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 21, 2017

Latest Update Video is out.

Here's my latest video fresh out of the computer and I-phone.  Just a look at the next scene I'll try to get done on the lower level.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

It's been a while!

I will confess, I have been not been doing a lot of modeling lately and putting stuff on this blog has been almost non-existent.  I have done a few things here and there.  I've helped out at a local train show last weekend and got a batch of custom cars done for a client.  I also traveled down to a hobby shop down in North Carolina (almost 3 hrs) to get some of their half off sale since they are going out of business at the end of the year.  The Hobby Barn in Wilson, NC is probably the biggest in the southeast but they have no internet presence.  The owner is retiring and they were always worth a yearly trip to.  They also discounted a decent percent to make their prices very reasonable.  I was a little saddened to hear they are closing the doors at the end of this month.  My son and I took the trip last Friday and spent some major cash.
The Antique Barn is a large train shop with some RC cars.

The half off sale attracts people from all over.

Here are a few pics of the custom cars I weathered up for a client in Texas:

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Great Scale Model Train Show this Weekend! Biggest in the Mid-Atlantic Region

-This weekend is the Great Scale Model Train Show in Timonium, MD (north of Baltimore).  This is the largest train show in the Mid-Atlantic Region.  Times are 9-5 Saturday and 10-4 Sunday.
Hope to see you there!  All the info is in the flyer picture below!

Upcoming Shows are:

  • Feb 3rd & 4th
  • April 14th & 15th
  • June 9th &10th
  • Oct. 27th & 28th

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Update video

Here's a video I did this week reviewing my new motive power and a new industry on the lower level:

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Finally an update!

It's that time of the year when everything is is full go.  Yes, it must be September.  I'm back at work, the kids are in school and there's not a lot of modeling going on.  Heck, I'm reflecting on this past summer and I didn't really get anything done on the layout and had plenty of time.  It seems that is my biggest and probably most blogged about topic: TIME!  No wonder everyone waits until there retired to get started in this hobby!  I will admit, my time management for my hobby is not the greatest.  I would really know how the guys with basement size layouts get it done?

Anyways, not a much has been happening this month, but I did get a few different things done, most before and during Labor Day.  Most were locomotive projects, which are my favorite.
Got this Proto S-2 off Ebay for $25 shipped and hardwired a decoder and added LED's to it.  It's already weathered too.  Now to find a need for it!

I rebuilt this Proto SW800 from parts I had.  So I decided to paint it up for a industrial switcher.  I also put sound in it ans the sound decoder I was going to but in a 70 tonner would fit but the loco ran very terrible so now I have a Cummins diesel in a SW800. 

The only layout work that happened was this addition on a turnout on the Orange end.  This spur will run through some hidden staging behind my control panel to a small aggregate or sand hopper loading area. 

Another locomotive project that is close to the finish line.  About 4 years in the making.  It needs some dark weathering to hide the too light gray paint I applied!

Didn't know the Midland had a sister railroad in Florida?  Could not resist this locomotive!  

Picked up some more 7000 cuft woodchip hoppers.  If you don't know, these are hard to get and go for big bucks on Ebay.  I got these at great prices.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Train show in Lynchburg, VA over the weekend

Got up very early on Saturday and drove down to a yearly train show I attend every year.  My oldest son, Cameron also went down with me.  It's a smaller show but always turns up so good bargains for me and I do sell a lot of my excess items.  While my selling was OK, I did pick up a 65' gondola, a book and a Bachmann 70 tonner painted in the attractive M&ET scheme.  I actually ran upon them on my honeymoon in 2004 while passing through Modesto, CA.  It was really neat to see 3 70 tonners moving a long string of reefers.
Very well done 70 tonner in M&ET paint

On the way home, I wanted to bypass the unfortunate craziness in Charlottesville and decided to go another way home and see the original Buckingham Branch and photograph the large chip mill they have. I also grabbed some shots of two other types of loaders they have in town.  These are both not in operation but would be neat to model.

This looks as if it was a hopper loader at one time.  Probably sand trucked in.

A closer view of the loading area
This loader was on the same spur as the possible sand loader.  Maybe aggregate?

Loading shoot

The dump end
A very old Y&S boxcar rusts away
The original BB's largest customer and probably newest one: Rock Tenn wood yard.

