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/

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Want to wish everyone a happy holiday season!

Since we are smack dab in the middle of modeling season and the Christmas time is usually what gets us hooked, I wanted to share a picture from a recent complete scene on the layout.  Hope everyone has a great Christmas and a happy New Year.  I also hope you get some great model trains items from Santa for your layout! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Expansion thoughts

So as I close in on completing my scenery on the Virginia Midland layout, I ponder what I can actually model on the lower level.
  • more rural scenes with less industries.  Definitely a sand loading plant.
  • the sand plant would not be modeled but a spur to the plant would be all I need.
  • bench work is built for the most part.
  • lighting is installed and working
  • reconfigure the RF&P interchange from Battlefield Yard (BY) to exchanging in the main VM siding/run-  around track
  • trains could run out of BY to the helix and to the lower level.
  • Bench work would have to be built for the NS interchange
  • A branch line to the sand plant?
VMID #274 on the On30 track on the lower level

This area is directly under the VC yard.  The helix would bring trains to this area. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Snow days equal layout workdays

We had our first two snow days of the year.  Not for much but 2 back to back storms that really did not amount to any snow.  I used the time away from work to get some time in the layout room.  I finally got away from locomotive building (even though I have 2 of them ready for decals)and focused on the layout itself.  I decided I want to focus on the team track on the Midland.  This the last spur on the layout that has not received any attention.  Well it got some this week.  Take a look at what it started like:
This scene was dying for some attention!

Was not to happy with these grass mats up front in scenery but they look good in the back.

Used the mats on the other side also.  You can see the seam that I will put some larger bushes on.
Wanted to use a loading ramp but which type?

Looks like a field of grass.  The perfect buffer for the Patriot Industries, a chemical company it's beside.

Decided to use this configuration on the ramp.  This gives me the option of unloading boxcars or unloading say a covered hopper just to the left of the Railbox.
Added the ballast to cover the edge of the mats and the mix for the gravel loading area.

Notice how the gravel lot is slightly darker than the ballast.  Weathered up the ramp also.  Patriot is on the layout now in the background.
A few details brings the scene to life.

VMID #281's conductor talks back the loco to a couple.

The lot is still drying but weeds and and a few more details will complete the scene.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Operational Session at Mike Pulaski's layout

Yesterday I visited Mike Pulaski's layout for the first time.  He has awesome medium size layout in his basement that is about 30' by 20'.  He has staging in his garage and the overhead trains are about 20 cars.   It's doubled decked and has a single track helix.  Mike models the Mohawk & Hudson in the mid 1990's and his layout takes place in NY state.   I enjoyed the op session a lot and would love to have that kinda space.  I ran a local, a through manifest and one of his Finger Lakes trains.  Mike does proto free-lance like I do and we just about model the same time period.  Thanks again for letting me come by!

Lot's of different power on this railroad!  This is a Susie-Q trailer train #555

A grain facility on the upper deck.

Lot's of storage at this grain place.

Another Susie-Q train with a intermodal train.

Another grain facility that my local switched out.

The Finger Lakes train coming out of staging.

A corn processing plant on the lower level.

Last train of the afternoon is my Conrail manifest led by 2 SD50's!

Another view of the train.

A view of the blue SD50's in notch 8.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Family Op. Session the other day

Decide I wanted to do a "modified" op session the other day with my oldest son Cameron who is 7.  He started off the session with the V100E out of Battlefield Yard with 8 cars.  A pretty health train.  He took the train out to Fredericksburg and started the switching.  He's not much of an switching engineer.  He just likes to run them, which my layout is not really set up for.  He switched out (me as the conductor) half the industries.  I ran 2 other trains to give him some clearing up to do.  My middle son, Camden who's 5 came in for the second trick and did quite well.  He picks up things quick and finished up the switching.  My daughter did make a guest appearance but did not stay long. 

Why are you taking pictures?  Cameron and Camden or "Bubba" in the background.

Bubba contemplating his next move.

Caroline checking out Bubbie's switching
The switching has just started

Industrial Drive during some action.

