Washington Northern Logo

Washington Northern Logo

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Shop Projects

The WN Shops have been quite busy. A few weekends ago I started a project I was putting off for a long time. I purchased some undercoated SD40-2s from Kato. I really liked them and figured it was time to paint them up.

The first one I figured I would try and do what I do with my WW2 armor models and try a shadow coat. Looked great till I put a second coat of BN Green on. It looked TERRIBLE. So i quickly threw the locomotive into a 91% Rubbing Alcohol bath. Took the paint off right away and I had a clean canvas again. I repainted the model with no issues.

Shadow paint job....

Once the paint dried, i put some decals on. I'm running low on decals and I am waiting for Kevin Smith to get some to me so I can finish up the SD 40-2s. I also need to add all the warning labels and some safety striping. I'll do some highlighting and some light weathering and I will be in service! After that a decoder will be added, along with a Keep alive.

I have also been working on the box car fleet for the WN as well as some of the covered hoppers. I am hoping to have some pictures up of the box cars in the coming days. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ops Session on Jim Hertzog's Reading Shamokin Division

Today I had the pleasure of going to Jim Hertzog's to be a guest running an ops session on his Reading Shamokin Division layout. It was a great time. This was my first ops session, outside of my own little ones by myself.

My initial assignment was train 11. A small passenger train that was using Jersey Central Power. My starting point was Tamaqua, making stops at East Mahanoy, Mahanoy City and Gordon. Ending the journey was track one at Newberry Jct.

After tying down in Newberry, I took was assigned for another trip, but this time from Reading to Gordon. 

Entering the Mahanoy Tunnel (aka big tunnel)

After dropping the empty coal cars at Gordon yard, my locomotive was tied down at the engine house at Gordon. My next assignment was the Lehigh New England AM Turn that would be dropping some freight cars off at the Tamaqua yard. There I picked up some cars and made the return trip. That train was quick and easy and didn't get a picture due to the heavy activity at the yard.

Next train I picked up was in Newberry and I was off to Reading. This was my longest train I had so far. I was loaded with some mixed freaight but my first stop was at the Shamokin yard where I picked up some cars to go to Reading. After picking up some cars, my next stop was to pick up some loaded coal cars bound for Reading at Locust Summit. I made a rookie mistake and missed that on my orders. As I reached the yard limit I advised the dispatcher I was awaiting clearance into the yard. Dispatcher asked if I missed work at my last location. Checked the orders again, and yep I missed it. So I backed the train up the grade and picked up my "5 missing children" as I coined it. 

Once that was fixed, I began the journey to Gordon yard where I needed to pick up some more freight bound for Reading. At Gordan I picked up what I needed. My car limit was 23. As I left Gordan I realized I was now at 27. The Alcos had some difficulty climbing the hill and there wasn;t a helper available, so the "hand from above" had to help the Alcos go up the grade. 

I made it to Tamaqua yard where I was able to drop 4 cars and get back on my limit.   

Climbing the hill from Gordon Yard

My last train of the Day was TN-3. Originating in Tamaqua this was another freight train bound for Newberry. I loaded up and was on my way. After clearing the tunnels I had to pick up some loaded coal cars at St. Nick. After loading up I began my journey where I would be assisted by the Gordon Helper. At Locust Summitt the helper cut off and headed back down the hill.   

One of my favorite shots

I had a great time and the layout was amazing. Though the transition era isn;t my thing, it was just a great fun. Till it was all said and done, we ran 41 trains and the session was about 4 hours. I look forward to another invitation to run this layout again.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Website Wednesday

I wanted to take today to give a shout-out to Luke from Boulder Creek Railroad. Luke has made some excellent models. They are amazing and his scenery tips are top notice. He goes over a variety of things and provides a great set of tips for modelers from beginner to advanced. Check him out!

I have provided a link to his site below, as well as some of his videos!

(DISCLAIMER: These videos are taken from YouTube. These are not my videos, they belong to Luke Towan of Boulder Creek Railroad.)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Productive Weekend

I took some time this weekend to do some work on the layout. Main mission was to get some track work redone to accommodate the new 8ft. section I put on. I took out the pads for the transloading facility and extended that area to make it a runaround track. I also plan on putting a small crew office there and my locomotives will sit there when not in operation. I got this idea from a Google Maps search of an industrial park area and thought it may be a good idea to put in.
This is a shot looking towards the curve to the bakery. 
The siding that was installed will be leading to an industry.

This is first two feet of the new section that was added. 
The siding installed will be leading to the future home of Blue Star Cement.

