Running a little behind this month…lots of 12 hour days. I did make significant progress with regards to the bench work…and am finishing up a couple of GE engines. I purchases a couple of CAD programs to design some buildings and am in the process of acquiring a laser printer. I will be able to design the buildings in downtown West Frankfort; and cut them out of scribed styrene plastic for ease of assembly…plus I will be doing the Johnston City and Marion IL depots eventually. I have to get to JC to measure that building before it goes away…it’s one of the only brick depots on the original C&EI.

I finally figured out how to keep the Athearn Genesis rear weights and still install sound in my GP15-1s…it involves designing my own speaker enclosures to custom fit the engines…and I did repower them with Kato motors and new motor mounts…designed by Brian Banna. The resulting combination reduces the height of the motor assembly; while adding the low end torque and smooth running Kato motor; adds the installation of Nick’s Trains smallest 21 pin board for a Loksound V5 decoder…and the custom speaker enclosure. As an aside, keeping the rear weight also deadens the sound a bit more; as well as keeping the tractive effort in these engines at their premium. I have some NWSL semi-scale wheelsets that I plan to install on these units as well.

I pulled the freight cars from their storage tubs and put them on my new shelves in the layout room that were created below the benchwork with the IVAR shelving units. I highly recommend these items for a quick and easy benchwork solution. I am drawing them up in my 3rd PlanIt program to load on the site. Speaking of freight cars; Arrowhead Models new gondolas should arrive soon; as should my new Tangent Scale Models 86′ boxcars. I picked up a few of each for Benton Junction and some through traffic in that area…when the ScaleTrains SD40-2’s finally come out…those will be in charge of the freight trains in that area.

Work hasn’t slowed down too much; as the COVID-19 pandemic has proliferated since we opened up Illinois. It’s a tragedy that we received no leadership from Washington in February…otherwise, think of all that could have been saved. But, here we are together in this…and I still see people not wearing masks and passing their COVID-positive airborne pathogens onto their fellow Americans. It irks me to no end to see people not showing any concern for fellow citizens and their children. Will we ever go back to normal? Time will tell. But, I can assure you that my family and I have been wearing our masks since March…and will continue until the CDC and Illinois Office of Health Services says it’s safe to go without.

During these times; I can’t thank the manufacturers enough for bringing us new products; because it really helps keep me grounded and allows a bit of an escape from reality…which is needed at times. Thanks to all that read the blog…and stay safe out there.

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.


William Irwin · August 7, 2020 at 11:21 am

Sounds like you are ahead of schedule not only with layout work as well as your innovations.

    Thomas Austin · August 30, 2020 at 8:54 am

    Yes. I have been working on things when time allows. But I am busy working on your GP7 and the F3 right now…to get them back.

Jerel Eames · August 7, 2020 at 6:51 pm

Stay safe Tom and Allison.

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