This site is dedicated to my model railroad, the HO scale Virginia Midland Railroad. This layout comprises a 12X9 room with two levels. The upper level is about 95% complete and the lower level scenery has just begun.

I do a handful of train shows in the Virginia/Maryland region and go by the name of Virginia Midland Shops.
I also can help you find that freight car/locomotive or other hard to find item.

Email: stctigers@gmail.com
You tube videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/Virginiamidlandrr/

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A post in May for me is rare...

Well, I am just about done with school and coaching this year.  Only have 24 days left, but in all it's been quite busy the last few months.  I've been really trying to make time in the layout room but it has not happened lately.  I rewarded myself last Sunday with a trainshow over in the Shenandoah Valley.  I believe these small shows are the jewels of trainshows.  You can find a bunch of junk at them, but on the other hand, you can find some real bargains, if you look.  Talking down prices always seems to work also.  Last year at this show, I bought an Atlas Trainman RS32 that's now the yellow VC #106 for $30.  This year was no different.  Got a Proto 2000 SW900/1200 for $30, and 3 of the Micromark "Switch Tenders" for $24.  I've never tried the Switch Tenders but at that price, I had too.  These are under the table machines for turnouts.  They are brand new and sell for $16 each.

I also did some railfanning on the way back.  First stop was the Shenandoah Valley Railroad in nearby Staunton, VA.  Heard they had a Alco they were restoring and wanted to get some pics of their locomotives.  The SVRR is a small railroad paralleling I-81 and running north from Staunton.  It serves several industries along the way.  They are owned by Durbin and Greenbriar Valley RR, the same company that owns the tourist railroads in West Virginia.  I was in for a treat!
The SVRR #40 has been there work horse for years.  GP-9 I believe.

Believe this is there newest loco. Ex-KTR GP-9

The Alco I was looking for.  Lots of rebuilt stuff on this including trucks, fuel tanks, and pilots.  This RS-11 was Ex-Maine Central.

SVRR #8701 Whitcomb

the other end of #367

Closeup of the nose

Some sun on the #6512

Roster shot

The other side of the Alco

Cab view

Most shortlines have cabooses and the SVRR is no different.  This is an old faded blue "For Progress" C&O caboose.  

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring Break, finally!

This week has been a much needed break from work.  It was needed to get a few things done around the house and spending time with the family.  I did get the chance to do some railfanning early on in the week and have ran some trains on the layout.  Did get some odds and ends done on the layout also. Not much but I enjoyed it and really need to get back in there.  I enjoyed running the trains the most.
One of my simple jobs was installing this backdrop on the lower level.  A printed background found on the web.  That my OK paint job on the right.  Trees will help it out eventually.
Doswell has always been is one of my favorite railfanning destinations.  Here are some of the pics I captured on my recent visit on Monday:
A Buckingham Branch side dump car in the Doswell yard.

BB #3 GP16

BB #8 GP16 in newer paint

BB #9 GP16 in the new paint

The old C&O depot now serves as BB offices.

Closeup of #3.  She's one of the original BB locomotives from the Dillwyn branch.   

Frogs anyone?

Here's a video of the infamous Rockrunner that orignates at the Verdon Quarry, just west of Doswell to Newport News, VA on the Ex-C&O line.   The video doesn't have much video quality but the sound is outstanding.  The power is all EMD: SD60M and a SD40-2 do the honors.  The train is 42 gravel loads in ortner cars. So turn it up!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

No train time!

That about sums it up.  Beween my job, coaching and the family, my free time is just about non-existant.  No I have not dropped off the face of the earth with this blog but nothing really to post.  I have not done anything model railroading except look at a MR.  I have not been in my layout room except to get something.  That definitely needs to change!  I'm planning to slow down/stop the coaching aspect after this spring.  This will give me a lot more time for my family and I don't have the energy like I did when I started 16 years ago.  So, I hope to get backing into my layout room ASAP.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The prototype VMID line: The Virginia Central

Part two in my travels yesterday, I will show you some of the ROW of the Virginia Central Railroad. This line is what my model railroad, the Virginia Midland Railroad is based on.  The line runs 35 miles from Fredericksburg, VA southwest to Orange, VA. On my model railroad, Fredericksburg or Battlefield Yard is on the upper level and the ride down the helix is my version of heading west to Orange.
More pics can be found here:
Virginia Central ROW pics from Fredericksburg, VA to Orange, VA

The first stop on the lower level is St. Just, in Orange County.  Don't believe me?

Yes, this is St. Just.  A busy point on my model railroad.  Not alot going on here if it ever did.  Milepost 24
Nice name to the farm by the St. Just s.ign.  The ROW is to the right in the treeline in this pic.