One of my favorite boxcars makes it's way into Specialized Beverage.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Another Video: Part 3 of hidden staging

Got a new video done today and wanted you to see my hidden staging.  Stay tuned to the end for some train action.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Finally got back to some scenery

On Sunday, I decided to get back to the layout for a little scenery.  I really like building/ weathering freight cars and locos, so when I work on them mainly, the layout gets neglected.  I have plenty of cars and locos for the layout, so it's a no-brainer that the scenery could be finished up in a month or two if I really applied myself. This past week I didn't get anything done. Call it laziness or whatever.  Just was not motivated.  Hopefully I can motivate myself in the coming week.  In the meantime, let me show you the progress.
Back at the area I working on this August, I finished the former woodchip loading spur.  I decided against the woodchip loader because of the small nature of the Virginia Central  railroad.  They have enough traffic with the aggregate industry.

This spur on the VC will be a storage and a possible team track.  VC locos will also be parked here.  I decided to bury the tracks for non-maintained look.  Still have to put bushes and weeds in there.

Over in Battlefield Yard, I started working on the yard crew building and parking area.  Added some weathering and a few details.
Finally finished the newest loco on the VM.  GP39-2 #274 has been weathered and I am very satified with the LOK sound decoder.

Another view of #274

Sunday, November 17, 2013

First How to video: Installing a TCS Keep Alive capacitor in a Tsunami sound decoder

Installed a TCS Keep Alive capacitor and decided to do a how to video on it.  Several videos later it's done.  I also decided today to do some scenery on the layout.  Did the ground cover on the former wood chip loading spur on the VC.  That will be an extra storage track and occasional team track.  Pics of this later.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Virginia Midland Railroad layout Narrative: Part 2

Finally got a chance to do my second part of my narrative about the layout.  Part two focuses on the other railroads on the layout, the Virginia Central and the Fredericksburg and Northern Neck (F&NN).  I show the trackage of the VC and it's industries and where the F&NN runs on the layout even though it's not on the layout itself.  I'll probably do another on the RF&P's part on the VM.  That will be sometime this week.  As always, let me know what you think!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Layout tour with narrative

Did my first narrative on the layout on You Tube.  Been wanting to do this for a while and finally got a quiet house to do this.  It's not easy to get a quiet house with 3 kids 7 and younger.  I also added another video of the V100E train heading to Fredericksburg Flats.  FF is the main switching area on the Virginia Midland.  Comments welcome!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Layout visit: Ralph Deblasi's Lehigh Valley Wyoming Division

On Saturday I had the pleasure to visit Ralph Deblasi's Lehigh Valley Wyoming Division layout.  I rode up to southern New Jersey with Norm Wolf and Bob Sprague early yesterday.  The layout was located in his basement and it was huge.  As I said, his layout is the LV in 1974.  It was very fun to operate and was the largest layout I have operated on.  A dispatcher was used and it really added to the experience.  We had 6 operators and the runs for the trains were quite long.  It was quite a day!  I thank Ralph for inviting me up there.
I operated the X235 east and ran it back.  It was pretty much a transfer run.  Now the pics:
My X235E. A SW12 with 2 tank cars waiting to leave Croxton

X325E comes off the single track to the double track at Solomon's Gap

A westbound train's caboose passes through the Penn Haven interlocking.

My X235E comes through the Penn Haven interlocking. 

Another view of the Penn Haven interlocking.  The hoppers are on a branch line.

My train enters the gorge, a very scenic and remote area on the railroad.  The CNJ tracks are all the way on the right. 

My X235E eases through the gorge.
A CNJ train waits as the X235 passes.

Tunnel portal for the CNJ.
Better view of the CNJ consisting of F units.
Packerton Yard is on the right and 235E finally comes in and transfers it's freight.  Norm Wolf and Scotty Mason  in the back decide their next move.  The 235 started above to the left.

235W has a little bigger train on the transfer back.

235W now heads back through the gorge.

Another view view.  Pardon my finger's guest appearance.  Tim switches in the background.  His train had to help my up the huge grade.

235W through Penn Haven interlocking. 

Another view of Penn Haven interlocking.

Ralph and Bob try to get a huge coal train out of NY division staging.  It's fighting a tough little grade to start.