Seeing how others conduct their operations, and their session is a valuable learning tool. Visit the Burnt Hills and Big Flats railroad for some great ideas and examples.
The Burnt Hills and Big Flats Ops Site
Steve Prevette’s layout is a great layout in its own right. Beyond that he’s made it a great example of how to operate also. Of more importance, I think, is his willingness to share his operating information online.
His site (listed in the Resources section below) shows thoughtfulness and planning. There’s overviews, details and instructions and in all it is an excellent site to see how things “should, and “can” be done for a layout large or small.
I hope that you enjoy reading the information presented by Steve as much as I have.
Interested in keeping in touch or discussing posts, pages and ideas? Connect with us on the Andrew’s Trains page on Facebook
I’m always looking for better techniques to model rust weathering. This video comes courtesy of a post I found on the MRH website by YouTuber MarklinofSweden. He shows how to create a realistic corrosion effect very simply. Take a look at the video I’m sure you’ll be impressed.
Modelling realistic rust
Got another technique that works for you? Please share it with me and if you found this post useful please like and comment. I’m really interested in what you’re up to with your weathering journey.
This video came to my notice thanks to a post on the Australian Model Railway Magazine’s (AMRM) Facebook account. And while not Australian in any way shape or form, Geoff Taylor’s Barmouth Junction layout is a visually stunning model.
Well worth the time to travel over the line and listen to it’s creator tell you about the layout. It’s a masterpiece and while not a small layout it is so well modelled and I imagine it is just as good to operate on that I wanted to share it with you.
Well done Geoff and the thanks also to British Railway Modelling (BRM) magazine for showing us the layout.
Danny Harmon spends a day out following a railfan friendly switch crew of the Florida Central as they switch customers around Orlando, Florida.
First Mile / Last Mile
This is where I believe that real railroading happens. It is where the customer meets the railroad. It’s also where modellers with small spaces, budgets and time allocation get the most bang for the buck when designing and building a layout. There’s a lot of great locations and close up detail shots of the crew working and the locations for inspiration.
Sit back, put on your headphones and enjoy the sights and sounds of a couple of vintage locomotives as the train crew prepare their train, run out to, and then switch, the customers spurs. (Clickable video below)
Make sure to like and subscribe to Danny’s channel. Recently he’s been doing a lot of switching videos. I hope he does a lot more to come. Supporting him might just get him to do more too.
Imagine an industrial 7mm narrow and standard gauge model railway with radio controlled crane and lorries. Then look at a great video and see it in action.
Built by a group of four during a three-month period for a club exhibition. This layout is in 7mm scale and uses both 16.5mm (3.5mm HO standard gauge) and 32mm (7mm O scale gauge) track. Scenic area is only 2’2” x 6’, with an overall size of 2’2” x 9’ including fiddle yard.
Of particular note are the working features of the layout including:
- standard and narrow gauge trains
- working gantry crane, and
- radio controlled lorries
The gantry crane had apparently been on another layout and manually controlled. When moved to the yard it was converted to radio control. The lorries, which I believe are the work of Mr Giles Favell, (see the resources section below for more) were in use on other layouts. The rolling stock came from other layouts also.
Control of trains is by DCC, while point control uses MERG canbus.
See more about the wonders of Giles Favell’s radio control 7mm scale lorries and his layouts at:
We moved back to Australia in 2006. So, I have to live through others when they visit David Barrow in Austin Texas, my wife’s hometown, and where we spent 10 years from 1997. Trevor Marshall visited recently and came away with a great post on the man and his layouts – including his new small (comparatively speaking) O scale layout which really piqued my interest.
David Barrow’s layouts
Hi – my name is Andrew – and I’m a David Barrow fan boy tragic…
I first remember reading about David Barrow’s Cat Mountain and Santa Fé layout in the 1980s in Model Railroader magazine. As a young man, dreaming about my large future model railway plans, David’s layouts (there were at my last count about 17 versions of the Cat Mountain) were my ideal. While I dream of those massive layouts still I took another path to small layout designs.
