Looking forward

As a new year opens, sometimes I look at my workbench and am disappointed with the unfinished projects. I was hoping to decal three boxcars in November and only finished one. It’s been a busy time of year with a couple trips to visit kids and grand kids, and prepping articles for Model Railroad Hobbyist. I must remind myself that it’s about balance and perspective as I review a busy 2019 and look forward to another trip around the sun.

In reviewing my 2019 notes and photos, I completed more models than I remembered. Several more have been pushed along to varying states of assembly. Many of those are featured in the lead photo.

A couple of Accurail upgrades were finished and those are inspiring updates on other models at hand. I also painted and decaled a W&LE boxcar that dates back to a 2010 start. We all have a few freight cars that are lost in the shuffle.

I attended four RPM events this year, along with the National Train Show in Salt Lake City. I always enjoy the RPM meets and gathering new modeling ideas. In the photo above, we see a continuous weathering demonstration at the September MARPM meet.

I’ve also been working on a couple metro-Nashville layouts. Stevenson, Alabama, on the Dixie Model Railroad Club’s HO scale NC&StL layout is seen above. The cork roadbed is the NC&StL extension to Cowan, Tennessee, about 200 linear feet away. It’s been fun working on these railroads. I’ve also been active in re-energizing our local NMRA division.

I’m still without a home layout, although I hope that changes in the next few months. I won’t be able to build what I had been doodling, but there is potential in reducing the focus to an L-shaped switching branch inspired by another B&O line. I miss running trains at home and hosting operating sessions.

So, I guess 2019 was busier than I remembered. I may not have added as many freight cars to the fleet as I had hoped, but it was a solid year. We shall see what happens in 2020!

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13 thoughts on “Looking forward”

  1. Eric:
    I have found that keeping a spreadsheet is a helpful way to keep track of progress, record info you might want to remember later (like paint matches and part numbers), and otherwise serve as a prod to go to the workbench and do something useful.

    Tom Devenny
    East Norriton, PA

    1. A good idea, Tom. You just reminded me that I need to update my Access database. Thanks, I think… – Eric

  2. Hi Eric,
    I enjoyed your article in the latest issue of RMC. I, too, am still without a layout, though the next room I finish in our basement will be the layouyt room (23 by 16 feet). I continue to kitbash and scratchbuilt models for my 1953 CNJ layout.


    1. Alan, that sounds like a nice size layout room. Good luck on finishing the basement space. I know you will have plenty of models ready for the layout! – Eric

  3. You’ve done all right this year, AND you left out the biggest accomplishment: new friends! Glad to be one of them. Keep up your great work and influence for model railroading.

    1. Indeed Tom, the human and social elements are very important hobby components that aren’t front and center in our minds. I’ve enjoyed working with you and several metro-Nashville modelers as we move various projects along. Our shared talents have made us all better modelers. – Eric

  4. I just finalized my plan for a 11×13 layout when my wife and I decided that we need to move. So once we finally move into the house, I have to draw up new plans. The main focus will still be the EP&SW at El Paso along Texas Street. BTW, K4 decals have some really good waterslide decal sets for the pre depression era including a set for a EP&SW box car with the Indian head logo.

    1. Steve, I feel for ya after moving six times in ten years (and counting). You have a pretty specific focus that can be adapted to different space sizes. I will sat that a room of less than 11 x 13 will be more challenging for an HO scale layout. I wish yo the best and hope for a speedy move! – Eric

  5. Eric;
    In 2019 we downsized from a large home to a small apartment home to assist my son’s schooling and university opportunities. We moved from a country town to the big city. I started a small switching layout, I weathered a couple of things, I added brake line and under floor detailing to few box cars, and did some work on the internet too.

    Like you I did not achieve everything I hoped for in 2019. I am overthinking everything. I am over-planning everything. Now I am over planning everything. This year I’m going to enjoy my modelling, and my making and my layout build. And then I’m going to enjoy the switching and the building and the photography a whole lot more because of it.

    Thanks for sharing. Love the site and a often returned visitor.

    1. Andrew, I focused on a few guidelines when the last layout was built. One of those was “Keep It Simple.” Switching layouts can be a blast to build and operate, but they can become complex if we add too much or overthink some elements. Try keeping things simple and focus on completing smaller steps of a bigger project. I wish you well on your 2020 hobby goals! – Eric

  6. Eric
    Looking at the map portion in your latest blog, I’m guessing you are considering modeling some of the B&O trackage along the Alleghany River in Pittsburgh. Neat stuff! I’ll be interested following it.

    1. You are correct, Jim! It’s great to hear this B&O branch has another fan! I won’t be able to model all six miles, but there are a few elements in the first three miles that can fit on an L-shaped layout. I hope to post regular updates. – Eric

      1. Eric
        I have a friend who is modeling in O scale the PRR Alleghany line around 43rd Street. On a visit over there several years ago I remember the huge B&O bridge and the ramp down to river level. I know very little about this area, but it sure looks interesting! That whole area is now undergoing urban renewal and lots of old factories are being razed. However, it is good to see old homes being restored. And to think that 250 years ago it was just wilderness.


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