May has arrived; and not a moment too soon, in my opinion. I got so tired of the crappy cold and rainy weather we’ve had this early Spring…that 80 degree temps in late April was just fine to me. Heck, I’ve already got the lawn mower out twice. Go figure!

Before I get too far along with this month’s blog…I want to give a shout out to Brandon and Sabrina…close friends and big fans of the Joppa Sub. I have gotten to know these two fine young people and basically they’re two of the best in our world here. Their parents are likewise friends of ours; and I was pleasantly surprised by Sabrina and Tammy when they told me about Brandon’s following the website. It made my day!!!

Brandon: Thank you so much for your support and I am glad that you like the blog. When the layout is up and running…you will need to come over and run some trains!!

I got the Magnorail system in from France a couple of days ago. This system uses a hidden “chain” drive system and strong magnets to allow you to animate your HO scale vehicles. This is what I am going to use for animating the scene in Downtown West Frankfort where my Dad makes a u-turn and motors towards the southern-most grade crossing to beat the MP mine switcher (Train 409) across…so he can get over the tracks and through town. You see; West Frankfort had NO overpasses that allowed vehicles/trains to cross over…so when they were switching the yard…it was at least a half hour wait. This action suited me just fine, of course…but it pissed my Dad off to no end. I even have the white 1977 Pinto (HO scale) to put on Main street!

I recently replaced the air conditioners in the house…and this year the third floor got a new 28,000 BTU unit…But, as usual…it wasn’t as easy as we think. I didn’t have to put the thing in the wall…or carry it up the stairs this time…which I am grateful to the two young guys from Mt Vernon Appliance…but I had to change out the breaker to a 30 amp service; and run new heavy romax wire to the box…Fortunately, they have these guys called electricians that actually handle that stuff…so again…it worked out. The train room is an icebox…Let me tell you!!!

I have a complete sanctuary now in my train room and I couldn’t be happier or more motivated to get things going. I just need to settle on which part of the Joppa Sub I want to build!!! This home has provided a safe haven for us…so I’m not all that excited to leave it too soon…but in five years I could be. It will be a tough decision…to say the least. For now, though, the Joppa Sub will live here…in part. I’ve been having some photos restored by Scancafe in California of the Missouri Pacific in West Frankfort…and they are providing motivation for me to build the northern part first…which is where I am leaning. The photos are scans of slides that were purchased from the late Camille Chappius (and others in Southern Illinois at various flea markets ) years ago. They are large files…and I’ve even decided to frame a couple of them. I am replacing some in the photos section of the site as well…as I get them back from the retouching process.

Yes, Karnak and Joppa would be cool…but I feel like I should go with the Benton and West Frankfort first…and then the mine branch. This gives me time to get my priorities straight as I go into construction phases this summer. I have a lot of Arrowhead hoppers to reapply the CAPY data to…as well as paint..and, I just think that is the better move right now. Besides, I have to build that big trestle from scratch…and I’ll need time to do it. That way, I can build it as an entire module and simply plug it in to the larger layout of the future.

Until next time…

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.


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