Category Archives: S Scale

S scale category of modelling articles (1:64)

Site Seeing – The Super Duper Switch Stand Edition – 9 September 2018


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.



Site seeing – August 28 – 1980 Frisco S Scale layout “Cheltenham”

Tom and I have been out of contact for some time but recently reconnected on the Railway Modellers surprising best friend – “Facebook”. I’ve known Tom Potthast since my early days in Austin, Texas, since around late 1997 or early 1998, when I met him at King’s Hobby. Tom has been an S scale modeller since before I met him and pitched hard for me to choose that scale. Originally from St Louis he lives in Virginia. As I’ve noted in the title of the post he’s working on a 1980 era Frisco S scale layout. He’s not advised of a website or other online location so I’ll be posting and sharing photos of his layout here.

Site 1: Information on Tom’s layout “Cheltenham”


Tom told me that Cheltenham was a commuter stop, within the city limits of St Louis. The structure in the image above survived into the 1980s. The area Tom’s modeling is located between Hampton Ave. and Kingshighway. It is just a short piece of the railroad yet has plenty of switching potential.

St Louis Terminal - Zone 3 - Cheltenham Area

There is no official track plan. It was planned out using a full size mock-up before final construction began using a PDF of the area as a guide. I’ve added a section of that track diagram to show the area he’s modelling above.

Tom says that “… one day when I get my two-car-garage-like space it will include Lindenwood yard and a great deal of interchange with other roads such as the N&W (Wabash) TRRA, Manufactures Railway (Anheuser Busch), BN and Mopac.”

Site 2: Some of Tom’s S scale weathered cars

What inspired Tom to write me was the Martin Wellberg’s German Gmhs 53 weathered wagon. He supplied a few photos for me to share and promised more in the near future. RPCX 227 is the first photo showing a car that is lightly weathered.


Below is a car from the same series RPCX #101-#240. Built by Evans USRE (Blue Island, IL) in Lot 1169A of Nov 1973. Stenciled: Return to PC Sharonville, OH. These were eventually to become a part of the CNW fleet (series 540300-540436 cars) after Purina gave up the RPCX reporting mark in 1989. Image below courtesy of Steve Vincent and Railcar Photos.

The second photo shows Tom’s CO 2206. A covered hopper in CO series 2300-2374 built by General American Transportation Co. during Aug-63. I could not find a prototype photo of this car.


The next photo shows DRGW 15045 a 3-bay rib-sided covered hopper in the DRGW series 15000-15149 built by Pullman-Standard, Lot 8923, in 64.


I found a close match in DRGW 15006 in the same series on the Railcar Photos website. This photo is by Kent Charles.

Finally I’ve got a slightly wider shot showing two more covered hoppers and some of the layout and scenery.


Thanks to Tom for allowing me to post his photos. Looking forward to seeing more of the layout and rolling stock and locomotives Tom. Thanks for sharing.

Site update: New modelling page

Ballarat - May 2013
Ballarat – May 2013

I’m slowly working to catalogue and curate all of my railway and modelling related images. I’m doing this in part so that I can share them all with you here; also to allow me to find the photos I need for modelling when I need them.

Site update 1: Modelling Page: High Cube Shipping Containers

There are several useful resources available on the above link. These include:

  • A gallery of detail images of a 40′ HC container taken in 2013
  • A downloadable PDF for all HC containers sizes in metric and imperial should you wish to make your own (especially for the 3D printer)
  • Details of suppliers in most of the popular scales including some free through more paid resources

I hope that you find this useful for your modelling purposes. Drop me a line if you make use of any of the resources.

Site seeing – August 10th

Yesterday was all about passenger service; today is all about freight. Chris Gilbert pointed this video out, on his YouTube page. However the producer is ChicagoJoe28. But enough words let’s get to the video.

Site 1: Mike switches Batory Foods Chicago Terminal railroad

Video 1: Batory Food Switching on the Chicago Terminal

A little history

Located at 2234 W 43rd St, Chicago, IL 60609, Batory Foods began trading in 1979 when Abel Friedman opened Chicago Sweeteners. As a single source supplier of basic food ingredients such as sugar, flour, salt, starch, milk, oats, honey and corn syrup. Chicago Sweeteners expanded its product offering over time, as food manufacturers sought to develop healthier products.

With success in the greater Chicago market, the Company brought its broad line model to food manufacturing centres around the country. Some of the growth came with the original business; some by way of acquisition with:

  • Sugar Incentives bought in 1995,
  • Ingredients International in 2006,
  • Quality Ingredients in 2008,
  • LSI in 2009,
  • Industrial Ingredients in 2009,
  • Massey Fair in 2011, and
  • Mac Source in 2011.

Recently, the various names were consolidates into the single name: Batory Foods.

The layout idea

The site’s switched as an Inglenook. The two on-site spurs lead to undercover augers (I’m assuming here of course) for unloading powdered or granulated product.

Batory Foods Chicago - An Inglenook you can model

Image 1: The unloading spots (courtesy of Bing)

The storage track goes to other industries further down the track, but does not show recent use from my quick look. The loco has to push the cars into the site so you have a simple, prototypical Inglenook that won’t take up too much space. It is small enough that you could model any date from 1979 on in HO, S or O scale.

SCORE! What are your thoughts?

Thanks to Chris Gilbert for the vision, and to ChicagoJoe28 for filming it.

The difference that trees can make to a scene

The difference that a few trees can make to a layout scene should never be underestimated.

Over on the Port Rowan layout blog Trevor has just completed the planting of trees at St Williams, where (unlike the original) the layout bends around the wall.  use the link below and look at the two pictures on the page. There is certainly more than trees going on here, there’s light and shadow and a fence and some other additions to the scene.

But Wow! What a difference has been made by the addition of the tree armatures.

Check out that post: Link Here

But wait, there’s still more. Check out his second post from a couple of days later: Link Here

Trevor now goes into the scene and really shows some of the visual differences the trees make. I’ve never met Trevor, and we live on totally different sides of the planet, but I feel tied to his style of modelling.

Hope that you are having a good evening where ever you are.