Running Bear's April 2020 Coffee Shop is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.

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Gomez Addams
Staff member
Good morning, it's clear and 45.
Yesterday was interesting in that I woke up at 4 am to a tornado warning, then severe thunderstorm warning, then high winds and rain. It had all moved out by 8.
It was also interesting yesterday when I completed stage 2 of my financial reset. Without going into great detail, for the last 3-4 years, if my wife has wanted something, I've made it happen, whether by doing it or buying it. When I would buy, I would probably have to use a credit card. The "forced" purchase last year of the brand new truck didn't help.
So, step 1 was enrolling in a credit card balance negotiation company (an established one, not something that popped up int he last 6 months). By doing that, the payments got cut by 1/4, which is good, but more importantly, the interest on those cards stopped. They will be paid off in 34 months, rather than 120 months.
Step 2 was a more difficult one. We traded in my wife's perfectly good car on a "newsed" truck, and the Colorado is going to be allowed to go back to the bank.
My wife, while improving as far as her current problem, is not getting better, and I am having to face the unpleasant truth she won't live forever. Along with the obvious, I would be saddled with a mountain of debt I could never repay. So, I'm doing these two things now, so I can tend to her, rather than fret over money. This is still better than bankruptcy.
Oh, the replacement truck payment is roughly 1/3 of that of the Colorado, and it will be paid off sooner. I got a better interest rate on it than I was paying on the new truck, by nearly 3%.

Remember, y'all asked...


Gomez Addams
Staff member
I don't know if y'all remember, but when my wife had to go on oxygen, we got a portable concentrator so she could travel. When she no longer had to use that after 4-5 months or so, I put the concentrator in the attic, in case we ever needed it. Well, she's back on oxygen. So, I went up to the attic, and got the portable unit we had, plugged it in, and turned it on.
The battery con't hold a charge, and there's some chewed wires from mice getting into it. I can't find a wiring schematic or diagram, and the company that made it won't provide one, so I can replace/repair the damaged wires. The person I talked to told me I had to buy another one. About the only good thing to come from that conversation was I melted his phone. We still have a bad machine, but I feel so much better. I'd rather have a functioning machine, though.


GNRR Mechanic always fixing stuff
Morning all,

It was weird Monday, now to Tuesday...My computer tech will be back. Turns out he wasn't exposed, so maybe I can get some work done. I'll have to mow this evening, so no train time. I did a check on the trees when I got home, and the jury is still out. I think the peaches are gone and maybe some of the apples, but there are still some what appear to be viable buds on the apples and blueberries.

Thinking of using POTS wire for my turnouts. I've just got to find a cheap source, 4-conductor solid 22-24 awg. Otherwise not much else going on.

Terry: I hear you on the financial reset. The wife and I went through that over 5 years ago when I lost the 3rd job in 15 months (due to being low man in all 3) and being over a certain age made it hard to find a new job. We managed to get everything paid off except the house, which we're still ahead on both payments and loan balance. A year ago last December we bought a "newsed" Equinox and are prudently paying it off as quick as we can. If we only continue with the scheduled payments, we'll still have it paid off 18 months early. Hope the oxygen machine works out...
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Well-Known Member
Staff member
Prior to Easter, on Thursday, Len caught the Bozeman Local, switching in Bozeman with #'s 402 & 403 as the power rather than #'s 404 & 405, the usually assigned pair. The siding ends at the tall building behind the train which is on the corner of E. Menderhall St and Nth Wallace Ave. What the business is I couldn't identify. from the 3D view.

Here they are crossing what I'm pretty certain is the 3 way intersection of Nth Broadway Ave, Village Downtown Blvd, and E. Menderhall St. This siding rejoins the main near the far end of Village Downtown Blvd.

Moving West to Manhattan on the main we find #'s 346 a & 265, after setting out the stored well cars, waiting E/B. for the Bozeman local to pass

on it's W/B journey, having picked up another train load.


Len mentioned that he had to work, but later he must have found himself out near the 5th sub (past Logan) so decided to try and catch up with the Logan Local. He must have also known that, this is where it would be. He caught up with that train at a place called Willow Creek, with the missing #'s 404 & 405 returning to Logan.

As we're now driving E/B it seems we must be on the other side of the tracks as well. This is approaching Three Forks and getting closer to the junction at Logan

Getting close to Logan (and changing sides again), in the distance there is a train also approaching Logan on the 2nd sub from Helena.

