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 complete and the lower level scenery has just begun.

I do a handful of train shows in the Virginia/Maryland region with Makin Tracks.
I also can help you find that freight car/locomotive or other hard to find item.

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

Sunday, December 30, 2012

An Extension on the On30 layout

Well ever since I visited Mark Chase's layout 2 weeks ago, I started doing some On30 stuff .  I don't know what it is about narrow gauge but it has me hooked.  I have been doing On30 for about 3 years. Your probably wondering why I am talking about a On30 layout when you thought I was a HO guy.  The On30 layout is directly under Battlefield Yard.  I have On30 trackage that was in front of my workbench\ that was staging for the On30 layout.   Instead, I took that trackage and put in a 13" by 5' extension.  It will consist of a small one track yard, a lumber mill and another industry or engine house.  Look back on some of my previous posts about a year ago for my On30 layout.

I worked most of the last 3 days on it and I am using 2" pink foam for a base.  The framing and the angles are what took so long.  I also had to rework wire connections on the Midland so that they would not show on this extension.  That was no fun.  In all it is going to be very rewarding.  I can actually sit in a chair and work this layout.  Who has a choice when wanting to run trains?  Most do not!  Here are some pics of the my work ( or mess):
Here's a shot in the middle of the mess.  Foam is set. 

Need to add the new fascia and the NCE jack for the Midland.
A messy workbench is always a good sign!

The space is not ideal but it works.  I plan on powering all the turnouts with Tortoises. 

Working a track plan.  This my preference in working out a plan. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Industry Tour Part 2: Specialized Beverage

Continuing on my industry tour on my layout.  This week I will show you Specialized Beverage, a beer distribution company.  The beer comes in from boxcars and goes to the local stores via way of truck.  This industry is on the Virginia Midland main industry spur where the VM's customers are located.  The spur can hold up to 3 boxcars.  The original building is Walther's RJ Frost.  I cut the building in half and made it into a longer building.  The logos were designed by Kevin Klettke.  I even added a video of Specialized being switched at the very bottom.

This industry is in a corner but fills the area nicely

Workers have their hands full unloading 3 boxcars a day here at Specialized Beverage.

The spur on the left is Mid-Atlantic Feed.  MAF is served by the VM and VC.  Nice Porsche by the tracks!  Must be the owner.

Specialized Beverage with it's usual assortment of boxcars.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Op. Session on the Piedmont and East Blue Ridge railroad

I had the privilege to operate on Mark Chase's P&EBRR On30 layout yesterday.  He has a great website and I advise you to check it out:

If you don't know, I got hooked on On30 about 4 years ago at one of the Timonium shows.  It is a great scale and Bachmann makes some great locos and equipment.  I have done a few things in On30, like modules but settled on a smaller layout under my current HO layout.

Mark's P&EBRR is based in the 1930's in Central Virginia and it mainly hauls soapstone in various states.  There are also some other online industries.  I have never operated on someone else's layout so I was somewhat worried.  Plus, I have never used Digitrax DCC either.   Well after about 5 minutes of operating, I was perfectly comfortable.  Having a switching HO layout tends to help with all the movements.  I worked the mill job which mainly switched the western end of the layout.  I also got to do the transfer job which ran the entire layout all the way to the exchange to the C&O at Winwood and back.   Most of Mark's scenery is not done but it did not matter.  It is a well thought out layout and has long train runs and lots of switching.

What I really liked about the layout: (what I would like to incorporate in to my layout)
-Digitrax controller was pretty easy to operate
-Switches with DCC decoders controlled from the Digitrax controller 
-Tortoise switch machines
-The hand painted backdrops
-the entire Winwood shadow box scene in the workshop
Or to sum it up, Everything!

I cannot wait to get back there.  It was a real treat to operate. I did manage to take some pictures.  Thanks for being such a gracious host Mark!
The commuter train hauling workers west from the Meridan wye

The workers pass the Dust mill/ quarry job at Cove on the passing siding/run-around track.

