Model Railroader January 2022

The world’s most popular model railroading magazine publishes the information you need to build your own railroad. Get Model Railroader digital magazine subscription today for step-by-step how-to projects; great model train layouts; and realistic track plans. You'll also get reviews of the latest locomotives, rolling stock, and accessories in HO, N, O, and other scales, expert tips, and more!

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12 Numeri

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1 min

Expert tips Looking for a scenery alternative that’s cheaper and quicker to assemble than traditional styrene structures? Digital Editor Steve Sweeney is here to offer a solution: a cardstock house kit. Watch as Steve walks viewers through the building process from beginning to end, explaining the tools, supplies, and processes involved in assembly. Scale it Down In the seventh installment of the exclusive video series Scale it Down, host Steve Brown is in the final stretches of completing his N-scale version of the Winston-Salem Southbound Ry. But before he can start to wrap up, the outlots in the industrial area are in need of some ground cover, and Steve has a simple routine to share for adding both fine and clump materials. How-to Wiring doesn’t always have to be a headache. Follow along…

2 min
introducing a new era for the mr&t

Our latest project railroad series kicks off this month, and it’s based on a well-known and popular railroad – one that never existed in the real world. Forty-six years ago Kalmbach employees started planning a club layout named the Milwaukee, Racine & Troy. The name was an inside joke; the initials “MR&T” refer to the company’s flagship magazines, Model Railroader and Trains The first version of the “Myrt” was built on the third floor of our former headquarters in downtown Milwaukee. A move to the suburb of Waukesha in 1989 paved the way for a new and improved 28 x 54-foot club layout. The location and design had changed but one thing was constant: the MR&T was always modeled in HO scale. Until now, that is! Our new layout is an N scale version of…

10 min
news & products

HO scale Electro-Motive Division F40PH diesel locomotives. Rapido Trains offers these four-axle passenger units decorated for Amtrak (phase 2 and 3 schemes), Denver & Rio Grande Western Ski Train, Agawa Canyon Tour Train, CSX, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Metropolitan Transportation Agency (Montreal), NJ Transit, and Virginia Ry. Express. The HO scale models are based on Phase IIb or Phase III prototypes as appropriate and have era-specific details, wire grab irons, and etched-metal radiator and dynamic brake grills. Direct-current models sell for $225. Versions with a dual-mode ESU LokSound V5 sound decoder are priced at $335. Rapido Trains, 905-474-3314, American Z Line announces new switcher American Z Line has added an Electro-Motive Division SW1500 diesel locomotive to its lineup of Z scale products. The first two road names announced for the end-cab switcher…

7 min
what tools does a model railroader need?

Q What are the tools needed to take an empty room to a full working model railroad? My focus is to build a layout with the best scenery, from streets to tall mountains and everything in between. Carroll Shirkey, Seattle, Wash. A Model railroading encompasses so many different aspects – carpentry, sculpture, model-building, architecture, painting, electronics, photography – that a complete list would either take up more space than I have for this column, or just be a link to the tools page at the Lowe’s website. When MR’s Russ Larson tried to answer this question in 1969, he wrote a four-part series and only covered modeling tools. So rather than try to be complete, I’ll list only the most vital gear needed for the main aspects of our hobby. The good…

7 min
strip, paint, and decal a caboose

Our N scale Milwaukee, Racine & Troy State Line Route project layout is set in the 1980s and ’90s. Cabooses were fading from the landscape on full-size railroads during this time, but they were still in regular use on our freelanced MR&T. Though we have a few wide-cupola cabooses on our model railroad, I thought it would be fun to have an offset-cupola car kicking around, similar to the ones we have on the HO version of the Myrt. Fortunately, I had an Atlas Trainman caboose lettered for the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo that was a perfect starting point for a strip, paint, and decal project. Offset-cupola cabooses like this, especially with solid-bearing trucks, weren’t terribly common in the time frame of our layout. However, similar cars from Burlington Northern’s 11445…

5 min
forest in a flash

My layout models the Louisville & Nashville’s Eastern Kentucky Subdivision in N scale. I’ve constructed it as an around-the-room, two-deck, shelf-style layout, with shelves about 18" deep in most areas. The EK Sub runs through the Appalachians from Winchester to Hazard, Ky. I realized I needed more than 60 linear feet of forest. For me to use manufactured trees to fill this area was simply outside my budget. I needed to come up with a low-cost alternative that would look good and adequately represent the heavily forested terrain along the EK Subdivision. While I was pondering my problem, members of my train crew and fellow modelers Keith Kittinger and Steve Miller gave me three large boxes of white expanded polystyrene foam. The modelers I hang out with don’t care for the white foam…