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/

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last post for 2015

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and Santa brought you lots of model railroading items.  Well if you can believe, 2015 is almost done and on to 2016.  So happy New Years (in a few hours!).  With that, 2015 has been a good year for the Virginia Midland. Several additions and a few changes.  Not as much progress as I would like and I find that I am easy distracted in the railroad room.  Apps like Boom Beach, Facebook, You Tube are distractions.  Most are MR content, except Boom Beach ;-0  I find that it used to be the laptop, now it's changed.   So for my MR New years resolution,  I'm hoping to be less distracted by leaving my phone out of the room unless it's for pics or video.  Crazy ain't it, but I believe it will be very productive.  This and fitting some exercise into the schedule which I actually started last weekend.  Maybe the wife was dropping a hint when she gave me a Fitbit for Christmas?

So from the VMID family, be safe and a happy 2016!

Last Throwback Thursday of 2015: December 31 2015

This goes back to January 23rd 2007 and our first snowfall(very late) of the 06-07 winter.  This test train was in Remington, VA on Norfolk Southern.  A very ACL looking locomotive.  Even got the pic in Railpace Magazine.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

New video series: The Virginia Midland industry tour

Here is part one of the new VMID industry tour.  This will cover the east end of the railroad and the following industries: Rappahannock Aggregate, Mid-Atlantic Feeds and Specialized Beverage.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and just think Christmas is less than a month away!  Started a project last weekend to widen an area on the lower level.  I also did a minor track change is the same area to length a siding.  The main reason I widen the area is to be able to put in trees to block the hole to the helix.  Look for a video later on today on this topic.

Added bench work wood extensions to hold the foam.  These are large so I can screw the fasia in.  

Here's the foam laying in position.
A track side pic.

The overall scene.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Magazine article on the Virginia Midland Railroad

About this time last year, I was approached by Stefan Nilsson from the Swedish magazine, Modell Jarnvags Magasinet.  This is the most popular model railroading magazine in Sweden.  He wanted me to write a decent size article on the Midland and even add some pictures.  He gave me plenty of time to do it as the magazine only comes out 4 times a year.  I felt it was a great honor a to be included in a magazine as I always wanted my layout to be able to be in Model Railroader here in the states one day.  It was a lot of fun and Stefan was easy to work with and it turned out very well.  The Magazine was published back in March.

It also shows in great detail how the Midland works and a history of why and how I built the layout.

Here is the front of the magazine.
Here's the first 2 pages of the 6 page article.  Anyone read Swedish?  I did get a English version of the article.  That's below.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New floor complete in the layout room

I finished the floor in the layout room last Thursday. Turned out better than thought it would.  Makes the room look more bright and hopefully less dust.  I have just about got everything organized back.
Adding the trim at the entrance

Before I added all my clutter.

Just about complete

Adding back the desk and shelves.

Slowly getting it back to normal.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Face lift for the layout room and some weathering too!

Well not a whole lot has been happening on the Midland lately.  The last 2 months have been quite busy but I hope to change that real soon.  I've mainly been finishing some custom work for a good friend in Texas and then it's face lift time.  Since yesterday afternoon, I have been putting in laminate flooring in the layout room.  I started yesterday with removal of the carpet and the padding.  I actually got to a few rows after a long dinner break.  I continued to work today when I got home from school. I hope to be done with the floor itself tomorrow if I work very diligently.   I will still have to do the trim and that will require a trip to the Home Depot.
Carpet removed.  This was a tiring job.  The padding was not so bad.  The legs were a fun part not to mention banging your head on the layout.

First few rows down.  This was my stopping part yesterday.

What I got accomplished today.

Only about 4 foot left for tomorrow.

My oldest son Cameron has helped me some the last two days.  We worked out a $5 an hour pay rate and he's been a great help and no complaints.  

Here's a good friend car I weathered up.  Thought it turned out very well.  The rust spots are decals from Weathering Solutions.  Always love the look of the cylindrical hoppers.

Here's one of my hoppers.  Tagged it up and added some rust decals.

The other side.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

TBT: November 5th 2015

Its my favorite time of the year, fall.  Beautiful outside with the changing of the leaves and temperatures start to get comfortabel again.  Here are some shots from Mance, PA at a place I used to camp for a few days in the fall and enjoy the trains!
What a great place to camp!  Old Mance Training Camp was a delight.  The only thing was at about 4-5AM it sound like non-stop trains going over the mountains.  And it usually got to the lower 40's at night!

The overlook at Mance

A little Amtrak action

Great vantage point from the treehouse!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

TBT: October 22nd 2015

2004 in Front Royal, VA
Wow do we miss old Blue?  I do and these funky looking GE's.  A C39-8 at Front Royal VA,  Love the "Darth Vader" looking cab.

Crossing the diamond at Front Royal, VA (2004)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Another busy week coming up and a major upgrade to the layout room!

Looking at this coming week, modeling is going to take a back seat.  It seems that I have something to do every night this week.  Between 2 football games, 2 little league ball games and practices, free time will be nonexistent.  I hoped to get back into the modeling grind this week, but this past week was also busy.  Guess I will have to get modeling in in small increments!  I have no major projects for the Midland for this winter, but I will start to figure out where scenery will begin on the lower level.  St. Just is a good starting point and I may do a tweek in the trackage there to hide the helix hole.  This will extend the run-around track and I will widen the area right above my desk.  This will give me a chance to add trees to block the "hole in the wall".

I also purchased some laminate flooring for the layout room.  The carpet in the office has ran it's course so it needs to go.  This is the same flooring my wife and I installed in our family/TV room this summer.  It holds up well and is scratch resistant.  It should not take too longer to install but the hard part will be putting it under the layout legs. I may remove them or jack them up a bit.  It should look and do well in the layout room as long as I don't have any more leaks.