The ROW is now a driveway to house way back in the woods.  The tracks crossed this road by the green sign.  The sign reads VA Central Ln.  The pic of the St. Just sign is directly behind me.
Here's a pic of the ROW across a field, east of St. Just.  Amazingly, when the ROW was built in the mid to late 1800's, there were no machines to do this grade, and most of it was like this for 20+ miles!
Rhoadesville, VA is also in Orange County.  As you can see, history is all around the area, from the Revoltionary War to the Civil War.  The ROW in this picture is on the right by the trees.  Milepost 28

The Rhoadesville post office.  The tracks once ran behind the post office.  Pretty sure this was a railroad station also.

Another view of the impressive grade in the treeline, just east of Rhoadesville.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Orange tie loading: The Prototype

I traveled through the town of Orange, VA today and I always travel by the station and through the tie loading area that I am trying to model on the Midland.  It's seems to always have a few interesting gons there and since the sun was out, I grapped some shots to hope help me complete this area.
This area is also the prototypical end of the actual Virginia Central Railroad line that started in Fredericksburg, VA and ends in Orange.  My Virginia Midland model railroad is based on this line that was ripped up in the 1930's (except the 1 mile line in Fredericksburg).  Yes, the Virginia Central still lives on my layout, but just a branch line.  If I could start it all over, I would have just had the Virginia Central.   This post will start off with tie loading spur.  The second installment will show the line as it appears now.

Typical untreated tie bundle.  They are unbundled when they are loaded in the gons.

Not your typical setup.  The spur of loaded ties, with the Town of Orange public works dept. on the the right.  The Buckingham Branch Railroad switches this on Ex- C&O tracks from Gordonsville.

A string of loaded gons.

This is looking the other way from the above pic.  This the last of the old VC trackage.  Some rails from the 1930's have been photographed here.

Old SCL gon

SCL herald

Typical CSXT gon.

This actually might be original VC trackage interchange with the C&O railroad.

An old railroad building by the gons.

No ties left here.

The ties are literally dumped right in.

Another view

The tie "loader"

Impressive tie stack.  Public Works dept in the back.

Another view of the loader.

Office of the tie loading facility

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Easy model railroad photography/videoing with your smart phone

All the the photos I put on this blog are from my camera on my I-phone 4.  Sometimes they are quick grap ones and sometimes thay are a little more involved.  I do have a regular camera but who uses thoes these days?  I probably will ugrade in a few months but this is how I get good pics easily.
This is mainly for I phone 4's:

First, get to the camera mode and make sure your flash is off and not on auto.
On the the left side of the screen, there is a HDR mode that is usually off.  Turn it on.  The HDR mode is a mini image stacking item on your phone.  Which improves the overall picture.  With this HDR mode, You need to have a steady phone for this to work well.  We will need something to "hold" the camera.  This is where the clamp showed below comes in handy.
This type of small clamp can be bought at Home Depot or any hardware store for a buck or two.  It holds the phone upright and still for pics and video.   
As you can see, the end has electrical tape on it.  This prevents shorting out the layout when it touches the tracks.  Yes, it happened to me.  The clamp is small and can be laid almost anywhere.  This clamp is ideal for video and I use it all the time for my You Tube videos.

When the picture is taken in HDR mode, there will be 2 pics.  The first one is regular and the second will have HDR on it.  Use the HDR one and erase the other pic.

Non-HDR mode:  Bright light overhead and some blurriness.  

HDR mode:  overhead light not as bad and the vegetation is sharper.
 The above pics are not ideal but a good demonstration for what I needed.  Hopes this helps you get some better pics on your layout or in everyday life!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Progress since last weekend

I got a few things done on the layout last weekend and continued a little during this week.  Still working on Rappahannock Aggregate area with weeds and details.  I also starting adding signs and and other details to the road and road crossing to RA.

Here is the road to Rappahannock Aggregate.  Added a speed bump to hide a seam.  

Add some weed clumps to "vegitate" the area.  Got to find some more dump trucks.

Found a decent enough picture online to use as a backdrop.  Added some trees and bushes to make it look move believable.  The pic makes the backdrop pic stand out.    
These two ridges are for the spot in the background.  I will add trees to them.  Used the florist foam for the first time.  The Foam is definitely easier to paint.
On the lower level, I switched 2 industries around on the Mine Run Branch.  I switched the propane dealer and the woodchip loader.  It seems to me they fit better now.
This was the spot for the small propane dealer but the woodchip loader takes up less space in this spot.  I also did that homemade chip load with foam and sawdust.

This spot will hold two propane cars and is less tight for the larger propane tanks.  

Overview of the propane dealer.  The backdrop on the left is a print from online and the right is hand painted.  I need to add some more olive green to the paint!