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, August 24, 2014

Scenery is complete at Orange: Video

Been in a scenery rush to get the lower level done at Orange.  The scene is like a upside down "T" when viewed.  I had to do the scenery in the back because it was unreachable unless you access it from the access hatch behind the fascia on the right.  It turned out better than I thought.  It has a building and road crossing.  You will see the building about halfway through the video.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

More progress on the layout: A video

My summer vacation is slowly ending.  Back to the grind on Monday.  Thought I would update with a video this evening.  Enjoy!

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.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wow! This new track arrangement makes sense!

Someone actually commented that this track arrangement makes so much more sense.  Well, the track has been ripped out and the new arrangement has been put in.  I really like it and why didn't think of this before?  What was I thinking of adding another diamond and creating a weird and unprototypical track arrangement?  This new arrangement really flows and makes sense. Now all I need to do is add feeder wires and I'm done!
The Virginia Midland trackage is on the left, now serving the elevator at Mid-Atlantic Feeds.  The Virginia Central trackage is on the right serving the sand unloading facility. 

The trackage towards the door is just about the same.

The sand facility now holds 8 hoppers instead of 4 as before.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Since I am done with track work, lets change it and other items!

Yes, the title says it all.  I was totally done with ALL my track work.  Done on both the upper and lower levels, feeder wires, the whole thing.  But, I was not too happy with the sand loading facility trackage and the double diamond, so I ripped it all out.

So I got some changes:

  • No more diamonds or city junction
  • The VA Midland receives another industry: the elevator at Mid-Atlantic Feeds.  
  • The sand facility will have more trackage with 2 spurs
  • With the elimination of the diamond, there will only be 2 signals in this area.

I really wanted to keep the diamond, but it only makes sense and what I had was very unprototypical.
Here's what I am doing.  This all makes more sense and will be a better operation.  It s a quick fix and the only hard part is redoing the feeder wires.   Moving the sand unloader will be no fun either.
No, it's not a wiring nightmare, I'm installing some LED lighting on the upper level. 

Got these light poles about a year ago.  I installed them around the layout, but never hooked them up.  Here's an example of one.  Got them off Ebay from China cheap.  

They definitely put out the light!  Almost too much.

Overall view of the area.  There are a total of 7 lights.

A little night photography?  All I am missing is the flashing red lights from the RR crossing apparatus.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Video update of progress

Uploaded a You Tube video on my progress so far on the layout. This covers the expansion on the upper level and the entire lower level.  I'm reworking the track on the Mine Run Branch in the sand loading spur.  It will give me more space for dropping and picking up cars.   As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me or comment below.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Fascia, Fascia Fascia

Wow, am I tired of cutting, painting and installing fascia.  It seems it is all I have done since the last blog update.  My original fascia color I went with was a bright green, like the one on the Midland locos.  I did that on a whim.  When doing the new fascia on the extension, I went with black, a more neutral color.  You want the focus of your railroad to be on the layout not the fascia.  So I had to remove all the painted fascia and paint it black.  This sounds easy but I also moved DCC plugins to the lower level.  So that meant new fascia. I also did some sky blue background painting.

I'm also looking to move toward wireless NCE controllers.  I would mail my controllers to NCE and they would install the wireless capabilities.  I would need to buy an antenna and that would be it.  It costs $97 and would be a turnaround of 2-3 weeks.  I would have to send my Power Cab first since this is main controller.  That means I would not be able to use the layout for 2-3 weeks :-(
I'll probable do it later on this month.  If any subscribers have wireless NCE, email me or comment below the pros and cons. Until next time!
Here's the entrance to my layout room.  New black fascia for the extension and lower level.

Here's my switch panel for the 3 switches in Orange/  Need to put in the track arrangement so I'll know what button is what.  

Here is Orange ready for scenery and buildings.  The blue wall on the right is removable in case I need to access this area.  Will need to for scenery!  

Here is Orange looking toward the untreated tie loading area.

To the left in Orange is the interchange tracks.  

On the upper level, a bridge with a road coming down to the tracks will highlight this area. 

Across the room, I added some paint to the backdrop.  I've decided to put in corn syrup unloading facility in the spur where the tanks are spotted.  This area is called St. Just (based on a real town on this former line) where the Mine Run branch starts.  

A little bit of traffic at St. Just.  Ex-KCS power is doing some testing on the Orange line.  

Here's one of the NCE plugins I moved from the upper level.  St. Just also has a switch panel for the 4 switches here.

The upper level extension looks like its ready for it's scenery.  I'm ready for some too since this fascia has been kicking my butt!