Overview

Facing the Temptations of Altoona

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Several of my clubmates have attended the N Scale Weekend show in Bedford, Pennsylvania over the past several years, and have urged me to join them. The event is no longer held in Bedford—this year, it relocated to Altoona—but no matter. I went along, and had a great time. I somehow managed to make it home with a whopping 19¢ still in my pocket.

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So You Want To Be A Freight-Car Maven

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The big night is here: you’ve invited esteemed members of the local model-train community to operate your new Basement Empire for the very first time. You’ve printed out waybills and switch lists, set out snacks and beverages, even swept most of the junk off your workbench. As the guests filter in, you show them around the engine terminal, gesture towards the bare plywood where great mountains will arise, and hand out the throttles.

“So, what era are you modelling?” asks one of them.

“My railroad is set in the mid-Fifties,” you state proudly, as you survey the mixture of steam power and first-generation diesels in your yard.

“But the ICC banned billboard reefers in 1937,” he says, pointing to your wood-sided beer car. “This car doesn’t belong here.” (more…)

The Off Season

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Model railroading is not necessarily a seasonal hobby, but many people treat it as such. When the warm weather arrives, there’s a garden to weed, or a Harley to ride, or a reunion to attend. The trains sit ’til autumn. I generally keep at the railroad activity through the summer—it’s a perfect time for taking messy jobs outside—but this year, not so much.

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Introducing George’s N Scale Railroad (a work in progress)

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This blog opens as I’m deeply into the construction of an N scale railroad for George. Benchwork, track, wiring, and rough scenery are complete, and I’ve got ground cover on one end of the railroad. Right now I’m doing the masonry work—more on that in the next post. After that, it’s the remaining ground cover, trees, structures, and other finishing touches, before I deliver it to George’s living room.

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