What are you modeling, and why?


Mmmm, turbos
Here's the biggun. What are you modeling, and why?

For me, I have a remnant of a previous layout, but no genuine operational one right now. However, my focus for my car and locomotive fleet is split between two eras in the same general region.

One is the Oregon Electric, a subsidiary of the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway, during the late 1960's. This lets me run the most modern power and cars the SP&S ever had, right before the BN merger. Why? I grew up next to the OE, albeit the BN era OE, and then found out about the scrappy "Northwest's Own Railway" that used to operate over it, and fell in love.

The second is the Portland & Western / Willamette & Pacific of modern times. Both are GWI owned shortlines in handsome orange and black, and their operations are fun to watch. They operate over the OE, as well as ex-SP track in the same areas. I find that modeling something I've actually seen is a lot easier, and it's also a lot easier to get attached to it as well.

So... what are you doing, and why?
For many of the same reasons, I'm modeling the Willamette & Pacific (the less Portland in my life, the better) in pretty much the current era. I've got something that resembles the Labish Interchange/Bush "Yard"/Cascade Warehouse area on the OE in 2x8+a little area. HO of course.

It helps that it's probably less than 5 miles from home so I've been able to spend quite a bit of time there photographing it.
Because I was a six year old railfan on the Sunset Route just east of San Antonio, in front of Randolph AFB, I am now an SP mid-'60s modeler.
That explains the rollingstock, but the route I'm building is based on a fictional short-cut across the southern part of the Texas Hill Country, which has always been a train-free part of the world.
While I grew up watching the SP in Central California, I always liked the WP. Those silver and orange F units on the Zephyr were cool. In 1979 I went to work on the WP so that set my modeling in cement. WP up till the UP merger and disappearance of the caboose. For my layout, I am modeling a fictitious branch line in the Sierra Nevada foothills. WP power and a mix of lumber and grain along with other agriculture related commodities.

I'm not modeling anything... :):gasp!:) :)

I've got a double track HO layout in the garage that will have some fairly generic scenery, if it ever gets that far, on which I run trains from all areas and lines. It's way too far gone mixed up to even try to come up with a theme to tie it all together so I don't try.

The core of the layout is an old 30" x 8' HO module, which now has connections to an oval of track providing continuous running and connecting it to the future yard site. Due to space concerns and the need/desire to use much of the space in that half of our two car garage for other stuff like storage the layout plan bears a striking resemblance to the Indianapolis 500 race track, just a big oval.

Plans are for a storage yard on the north side, city and industrial areas on the west side, mountains and/or a harbor on the south/center section, and possibly a logging line on the east side extending above my workbench.

I'm interested more in the trains than the railroad, and over the years purchased stuff that interested me. Since two of my main interstest are the Pennsy in steam years and west coast logging, and a third is current PNW regional railroads, I've yet to come up with a reasonable way to have a 3 truck shay wait in the siding as a the GG1 passes my Sounder train and maintain any sense of authenticity.

My only hope is to get the storage yard done, make the scenery generic as to location and date, and then run trains that match together, say PRR stuff one day and then BNSF stack trains and Sounder the next.
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Had the old Lionel set as a kid and then forgot about trains until 15 yrs ago. My logo for my CEE Line says it all to me. "The CEE Line serving the length of Indiana from Chicago to Evansville through Emporia." Teh Cee owns very little trackage so the main cost is equipment upkeep.
I'm basicly modeling the Milwaukee Road in Wisconsin, between Portage and Tunnel city. The time will be the 1950's steam to early diesel. I'm another orange and black fan, And seeing that I am living in the center of the two locations I can get first hand knowledge of the area and how it was. The main reason I'm staying in the 50's is at that time there were a lot of different locos and rolling stock! :cool:
Bob, I'm with you. Except you have more track than I do. I belong to a club where you can run anything, anytime. I was experimenting with the camera one night, and this is a typical scene, complete with the ghost of former foamers who got in my shots. :D
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modelbob said:
I've got a double track HO layout in the garage that will have some fairly generic scenery, if it ever gets that far, on which I run trains from all areas and lines. It's way too far gone mixed up to even try to come up with a theme to tie it all together so I don't try.

