Model Railroader May 2016

Item #MRR160501

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A steam-era switching layout
by Jim Malloy
My HO scale Dyer Junction & Eureka RR, a 5 x 15-foot shelf layout, is a freelanced line serving northern California in the 1930s. Dyer Junction, named after my wife, Dery Dyer, is located along the Southern Pacific Lines south of Dunsmuir Yard.

The layout has seven industrial sidings, a classification yard, a turntable with a four-stall roundhouse and four garden tracks, and coal and water towers. In addition, I was able to squeeze in a station, 15 storefronts, two tunnels, and a small trestle. Not too bad for 361⁄2 square feet – about the same as a 4 x 9-foot model railroad.

How to model rail fences
by Michael Tylick
Almost 20 years have passed since I described the rail fences built by the New York, New Haven & Hartford RR in the March 1996 issue of Model Railroader.

I photographed a similarly built fence at Iona Island, N.Y., along CSX’s busy River Line, originally built by the New York Central RR. I’d been here before, but this was the first time the rail fence struck me as a simple modeling project I could adapt to my On30 layout.

Track plan for a port on a shelf
by Paul Boehlert
This might be the simplest track plan ever to appear in Model Railroader. It includes just three turnouts, almost all the track is dead straight, and it’ll fit in office cubicles, studio apartments, dorm rooms, and other spaces traditionally considered too small for a model railroad. But don’t underestimate the Port of Brunswick RR; despite its size it delivers plenty of challenge and satisfaction. I built a version of this layout and enjoy operating it often.

Build a DCC testing and programming station
by Jim Zinser
Testing and programming Digital Command Control (DCC) decoders can be hazardous to their health. That’s because meters, DCC testers and programmers, and other components usually have to be connected to each other as well as a programming track. This usually means there are wires and temporary clip leads running all over the workbench. Sooner or later wires will get crossed and that can lead to a damaged or destroyed decoder.

Serving the South in N scale
by Joe Gelmini
Joe Gelmini's N scale Georgia Great Southern Ry. is a freelanced subsidiary of the Southern Ry., for which Joe once worked. The layout occupies a 18 x 60-foot area in his basement.

How to weather with acrylics
by Cody Grivno

The SD40-2 is Electro-Motive Division’s best-selling six-axle diesel locomotive of all time. But now, three decades after the last one rolled off the production line, some of these units are showing their age. Some of Union Pacific’s SD40-2s have peeling paint, rust patches, and overall grime.

For this weathering project, I used Kato’s N scale UP SD40-2. I studied dozens of prototype photos at railfan websites such as and Instead of trying to match the weathering on the full-size UP 2975, I picked effects that seemed common to this group of locomotives.

Painting and detailing plastic kits
by Pelle Søeborg
It was like a trip back in time when I opened the packages of Design Preservation Models (DPM) town buildings I was going to use on my new HO scale Union Pacific layout. When I started in the hobby in the early 1990s, one of my first structure kits was a DPM building. I remembered it as great looking, and that’s why I ordered a couple for the little town on my new layout.

6 ways to make painting easier
by Bob Kingsnorth
Inevitably in every model railroader’s life, something needs to be painted. Why not make it as easy as possible?

The more often you do it, the more tricks you develop to make it better, faster, and more convenient. Getting everything set up to paint, with a brush or airbrush, and the cleanup, often takes more time and effort than the actual painting itself.

Anything you can do in batches helps speed things along. Here are six ways I’ve found to do that and maximize the amount of work I do in minimal time. Maybe they can help you save a few minutes (or even hours), too.
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