Monthly Archives: September 2013

Why steam?

At first, it seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? Let’s face it, picking the era for a model railroad is very much a personal decision. Seeing as I have all night sitting in a hotel room in Rocky Mountain House AB, I’ll try to get into my thoughts on it here.

First off are some very practical concerns when it comes to the steam versus diesel debate.  Except for some rare cases (eg. branchlines), it is rare to see a single diesel pulling a train. A pair, or even a trio is much more typical, whereas it was unusual for steam to run with multiple locos on a train. Even in HO scale, a pair of diesels need a substantial train to justify the amount of power.  Also, car lengths tend to be longer in newer eras, leading to even longer trains. A universal complaint amongst model railroaders is how much space they have/are allowed to have. Steam helps make the most of the space available. Continue reading Why steam?

Play the hand you’re dealt

I’m currently starting up another sketch of ideas for my eventual model railroad. In doing so, I’ve scanned the space I have to work with. It’s actually a really tough space to work in, but I’ve come up with a few ideas so far. The trickiest obstacle (besides just plain size and space issues) is the hot water tank near the door. The bulk of it has too many lines to work around, but on the drawing below, the crescent moon piece can be built above (at 52″ or more off the floor). If you’re bored, go ahead and print off the image and have some fun with it (print image at 100 dpi, should be scaled at 3/8″ to the foot).room

Note too, the long sides are immovable (foundation walls) as is the 9′ section. The inside corner to the right of the hot water tank is defined by a support post under a central beam, so it’s not particularly negotiable either!

Grain train at the club

It’s a boring Wednesday afternoon here, and all my railfanning and fishing plans for the day have gone to pot, so how about a quick photo post to try that out. Let’s follow a GP9 powered grain train around the Alberta Southern Railway. All trains start at Alderson yard, the point end of a point to loop style layout.asr4013-01

As is far too typical of model railroads, our main yard is jammed as usual today. Once out of the yards we head into mountains very quickly, crossing a pair of wooden bridges at the base of the steep (toughest pull on the layout) 2%+ hill into Bain.asr4013-02 Continue reading Grain train at the club