The two meet at Logan


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Same Ol' Buzzard
Good Morning All. 40° and mostly cloudy, less breezy than yesterday. Only warming up into the mid-50's today with a possible freeze tomorrow morning. Hope not as the tomato plants in the garden are too large to cover. Wife did what is probably her last day doing taxes this season yesterday. After April 15, her pay would be only 1/3 of what it is now, with no commissions. Unemployment pays more even in a normal year.
What a surprise last evening. I ordered some pick up food at a Mexican restaurant that we sometimes visit in Denton, and I was asked what my age was while I was on the phone. I thought it had something to do with the fact that I ordered Margaritas with the meal, but no. The gentleman informed me that all seniors got a 50% discount including the liquor! :) The Margaritas consisted of three 16 oz cups of mixer and an unopened pint of tequila! That plus two full entrees and a $12 appetizer all for only $27. We'll be going back!

Good day Flo. How about some ham and potato hash with an egg on top for me this morning.

Thanks to all who commented or liked the layout pictures yesterday; Sherrel, Patrick, Garry, Bob, Guy, Phil, Karl, Joe, Curt, Tom, Ken, Justin.

So, out in the train shed yesterday, I continued with layout cleaning. I removed a few more structures and sat at the workbench with them. Mainly dusting and vacuuming them; and then re-attaching any roof details that I dislodged in the process.
Along the backdrop to the left of the United Technologies structure posted Sunday, is a Walther's background structure that is called a commissary freight transfer building.
04-13-20 013.JPG

I haven't named it or done the interior yet, but it's on the list.
04-13-20 011.JPG

Meanwhile along the front of the layout is the beginning of a small business district. An overall shot is in post #581. The first structure is the same one that Ken pictured in post #561 from Model Power. It is called the Burlington Factory although that is not what I intend it to be.
04-14-20 001.JPG

Picture is staged elsewhere where the light is better.
04-14-20 002.JPG

I reversed the two side walls and put the fire escape on the rear. I also left off some of the kit's roof details; I will add my own at some time. They just appeared a bit too bulky for me. This is the factory colors with minor enhancement, I like Ken's paint better. I intend it to be a small retail shop with apartments or warehousing on the upper floors.

Mikey -
But I still prefer cutting grass to blowing snow.
Amen brother!:cool:
Willie- I am so glad you decided to share more of your layout with us.
Several forum members had asked for more pictures besides the "build" ones that I was posting. Feedback in January was all positive, so here we go again. As before, I'll be showing many unfinished areas as well as structures with no scenery or figures yet. When constructing the layout, my first goal was benchwork and working trackwork, with many industries just plopped in place to allow building spurs and switching them. Now that it's accomplished, it's time to go back and finish up the scenery and detail work as I get into the mood. This cleaning process gives me the opportunity to feature an area at a time with all of the guys.
Curt - You're right about the layered windows, but I really like the look of the finished model. Nice work on the company house.
Paul - You're correct about the tandem axles on some short trailers. The National one that I have is a 23' trailer and it just happens to look better as a single axle. I have 28' ones that I have left with dual axles.
Patrick -
Side note on the barber shop. I haven't been to one in years.
Not my favorite place to go either. Can you tell? Three times a year whether I need it or not!;)
Greg - You'll have a great looking fleet soon. I don't have the patience to work on a singular project for extended periods of time, that's why you see me skipping around all of the time.
Joe - That number of Covid-19 cases in your area is pretty scary. Thankfully it's not that bad in my immediate area, still no confirmed cases in my county, but I am taking no chances; thus the masks which I have been using for about three or four weeks now. I still have a small stash that I acquired when I was still working. My friend there would probably get me some more if I needed them for an extended time period
Karl - Good luck with the TP scavenger hunt.
Bob - That first picture represents what many of the so called expert doctors on TV want us to do! o_O
Justin - What is the issue with the Woodland Scenics ballast? I have literally used pounds of it without any issues. Maybe we can brainstorm and help.
Terry - Congratulations on the financial reset program. I hope that all works out well. Is there a step 3? Good luck with the oxygen machine. While it might be able to be rewired, that might be more trouble and expense than another new one, from a different company if possible. I assume that you have done a Google search for the wiring diagram. Google sometimes surprises me.

Regarding the Covid masks. The white one is definitely more comfortable and is probably more effective even though it is not a strict N95 mask. The red bandana one is too tight and dislodges my hearing aids! :( Wife doesn't care as long as I wear one or the other. The whiskers most likely filter everything well enough on their own! :rolleyes: Since I don't like being ill, I will use one or the other as long as necessary.

Today is National Gardening Day. I love vegetable gardening and it is my second hobby after model railroading, narrowly edging out beer consumption. I think that I will mark the occasion by picking some more spinach and some lettuce and early radishes. Looks like broccoli sometime next week.
Everybody have a great Tuesday.

