Welcome!

This site is dedicated to my model railroad, the HO scale Virginia Midland Railroad currently in construction.
The upper layout is about 90% done with a few scenery tidbits left. I am also in the process of building a lower level to this layout.

I do a handful of train shows in the Virginia 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/

Monday, September 15, 2014

2014 Mid Atlantic RPM Meet this past weekend

Sorry no updates on the layout in this post but I do have several pictures from the Mid Atlantic RPM meet.   


My pictures are only from Friday's models that were displayed. I did not get the chance to get more pictures on Saturday. I'm a co-founder and overall it was a great meet in our second year. Over 250 models displayed and 18 dioramas/structures were displayed. 

http://www.pbase.com/vamidlandrr/2014_mid_atlantic_rpm_meet_fredericksburg_va

Monday, September 1, 2014

Modeling on the cheap

Well, it's Labor Day and that means one thing for me, back to teaching (or work).  I actually worked all last week and as calendar turns to September today, my modeling time will be limited to evenings.  I wanted to do an interesting blog post and thought of it today.  Modeling on the cheap.  If your like me, I find the cheapest price that I can find and somethings you only have place you can get an item.  This goes for all modeling items like sound decoders, locos, freight cars, scenic items and the like.  Not being close to a hobby shop also limits my going out and buying things.  So what are some of the ways I save money in this expensive hobby:

  • Scenic Express:  They have the best scenic supplies hands down and run special every week.                http://www.scenicexpress.com/
  • Train shows:  These are the hidden jewels, especially the smaller ones.  Great deals can always be found.
  • Home Depot:  I go here for most of my lumber since it's close and pay full price but you can find paint that customers did not want for cheap.  Got a sample earth color the other day for fifty cents!      These samples are more manageable than the gallon cans.
  •   AC Moore:  I go here for many items and I never pay full price.  Brushes, Dullcote, Elmers       glue (big jugs), paint (spray, oils and acrylics) florist foam, etc.  They always run coupons  in the paper, your email address or even on their app for your smart phones.   On top of it, they give a 15% discount to teachers ;-).  Yesterday I went there to get some materials for a water scene and had a 55% off one item coupon.   Michael's is OK but a high traffic area in my neck of the woods!
  • I have also built a static grass applicator from an electric flyswatter.  Pretty easy to do.  I'm always saving items to use for modeling purposes like storage containers and anything I think I might can use.  Let me know of any of your tricks you may have in the comments below!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Scenery is complete at Orange: Video

Been in a scenery rush to get the lower level done at Orange.  The scene is like a upside down "T" when viewed.  I had to do the scenery in the back because it was unreachable unless you access it from the access hatch behind the fascia on the right.  It turned out better than I thought.  It has a building and road crossing.  You will see the building about halfway through the video.  Enjoy!




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

More progress on the layout: A video

My summer vacation is slowly ending.  Back to the grind on Monday.  Thought I would update with a video this evening.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tools of the trade and other things

Well, finally finished up the upper level track change.  The trackage is done, did all the wiring and complete the signals.  This new track makes so much sense.  No pics of that because wiring is necessary but boring.  Tonight I wanted to cover a couple of tools that make my work on the layout so much easier.

The first one is my Klein Tools electrical nippers.  I have had these forever and believe at one time they were my dad's back when I was building a crappy layout in the basement in my late teens.  These do it all.  Pull nails, strip wire, cut Kadee trip pins, cut wire, cut wood, pull staples are a few.  I would be lost without them.  The bent shape them makes perfect for pulling nails out of the road bed.  The thing is, I have never sharpened them once in all these years.

The best tool I own.
The next item is something I made and is very handy.  I even have a drawer for them.  I call them my jumpers.  They are like jumper cables.  I use these to test track before it's wired and test my toggle switches before I solder them to my signals.  I also use a MRC DC power pack to power all my signals and switches.  With these jumpers, I test out signals, LED's (with resistors) and the like.   I use the power pack on the layout because it keeps more power on my NCE system and doesn't require me to have a booster.  I'm only running 2 amps.
Wire and alligator clips soldered together.
Here are the two signals down on the east end of the layout.  They are a simple 3 light signal from Tomar.  They have been hooked up to toggles and are ready to go.   
The electrical boxes in front of the Carolina trailer are temporary.  Been working hard in this area. 
Lastly, is a Tangent hopper that was painted into a Michigan Interstate hopper.  The MCIS is the railroad of Greg McComas and I do some of his custom work.  You can find the link to his blog on the right side of my blog.
 MCIS #7282 has shown up on the Midland with grain for Mid-Atlantic Feeds.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wow! This new track arrangement makes sense!

Someone actually commented that this track arrangement makes so much more sense.  Well, the track has been ripped out and the new arrangement has been put in.  I really like it and why didn't think of this before?  What was I thinking of adding another diamond and creating a weird and unprototypical track arrangement?  This new arrangement really flows and makes sense. Now all I need to do is add feeder wires and I'm done!
The Virginia Midland trackage is on the left, now serving the elevator at Mid-Atlantic Feeds.  The Virginia Central trackage is on the right serving the sand unloading facility. 

The trackage towards the door is just about the same.

The sand facility now holds 8 hoppers instead of 4 as before.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Since I am done with track work, lets change it and other items!

Yes, the title says it all.  I was totally done with ALL my track work.  Done on both the upper and lower levels, feeder wires, the whole thing.  But, I was not too happy with the sand loading facility trackage and the double diamond, so I ripped it all out.

So I got some changes:

  • No more diamonds or city junction
  • The VA Midland receives another industry: the elevator at Mid-Atlantic Feeds.  
  • The sand facility will have more trackage with 2 spurs
  • With the elimination of the diamond, there will only be 2 signals in this area.

I really wanted to keep the diamond, but it only makes sense and what I had was very unprototypical.
Here's what I am doing.  This all makes more sense and will be a better operation.  It s a quick fix and the only hard part is redoing the feeder wires.   Moving the sand unloader will be no fun either.
No, it's not a wiring nightmare, I'm installing some LED lighting on the upper level. 

Got these light poles about a year ago.  I installed them around the layout, but never hooked them up.  Here's an example of one.  Got them off Ebay from China cheap.  

They definitely put out the light!  Almost too much.

Overall view of the area.  There are a total of 7 lights.

A little night photography?  All I am missing is the flashing red lights from the RR crossing apparatus.