June 2023

Published by Thomas Austin on

Finally attempting to get going on the layout again after a divorce; move; and unpacking. I have been unable to get any momentum until now it seems. I have a basement project for the new house lined up to waterproof it; and I will have to tread lightly on what I build in the meantime for operations and testing new units.

I will paint the benchwork basic black this time around before commencing assembly. I want a semi-professional look and think it’s better to have the things painted before installation so I don’t have to spray inside. The Wagner power painter will make this easier and quick but I am also not wanting a mess. I have to also epoxy the glue on the shelving to strengthen them; and will also make new cross bracing for the back of the shelves that will be attached to the legs to keep them semi-portable without having to take them all apart for the basement work in 2.5 months.

I could choose to wait until the basement is complete; but I want to have a place to run some units and get the basement organized better so I can work in it. I can’t work in a cluttered and unorganized mess.

I am likewise heading towards another purge of un-needed rolling stock. I have taken a hard look at what I want to do and accomplish; and the things I really need are already here. I have a few flat cars on order and will keep them; for use on the layout; but really don’t need anything else at present. Some engines will also be purged too; as I am going to build the “super fleet” and keep only them for my use. I no longer have a need for a large surplus of engines and rolling stock…other than ExactRail coal hoppers.

I will likewise begin working on the Sedalia Steel caboose project this month. I have some partners lined up with respect to 3D and rapid prototyping in the US. I want this car to be immaculate; and really it’s designed for my use only; but if there is interest; I would make this car available to MoPac modelers through the MPHS company store. The car will be done component-by-component and each piece will be mocked up before running the final product. If the interest is there from MP modelers; I could make the car available from 1949-1989 eras…with all applicable details. We will see. As it is now; I’m planning on a late 70’s car…without the running boards on it; with modern MP bright red screaming eagles on the car body sides.

2022 was a year of transition for me; and 2023 is seeing it through to finalize this transition. Looking forward to summer and painting some bench work outside this month; and finally maybe a new progress photo of West Frankfort yard on the website in HO scale.

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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.


Nate Obermeyer · June 5, 2023 at 11:47 am


I always enjoy seeing the updates and hearing what you’re up to as it gives me ideas and incentives to keep my own progress. Looking forward to seeing what’s next.

    Thomas Austin · December 31, 2023 at 8:34 pm

    Thank you Nathan. I appreciate your kind words. The blog helps me clear my mind at times; and with all that has happened; my sense of direction is renewed.

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