Welcome!

This site is dedicated to my model railroad, the HO scale Virginia Midland Railroad. This layout comprises a 10X9 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/

Monday, August 14, 2017

Train show in Lynchburg, VA over the weekend

Got up very early on Saturday and drove down to a yearly train show I attend every year.  My oldest son, Cameron also went down with me.  It's a smaller show but always turns up so good bargains for me and I do sell a lot of my excess items.  While my selling was OK, I did pick up a 65' gondola, a book and a Bachmann 70 tonner painted in the attractive M&ET scheme.  I actually ran upon them on my honeymoon in 2004 while passing through Modesto, CA.  It was really neat to see 3 70 tonners moving a long string of reefers.
Very well done 70 tonner in M&ET paint


On the way home, I wanted to bypass the unfortunate craziness in Charlottesville and decided to go another way home and see the original Buckingham Branch and photograph the large chip mill they have. I also grabbed some shots of two other types of loaders they have in town.  These are both not in operation but would be neat to model.



This looks as if it was a hopper loader at one time.  Probably sand trucked in.

A closer view of the loading area
This loader was on the same spur as the possible sand loader.  Maybe aggregate?

Loading shoot

The dump end
A very old Y&S boxcar rusts away
The original BB's largest customer and probably newest one: Rock Tenn wood yard.

These Westvaco wood chip hoppers are ready to be loaded.

One full hopper!

This is a massive operation.  Look at all the logs stacked in the distance.  That's only about fifth of them.
Our final stop was in the town of Orange to see if we could catch a train.  No luck on the train, but a great display on the railroad history of the town.
Lots of railroad history here in Orange, VA.  Orange is the terminus of my Virginia Midland model railroad.

This was a scary wreck back in 1965.

Some of those towns sound familiar!  This is the station list from Fredericksburg to Orange.

County map of Orange

Some more history on the Virginia Central

The wreck of the Fat Nancy Trestle just south of town

The Virginia Central rail bus.  It also had a trailer it towed.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Out with the old, in with the new!

Well, after almost 17 years of service it was finally time for an upgrade.  I'm talking about my airbrush compressor and it has a story to it.  I have been wanting to put sound in a smaller locomotive for a while now.  I finally won a Bachmann 70 tonner on Ebay last week.  While looking for a Micro Tsunami 1 for a Cummins GE (very hard to find and not available in Tsunami 2 yet) in a search, I found that Micromark sells them and had a few in stock,  Didn't know that!  So it was on sale and started looking through the MicroMark catalog for other things I might need.  They have a decent air compressor on sale and by chance NMRA member now receive a 15% off at MicroMark.  So the compressor was on sale already and an extra 15% off.  Not bad at all!
My old Paasche compressor.  Very loud and old.  Paid $50 used for it at the now gone RIP Track in Dale City, VA.
My new compressor.  Very quiet with adjustable PSI and a on/off button.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Drawerzilla and other projects

I finally completed the freight car drawers or as I call it Drawerzilla.  This was a major undertaking as it turned out bigger than  I planned.  I finally put the finishing touches on it Saturday and brought it in the house.  Between wood and redoing my deck last week, I bet I went to my local Home Depot everyday last week.  I still need to paint it and get another drawer liner and dividers for the last drawer.  I decided to put wheels on it to be able to move this behemoth.
Here is my 6 drawers of freight cars.

Holds 3 50' cars across, with space to spare.

The dividers are wood.  Not Ideal but made installation easy.
Tank car storage.  These were the hardest to store in my opinion.  Too many fragile pieces compared to a boxcar.

The last drawer need to be completed

The drawer liner keeps cars from rolling and moving.
Finally got the chevron stripes on the VC #107 now to add the grabs and weather.

Did a custom Southern woodchip hopper based on a prototype.

In between working on Drawerzilla, I worked on these two locos.  I wasn't going to add the VM logo to the C430, but man does it look great!  RS11 #204 is a Norfolk, Franklin and Danville prototype loco.


And my birthday present to myself, a SD40F "Red Barn"  I'm currently working on Econami Sound install.

