Model Railroader February 2017

Item #MRR170201

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Benchwork and track for the Beer Line addition
by Eric White, Cody Grivno

This year’s project layout is an addition to the 2009 Model Railroader Beer Line. The original layout was very popular with readers, and folks who come for a tour of our building are always excited to turn the corner and see it up close.

Since we were adding another section to this model railroad, I needed to match what had been done before. So, naturally, I went to Model Railroader’s All Access Archive ( to see how it was done.
I learned that then-managing editor David Popp built the benchwork from clear pine lumber, so I dragged coworker Cody Grivno from his office, checked out the company van, and headed to The Home Depot to buy some wood.

Freelanced paint schemes from factory-painted models
by Bob Kingsnorth

The detail, paint, and decoration found on today’s ready-to-run locomotive models are better than at any time in the hobby. The precision of factory-applied lettering and the ability to legibly reproduce the tiniest text of a warning stencil in HO or smaller scale is beyond the skills of most model railroaders. Pick a road name, and you’re likely to find a prototypically detailed and painted scale diesel fleet ready to go on your local hobby shop shelf.

However, I’m a “freelance” model railroader, one who built a layout around a fictional railroad of his own creation. This left me in a quandary. If I were to start my freelance project with a molded gray, undecorated locomotive model or one that I’d completely stripped the paint from, I would never be able to match the quality and detail of a factory-applied paint job.

Upstate New York in 1948
by Jim Heidt

“Lonesome Lew” Crawford is impatient. On a July 4th holiday weekend in 1948, he’s checking his watch and grumbling about when that conductor is going to get the South Milk moving out of Speculator. “What’s the delay?” he mumbles, with itchy hand on the throttle.

Welcome to the Ogdensburg & Norwood Ry.’s Northern Division. The northern terminal is at the port and border city of Ogdensburg, N.Y., across the St. Lawrence River from Canada, where it interchanges by car ferry with its corporate parent, the Canadian Pacific. The O&N then runs southeast through the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York and the division point of Northville, N.Y., near Albany on the Great Sacandaga Lake.

Build a wiring harness
by Pete Birdsong

Like many of you, I’ve spent many an hour under layouts with a soldering iron in one hand, solder or flux in the other, and a flashlight in my teeth all while balancing on my knees or toes. I’m constantly swapping out the iron and solder for pliers, wire cutters, strippers, and other implements, burning myself in the process. I resolved that when I moved to California and reconstructed my On30 Fernwood Lumber Co. RR (see the January 2015 Model Railroader) I would find a better approach to layout wiring. I wanted to do as much as possible on top of the layout, or better yet, at the workbench. Having had rotator cuff and back surgeries, and feeling the arthritic/rheumatic consequences of my 75-plus years, it was actually a need more than a want.
I developed a top-down method for soldering all joints without sitting under the benchwork. It turns out to be easier, less prone to polarity mistakes, and neater than the methods I used previously.

Rio Grande through the West
by Dave Rickaby

Like many model railroaders, Ed Miller was introduced to the hobby during his youth when he received a Lionel train set at Christmas. Years later, after serving in the United States Army, he discovered HO scale and built his first layout, which represented the Chicago area.

Ed’s interest in the hobby grew when he discovered the modeling of John Allen and his HO scale Gorre & Daphetid layout through magazine articles. Ed wanted to emulate the Wizard of Monterey’s style of modeling, but with a Western railroad operating through the Rocky Mountains. He quickly set his sights on the standard gauge Denver & Rio Grande Western.

A shelf track plan for a switching line
by Paul Boehlert

Welcome to West Deerfield Industrial Park (WDIP), a freelanced switching line set in the modern era. With a footprint of less than 7 x 8 feet and a depth of only 15", this shelf layout would fit in the corner of almost any room. The track plan doesn’t have an inch of mainline track and runs no scheduled trains, yet it’s designed to deliver enough prototypical operation to satisfy experienced as well as novice operators.
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