Tonight I also took some time to work on some trees. I am using the Scenic express SuperTrees. I bought these maybe two years ago and they were sitting in the box. As I started to pull some of the trees out, I saw that the trees were all together and took the shape of the box. I have the box open and have been taking them apart carefully and slowly to see if I can get them to not hold the square shape. I took some of the smaller ones and started trimming them up. For these trees I used two methods. First was just taking the tree and spraying them with a spray adhesive. For that I used Locktite. (You could use any kind. I recommend Locktite or 3M). Once the spray adhesive was applied I took some blended turf and sprinkled it on. I placed a small basin below my area to catch the extra turf. I that way you can reuse the stuff that fell. Once the tree was covered, I took some hairspray, any kind will do, and sprayed the trees to seal the work. I would suggest unscented, unless you want your trees to smell. After making some trees I placed them in a foam piece to dry. I also used the same method as above, however I sprayed the trees with brown camo spray paint first. I didn't really notice a difference.   I have included a YouTube video from D. Glass. Great guy and great modeler. 

I plan on ordering some leave material from Scenic Express. Once i get that in i will see what that looks like on some of the trees.

Mr. Glass' YouTube video below.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Hobby Shop Trip

This past week I had some sad news come across my newsfeed on Facebook. A hobby shop about 30 min from my house was going to be closing up shop. I had only ever been there one time after finding out about in back in late 2015. The place is called ChooChooNuts (not to be confused with the ChooChoo Barn which is in Strasburg) Anyway, the flyer they had said everything was 30% off. So Saturday I took a drive down there to see if anything was left. To my surprise there was a good amount of rolling stock and such there. My main mission was to look for detail parts. Last time I was there I saw a huge drawer of parts. I went there and found a massive amount of parts there. My main mission was AC units or the roof of some of my EMD units.

Once I collected the parts I was looking for, some AC units, rotary beacons and MU cables, I took a walk through the rolling stock area. There was a nice assortment of boxcars, tank cars of various sizes and covered hoppers. While some of the models were tempting, I know I have more than enough of those on my layout along with the storage bin. I wanted to look for some cars I could use for the cement plant that I would be building on the new expansion of the layout. Looking through the open hoppers I was able to find what I was looking for, Walthers 40' Ortner cars. Most were older lines but I was able to find some Golden West Service cars which I will weather up and use for service to the cement plant.

Hoping to get some paint down tonight or tomorrow so I can start laying track for the cement plant.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Static Grass Test

So a few weeks ago I was looking into adding static grass to my layout. Hunting around I found the usual ones on ScenicExpress. I found Noch and another brand (name escapes me). One was $190.00 and the other about $150.00. I wasn't sure if I was ready to make the jump into that type of investment. I had use the old ground foam from Woodland Scenics and while it doesn't look horrible, it is just to bright for my liking, even with different shades.

I was hunting around on eBay to see if I could find a deal, which I really couldn't find, unit I came across a seller in Massachusetts. Guy had a kit for about $55.00 (including shipping). Kit included a mini static grass device and a  larger one. Also included was a small wire rack with wax type paper. This is to make grass tufts. I figure this wasn't bad and made the purchase. A few days later it came in the mail. Per the instructions I held the alligator clip close to the solder joint and it sparked. This meant it was working (per the instructions).

With work and a kitchen repaint going on, I did not have the luxury of time on my side to test out the devices. Today I went over to my local hobby shop, Iron Horse Hobby House, and picked up some track along with some Woodland Scenic Static Grass. I fired up both devices and secured the alligator clip to a nail.

I spread a mixture of glue and water down to the test piece. I began spreading and the turf dropped but wasn't standing on end like I though it would. So I took a closer look and boom the grass was standing up.It is a little light right now but once I get some other static grasses I will blend them together.I know some guys use static grass mats for larger areas, which I tried before and they looked great. I would suggest that for larger areas, or making lawns for houses.

Regardless I think this was a great investment for those modeling on a budget.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Doing Some Pad Work

The other night I took some time to add a concrete pad to the unloading area to the bakery. What started as just a little project, turned into a bigger operation.

At first I just added the concrete. That was just a gray in color project foam piece. You can pick these up at AC Moore or other craft store. These make great little areas in spot where it would be cumbersome to do with sculptamold or hydrocal. Once cut, I glued it into place with some white glue.

 I then took the unloading area of the bakery and decided to weather it. After two weathering layers it was where I wanted it to be. I sealed up my work with some dullcoat and called it a day. I then moved on to the other unloading area. I wanted this to be a little more weathered for the look of it being the original area. A few layers and I think it is done. I went a little overboard in the one area, which is fine because I plan to put the sign for the bakery in that area. I still need to add some roof details to the one part and some other odds and end detail-wise but in the end this will turn out good!

Finished product...well for now anyways!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Shout out!

Just a quick post for a shout out to by buddy Shannon Crabtree. On his layout he has the Virginia Midland as well as the Virginia Central.

I found a Virginia Central Details West box car on eBay and wrapped up putting it together. Still need to add 2 little details to the car but it is pretty much done. I will try to get some photos of the car and try and weather it up.

Stay tuned!