My Mill job train clearing up for the Doodlebug at Shops Yard.

My locomotive for the Mill job is 0-6-2 #1, a custom loco with sound.  Definitely different.

This train is the Transfer Job, holding on the main for the quarry job to clear up.
The entrance to Winwood in the other room.  The hole leads to the wye and Meridan.  The spur is Winwood Oil and coal. 

The Transfer Job at Winwood with it's switching done and ready to head west.

A coal hopper and a lumber flat are today's freight.

Overview of Winwood left

Overview of Winwood right

The Transfer Job with outbound cars.  The 2 boxcars and the gon are cars that were inbound.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Some more completed projects

Been working on a few projects this week and I did get one finished and a few have been done.  I want to get these loco and freight car projects out of the way so that I can work on the layout some.  That seems to always be my dilemma: work on the many projects I have or the layout.  The freight car and loco projects are one of my favorite parts of the hobby and since the layout is operational, it gets the backseat.

Here are a few of my completed projects:
Got this Idea from a recent trip to the local BJ's.  These Rock trailers were owned by the RF&P at the end of their careers.  This one was based off of one used as a tire trailer.

The trailer is an Athearn 45 footer.

The prototype at my local BJ's warehouse.  The trailer looks to be renumbered but on closer inspection, the blue numbers are over the same smaller original RI numbers.  I have seen a few of these in my lifetime.
VM #200 was replaced by GP11 #280.  I wanted a high hood Geep on the layout.  She has been rebuilt from the looks of the 4 stacks on the roof.  Still need to weather her.
I recently acquired a Intermountain F3 for the Fredericksburg and Northern Neck (F&NN) railroad.  This railroad will be incorporated into the layout as a tiny aggregate hauler on branch line to the east. This F3 and a MP15AC in the Soo bandit scheme will be it's main power.  I loved the blue on this loco and it runs well with a DCC decoder installed! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

A video of the layout

The wife and I recently got I-Phones and joined the "smart phone" generation.  Man these are wonderful.  Having a IPad does help with being familiar with the I -phone.  One thing that is a bonus is the video and camera.  I took advantage of it and posted a layout video showing what the track plan is.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

VM &VC railroad track plan

I got a request for my track plan and I do not think I have posted it before.  I need to find a better way to post the plan than the paint option on most computers.  My layout room is a 12' by 10' office but the take out a 2 X 4 part for a closet in the hallway.   The plan is definitely ugly but pretty much shows what the plan is: 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Industry Tour on the VM &VC model railroad

Well I thought of a great idea Sunday night.  How about a tour of each industry on the layout?  Well tonight I start with one of my favorites, Klotz Distributors.  Is a simple industry that gets a couple of boxcars a week.  They ship specialized types of woods that are used in almost everything.  Examples would be cutting boards, and special types of lumber.  It has a pretty simple spur usually is switched right after Patriot industries.  The Klotz logo was designed by Kevin Klettke.  His website is awesome: Washington Northern model railroad
Crews have to take it very easy on switching Klotz.  Don't want to send a boxcar through the building.  I love how the spur turned out with the over growth.

Only a few of the loading doors are used.

The end of the spur is shown and the catchy logo.  The middle track leads to Patriot Industries and the closest leads to an undeveloped spur.
Overview of Klotz

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Catching up on some projects

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving holiday.  I did get a few things done modeling-wise during this much need break.  I finished a RF&P 3100 series gondola that needed to be decaled.  All that is left is the weathering. I also added a pic of the 3300 series gon I did about a month ago.  The scrap load is a nice added touch. 

This is a dead-on match for the RF&P 3100 series gondolas.

These gons differed by numbers with the ladder on the right.  Some had it, some did not. 
I also added number boards to a Ex-SP SW1500 painted for the VM.  This is an old blue box loco that I added a Mashima motor and a decoder to.
Still a few details to be done on 277 like mu hoses and a different bell.
I also completed RF&P GP40 #127.  I have all the GP40's but still need to finish decaling and numbering #126.
Still some smaller details to be done on 127 like the antennas and sunshade holes.
Too finish up, here is one of my favorite VM engines, the 256, a red CF7.  Heck, if the VM did not have green and gray, the red and black might have taken over!
The #256 is a unpowered dummy and the only VM loco not in the green and gray paint.

