Model Rail Road Update

Whoa! Has it really been two months since I blogged anything about my newest hobby time sink? Yes it has, and frankly I’ve progressed slowly, I’ll spend and hour or three every couple weeks – partly because the table is in the garage and partly because I keep thinking what could I do differently, which just leaves me watching video and planning more that laying track! With that out of the way, here is where we are with the railroad.

I’ve added 2% risers on both short ends, I wanted to add some height to the layout. The big wedges of foam running down the length of the table will become a mountain ridge and works as a scenic block. Behind all that foam is a mainline and a passing siding. You can see all the marker sketching where I’m trying to figure where I want to put a mill pond, hence the bridge, some roads and where I want to put industries. Off to the left side is the start of a tunnel, on the right, I’m planning to just do a cut ridge, so the foam may have to be cut down, and may be a place to have the roadway cross the table and escape.

If you look closely at the lower part of the table you’ll not only see a bunch of crap, but some dangling wires. At this point I have all of my feeders and turnout wires through the table, but I haven’t run and bus lines to power all the sidings, so I can’t get trian to every piece of track, but that will change in the coming weeks. Once I get power where I need it to be, I’ll start carving foam before I bond the track to the layout. The key is to constantly run a trian to make sure there are no issues with power or stalls.

So one of the things I know I’ll have on the layout is that tunnel, so today I started working on the liner. This will make the tunnel look like it was dung and blasted into the mountain and not just blocks of pink foam painted black! I started by measuring the plaster tunnel portal and making a template cut from foam-board, I wanted to make suer thee template wasn’t bigger than the portal and was wider than the opening – to allow for the frame work and the plaster tunnel, with enough clearance that the trian wouldn’t hit the wall. Of course I made the whole process harder by putting the tunnel on a curve!

Once I had the template I remember how hard it is to cut foam-board cleanly on a curve, so I switched to lightweight cardboard. Using cardboard also allowed me to use the wife’s Circuit machine to make exact duplicates! The real key is making sure the top is square, that way when building thee liner you can flip it all over and use thee frames like form. I hand cut the curve of the track out of light weight card-stock and hot melt glue the frames to the card-stock. I then hacked up a bunch of thin strips of cardboard and filled out thee frame. Working with hot melt glue is so much fun! Lot’s of strings to clean-up!


Next I white glued strips of packing paper inside the form and “painted” on some 50/50 PVA and water to make a stiff paper backer. Lucky for me it doesn’t have to be perfect!


The final building step is to add drywall mud or spackle. I like to use a light picking motion with a wet sponge brush to give it a rough texture. Alls left to do is to paint it up, but we have to wait for stuff to dry and cure. Oh and make sure the train still makes it through the tunnel! If not and new one won’t take long to make, and we will have learned the proper offset, but I’m hoping my wild ass guess works.

Lastly, today, the Misses and I took a long drive to just south of Charlotte for a pop-up outlet sale for our favorite outdoor store, L.L. Bean. L.L is a very famous store located in Freeport, Maine. The wife worked there when we lived in Maine and to our knowledge we are the only people to every get permission to get married in the “Double L” Building (corporate offices)! Anyway, back on topic. Because I drove and was a good sport, I really did enjoy the event, the wife promised we could stop at the trian and hobby store (about a third of the way home, so we don’t get there very often).

I looked for more building and/or cars, but decided I needed to get more than pink foam down before I buy any more scenery. What I ended up purchasing was 4 railroad cars! Two 40-foot PRR boxcars, one just a standard box and one an insulated box. The last two are 33-foot two bay hopper cars. They are the same black color, but one is a Reading RR and the other is a Pennsylvania Gas Coal Company car. They work as one of the industry building kits is a coal and oil depot, and the other is a sand and gravel company – so more hoppers the better! And I want eastern PA or mid-Atlantic road names.


5 thoughts on “Model Rail Road Update

  1. You’re making good progress and I’m glad to hear you’re stilling enjoying working on your layout too. I look forward to seeing more progress once you’ve made some decisions as well. Your patience is to be commended!

    Liked by 2 people

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