We have made it to March. I started working a new job in mid-February. I haven’t had much time to get anything going other than assembling the Ivar shelving and taking some inventory. I bought a new Protothrottle and the required equipment for use with Digitrax. I am going to finish two GE’s by March 13. I bought three GP15AC’s as well to provide some RTR mine power while I continue to build engines.

I will eventually have 500 ExactRail MP quads on the roster by the end of the year. That was a promise kept to ExactRail when they were developing the MP 3737/3716. This has been a dream of mine for years to have that car available…it’s going to be really neat to see it rolling on the tracks in downtown West Frankfort in HO scale.

March is a bittersweet month for me. Yeah, sure; it’s my birthday month and my younger brothers’ birthday…but it is also my late mother’s birthday (13th); and also this March 18 will mark one year for my older brother’s sudden death. I am glad that I will be working that day…as it will help me keep my mind off his loss. The void in my life has not mended, either. So, I am thinking of him and Mom and Dad as I plan the downtown scenes in West Frankfort for the interim layout.

Looking forward to warmer weather so I can get to cutting lumber and building L-girders for the layout modules. At this point…I’ll build the layout as planned with modular design to allow me to take some of it with me to a new larger basement layout space in the near future. Likewise, I am looking forward to the National Train show this year in St Louis. The last time it was in St Louis was 19 years ago. I switched to Digitrax shortly after seeing Ray and Renee’ Grosser’s layout there. Looking forward to what is new this year.

The Sedalia caboose project is going to become just a single scale model for now. It’s just too expensive and risky to spend several thousand dollars to get something mass produced at present…and with all the Corona-virus stuff…I’m not interested in worrying about even trying it right now.

So, I’ll have some photos soon of progress as I install track and airbrush it…I am looking forward to switching a mine with my GP15s and quad hoppers. 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.


Nate Obermeyer · March 7, 2020 at 11:12 am

Great to hear your updates and I look forward to your layout progress. Maybe it’ll spur me to do a little modeling too.


    Thomas Austin · July 26, 2020 at 8:23 am

    Nate: Thank you for your comments and well-wishes. Yes, I am very happy at present with what I have accumulated. I hope to see new models of the MP caboose fleet in the near future from Athearn Genesis. I would love to see Athearn do an EMD GP38 and GP40; as I would buy into those as well…but would really love to see an MP GP18 with the AAR side frames and the low nose; updated paper air filter; and “GP20” sill on it…large fuel tank…etc.,

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