Tuesday, January 24, 2017

BRSE-1, and a typical scene

Many model railroaders model the past and there are some who say that model railroading is one of the better time machines invented, especially when it comes to operations.

Here's a typical scene on the Onondaga Cutoff, with train BRSE-1 (Belt Railway of Chicago to Selkirk, NY, leaving on the 11th of the month) topping the grade at CP282 south of Syracuse, NY.  This models the daily passage of the prototype BRSE, with locomotives and cars that represent what actually happened.

You can hear and see the lively conversation that surrounds the activity, and it is much like that on the prototype as well.  Operations brings a layout to life, and keeps the interest high.



Thursday, January 12, 2017

Waste Not, Want Not

My father used to say it regularly:  "Waste Not, Want Not!"  A self-described 'child of the depression', he was one to eat all the food on the plate, to welcome hand-me-down clothes, purchase used cars, etc.   "Everything costs money, David.  We have to make sure we save where we can and use what we buy.  That way we have money when we need it."

I am taking his advice with the remnants of the photo backdrop that we recently installed around the top level of the layout.   To make those top views fit, we trimmed off several inches at the top and bottom, measuring carefully to keep the horizons level and the backdrops flat.  The bottom cuts were about 5-7 inches high, and thanks to suggestions from other layout owners, I realized I could install some of the leftovers in my staging areas, suggesting a world behind the trains.

Here we see a broad overview of the area around CP282, the west end of Onondaga Yard, beneath which is CP274, the eastern end of the model railroad.   CP274 is the interlocking where the double-track main line spreads out into 5 tracks used for staging.  Prior to this weekend, looking through that area allowed a viewer to see the studs supporting the layout, all the wiring above the tracks, and the tracks over at CP295, at the far end of the staging yard.   Very ugly!  A backdrop and a quick coat of flat black paint on the plywood changes the view for the better.

By installing leftover backdrop pieces along those studs, suddenly the trains seem to be starting somewhere 'on the railroad' as opposed to the always-gray and decidedly not prototypical 'staging yard'.  CP274 is out east of Syracuse, between Chittenengo and Canasota, NY.  Dwarf signals direct westward movements through the interlocking and up the hill towards the rest of the railroad.

After a few ties and some ballast, this will be a neat little scene for crews starting west across the Onondaga Cutoff.  Dad would be proud!  In a way, it is fitting that this project happened on the one year anniversary, as a token of just how much his guidance and vision have meant to me.   Amen, Dad!  Thank you!