Recently David Barrow has followed down that rabbit hole, this time in O scale, with a new layout. You can read more about that in the second link below by Trevor Marshall.
David’s layout design and presentation skills are unique in the hobby. Not to everyone’s taste I’ll grant, yet having seen and operated on the layout once in 2005, I did not notice its minimal scenic treatment. I was too interested in the operational side of things.
Image 1: Davids Barrow’s entire O Scale layout – battery-powered and operated by radio
Once again the layout design is the centre of attention and the scenic treatment is classic David Barrow – minimalist. However, you can use the design and then scenic it to your heart’s content. Hmmm – now let me see – I have 3 boards in the garage on which that layout design would fit perfectly…
You can out more on this layout in the Model Railroad Planning 2018 publication from Kalmbach.
I admire modellers who can get to the meat of a project, quickly and with vigour. Gazmanjack (Gary) on RMWeb used second-hand track, wood and other parts from his modelling left-overs to create a stunningly good small layout for operations. Read on for more.
Linden Ford – the second-hand layout
Gazmanjack (his handle on RMWeb) back in 2014 built an outstanding layout from left over bits and pieces, as an adjunct to his current layout, to give himself something to operate on during the other layout’s longer build. I’ve only just found it and wanted to share the forum post with you.
And what a cracker this layout is. I won’t go into too much detail here, as I think the adage of a picture telling a thousand words is true on this occasion. There is plenty of information in the post too on the build including scenery, tree armatures, and so on.
Image 1: Linden Ford – an outstanding small Inglenook layout
I hope that you find inspiration in the post. So much with so little that turned out so well. Well done Gary!
Using Sunset Valley Railroad switch stands on the layout
Operating realism is very important to me. It ensures that those working my layouts move at a realistic pace and in a realistic way. Switch operation is a big part of that goal for me.
The source of inspiration – Port Rowan in 1:64
Originally inspired by a post on Trevor Marshall’s Port Rowan blog, I want to include these switch stands as a part of my operating realism approach.
I particularly like the fact that Trevor uses a single style of padlock to lock the switches along with a length of chain. This ensures that all switches must be unlocked before use, and relocked after use as happens on the 1:1 railroad.
As Trevor says in the blog post, they are more expensive than other simpler options. However, I think that if you have a small layout, and realistic operation is your thing, then the cost is worth it. And they’ll last forever.
I’ve wanted to share this post for a long time, but only recently found all the links again after long searching. I hope you enjoy reading about this and get inspired.
In my August 18 post we looked at modelling and using Blue Flags for your operating sessions. Thanks to Charles Malinowski’s timely reminder, there’s an additional video for context.
MRR Video Series – Taking Care of Business
Model Railroader magazine has a series of videos (most are pay to play). However some of the best of them are free for you to watch. One of these focuses on the SMS Rail Lines industrial park in New Jersey.
I did try to embed their video (as they offer this as an option – like YouTube) however, it didn’t work. Instead you’ll find below the link for the video. THis will take you straight to the page and then play away.
The video is narrated and professionally shot and edited. It is really well done and shows the operations in the Industrial Park and the blue flag in action. Thanks to Charles for reminding me of the video. I hope that you all enjoy watching and learning.
Don’t forget to comment on and share this post with your friends.
Taking Care of Business: SMS Rail Lines
It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to post. A range of reasons you’re all familiar with – work, tiredness, time pressure and the needs for others among them. And then that this is at the moment a hobby and not my primary income source (sigh).
While taking a little time out for myself in the early morning (before the sun came up on a very chilly day in Ballarat) I rediscovered the video produced by the folks over at Model Railroader on model railroad operations. Hosted by the late (and greatly lamented Andy Sperandeo) this video is a great introduction to operations, without all the paperwork, and other stuff that can hamper your entry into the realm.
I hope you enjoy, and it is great to share with you Andy’s wit and personality. I miss being able to chat with him as I did every now and then online about operations and the finer points he knew from a lifetime of modelling. Have a great weekend.