These Westvaco wood chip hoppers are ready to be loaded.

One full hopper!

This is a massive operation.  Look at all the logs stacked in the distance.  That's only about fifth of them.
Our final stop was in the town of Orange to see if we could catch a train.  No luck on the train, but a great display on the railroad history of the town.
Lots of railroad history here in Orange, VA.  Orange is the terminus of my Virginia Midland model railroad.

This was a scary wreck back in 1965.

Some of those towns sound familiar!  This is the station list from Fredericksburg to Orange.

County map of Orange

Some more history on the Virginia Central

The wreck of the Fat Nancy Trestle just south of town

The Virginia Central rail bus.  It also had a trailer it towed.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Out with the old, in with the new!

Well, after almost 17 years of service it was finally time for an upgrade.  I'm talking about my airbrush compressor and it has a story to it.  I have been wanting to put sound in a smaller locomotive for a while now.  I finally won a Bachmann 70 tonner on Ebay last week.  While looking for a Micro Tsunami 1 for a Cummins GE (very hard to find and not available in Tsunami 2 yet) in a search, I found that Micromark sells them and had a few in stock,  Didn't know that!  So it was on sale and started looking through the MicroMark catalog for other things I might need.  They have a decent air compressor on sale and by chance NMRA member now receive a 15% off at MicroMark.  So the compressor was on sale already and an extra 15% off.  Not bad at all!
My old Paasche compressor.  Very loud and old.  Paid $50 used for it at the now gone RIP Track in Dale City, VA.
My new compressor.  Very quiet with adjustable PSI and a on/off button.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Drawerzilla and other projects

I finally completed the freight car drawers or as I call it Drawerzilla.  This was a major undertaking as it turned out bigger than  I planned.  I finally put the finishing touches on it Saturday and brought it in the house.  Between wood and redoing my deck last week, I bet I went to my local Home Depot everyday last week.  I still need to paint it and get another drawer liner and dividers for the last drawer.  I decided to put wheels on it to be able to move this behemoth.
Here is my 6 drawers of freight cars.

Holds 3 50' cars across, with space to spare.

The dividers are wood.  Not Ideal but made installation easy.
Tank car storage.  These were the hardest to store in my opinion.  Too many fragile pieces compared to a boxcar.

The last drawer need to be completed

The drawer liner keeps cars from rolling and moving.
Finally got the chevron stripes on the VC #107 now to add the grabs and weather.

Did a custom Southern woodchip hopper based on a prototype.

In between working on Drawerzilla, I worked on these two locos.  I wasn't going to add the VM logo to the C430, but man does it look great!  RS11 #204 is a Norfolk, Franklin and Danville prototype loco.

And my birthday present to myself, a SD40F "Red Barn"  I'm currently working on Econami Sound install.

Monday, July 31, 2017

And for something different to benefit the layout

As you know, I do a few videos on You Tube and I also have several channels I check out.  Not only do I look for what's on the layout, but what's off or around the layout.  I was watching a video just last week and noticed shelved drawers under the layout.  These would have to be for freight car storage and I was correct.  Eric Miller of SPSF fame SPSF Railway  (make sure you check out his website!) has a very nice layout.  I contacted him and he send me some pictures of the shelving units.

Here is a picture of Eric's drawers (Eric Miller photo)
  So I began to ponder and figure out how I can build one of these.  I only need one for my small layout.  It was nice to have a bunch of excess wood in my shed I could build the drawers with.  Had to go to my local Home Depot to get the 3/4" cabinet wood sides and the drawer hardware.
The first of many drawers

Lining up the sliding parts and leaving enough space between was tough but it worked out.

Wow!  I have some major space to put cars in these seven drawers.  Now to figure out what to use/how to divide up the drawers. 

My stopping point today.  Tomorrow I hope to complete this project and it will require a trip back to Home Depot!
I also finally finished my track laying of staging track by my helix last week.  I have 2 good sized tracks to hold entire trains to run east across the layout.
Here's the end of the 2 staging tracks.  The one starts to run back up the helix.  My helix is made for 2 tracks.

This is what I added to complete it.

The mainline and the Parker passing siding is on the left and the 2 staging tracks are in the middle of the picture.  Still need to power the turnout.