Burlington Bob

Well-Known Member
Good morning America, how are ya? It's 43 and sunny, with a high of 52 predicted. Well, we were very lucky and missed all of the severe weather. All we got was some wind and a lot of rain. The power went out for about an hour and a half, but that was all we suffered through. Chattanooga, about 80 miles straight south of us, however, got hammered. Huge amounts of destruction, and worse yet, loss of life all over the south.

Terry, we've been through tough times before, as well. Three times in my life, I've lost a good job and it seems that no matter how well prepared you think you are, it's never good enough. My wife and I have always toughed it out, did whatever was needed and managed to come out on top. We NEVER buy a new vehicle, and we do our best to get by as cheaply as possible. We will pay more for something that makes a difference in quality, meaning paying a little more now will give us something that may last twice as long or even longer. Stick with it and you will get through this in better shape before you realize it. Somebody I found out about is Dave Ramsey I wish I had known about him a LOT sooner, but my wife and I had come up with a plan somewhat along the lines of what he advocates, just not quite as severe. Hope this helps and it is taken in the spirit it is given. I wish you the best of luck all the way around.

Willie-Glad to see more of your layout and projects. You and many others on here are an inspiration! I vote for the N95 wannabe mask. I have a bunch of them and they are reasonably comfortable. I wear over the ear hearing aids too.

Toot-Great pictures, both trains and scenery.

Patrick-Maybe the fruit trees will surprise you! I know we have been pleasantly surprised before.

IBK-That was too close for comfort, glad you made it through safe.

Boris-Always love your pictures.

Karl-The pets reminds me of our fur kids. Except our cat remains aloof from the dogs.

James-Nice boat! Enjoy the fishing! Track cleaning cars are a real time saver when they work well.

Justin-Sometimes the WS ballast can be finicky and is easily washed away when fixing it in place. I've used beach sand before and that was very easy to do, just limited in color choices! I am going to try some sanded grout to see how well it works and how it looks. I think that I would have to be certain that I liked my track plan and that there were no problems with it because I don't think you could tear up the track and reuse it!

Greg-You've made a huge amount of progress on your rolling stock. Really nice work!

Garry-I think the crossing scene is great! I've got some wood crossing kits that I plan on using on my yet to be built layout. I think they're Blair Line, not sure.

Hope I didn't miss anybody! Everyone stay safe and at least six feet away!
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Section Hand
Good Morning Everyone.....sunny in Wisconsin and cool.

Headed back down to the Trains soon. Never ran that train of Kadee cars yesterday. Not sure of what's on the schedule, my "to Do" is empty for today. I was thinking that I have to paint the trip pins on the ore cars a Grimy Black and the tips a silver color. Sounds ike a lot of work, but may add to the realistic appearance of the cars. This is something that Cody from Model Railroad should suggest.

I really should find out what's wrong with my spell check. I re-read my postings and words have been changed or misspelled when I know what I originally posted. It could be the auto adjust isn't working correctly. Maybe I'll ask my neighbor who an IT guy for hire for corporations.

Going to make a list of things I need and tomorrow I'll make an order to have the items shipped, especially if I'm going to be struck in the house for another month.

Down to the trains.




Well-Known Member
Good morning .....

Terry .... Best wishes with your situation.

WIllie .... I like the background building. The second building looks like a fun project.

Toot .... You continue posting good pictures of MRL.

B. Bob .... Thanks for commenting on my crossing. Probably, a commercially made one looks better.

Below are photos of my TOFC ramp facility I am making. .... To explain, I have a removable section of plywood in order for me to be able to get inside the layout and reach areas that may need work. ..... The removable piece of plywood has a cabinet knob to lift it out, and the knob is covered with a small building. .... You can see this is next to my coal mine, and I still have more work planned for the mine. ... I just completed ballasting tracks in front of the TOFC facility.

This facility is also intended to have a team track. I'm running low on space, however. Lack of space is why the trailer unloading tracks are shorter than I would like.

I now have all of my track ballasted except tracks in a lower level which are for staging.

Everybody .... have a nice day.
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Whiskey Merchant
0568801.jpg USS_Orleck_(DD-886)_underway_in_heavy_seas,_in_the_1950s.jpgthumbnail_FB_IMG_1584228865134.jpg
The first photo is refueling at sea in the North Atlantic. Made a cruise up there and wanted submarine pay by the time we left.

Good morning. Didn't check in yesterday. UPS delivered the exercise bike we ordered. Some assembly required, but not too bad. Didn't have to use many colorful words. Nice to get it put together and get some exercise. Put 10 mile in on the bile. It's not a big expensive thing that you compete on the internet with. I was able to walk down out lane for a few days when the temps were up in the 60's but things chilled down with the temps in the teens in the early morning and the high not getting above freezing. Should hopefully be up into the mid 60's again by the4 end of the week.

