Thursday, March 28, 2013


I finally bit the bullet and picked up video camera. While crude by any standards, as I certainly have a lot to learn about everything related to video, I thought it would be fun to post a few videos. So here goes.

First up, COXL 41 heads east out of Logan Tunnel just after leaving Hollister Yard at North Pierce, WV.

Next, COXL 41 continues its eastward trek, rolling through Big Chimney, WV. The train is about to tackle the 2.5% grade up to State Line Tunnel and the border between West Virginia and Virginia at Summit Springs.

COXL 41 exits Camp 3 Tunnel above Big Chimney and heads up the grade to Cedar Falls Junction and State Line Tunnel.

Last up, COXL 41 is passing the signal that controls the approach to Cedar Falls Junction where the Sand Fork Branch leaves the main line.

Video seems to be even more unforgiving than photographs, as you can see every little twist and bump in the track work along with any problems related to the rolling stock (such as the leaning hopper car). But that can prove to be useful in finding problem areas before they crop up in an operating session.

This first foray into video has been fun, and I'm looking forward to learning more about all the cool things you can do with this medium.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Progress Update #2

Over the past week I have managed to make some progress on the changes just west of North Pierce, WV on the layout. The picture below shows the cardboard webbing in place and ready for the hardshell.

The tunnel has received the first application of weathering and the bridge and abutments are complete.

Yesterday I was able to get the plaster cloth laid on the webbing and it's now ready for the Structolite.

I have also made some progress on the west end staging yard. The benchwork is complete and ready for Homasote. 

In the photo above, you can see the Nelsonville Turn staged on the Wilson Bridge Branch in the background. When Anthony Hardy, one of the regular members of the operating crew, saw this photo, he commented that it looked like the same train that was staged there at the last op session. That's because we didn't get to run this train during the last session. Stuart Thayer, the regular yardmaster at Hollister Yard, refused to report for duty because management didn't provide any M&M's to the crew. As a result, we were short-handed. And if the rest of the crew had spent as much time running trains as they did eating chocolate chip cookies... 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Forest Park Southern

The April edition of Model Railroader magazine features Bill Doll's proto-freelanced Forest Park Southern. It's a beautiful layout set in West Virginia in the mid- 1950's with numerous coal trains and trackage rights for C&O trains over a portion of the layout. Here's a link to the Model Railroader website where you can view a preview of the issue: If you are a subscriber to MR, there is also some video footage of the layout in the MRExtra section of the website.

I have had the privilege of operating on Bill's layout several times, and it runs as good as it looks. And while the pictures in the article are great, they really can't do justice to the beautiful work that Bill has done, from the scenery to the settings to the CTC controlled signal system. The Forest Park Southern is truly an outstanding model railroad.