All posts by hvl001

A modeller and model railroader since the mid 1970s I am still active as a modellers, blogger and writer int he model press today.

Progress Rail in Waycross Georgia –

As someone with little space, and limited funds to put toward layouts, I am always looking to find that next great small layout idea. With my role at work coming to an end unexpectedly this week, a small lower cost layout is even more important than ever. While spending some time getting to grips with redundancy I was idly looking at image sites when I came across the Progress Rail facility in Waycross Georgia.

It is a great little facility that has storage for the locomotives coming in to be worked on or scrapped, and then a couple of simple buildings for work to be done. The layout of the track is very simple too. I’ll post updates on this post with additional images once I’ve completed the work on the images.

For now you can look at the following links here:



I’ll post a plan and some other images I’ve found here soon.



The new layout boards are complete!

Originally Posted on the Old HVL blog March 24, 2013

OK, so a little about the design and build of the layout boards.
In general all wood is fine quality pine dressed all round (DAR). The board top is 12 mm ply (1/2 inch), while the sky board is 6mm (1/4″) ply. THe legs are “L” girders using 1×2 and 1×3 DAR pine glued and screwed on the along their length. At the base of the leg is a glue bock of 2×1 DAR pine which is used to locate a T nut, with a 5/16″ bolt as a leveller. The nut for the 5/16th bolt mounts on the top of the glue block locking the bolt in place once you’ve levelled the board. I’ll be building a better foot arrangement at some point in the future that is easier on the floor, most likely a wooden ball with a 5/16″ nut through the centre of the wooden ball.

All of the side and end rails are 3 x 1 DAR pine and these have not been glued, but have been Kreg pocket screwed together. The ply was then glued and screwed to the box. Nice, tight and very rigid. There is one rail across the board in the centre  of 2×1″ DAR pine, this has also been Kreg pocket screwed to the sides and the top was glued and screwed tothis also. The skyboard is glued and screwed to 1×2 pine DAR which acts as a stiffener and mounting point on the back of the main board. Mounting to the rear of the main boards is achieved using Kreg pocket screws.

The legs are mounted to the main board using 3 screws on each side to the sides. The top horizontal board bears the weight of the main board above; while the bottom horizontal board acts as a bearing face between boards and allows the boards to lock together using a wooden clamps from offcut of the hozontal boards and 1 x 2 DAR pine. Think an inverted U locking the two legs together. Nice, tight, simple and about 3 months in the planning.

Overall what are my impressions? Very happy to be over the hump of the work. The boards are light and strong. I can lift them fork lift style on my own without hurting myself and as I have a 50 year old back; this is a good thing. Thanks to my wife (Janette) for suggesting the mounting height for the sky boards. At 400mm above the plane of the board they are high enough to be at or just below my eye height, and with the 2×1 stiffeners behind allow easy mounting of lights that will hang out over the board for better simulation of daylight.

I’ve a few sketches and such to put on the gallery site later in the week. This should give you an idea of how the parts look. More photos will be coming before I paint everything later this month or during April, depending on the weather. Well a great day in all, now some remedial work on the old boards to bring them up to spec and height, and then my work is done.

A Texas Inglenook prototype – The ADM Mill facility New Braunfels

Occasionally for the small layout builder, a prototype comes along that you simply cannot forget. The ADM Mill located in New Braunfels, TX is a perfect example. A simple Inglenook switching location that could be built as a standalone, or incorporated into an existing layout as a peninsula. The site when I took the photos in 2004-5 was used mainly as a hard wheat facility. In the past, though it had been used for milling multiple grains as well as corn.

This photo shows the whole of the north side of the facility. Of note is the circular storage silo in the foreground which has 7 separate silos within it to allow storage of different types and kinds of grains depending on the season. The other photos in the set show different sides of the facility buildings mainly from the grade crossing on E Mill St, or further up the road in the case of the Southernmost photos.

Essentially the site lies East-West; the road crossing runs North-South. The main Mill lies on the Northside of the tracks and is the oldest part of the building; the newer storage silos on the south side look to be built during the 1970s. The main office building is on the East side of the mill, across San Antonio Street, on the East end of the Mill. Once you see the overview you’ll get a better lie of the land.

All in all, this is a nice simple Inglenook and can provide the operator with plenty of work in a small space, with nothing more than a TrackMobile for motive power. The staging can be cassette, plugin or hidden depending on whether you are using this stand-alone. If you love covered hoppers though, this layout will appeal.


You can view the entire album of images at the following link: –>Click Here<–