Prep for an Op Session

I often field question on how I prepare my layout for an operating session. The Wheeling Freight Terminal hosts a session nearly every month and I’ve fallen into a work pattern that minimizes the time to bring the layout ready for a session. The tasks fall into three basic categories; clean and lube, inbound and outbound car inventory, and fix previous problems. Let’s take a closer look at each category.

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Scrap Steel Loads

One of the Wheeling Freight Terminal crew members has a neat method of creating scrap steel loads for gondolas. Here’s Mike Weiss with some ideas you can use on your layout.

Articles in model railroad magazines about making scrap steel loads for gondolas have often not considered industry standards for scrap composition and size. Additionally they usually don’t provide an easy way to remove a load without a wire loop or hidden magnet. We will address both issues in this blog post.

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First Op Session of 2017

Mike Weiss watches as a crew switches Avalon on his HO scale Kingston Southern railroad.

Operating model railroads with friends is one of my favorite aspects of the hobby. The holidays can be a tough time for crew to attend so there is a lag between sessions. I did host a December session on my Wheeling Freight Terminal but I hadn’t been to Mike Weiss’ Kingston Southern layout for a couple of months. It was great to kick off the New Year operating his layout.

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What’s in the Yard? – 2

The DL&W Freight House in Orange, NJ, December 1920

DL&W company photo, Steamtown NPS, Image #X1689.

Ray Breyer is back with another detailed look at the freight cars in a period image. This time, Ray has three images to use from the same facility and were taken on the same day. Click on any image here to view a larger size.

As an early rail modeler I’m constantly on the lookout for high-quality photos of period railroading, whether it’s my favorite prototype’s infrastructure, rolling stock or engines. I’m also looking for good images in context, showing why things may look the way they do, especially the area surrounding a given image’s viewpoint. Finally, just about any halfway decent period is fair game, since it can highlight rare freight equipment or ‘general atmosphere’ which may prove to be useful when working on my owl layout’s scenery.

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