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/

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Near disaster in the layout room!

Well yesterday started out as a harmless day and quickly escalated into a major problem.  I was peddling in the layout room/office and decided to take out a shelf under my layout.  The shelf was one like I have above my layout or like the ones that attach to the wall in closets.  No telling why I put this in but I did it about a year ago.  So, I started removing a screw that I thought was in a stud. As I removed it, a fine stream of water sprayed right in my eye and across the room.

PANIC ensued!

I screamed to my wife upstairs and she came running as did the kids.  She thought I chopped off my finger.  No, worse.  I knew I had to cut the water off some how.  While she caught and blocked the stream of water, I ran to the utility room and cut the valves off of the mud sink and water heater.  The room is right on the other side of the wall from the leak.   Then it dawned on me, run outside to the crawl space and cut the main water valve off from the well.  That did it.  Think I did all that in about minute to 90 seconds.

So I had water everywhere.  First thoughts were having to rip out the wall that support the major part of the layout. Flooding out the whole house and ruining the new laminate floor that I just put in.  An insurance claim.  I was thinking the worse.    It was not as bad as I thought.  Had some storage boxes get a little wet as did few other things, nothing major.  The carpet was the worst off.  It was soaked in a 4X7 section.   This was the third time in the last 3-4 years that my carpet has got wet from a leak.  First was from the dog chewing the plastic water line to the mud sink.  The second was when the water heater went out.  Both of these were in the mud room, on the other side of this leak.

So how to fix it?  Well, I am very thankful to my dad.  He's in his mid 70's and still the craftiest and biggest problem solver I know.  I called him and after a brief conversation, he was headed here.  I made sure we had everything we needed.  I had most of what we needed since he installed my water heater.  So I gathered up most of the towels we had in the house and put them in the office to soak up the water from the carpet.  Beach towels work well!  After we cut the drywall out, I notice my aim was dead on on the pipe.  The hole was perfectly in the middle of it.  Would have never know if I did not remove it.  Kinda scary.
Right below St. Just is the leak.  That hole in the drywall.  

Little did I know I have TWO leaks!  Did the same thing to the right.
The kids and my wife helped me move the stuff in that area to the kids playroom.  Luckily most of it was moved since I was removing the shelf.  

Here's my wonderful dad cutting the pipe so we can put in a new section.  Luckily it was a workable area and reachable.  

Had to remove a good section of drywall.  I was worried about the other screw and decided to check the pipe to make sure.  It had a hole in it too.  Notice the metal plates to protect the pipe in the stud.
Last night and today is drying day.  Used these fans along with a steam vacuum to remove/dry it out.

Thinking about laying laminite florring in here now.  Glad I didn't install it yet.  
Now I guess I need to work on my drywall patch skills.  So the moral of the story:  Make sure you know what your drilling into before hand!  This goes for electrial lines too!


  1. Laminate would look great with the layout. I am glad we put it in the house and layout room/office. Some folks say there is a echo or the sound is off, but I have yet noticed any issues, worse case toss down a rug, problem solved. As for cleanup, the laminate is more forgiving then carpet when it comes to paint, glue, or scenery spills. Don't ask me how I know this....

    Definately a character building moment!


    1. thanks Greg! It was definitely a time to panic. I'd like to see a replay of the when I removed that screw and the water shot out in my face.

  2. Water heaters and model railroads are a bad thing. Ours blew up but fortunately I was standing next to it when it happened. I dove literally for the cut-off valve and even with that the carpeting in the nice part of the basement needed professional cleanings (note the plural) before coming largely back to normal, sorta.

    Roger Sekera

    1. I hear you on the water heater, Roger! Ours went out during Hurrican Sandy (no real effects here in central VA) but we were staying downstairs in case trees were blown onto the house. I had just went up stairs about 3AM and I heared what sounded like a gun go off. Yep it was the water heater. My dog was staying in the small room by the water heater and it scaried him to death. Hates the 4th of July now! Luckily we stopped a lot the water but it still got my carpet wet in my layout room,