Engine Terminal

Engine Terminal
Empties tracks at the Laurel Ridge Prep Plant- Summit Springs, WV

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Case of the Mysterious Campfire

Prior to every operating session, I go around the layout and do a general cleaning. I also straighten things up and make sure that uncoupling tools are in place, pencils are sharpened, and there are enough track warrants on the clipboards hanging from the fascia at various locations. Before the last operating session, as I was cleaning up the area around west end of Big Chimney, I came across something curious. There was a small blob of what appeared to be grey plastic next to the stream bed. Upon closer observation, it appeared to be a small campfire. Curious, I picked up the small piece and examined it. Sure enough, it was a campfire. If you look carefully in the photo below, you can see it through the bridge.

Now I am absolutely certain that I never placed this piece of plastic here. I can remember just about everything that I've ever done on the layout, and I can assure you that this is not my work. So who, then, could be responsible for this?

Just prior to the operating session back in August, two of the more shady members of the crew were back in this area of the layout looking very intently over the bridge in the picture above. They didn't know that I had come around the corner at the opposite end of the aisle and had observed them. Given their reputations, I came back after the session to see what mischief they have may have created. A quick scan of the area showed nothing amiss, so I almost felt guilty about having assumed they were up to no good. Almost. Now it's clear that I was correct. And we know who is responsible for the mysterious campfire.

I'm not one to go around pointing fingers or naming names, but let's just say that one of the miscreants is known to abscond with freight cars at every available opportunity and the other is known to refer to railroad executives traveling on special movements as the "circus train." The good news is that, given their advanced years, I'm sure they have both long forgotten about this little incident.


  1. Great looking riverbed Tom. I am wondering what kind of water you used in this scene?


  2. Thanks, Brad. The water is EnviroTex Lite 2-part High Gloss Finish. There have been a number of articles in the model railroad press over the years about using this product for water. Once the EnviroTex was dry, I added some slight ripples using Woodland Scenics water effects. The rocks are all natural and were painted with artist's acrylics before pouring the water.