In my experience so far, it seems railroaders rarely have scenicked, functioning layouts. One I know who is a TacoRail employee has a rough version fo TacoRail from Tacoma through to Frederickson wye in his garage -- all lumber and no scenery. The Frederickson switcher was a Proto 2k 0-6-0, while the main track hosted a BN GP50 pulled stack train and other BNSF dash two power. Not exactly accurate in that way, but it operated with prototpye styled switch lists which were fun to operate with.
I model the desert shortline that runs in the same area that the Carson & Colorado ran. But I link my Railroad with the Virginia & Truckee, and the CP in Reno. Since I live in the desert, this choice just fit the landscape I live in
My Plans

I had an old Bachman set when I was a kid. I grew up, and now I'm regressing, but in a more mature manner. After living in Japan for the last 3 or so years, I have become fascinated with the Japanese rail system, and have current plans on starting a layout in the very near future (see N gauge threads). My plan is going to be a rough (very rough) general representation of a major metro area centered around a large station (possibly JR Shinjuku-Eki) in Tokyo. The abundance of Japanese train stuff at prices much cheaper than in the states is also a big factor for my decision. Once I return to the US, I'll have all the time in the world to make a western style layout, but for now, I plan on taking advantage of the resources at hand.
I enjoy pursuing prototypical authenticity in my modeling, though I’m not always going to be accurate. But, I don’t lose sleep over anything that’s not exact. I know there are plenty of folks out there who wonder why anyone would put themselves through the agony of such limitations adding “stress” to a relaxing hobby. I don’t know. I just don’t find it stressful. To me, it’s enjoyable doing the research, building the models to match photos, etc.

Over the years I’ve changed my focus depending on where I was living or railfanning at the time. This ranged from growing up along the MP/MKT joint line north of Fort Worth, Texas to branchline railroading in Georgia to grain movements in North Dakota to the fictional railroad I developed as a kid centered on Farmington, New Mexico.

At one point I decided I didn’t want to get rid of some of my gear to backdate the roster, so I took an approach I’d read about years ago as my own. And it’s pretty much the way Bob spelled it out. That is, generic scenery, generic time period, but date and road specifc equipment.

My method was pretty random at first, you know, no plan just whatever tickled my fancy. The plan came together when I had to sell off some of my models. At first it was like choosing which child to get rid of. But, as I started prioritizing what really needed to stay and what could go, a scheme started to develop. So, over a few months I decided I’d like to model a few particular trains and get rid of everything that didn’t fit into that scheme.

The other side of this plan was the list of models that needed to be purchased to fit in. Now, I’ve got a shopping list and I’ve stuck to it over three or four years. Occasionally, I add or subtract models from the list, but for the most part it works.

Maybe it seems silly to try to reign it all in like this, but believe me, if I hadn’t done that, my spending would be totally out of control. The money I’ll save in DCC decoders alone will pay for a good portion of the scenery to come. Another benefit is I’m in no hurry to get it done. I have a feeling the journey is more important than the destination in this case, so I’ve slowed down quite a bit.

Anyway, the plan shapes up like this:

Construct a full-scale operating diorama of Bottineau, North Dakota (hopefully, I can bring it to the state fair one day)

Construct a layout replicating the high plains/mountains of southern Colorado in the playroom

Put together the following trains:

Southern Pacific manifest train circa 1973

MP/MKT manifest train circa 1984

Southern/N&W/NS manifest train circa 1984

Southern/N&W/NS unit coal train circa 1984

BN unit grain train circa 1991

NS unit coal train circa 1996

ATSF intermodal train circa 1996

BN unit coal train circa 1996

NS Roadrailer train circa 1996

My own Pine Valley ore train circa 1996

Most of this is done, but the diorama and the layouts remain to be constructed. I’ve probably collected 60-70% of the locomotives and rolling stock necessary to put this together. As my daughters get older, I’ll have a bit more time to get the layout underway. Not much, mind you, and certainly not any more money, but I won’t be babysitting for too much longer.

By the way, I notice quite a few of you folks are modeling the Pacific Northwest. That's one place I've never been, but the photos I've seen sure are beautiful. I can definitely see the allure.
I model a line that has been defunct for nearly 50 years. I have a summer home in the Lakes region of NH. The land that i am on once belonged to the B&M railroad. Ironically, many of the building in the area are old Railroad buildings that we have refurbish and are being used for other purposes now.