Monday, July 31, 2017

And for something different to benefit the layout

As you know, I do a few videos on You Tube and I also have several channels I check out.  Not only do I look for what's on the layout, but what's off or around the layout.  I was watching a video just last week and noticed shelved drawers under the layout.  These would have to be for freight car storage and I was correct.  Eric Miller of SPSF fame SPSF Railway  (make sure you check out his website!) has a very nice layout.  I contacted him and he send me some pictures of the shelving units.

Here is a picture of Eric's drawers (Eric Miller photo)
  So I began to ponder and figure out how I can build one of these.  I only need one for my small layout.  It was nice to have a bunch of excess wood in my shed I could build the drawers with.  Had to go to my local Home Depot to get the 3/4" cabinet wood sides and the drawer hardware.
The first of many drawers

Lining up the sliding parts and leaving enough space between was tough but it worked out.

Wow!  I have some major space to put cars in these seven drawers.  Now to figure out what to use/how to divide up the drawers. 

My stopping point today.  Tomorrow I hope to complete this project and it will require a trip back to Home Depot!
I also finally finished my track laying of staging track by my helix last week.  I have 2 good sized tracks to hold entire trains to run east across the layout.
Here's the end of the 2 staging tracks.  The one starts to run back up the helix.  My helix is made for 2 tracks.

This is what I added to complete it.

The mainline and the Parker passing siding is on the left and the 2 staging tracks are in the middle of the picture.  Still need to power the turnout.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

150,000+ visits milestone

I just realized I had past 150,000 views on this blog.  Visits have really taken off in the last two years. If you guys are like me, a good blog is hard to resist.  When I stumble upon a new one, I can be there for hours! Thanks to all who have visited and I look forward to the return visits.  Thanks for all the emails and comments because if it was not for you guys, this post would not be possible! So lets see where we are in the last week of July:

  • We are past 253 posts. 
  • Last time I did this was at 200 posts and 93,000 views on February 20th 2016
  • Busiest month in number of views is July 2016 with 5374
  • This month is on target to be the 4th busiest month ever!
  • The first blog post was all the way back in December 2010!
Here are the top five posts of all time and they are were the same back at the 200th post!  

#1 2564 views:  From July 22nd 2014:
 Bench work on extension is almost done and bigger horsepower
This was about my extension for my aggregate loader.  Also had some new horsepower for the Virginia Midland.

#2 1607 views: From November 22nd 2012:
 Industry tour on the VMID Part I
This was a start of a tour on the industries on the layout.  This covered Klotz industries.  Don't know if I ever finished.  I redid this this past December with a video series.

#3 1303 views: From December 30th 2011:
The On30 Layout
At one time this blog covered 2 railroads.  I had a On30 layout on the lower level at one time.  Really loved it and it was the number one blog post for a long time.  There are several posts about the On30 layout on here.

#4 599 views: From January 13th 2014:
Scenery Update, USPS frustration and a sketch of the lower level trackage
Scenery in battlefield Yard and USPS madness.  Also the beginnings of the lower level.

#5 421 views: From August 17th 2011:
Detailing late RF&P GP40's and GP40-2's Part I
Detailing RF&P Geeps.  There was a second part to this also: Detailing RF&P Geeps Part 2

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tip Tuesday: a day late

As I have done before, I'm going to go over a tool or two that makes my modeling a lot easier.  I have not done this lately but I'll try to get one out at least once a month.  I decided to get organized years ago in this hobby and it really helps locate and find parts when you need them.

A label maker:

I decided to get a label maker a few years ago based on it was on sale and I could get a little more organized.  I picked up mine a my local BJ's Warehouse where I do lots of shopping.  They have more than just groceries.  I got it on sale for $20.  It's a plug in model so no batteries.  Lots functions so it will take a little exploring and maybe and extra ribbon.
This is the Brother P-touch label maker.  It's an older model so today's model my look different.
Not only can you label your storage drawers but also your storage containers.
Here's one of my storage drawer sets.  It's nice to know where exactly something is.  Probably need to reorganize this.

Labeling storage containers.  Look for the containers on sale about this time of year.  Got these from Home Depot. 

More storage drawers
Not only do these labels work great on storage drawers and containers but they work great on labeling parts of the layout.
Labels on the layout also help with locations, roads and what switches do.  The different size text also makes the label not be overbearing.