard, it provided me with a host of businesses and industries in the area that probably did not exist there in real life. Again, with that being said, I have added car routings into the freight house for two businesses I know are or were there: 84 Lumber and Tractor Supply. The other car routings for industry or business going into the freight house are for imaginary businesses in the area, and the same for a few car routings going into the team track at Alloy.

So, I’ve been able to add quite a few imaginary businesses and industries for car routings. The new industries are as follows: Carnahan Home Improvement based in Alloy, Lee Shoes in Dickinson, Wilbur’s Truck Parts and Service in Nitro, Kreiger Appliance Sales in Dickinson, Rineer’s Fine Veneers in Dickinson, Luce Tool and Equipment in Dickinson, and Rush Technical Labs in Dickinson.


Waybill change….

I have decided to return to the original format waybill I started out with. Even though the current waybills using the actual PC form added a more prototype feel to operations, they were also hard to read being hand printed, and for us old guys, our eyesight isn’t what it used to be! The original waybills were formatted using Excel with typed information, then printed off on cardstock to of course fit the card holders and bill boxes from Micro-Mark. I am as of today (10/16/18) about half done with redoing all the waybills to the original format. Probably by the end of the week all of these will be converted, including all the new rolling stock and new industries. For those that may not have seen the original format, it’s shown in the photo below:


A Slight Name Change…

As you may have noticed, I’ve made a slight name change to the website today. This was done to reflect the transition from one-third New York Central motive power to almost all Penn Central power. Gone are the NYC locomotives and the N&W locomotives. Everything remaining are PC engines, except for the Alco S2 which will remain in PRR livery, as well as a NYC transfer caboose, as this is still basically the transition period after the merger. My modeling time frame is condensed now to 1968-1970.

I have compromised just a bit though as you may have been able to tell however with some of the rolling stock, especially my tank car fleet. I have found it’s difficult to find tank cars from this era quite frankly. Most are more modern to current day cars, or cars from the twenties and thirties era. So, I’ve gone with some newer, modern cars. I do run two 30,000 gal. + Trinity tank cars that have safety or visibility stripes on them. These cars I several times offered for sale without any takers, so I’ll run them.

Some of my boxcar fleet also have modern graffiti on them and safety stripes. These don’t fit the era, however, I run these and the tank cars at train shows where folks like to see the modern era cars and graffiti. I’m always amazed at how many of the younger kids like seeing cars with graffiti on them, and some recognize the “artist”. I say artist loosely.

So there you have it. Stay tuned for more updates, especially on the continuing progress on my expansion of the layout. More scenery work plus building construction, plus all the new trees are coming, perhaps into the spring, but stay tuned nonetheless….

This week on the Hitop…..

So this week we got an early start and headed over to the Dickinson yard office to sign a release and to get the lineup. We were just in time to see the turn to Spring Street yard being made up in the yard as shown below:

We then took some shots of his consist as the turn briefly waited at the yard office for the conductor to pick up his orders . Photos below:

Next, we jumped in our car and drove on over to Spring Street in Charleston to await his arrival:

After spotting his inbound loads for the Spring Street job, and picking up the outbound loads, we shot some photos of this consist before the turn left for Dickinson yard:

We finished up by driving back to Dickinson yard and catching the arrival of the turn back in the yard:

Later we drove up to Nitro to catch the Nitro job at work. Photos of that later!

This week on the Hitop….

Just a short video today of a turn coming back down the valley after leaving Spring Street yard in Charleston headed back towards Dickinson yard. We caught GP7 5628 and train at a crossing headed eastbound. I have previously posted this on Facebook and fans seem to like this one, so enjoy! Video does not have sound however…


The joy of research…

I guess perhaps you have to love history to love research into any area. You probably should anyway if you’re researching an area to model that is halfway across the country that you haven’t visited in twenty years! But research you must if you wish to capture the feel and look of that area you’re modeling in miniature.

I of course had to conduct plenty of research into the area around the Kanawha valley and the Hitop area before deciding to model this area. It helped that I had traveled through this area some twenty some years ago, in fact numerous times I have been in the Kanawha valley. I knew the feel for the scenery and landscape in the area, which I feel I’ve captured somewhat on the current layout.

You also have to know the businesses and industries in the area you’re modeling, not only to represent these on a layout, but to know how and where to route your freight cars to. I still am doing research on the area today, in fact, to determine the industries around Dickinson yard. I didn’t realize until this morning, or had forgotten, that there is an 84 Lumber and a Tractor Supply right across the highway from the yard. These will come in handy for my team track I just created on the layout extension.

There are many, many different sources to use for research. Some of the sources I have used, and continue to use include railroad books on the area, historical sites from the area, business directories including local yellow pages, industry websites, and various mapping apps such as Google Maps and Google Earth. Railroad historical websites are another source I have used, as well as even newspaper accounts from the valley. All of these can paint that picture of the area you’re modeling.

Finally, one other source of information I use is the industry database from the OPSIG group, which has proved invaluable as far as knowing how, where, and what your freight cars are coming from, going to, and what they’re carrying. I use this database extensively.

All these research materials can be invaluable in planning and operating your model railroad…