We are nearing the end of the renovations on the house. We have the upstairs bathroom to go; and then we will begin putting the house on the market. We have been looking for places back home in Little Egypt and will hope to be there before the fall. I have enjoyed it here in Centralia; but it is time to downsize the house and upsize the train room. We are looking forward to a single story structure with modern amenities. We have done much updating here over the last 23 years; and we will certainly miss the tall ceilings; and the comfort this home has brought us. But it is time to move to a new home and turn the page.

I have begun working in earnest on things that will keep me occupied in retirment; which includes a few new engine projects for friends and acquaintences. I have some obligations to tie up here in Centralia; and those obligations will be fulfilled before we move. However, we are certainly beginning the process of downsizing and getting things ready.

I am looking forward to the RPM meet in Collinsville at the end of this month; and the National Train Show at the same venue in August. I will attempt to go to both shows; and will also attend the fall shows in the area; as well as perhaps Trainfest in November. Right now, I am just gathering track and other items needed for the larger layout of the future…but I am getting ready to finish the West Frankfort Depot (finally) and build a small stretch of that area to speed match engines and test out detectors and so forth. I am also going to build some oil and chip roads (Anna and Oak Streets in West Frankfort) on this module. It will be neat to see the area in miniature.

I have begun working in earnest on new programs that will enhance the modeling ability that I need to go forward. I am no longer going to wait for someone to build it for me. I’ll develop the technology and know-how to do it myself. CNC milling and CAD are going to be big for my future modeling projects. A Mac Mini M1 is lurking in the future too…to handle that and video editing.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend.

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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.