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Model Railroader

Model Railroader January 2021

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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Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
Frequency:
Monthly
SUBSCRIBE
$44.99
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
introducing the new trains.com

For some time, we’ve been working on a new internet home for Model Railroader and our sister railroad-focused publications. It’s one giant site for everything train-related and it’s called, appropriately, Trains.com. Each week, we’ll post new articles and videos and provide you with the latest in product and hobby news. Your favorite Model Railroader features from our old site are still right at your fingertips, including the long-running Cody’s Office video series, how-to articles, and the Track Plan Database. Our new website loads faster, is easier to navigate, and features curated sections so you can quickly find the stories and videos important to you. (We think you’ll like how it looks too.) If you’re a subscriber to Model Railroader, Trains.com gives you access to our magazine web extras and forums, as well as bonus…

3 min.
railway post office

Get the dirt on this layout! I just got my August issue of MR and am having a hard time believing one of the captions in Trackside Photos. David Savage’s photo of Keddie Wye on his layout is pretty neat, but someone needs to do a story on how he built this layout. Cutting into the earth under his house with a pickaxe? Please tell me someone is getting the full scoop on this! And the sooner, the better. Scott Wendt, St. Michael, Minn. [Scott, we’ve forwarded your request to David Savage. If he wants to tell us more about his unique N scale layout, we’ll gladly pass it on to our readers. – Ed.] Double-check those turnouts I enjoyed James McNab’s feature on trouble-free turnouts, and I agree heartily that switch points have enough…

14 min.
news & products

N scale General Electric Dash 8-40CM diesel locomotive. Rapido Trains offers these six-axle road units decorated for Quebec, North Shore & Labrador; Canadian National (four schemes); and British Columbia Ry. (three paint schemes). The N scale Dash 8-40CM is offered in two to six road numbers per scheme as well as undecorated in two body styles. The diesels feature prototype-specific details; a die-cast metal chassis; and operational headlights, rear lights, and ditch lights. Direct-current models with ESU Next18 sell for $149.95. Versions with a dual-mode ESU LokSound sound decoder are priced at $259.95. Rapido Trains Inc., 905-474-3314, rapidotrains.com Walthers purchases Chooch Enterprises Mike O’Connell, founder of Chooch Enterprises, announced in mid October that he sold his company to Milwaukee-based Wm. K. Walthers Inc. O’Connell had announced his retirement earlier in 2020, along with his…

8 min.
ask mr

Why are some tank cars “sway-backed?” Q I’ve been watching trains since I was a child. (That’s like 75 years!) Today, I watch them crossing a highway just down the block from our apartment. I have a question about oil tank cars. Most of the tank cars I see on any freight train today are sway-backed. They bend in the middle! They’ve been built that way for at least 20 years. Why is it that no model railroad manufacturer produces a sway-backed oil tanker? Even the new Rivet Counter 31K tank cars are straight barrel-shaped cars. Am I wrong? Have I missed something? Noel Allard, Delano, Minn. A Those sway-backed tanks you’re seeing are called “Funnel Flow” tank cars, and they’re made and operated by Union Tank Car Co. And they’ve been around…

7 min.
roadbed and track for jones island

After a brief detour to Mukwonago for last month’s Step by Step, we’re back to Jones Island on the Milwaukee, Racine & Troy to continue work on our HO scale project layout. With the benchwork completed, it’s time to start laying track and roadbed. Though track and roadbed are topics we’ve covered many times in the pages of Model Railroader, this time we’ll take a look at aspects that don’t get addressed as often: Simulating rails embedded in a concrete lot, mixing different brands of track, and detailing rail. Tracks embedded in concrete are common around industrial areas, and the Port of Milwaukee General Cargo Terminal no. 2 is no exception. I’d initially considered using plaster for the concrete. However, the terminal section of the layout is designed to be lifted out,…

12 min.
modeling forbidden spaces

Danger: there’s a word that’s familiar to every railroader. Danger comes with the job and it’s woven into the fabric of every railroad career. Years ago, when laws, security threats, and safety regulations were simpler (and litigation less prevalent and costly), many railroad employees would let photographers wander into company facilities with little more than a wave or at most a friendly suggestion to be careful. Many railfans were able to get close to massive locomotives and equipment without worry and without causing corporate or law-enforcement concern. The most cautious places made visitors sign a release. However, as time has passed, many employees are now trained to politely (but firmly) ask prospective visitors to leave or even to call the authorities to remove them. Much of today’s railroading happens in places…