Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Model Railroading 102

Last weekend, I posted the first in a series about getting started in model railroading. You can view it here. I mentioned that having "themes" is, to me, part of what makes a layout fun.

In addition to career-oriented scenes on my layout, I have a lot of family references. In this scene, you see the Smith Ford Dealer (after my Dad and brothers' Dick Smith Ford in Raytown, MO), the Palace Theatre with two of my favorite movies (The Right Stuff and Blazing Saddles) on the marquis.

In this scene, a Southern Pacific switch locomotive moves cars that will make up The Tasty Snack Special into position. The McDonalds tank car is hauling imaginary Diet Coke (I'm an addict), a Coca-Cola trailer and a Hershey's dark chocolate trailer. The train passes a Kansas City Chiefs car that has to hold short of the crossing.

These first two postings attempt to illustrate how to build themes and stories into your layout. I'll have one more on this topic, then talk about how you can get started in the hobby.  Stay tuned.


  1. You should see some of the layouts of us here in State College Mike...Mine is a 4'x8'(trying to convince the wife for 4'X16') N scale layout of Horseshoe Curve from Altoona to Galitzen. John Koset has one of the West Virginia mountains with a few EM-1's in HO scale, and a few other people have some smaller layouts. I care to not say how much was sunk into a 4'x8' track so far either for fear of my wife killing me. My dad has a Tehachapi Loop layout from around Bakersfield to down to Mojave.

  2. Alan, I always say, "Today is the first day of the rest of your layout." [stolen from a book title]

    Horseshoe Curve near Altoona, PA, along with the Tehachapi Loop in CA are two of the most-modeled scenes in the U.S.


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