I will update now every Sunday!!! I promise.  Might even get a post in mid week.  But I will have something every Sunday. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Detailing RF&P Geeps part 3

 In cased you missed my previous detailing tutorials on RF&P GP40's and GP40-2's
Part I of my RF&P Geep modeling
Part II of my RF&P Geep modeling

Well it been a while since I put a post up.  It seems that I am not as busy now as I have been the last month.  I attended a RF&P historical society meeting on Saturday.  I displayed several of my RF&P models and it dawned on me, I have not done a whole lot of  RF&P modeling lately.   So this got my detailing and painting part of me going.  Well I did not jump in right in the deep section, I just started in the kiddy section.  Detailing crossed my mind and I knew I wanted to detail my GP40's a little more.  Several still need the correct horn on the rear and some decent weathering.  I also decaled my last GP40 the 127.   I now have all the GP40's.   I added some speed recorders and some mu hoses to the front.  Both of these are from Details West and are pretty easy to install.

First the mu hoses:  They come 2 per package and have extra plug housings.  The cord goes from plug-in to plug-in, so I cut one of the plug-ins off and used the one that comes with the loco. I didn't see many pics with the mu plugged in both so just put the unattached end near the other unused plug.  I still need to added some colored paint to the lid and plug.

Speed recorders are a little more complicated.  They changed places over time and vary from model to model.  I'm modeling the early 1990's so pretty much they are on the first axle on both sides for numbers 121-126.  #127 has it on the second axle.  I found that a 1/16" bit and a drill makes easy work of the hard plastic in the truck.  Glue the recorder in, run the wire, trim and paint black.  So look at pics from the year you are modeling to see where these recorders go.

Unpainted mu hose and plug-in.

Painted mu hose in position. Still need to add the silver for the connector and paint he lid.

Speed recorder in place.  The wind deflectors are a good touch.  The RF&P GP40's do not have sunshades.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Weeds in the yard

Not a whole lot from me in the last week.  The Tigers are in the World Series and have not played a game since sweeping the Yankees last week.  They get started tomorrow night in SF.  I got some weeds down in Battlefield yard and from the look at the pics, will have to go back and put some more in.  They are from Silflor and work great.  I also picked up a engine I always wanted.  It's a Ex-Milwaukee Soo unit in the Bandit scheme.  It's a MP15AC and it runs like a charm!  I will do a patch-out on it and it will serve probably the VM.
Now some pics:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ballast work in the yard

 Been a enjoyable 3 day weekend.  The Tigers are up 2 games to none in their series with the A's.  I am anticipating the game tonight.  Last week I did manage to get the ballast down in a couple of evenings.  It's never fun to ballast around multiple switches but it has to be done.  The gluing is pretty fast as long as you don't miss any areas.  My mini shop vac tells me I missed a few small spots.  I get those spots redone this week.  I also put in switch machines beside the switches.  I hand throw all switches in the yard and they add a nice touch.  The caboose ground throws work good but are so out of scale.  Last time I checked, your looking for realism, and those type of throws are not realistic.
The switching lead .
The beginning of the yard with RF&P staging on the right and the VM mainline on the left.  The foam in the background will be a ridge above the tracks with a rural scene.
The switching lead end.  Notice the MP15DC.  She's the main switcher in the yard.
Overview of the yard.
The other end of the yard.  Some boxcars pose for the camera.
Up close of a switch stand.  The ties are painted matchsticks.  So many colors to choose from on the switches.  I went with white and red.

If you don't know, I love the BN, thus you can find several cars on my layout with BN markings.  Looks as if I have found 2 BN boxcars!
A car I weathered up last night.  This was probable was the best looking one in the bunch.  My airbrush was giving me some trouble last night.