Sherrel - I'm sure that Terry is happy that Murphy has paid you a visit. May give him a few day to relax.

Terry - Saw on the new about the tornadoes in your area before we turned it off. Glad you came through it alright.

Ray - Like those photos. Know where most of them were taken. Worked in Belgrade for a number of years. Plum Creek Lumber used to have a mill in Belgrade until loggers lost so many areas around here to cut. Lost that rail customer. They usually were shipping out around 6 cars a week. Quite familiar with the Logan area as the shooting ranger we go to is right there.

Karl - Nice photos. Sure like that 65 tonner. I accused my wife of hoarding toilet paper last week whenshe came back with a 48 pack of Charmin. She said that it was the only size that they had at Costco. She went in early for senior shopping and there was still some left.

Patrick - Nice to see that you got some train projects done. Good photos.

- I really like your photos showing the area from a distance. Quire impressive. I'll pick the mask on the right.

Curt - The company houses really look good. I am guessing that you are glad to get back to model train work.

Paul - Like that old GMC cab over. I think Sylvan makes one but I don't think I would want to tackle the painting on one.

Greg - You're going to have to take some more photos. Love looking at your work.

Joe -
Like your photos as usual. No need to cut the grass around here for a while.

- That track cleaning car looks like the brass one we have at the club. We also have the tank car that goes with it. Can't wait until the club is able to open back up.

Garry - Like your photos. Those pop up hatches are useful. We have one at the club that comes in handy when we have a run away train that come sailing down the 3% grade at mach I into the curve at the bottom.

Time to make some lunch I guess and then spend some time on the exercise bike.




Go make something!
It's good to see everyone making progress.

I've been working on a model of an SDP40, MRL 290. There are lots of photos online but there is a gap covering my modelling period. I'd be ok guessing but there were significant changes in that period. The slash went to the flying W logo, the trucks were changed, it lost its beacon and got ditchlights. Not that anyone besides me will know but I'd like to get it right for August 1996 and my photo gap is from April 1995 to November 1997.

Here's another photo from the trip with my dad, not so much the Black Fog of Blossburg but a little puff at Bozeman. On Mullan, the mid-train helpers usually put on a pretty good show. They run through the tunnel pushing but with not quite enough air so create lots of smoke. The head end was pretty smoky but the mid-train helpers seemed to add more than double the smoke. Anyway, that was 20 years ago and this train didn't have helpers in the middle and the 3 on the rear were able to cut off on the fly via Helper Link. The helpers are not connected to the brakes of the train physically, only electronically. There is a box on the front of the helper set that, when triggered, uncouples the helpers and puts them into emergency. They stop and return to Livingston. By the time the rear helpers get to the tunnel, enough of the train is over the crest the road power can handle it and the helpers don't even need to go into the tunnel. By the time the DPU exited the tunnel, it was in dynamics.

BNSF 8238 exits the west end of Bozeman Pass Tunnel, April 28, 2018.

Texas Hobo

Well-Known Member
Good Afternoon all you "shut-ins". Still ticked, cheap gas, great weather, new SUV and we can't get out. You guys are sure posting some really great photos of your layouts. I hope everyone in the tornado stricken areas fared well with little or no harm. Still doing some of those low priority tasks around the house and yard. Funny how my list for me to do is way shorter than my wife's list of things for me to do. Started work on the last and largest tunnel, but ran out of plaster. I'm not sure running out for plaster would be the prudent thing to do, tempting but no prudent. LATER

PRR Modeler

Well-Known Member
Afternoon All,

Had another bad night of sleep for two nights now and I'm dragging. I didn't feel motivated to work on the build today. I did pick up my second Walthers order which came to $168. The buildings were on sale and my buddy's discount gave me a bunch off.

Willie- Either one works. Great deal on the food and drink. I like the building with the fire escape.

Mikey- I'm going to have 2 mines on the layout. Nice looking trucks.

Joe- Nice PRSL photo. I've been keeping track of the percentages of infected and deceased. In FL the death rate is around 2.2% and in my county (Orange) its about 1.2%.

Karl- Great photo of the animals.

James- Nice boat and setup.

Terry- I hope you are able to figure out the O2 issue.

Garry- Nice looking TOFC siding.

Chet- Very true about the ocean, and yes I'm happy to be modeling again.

Paul- Neat picture.


I hope everyone has a good night.


Gomez Addams
Staff member
Garry, even if a commercially available crossing looks better (it doesn't), you can't compete with being something you did with your own two hands.
Whenever I try to scratchbuild something, it usually looks like it was built by an epileptic gorilla that failed art class.
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