The Dog Days of August are upon us. Both the National Train show and the St. Louis RPM meet are in the books. Nothing really new to talk about as it relates to the layout featured here, however. The hobby continues to advance and the manufacturers are gearing up for more exciting new products. It was a great meet and Dan Kohlberg, Lonnie Bathurst, John Golden, and the crew have done another outstanding job this year.

It was good to see Todd Stevens at the St. Louis RPM meet. Todd, I really appreciate your kind words on the layout…and website. It’s mission is to get people interested in the hobby and to share knowledge of the railroads that once plied the rails in our area.

An announcement outside of the St. Louis RPM meet was the Moloco ACF Boxcar project announcement. Nick Molo has announced a plethora of ACF 50 foot boxcars to complement his now-famous RBL line of boxcars. With this announcement, an important hole is filled with respect to 1960-70-80 modelers. These cars won’t be cheap…but you get what you pay for. Here’s to seeing these cars make it to market. Especially the ACF 5090 Railbox car. This is a car that is long overdue in HO scale as a highly-accurate model. Granted, a coal hauler like myself wouldn’t need a ton of boxcars…but I can tell you that I won’t pass these up; It’s the best announcement of 2019, thus far.

I’ve added some photos of the train room to show how it looks now after the completion of the work up there. It’s a nice space to get started. I have purchased some 3/4″ birch plywood and ripped it for 1″ x 3″ boards for the start of the interim layout. Code 70 ladder track switches are on order from Micro Engineering. And, I’ve been getting tutored on the 3rd PlanIt program by Mr. Randy Pfeiffer himself. I wanted to get the know the program better; and there is no one better to teach me that than Randy. He designed the program. I wanted to get that done which will allow me to get an accurate track plan up on the site and for me to get started. 3rd PlanIt has a feature where you can even order splines to be CNC cut for your layout; these splines would be based on an accurate track plan on 3rd PlanIt and it would allow one to order your sub-road bed right off your plan. The sky is the limit with this program. The other thing this does for me is to accurately draw my layout space; which aids in getting a track plan that WILL FIT the room before spending a bunch of money on wood for bench work.

I’ve been making some progress on the models too. I have fired up the grit blaster and cleaned up a few cars thus far. I need to replace some moisture traps on the equipment now and sift the blast media. I use crushed glass for my stuff; I find that I can adjust the air pressure and get a nice; clean model (plastic or brass) without damaging the finish. The only thing I need to do is replace the bench it sits on…something more “ergonomic”. Otherwise, works like a charm.

Now, I’ll get ready for Trainfest and the fall/winter. It’s right around the corner. August isn’t a short month by count of days; but it sure seems to fly by into September.

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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