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Kit Building

Today I was examining the rock ballast I put down and was looking at some other things around the layout. I was also taking some time and organizing all my rolling stock, and taking a look at what projects I needed to get done. I found some old Athern and Roundhouse kits that had yet to be put together. I remember as a kid seeing aisles and aisles of HO kits from Athearn and Roundhouse, and some Walthers. As a kid I always went towards the RTR stuff as well as Bachman. As a kid that's all I could afford.

As I got older, and got back into the hobby, I looked on eBay. There I could find older kits for a decent price. I picked up some kits here and there to expand my Rolling stock. So today I took some time and put about 4 kits together. All in all it took me about 45 mins all together to assemble these kits. I put on some metal couplers in exchange for the horn hoot style that came with.

Today the part of building these kits is what I love about this hobby. Everything seems to be so "ready made" these days. Sometimes it feels nice to go back to the way it was and really get into the roots of model railroading.

One of the kits was an undecorated box car. I painted it a generic primer red/brown (which is close to boxcar red in my opinion). I plan on lettering it up for the Washington Northern.
These two are 40' Hi-Cubes. Both are Athearn kits.
Both these kits are Roundhouse. These are 50' Modern Box cars. The SOO Line boxcar is lettered for the WC

Prior to doing some work on those kits, I began working the Blue Star Cement facility. I took one of the extra Madusa Cemnet kits that I had from Walthers. I wanted to make a recessed building out of this, so I decided to cut it in half. I found the center point and cut it with my Xacto hand saw. If you decide to do this, make sure you have a straight edge. 

After cutting, I glued it to the silo parts I made last evening. This too was taken from the kit, but I took one of the end pieces and cut it down the middle with the Xacto saw. This part is easy as the saw fits perfectly in the recessed area.

 I ran out of ballast so I have an order in for some more. I also ended up ripping some of the smaller ballast out as it didn't look right. I also did a test and I plan on putting a little bit of the larger ballast over the smaller stuff to show a new, but used effect. Will get some pictures up in the next blog update hopefully this week.


Video of the Week

This week's video of the week comes from Thomas McEwen. His layout is the Nashville Eastern. Very good for inspiration to get moving on your layout!


Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Rock!

The other day my order of Arizona Rock and Mineral Ballast came. Since I am modeling the area around the old BN I figured I'd go with something in the area. I picked up two different type of ballast. Mainline (#3) and Regular (#2). I figured I would use both in different areas to see what it would look like. I must say this stuff is 100 times better than Woodland Scenics. It costs more, but the look is well worth the investment.

The mainline ballast looks great. I have a point to point and there really isn't a true mainline, but i figured I'd put it by the bakery industry.

The color is lighter, but gets dark when the glue water mixture is applied.

I also took some time to clean up the weathering on the GP35s. I used a dark wash and it didn't turn out that great. In my other hobby, WW2 armor modeling, I have watched some techniques and figured I'd try on these guys. Turned out great. The wash was very blotchy when i did it, but i cleaned it up with some thinner on a Q-tip. I cleaned up the panels and some of the wash filled in the recessed areas a bit more and added some depth. Looks a ton better! I need to get some decoders in these bad boys and get them running on the layout. The patched out stuff needs a break!


Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year and New Customer

Happy 2017 Everyone!

The Washington Northern Aberdeen Branch has some exciting news. In mid December of 2016, the Washington Northern was looking to explore some opportunities to redevelop some business opportunities on one of the lines that leads to one of the biggest customers on the branch, Hoquiam Bakeries.

In working with the real estate division, some land has been sold to the Blue Star Ready Cement Company. While the details of the plan are still being worked out, a draft proposal has been made that includes plans for a silo and small production facility. Stay tuned for more updates as the construction begins!

Sunday, January 1, 2017


Tonight I had a chance to run a few loads and pick up some empties. Short session, but felt great to run some trains as its been some time since I did that.

I have some ballast on order and hope to get that put in when it arrives. I am also looking a purchasing a static grass applicator so I can add some grass and work on some more scenery. That purchase will serve two fold as I need something to add static grass to the bases of my German armor I have been building (other hobby).

Conductor prepares to board after dropping of a center-beam flat of lumber and an empty gondola at Coast Freight Systems Trans-load facility.

5534 finishes dropping of a center-beam and empty RailGon Gondola for scrap metal at Coast Freight Systems Trans-Load Facility

Picking up empties at the Hoquiam Bakeries.

Headed out to the interchange

Expansion on the Aberdeen

Good Evening Everyone!

Did some work today on the layout and was looking on doing a little bit of expansion on the layout to add some more opportunities for switching, but more for the not so busy customers. I added a siding in the original plan, and was either going to use it for storage of cars of have it abandoned. I put some track in and figured I could work on one, maybe 2 industries in the area.

I had built one of the Walthers Background Buildings. This one is the Commissary Building. My game plan for this is to make it look old, but give it some updates to make it look like it is being used as a warehouse for a small company.

I used a mix of Atlas Code 83 and PECO switches.

Stay tuned for some more entries of the install and new customers.

Pretty basic switch installed.

MOW Personnel on site to inspect the new track being installed.