Here's the hole to the garage and the helix.  No easy way to hide it from view.  The plan is to widen this area and put some trees in the foreground to hopefully hide it.

I may remove this curved turnout and extend the runaround track to the right, making it bigger.

Mainline on the right, Mine run branch on the left.  Putting the turnout down here would make this runaround track more worth while.

There is the propane turnout in the same area but this will stay in the same area.
This Traffic Master laminate flooring has done great in our family room.  I chose a lighter color for the layout room so it will match our foyer flooring.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

TBT: October 8th 2015

Been a while since I've done one of these so here we go:  From 2009

Believe I finally have the trackage correct for Fredericksburg Flats.  Took me a while to figure out exact industries.

The Virginia Central has had some locomotive changes since 2009 and this pic is not different.  Used the older boxcar scheme on the MP15 and I think it looks good.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

New awesome products from TCS and Soundtraxx!

At the 2015 MARPM event last week, I stumbled across a great new product.  Bob the Train Guy:(Website: Bob the Train Guy ) had the new TCS motherboard replacement with the Keep Alive capacitors.  The Keep Alive capacitors are a direct replacement for the boards in RTR locomotives.  right now they have 4 different boards, Athearn RTR, Athearn Genesis, Intermountain and Bowser.  I'm pretty sure the Athearn Genesis will work on a Atlas drive!  I have been adding KA's or Soundtraxx's Current Keepers in my sound locos for several years now.  They work well and keep the sound and locomotive moving on dirty track and through unpowered frogs.  A must for sound equipped locomotives.  Making room for a speaker and capacitors was always an undertaking.  So enter this new replacement board from TCS: http://www.tcsdcc.com/.
I was already picking up a speaker and my first Soundtraxx Econami 21 pin decoder from Bob.  I was putting the sound decoder in a Intermountain GATX SD40-2 that I picked up for $72 from MB Kleins.   It had the 21 pin connector on it motherboard and I was somehow going to add a capacitor.  Bob then told me about the new motherboard replacement from TCS.  Saved alot of time and the capacitor worked better than the others on the market.  I turned the power to the track off and the locomotive ran for about 27 seconds!  Unbelievable!

Here is the original mother board out of the Intermountain SD40-2.  These come DCC ready and have a 21 pin decoder installed.  I unhooked all the connectors. 

This is the new TCS motherboard.  Same plugins so the wiring requires no soldering!

The new Soundtraxx 21 pin economi sound decoder.  The CV setup is totally different for the Tsunamis but the horns are better and has different bell selections.  The best feature, it's 20-30 bucks cheaper.   

The only small problems I ran into was adding a speaker to the new mother board.  I need a connector to solder to the speaker wires.  Luckily I had one of these in my DCC drawer.  Never dispose of stuff because it may come in handy down the road.  The other is the Econami decoder itself.  The 21 pins on the TCS mother board were not long.  So adding the Econami decoder was not perfect fit.  On the bottom of the Econami were electronics that did not allow it to lay flat.  So the 21 pin connectors barely fit in the Econami at an angle and came off easily.   If the pins were longer, it would be no problem.  I'm sure the TCS WOW decoders will lay down quite snug on these and they were making Econami users like me work fro it! Overall easy installation and great sounding decoder.  Here's a quick sample of it:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The 2015 Mid-Atlantic RPM Meet is in the books

The 3rd annual MARPM Meet is in the books and one again it was a great success.  We added more hands on clinics and even more speaker this year.   Some of the speakers/clinicians included some of the celebrities of the hobby such as Scott Mason, Lance Mindheim, Paul Dolkos and Butch Eyler.  Looking forward to the 4th annual one next year, same time. same place.  Here are some pictures from over the weekend. (I forgot to get pictures of my models!)

2015 MARPM pictures

Friday, September 18, 2015

Busy! To say the least

Well, with school starting last week and a work week before that, my modeling has slowed down considerably.  Fall is right around the corner and winter is in the distance.  That's when most get back to their modeling hobby.  I wanted to get a few things done on the layout this week but it seemed I had something every night this week.  Next week is the the 3rd annual Mid Atlantic RPM Meet here in town.  I'm a co-founder and you will not a better collection of speakers or models anywhere else.  I have several things I need to do for the show next week (I'm head of the sponsorships of the show and door prizes).  I'm also attending Mat Thompson's operation session on Thursday night.  Mat's HO Oregon Coast Railroad layout has been in Great Model Railroads.  The op session is part of the MARPM.  So hope to see a few of you at the meet next weekend.  If you can attend or just want to see what's a RPM is about, check out these links!

2015 Mid Atlantic RPM Meet

Mat Thompson's Oregon Coast HO Railroad

Thursday, September 17, 2015

TBT: Sept. 17th 2015

Sorry I have not had any other updates in a few weeks.  Been quite busy and MR time is at a premium.  But I do have the TBT post for today!

This is former RF&P GP40 patched for CSX.  These were common a few years after the merger since the RF&P motors had to lead on RF&P tracks due to their CTC controls.

Prototype pic

Prototype in the dead line

Thursday, September 10, 2015

TBT: Sept. 10th 2015

On this day before the 14th anniversary of 9-11 I wanted to post a throwback pic of old glory from one of my favorite railfanning spots: Mance, PA.

Mance Post office (not in operation) 2005

The only reason why I like Norfolk Southern: High hoods!  July 2009 near Bealeton, VA.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Throwback Thursday: September 3rd 2015

Been a little warmer and humid this first week of September so its time for a cold flashback to December 5th 2005, where we find some early season snow!  Winter is only 3 months away!
A little snowy action on the RF&P sub of CSX only minutes from where I grew up.  This shot is from Jones Crossing looking toward Guinea, VA
Zoomed out shot.