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, 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