Our vision

We don’t have much in the way of an actual plan, but we do have a vision.

One of the things The Boy and I were able to agree about early on is that we wanted our layout to reflect the area around us, our town and the things we’re familiar with. Things from his time as well as mine.


I’ve already posted about the model I’m making of the house I grew up in. My parents bought the house in 1969. A few months later, in December of that year, I arrived.

My brother stands guard, some time in the early 1970s.

My brother stands guard, some time in the early 1970s.

That was the only house I knew until I moved out. Until my parent’s divorce, there were five of us. Mom, dad, and three boys. One bathroom. You do the math. My mom continued to live in that house until about a year ago when she finally moved into senior housing. I haven’t driven down the road since.

I am fortunate that today my wife, The Boy and I live in a very beautiful new house that we designed ourselves. Well, an architect designed it, but we helped. The plans I have for the house, the very same plans the builders used, are almost HO scale but not quite. If and when I get around to building a model I will have to go through the plans and convert all the dimensions to HO. That’ll be a chore.

Not shown: Moat with alligators, machine gun towers.

Not shown: Moat with alligators, machine gun towers.

When I was a kid there was a brewery in our town. Yes, an actual brewery where they brewed actual beer. In the late 1970s the brewers moved out and a series of computer companies moved in. I remember they took down the side of the building and spent many months taking out the vats.

It’s going to be a big project but I would like to make a model of that brewery, or at least one that vaguely resembles it. I’m not really sure why, the train never actually stopped there, but it was always, and still is, a landmark in the town. I still refer to it as “the brewery” though people who haven’t lived here since the 1960s have no idea what I’m talking about.

Hey Mabel, Black Label!

Hey Mabel, Black Label!

There’s a neat little diner in our town that has existed in more or less the same form since the 1920s. You better believe that’s a modelin’.

You don’t see much in the way of freight trains running through town anymore, though they occasionally still come by. I remember seeing them as a kid, hauled by the big blue Conrail engines. Back then I didn’t know what Conrail was, I just remember being disappointed that the engines didn’t resemble the red and silver Santa Fe engines that came with every single electric train set.

I found a DCC compatible Conrail engine on ebay that looks like the engines I remember. I’ve mentioned before that I know nothing about trains so I’m sure some railfan can chime in and tell me exactly what engines ran on the Conrail lines, the former Boston and Albany, from Boston back in the day. I’m sure I got the wrong engine, but it’s blue so it’s close enough.



As far rolling stock (that’s what they call it, though I always just called them ‘cars’), I plan on having a mish-mash of totally inaccurate cars, cars that never would have been seen running through town. Already on ebay I found a few cars dirt cheap, including a couple of Conrail boxcars and a Polaroid car exactly like the one my dad, a long time employee, brought home for my brother all those years ago. I also found a guy who puts custom decals on boxcars and he made a couple Carling cars for me.

I’d like to get a Wonder Bread car or two as we used to have a bakery in town. As a kid, if the wind was blowing the right way, we’d wake up to the smell of fresh bread. They also made Twinkies. A rite-of-passage for every kid in town was to take a field trip to the bakery where you would actually get to see how they got the cream into the Twinkies. No, I’m not going to tell you, you’ll just have to find your own bakery and take your own field trip.

Where the magic happened. Like most things, it's now a mall.

Where the magic happened. Like most things, it’s now a mall.

Along with the buildings and the train we’ll be adding appropriate landscaping, including the local woods and lake. We haven’t yet decided how detailed we want the town to be as adding buildings takes money and effort. We will have some roads, of course, and a bridge or two. The main line will include a tunnel, because tunnels are awesome.




About Jim

Just a guy who likes to make stuff.
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3 Responses to Our vision

  1. John Downey says:

    Looks like that photo is the General Electric B23-7. http://thecrhs.org/ConrailEquipment/Locomotives/GE/B23-7



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