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, July 30, 2015

TBT: July 30th 2015: Buckingham Branch

Some more railfanning pictures this week.  These are from 2004 and 2005 and feature the Buckingham Branch:

Yes those BB hoppers you see on the layout are real.  #3002 in Louisa on the original Virginia Midland before it was C&O.

BB #3000 sits in a spur in Louisa, VA.

The Old Dominion Chapter NRHS runs excursions on the original BB in Dillwyn, VA.  Here is #1 leading one of the fall excursions.  

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!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

End of the week update: July 26th 2015

Not a whole lot going on on the layout this week.  Most of the things I have gotten done were earlier in the week.  The layout has not had much progress on it since the redoing of the track to the helix.  I need to get that scenery back complete.  This week has been devoted to installing laminate flooring to the living room.  300 plus square feet of it.  Hard work but it looks great.  We are just about finished. One section of shoe moulding and a little paint is it.

I did get some motive power updated with some Tsunamis in the last two weeks.  Here they are:
Finally got MP15 #284 back in service.  It was a QSI sound chassis at one time but sold it because it sounded terrible.  Picked up a non-sound chassis to have Tsunami but on it like her sister #285.  Finally got it installed.  Not an easy task at all.

GP40 #299 finally go a Tsunami installed in her.  I even put an operating beacon in also.  I used a tiny LED and installed into the beacon.  These LED's are perfect for this.  Just cannot remember who makes them.  

New VC power #105 SW1200 got weathered up a bit.  No sound yet.
Hey who's layout room is that?  That would be yours truely from MRH discussion this week about small layout rooms.


Friday, July 24, 2015

TBT: July 23rd 2015

Today we will go back to the spring of 2006 where I caught one of my favorite lashups of all time.
How can you not love this lashup?  This is on Sandpatch grade near Foley, PA.  Two second generation EMD's, enough said.

One of the most beautiful places to railfan.  This spot is definitely not easy to get to.

The scheme reminds me of the C&O but better.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

TBT: July 16th 2015

Back when I railfanned alot, I had a rare chance to catch a DMIR leader here in Virginia.  DMIR #409 leads a BNSF engine south on 35Q on Norfolk southern rails near Culpeper, VA.  This was from 8 years ago.

Another HLCX lease unit.  HLCX #6204 SD40-2 Ex- BCR in a USA patriotic scheme. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Monday's layout work and decal completion

Spent a lot of time yesterday completing my large decaling job and finally tackling the trackage from Battlefield Yard (BY) to the helix.  A few posts ago, my main two objectives for the summer were to change the trackage on the Mine Run branch and take out the S curve to the helix from BY.  I completed the Mine Run trackage last week.   I hesitatated on the S curve replacement but decided to get into for some reason late yesterday afternoon.  The job turned out pretty easy and everything went better than expected.  The good thing about these projects is that I had everything I needed.  Track was reused and I did get down to my last rail joiner and track nails!  I'm hoping not to need anymore.  Nothing is worse than starting a project and needing a piece of track or other vital part.  I don't have any hobby shops around so most will be mail order.  So on to pics:

Decaling jobs:

A new sand hopper based on Greg McComas 's Michigan Interstate RR.  These will be in captive service hauling sand on the Midland.  The rust pits are decals by Weathering Solutions.  Still needs weathering.  

A VMID woodchip hopper.  The load was easily made with foam and sawdust.   

The Midland has good size fleet of stone hoppers now.  Here is VMID #6 Ex-SP.

Here is some new power on the Midland, GP35R #233.  This loco served the Virginia Central for the last several years and was recently bought by the VMID.  The patch job is typical for shortlines and turned out quite well.  Can you see my BN theme?  BN was my favorite railroad as a teen.  

Improved Trackage to the Helix:

The reason why the trackage had to be improved is because there a small S- curve leading towards the helix.  This is a busy piece of track and with the scenery in, was no fun having a derailment there.  Most cars and 4 axle locos were fine through it.  My longer 6 axle locos did not like it.  The main reason why I've added a SD50 is to work the grade on the helix.  So a change was needed.

Here is the S curve.  All I did was move the crossing in the wall to the right and straighten out the curve.  

Track removed and the hole in the wall enlarged.  Had to take out some scenery but have a plan on what to put here already.   Could not go any farther right because of a stud in the wall. 

Wow, why didn't I do this first time?  No curve now!

My only casuality, my signal.  I unattached it from the ground but for some reason it doesn't lit up now.  If this is the case, it will be the 2nd signal to bite the dust here.
A view from the helix side.  Definitely a easier job than I originally thought.
 I finished late last night after several breaks.  Still have a couple of things to sort out but a major improvement.  The SD50 already loves it!


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Decaling overload, motive power update and continuous running

This week has mainly been getting 2 new locomotives onto the layout and getting some needed freight cars onto the layout.  The Mine Run branch is complete, or is it?  Thinking about putting in a lift out portion of track to connect the lower level at Orange and Mine Run for continuous running.  Not sure on it yet and this would change Orange a little.    Lets get to the locomotives:
Here is VMID GP40-2W in fresh paint.  She will receive the newer logo and will be weathered.  Her number will be #288.

The new SW1200 for the VC has received her paint and now waits for decals during my decal purge today.

My decaling tools of the trade.

My many sets of decals.  Boxed up and unorganized!

More progress on the decaling.  The SW1200 has her logo.  Patching and reporting marks were the main thing today.

Alot of work on this chip hopper.  Even did a VMID ortner Ex-SP.

VMID #288 is nearing the end of her decaling job. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

TBT: July 8th 2015

Well it's Thursday again so time for some older stuff.  These two are from back in 2005 and 2006.
Original VMID power.  These are two of the first green & gray locomotives I painted.  These are both GP40's.  The 299 still occasionally shows up on the layout.  The 290 was sold years ago.  Great looking lashup.  The layout is nothing like it is today.

Looking back at some of my extreme weathering, this one sticks out as being pretty good.  The hand drawn grafitti I think is simple but effective.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Fourth of July and update on trackwork and motive power

Wanted wish everyone a happy 4th!  Be safe this holiday weekend!  I've been pretty busy on the layout this week and even today, as we aren't doing much except a cookout and checking out the fireworks display in town.  This is also my 150th post on the blog!

  Here's some projects I've worked on this week:

Mine Run Branch:
Trackwork is complete but still need to add several feeder wires

View looking north.  The entrance to the scene is in the upper right corner.  Track splits into a double track.  The spur on the left is the wood chip loader.  The track also crosses a river.

Looking the opposite direction.  The track goes back to one and the spur to the sand mine is on the left.  

The spur to the sand mine.  The mine is not featured on the layout.  The main reason for the rearrangement is to allow for longer trains.
The bridge over the canal/river had to be widened.  This canal will be filled with trees and a weeds.  It will also have where the canal sides have given way to time.

Another view of the bridge.

New motive power is also in the works:

This is new power for the Virginia Midland: an Atlas GP40W that will have Tsunami sound.  It's been detailed now time for some green and gray paint.

This is new Virginia Central power: Proto 2000 SW1200.  She will be painted yellow and will not have sound at this time.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Video of what's on tap for this summer on the VA Midland HO railroad

Here's a 15 minute video on my overview on the layout right now.  Included is what I want to get done this summer, motive power update, vehicles for the layout and more.  Make sure you check it out!

Throwback Thursday: July 2nd 2015

One of my favorite models I ever did.  This is the last C&O locomotive on the CSX roster and it last until about 5 years ago.  I was lucky to even have it in my area and watch her on a local.  Lots of detail shots of her. CSX SD40 Ex C&O #4617