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/

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.


  1. Assume these signals are operating off a toggle or slide switch representing "Block Occupancy - ABS territory"?

  2. Yep. These signals are controlled by a toggle switch representing Block Occupancy.