This month is flying by. I had planned a blog entry the first week of April…but here we are going into the third week. Some progress around here to report. Working on engines and freight cars again; and spring cleaning sales continue. I am listing four more Genesis units for sale…two GP50’s and two GP38-2’s…all stripped MoPac units. They have been cleaned and primed with tru color gray primer. Have all parts but the pilot details…MU hoses and coupler lift bars. I acquired a few undecorated units from a friend and that makes these units expendable. I have some more Tangent cars that I’ll be listing in the future on the eBay site as well. Or, you can inquire via my email address.

The layout has stalled as I continue to work and ensure that the COVID pandemic does not trigger a relapse at work. However, the decided locations to model in the interim before the move to the new house are West Frankfort Yard, downtown West Frankfort, and a staging yard; with the Big Muddy River Crossing north of town heading to Benton. I am using the longest parts of the room…where the yard and downtown; and bridge scenes can be on a straight tangent…so the modules can be plugged into the larger layout of the future. I am continuing to gather information on the mines and trying to obtain better photos to build the tipples for both. I am thinking about investing in a laser cutter for custom buildings along the line; but I need time to read up on it and decide if it’s right for me. It’s rather expensive and I don’t like to waste money on stuff that gathers dust.

Finally getting around to a few engine projects and some freight cars. I found a paint match finally for the ExactRail hoppers…and it was (naturally) a TruColor Standard color. So, we’re cooking with gas now in the repaint department. I can now buy any of the remaining ExactRail hoppers online and simply use my air eraser to take the lettering off; and use the underlying paint as a primer. I can shoot the TruColor right over the car; as I usually thin it to 55-45 with their thinner. It goes on like glass…and is perfect for decals when dry.

The St. Louis RPM is on for this year and I am excited to go. It’s been a long year without train shows and fellowship. I have been vaccinated from COVID and plan to follow all precautions for attendance. Hopefully we’ll see some new stuff there this year!! I will bring some stuff to display…right now planning on a West Frankfort Depot and downtown scene with some MP power sitting across from it…based on some great photos from Mike Wise. Mike captured a lot of great roster shots and I bought tons of his slides in the late 90’s and early 2000s. I have scanned those images and have them available for review when I am building models and checking the time periods for scene accents.

Anyway…looking forward to warmer weather…as it actually helps me to get some sunshine to get motivated. Spring cleaning…and selling off stuff. I may make my Arrowhead Models hoppers available as well…as I am leaning towards a more “scale” version of Franklin County and the C&EI in that area. I won’t rule it out completely at this point; but time will tell. For now, I plan on getting some long stalled projects finished…and getting some track down to run trains. That’s what it’s all about, anyway…right?

Categories: Uncategorized

Thomas Austin

I am a Southern Illinois Native. I am a fan of nostalgia, and the history of Southern Illinois. Model Railroading has been a large part of my life; and it helps serve that interest. Through this interest I have learned much about the region; the people; and the industries that gave us all hope of building a life beyond our formal education. Small Towns in the Midwest built this nation...and this site aims to share that fact with the world.


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