We still have the old Water tower, which we continue to maintain for purely historical purposes.

obviously, my railroad is growing and now has connections to Manchester one end and Lincoln NH on the other. i am modeling the late 40's early 50''s so all my equipment is Phase 1 type engines.

We have a newspaper in the area which seems to publish many photo's and stories about the abandoned lines up there and that has helped me better set up a layout that is geared to multiple stop freight business. This keeps the folks who operate on their toes and not every car that they pull, comes back to the yard. They may get moved onto other sidings within the town.
I was born on the eve of Conrail, and the only memories I have of it were as big blue, not the ratty hand me down 1970s Conrail that must have been very interesting to watch. So I model from the late 1970s Conrail, even tho I don't have a layout-yet. My main focus is the Corning, Congo and Monday Creek, a fictional shortline in southeast Ohio coal country that lugs a few coal cars around to a connection with CR's WV Secondary. It will be all switcher power, a la the Montour. The current roster is a pair of S1s.
As a kid with a father who worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway, I grew up in Vancouver, BC and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan when steam was still king. With the benefit of rail passes I frequently travelled through the Rockies. I rode in the cabs of CP's 2800 class Royal Hudsons, and one summer spent in Banff made an unforgettable trip from Banff down to Field, through the spiral tunnels, in a 5400 class Mikado and back up in a 5900 class Selkirk.
As a result my pysche is firmly imprinted with the sights and sounds of steam-powered double or triple headed locomotives in western Canadian mountains, in turn leading to the Grizzly Northern Railway (GNR), a steam era CPR subsidiary running between Rocky Mountain House, Alberta and Kamloops, BC. The history of the GNR was chronicled in the 1 July1938 edition of the Caribou News and Chronicle (Kamloops).
A layout representing the GNR route is still in the future, in the meantime GNR freights, aided by one or two pushers fight the mountain grades on the flat-lands of the local club.

My base RR and Period is the GN, up to 1970. I also have modern stuff, since the big layout will be a relatively generic geographic location, rather than a specific one. OK, it'll be a mountain pass in the Cascades. :D

Currently, though, I have a 12x8 island layout comprising of two separate, unrelated 4x8 trackplans out of Model Railroader. It's basic enough so I can run whatever I own on it, without much worry; it could be anywhere in Granger territory...


Isambard said:

...I rode in the cabs of CP's 2800 class Royal Hudsons, and one summer spent in Banff made an unforgettable trip from Banff down to Field, through the spiral tunnels, in a 5400 class Mikado and back up in a 5900 class Selkirk...


Wow. All you had to do was say that sentence, and there would be no room to wonder what your modeling interests would be!
My railroad is the Grande Valley RR.The GVR is N scale (and 0n30 :D ).The GVR is always now as I am a modern railroad modeler to the core.

My railroad is freelanced but based on ex-Conrail trackage (now owned by NS in reality).The line origonally ran from Elkhart Ind. to Grand Rapids,MI.I have since expanded it to run all the way to Petosky,MI.

The line also branches off in an easterly direction to Port Huron,MI. /Sarnia,Ont. Canada where I meet up and exchange cars with my two Canadian partners.

The GVR has just recently begun using a new paint scheme for it's locos.From September 1992 up until August 2004 all GVR locos were either a solid blue or a blue and yellow (the oldest scheme).The new colours are burgandy and light grey.

The GVR owns three smaller railroads,one in Indiana and two in Michigan.The Indiana railroad is the Elkhart & Western,and the two in Michigan are the Grand Rapids Eastern,and the Muskegon,Coopersville & Marne.

As a side note the Grande Valley has existed since Christmas of 1978. :D
I'm buying norwegian locomotives from the fifties, sixties and seventies. In addition I'll anything I like. For instance a H0e cypriotic 4-4-0 and a swiss H0 steering car. I also has some geared locomotives like a shay and a heisler.
Here is one of my locos: a cab forward 0-4-0 and some shorties.......
Photo is taken on the club layout at Rognmo station.
Photo used with permission.
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