Well, I gave up the ghost (no pun intended) and turned over my layout design to a professional layout designer this month. I am intending to have this plan implemented as soon as it is ready. I am still focused on Benton Jct; West Frankfort; and Jenkins siding…along with the Buckhorn Industrial Branch. I am currently ensuring that I get the best measurements of the current layout room. I am going to go with the best plan for the space when all is said and done.

I have been mulling over doing the Southern end of the layout. I just don’t have the space currently to do everything that I want. I can’t take out any more walls or obstructions without expensive renovations; and I don’t have the funds to do so if I wanted to. Plus, it would delay my work even longer. So, I am going with what I have at present. Currently, I am putting away cars that I will not need for this version…and working on locomotives; as I await the track plan deliberations.

Trainfest is upon us…next month. I would like to go up to the show and see what is coming out this year. I am hopeful for a GE B23-7 from Rapido…but time will tell on that. Athearn should have some new stuff on their cabooses in the Genesis line there; ScaleTrains might have a new thing or two; it would be extremely cool to see it all…take it all in.

My health continues to improve. I have been taking better care of myself of late. Getting some more tests done…and getting ready to go back to work for a short while. I am looking forward to the work and having a schedule once again. I will incorporate exercise into my regimen once again; and hope to get the remaining weight off me before winter really sets in by January. I hope to start the new year down 75 pounds…and WITH a layout running.

I want to thank Todd Stevens again for getting me back onto Facebook. I have been away too long. He sent me some awesome shots from a Coal Miners Page on there that really got my juices going…Excellent photos of the Zeigler 4 mine…really close up shots. I couldn’t be happier. Thanks again, Todd!!

Attended the Mississippi Valley N scale Train show last week. It was a decent show; but didn’t buy anything. Don’t mind donating to the cause with a visit, however. It was a beautiful day.

Until next month…

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 Emmons · December 24, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Good to see you have addressed some of your health issues had to do the same myself. Delegated your layout design to a layout designer good idea. You only have so much time in life to accomplish things that you value as important in your life. Been down the building a layout street multiple times and it’s a time-consuming variable outcome. With a layout designer, it should go twice as fast considering your giving him your ideas for your Mopac/ C&EI operation it’s going to be interesting to see the resulting new and improved Joppa subdivision 2.0 up and running again. Having the Joppa Sub running will give you more time to focus on the attention to detail items that are Mopac/Joppa Sub specific. You have already done your homework as we all have involving the favorite railroad we model. You waited years for a good model of the GP15-1 /GP15AC now the offset Coupola caboose to go along with the home built Desoto cabooses. Let’s not forget the fleet of Bethleham open hoppers from Exactrail you have added. See those hoppers still in Mopac paint working for Union Pacific weekly beat up and rusty still earning there way.

    Thomas Austin · July 26, 2020 at 8:20 am

    Bill: I agree 200%. Plus, I also realized that I have only so much time to accomplish these goals…and losing my brother only underscored to me how short life really is…and to not let all the noise interfere with my happiness. I am grateful for the close circle of friends that share my interest; as well as an even smaller circle of friends that I work with. Especially my boss. She is terrific. I plan on lots of progress in the next two months…and I will take some time off to do so.

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