Model Building · Structures

That Corrugated Shed

That corrugated shed next to the public delivery track in St. George.

Photos of Peterborough, NH, in the 1950s show a crude looking corrugated shed next to the station. In the book, The Boston & Maine, a Photographic Essay by Philip R. Hastings, the shed shows quite clearly on page 140-141. The same photo can be seen on page 59 of Model Railroad Planning 2000. Since little is known about it, it’s generally referred to as that corrugated shed. I’m guessing the shed belonged to the nearby building supply business. There could have been roofing, bricks, fencing, maybe bags of cement or bales of hay in there. Who knows?

Peterborough 1950. Phillip R. Hastings photo.

Well, I just had to have an ugly shed like that in St. George. I love the angled loft.

With a couple of photos and an overhead shot of Peterborough, I sized the shed to be about 70′ long and 25′ wide. I thought a structure 40′ by 25′ would fit nicely in St. George.

I happened to have a passel of O scale corrugated strips from Builders in Scale. They must date back to the 1980s gotten in for some project long, long forgotten. They’re perfect for sheathing this building.

I started construction by making a mock-up in foam board. I don’t have a photo showing the front side of the shed. I’m assuming there was just a large sliding freight door on that side. From what I can tell, the other three sides of the shed are blank.

For this model, I used the mock-up as the actual guts of the structure so I took care to build it foursquare. An opening for the door was cut in the front wall section and the walls were assembled to basswood bracing with contact cement. The sliding freight door was scratch built from basswood. Trim boards are all basswood strips. This was a good point to paint the door and trim. I choose a dark green color.

Now for the corrugated siding. After a wash in 91% alcohol they were given a spotty coat of Model Masters gray primer from a rattle can to knock down most of the shiny galvanized finish. The sheets were cut into 4′ by 8′ panels and weathered individually with artists oil washes. I was going for some subtle variation in the base color of the panels along with a little rust and grime. The photos show a distinct difference between panels and I wanted to capture that effect. The panels were attached to the walls and roof with medium cyanoacrylate. Care was taken to overlap the panels properly. After a spray of Testors DullCoat, final weathering was done with artist’s oil washes and Pan Pastels.

I located the shed off of the public delivery track near the station with its back to the viewer. As work in the area goes on, I’ll surround the shed with lots of clutter like sewer pipes, pallets of bricks, scraps of lumber and whatever other junk I can come up with. There’ll be stacks of sawn lumber and spills of bagged material. An occasional box car or flat will be spotted nearby for unloading.


Layout Construction

Raise High the Benchwork, Carpenters

I built the D&NE benchwork high for several reasons. First, it makes for nice viewing with track elevation at 50″ and higher. Second, it’s easy to shove double stack storage containers on rollers under the layout. Third, I wanted to roll myself under the layout — in a low-rider office chair — so work down under isn’t such a chore.

That’s me in my low rider chair connecting DCC bus wires.

I recently adjusted a few joists for the new pop out. Easily done from the comfort of my roller chair. Stringing DCC bus cables and tying in the feeders – easy! Installing switch motors. Well, that’s still a pain but made easier from the chair.

My good friend, the late John Peterson, had a roller chair at the duck-under entrance to his layout. I didn’t really appreciate it until I was a little older myself. My knees thank-you, John.

Layout Construction

Progress on the Layout

September has been a busy month to say the least. Finished up a software contract I’ve been working on since December and then had my gall bladder removed. Fully recovered from that and over the last few days have been able to get back to my much neglected layout.

Picked up a sheet of tempered masonite at Lowes and had it ripped into 8″ strips for fascia. Installed the first 20′ or so around St.George up past the French river. Putting this edge on the benchwork really starts to pull the scene together. I thickened up the benchwork around the creamery area as it was looking tough to get space for a good structure there. Also planning to build a large corrugated shed much like the one in Peterborough between the creamery and the coal drop. Decided to terminate Railroad Ave. just past the crossing as a truck park for the freight house. The scene will drop past there so the coal trestle can be modeled more convincingly.

Coal trestle site. That’s the Monson Jct.  freight house from my 2′ days filling in for the creamery. A large corrugated shed will be located in between.
Helicopter view of the area. The freight house will likely be the first structure I tackle.
Removing the pop out gives good access to the crossover and station scene. Note how the freight house base projects over the pop out.


Adding to the benchwork for the creamery site has made the public delivery track back near the station a lot more difficult to reach during operation but I decided to deal with that. Maybe a two step kitchen ladder will suffice.

It’s nice to be back on the layout itself. I have a few workbench projects going but the layout is what drives everything. Can’t wait to get some switching going in St. George.


Train Shows

SONC 2018 report

Attended the 2018 Scale O National Convention in Wash. D.C. (Rockville MD) last week. Spent a lot of time wandering the dealer tables and hit quite a few layouts on the tour.

Spent most of my money at Ted Schnepf’s Rails Unlimited tables. Picked up a CGW (PS-0) AAR 1937 box car kitbash – the RPM Chicagoland 2017 project kit – consisting of an Intermountain 1937 AAR box car shell with custom Pullman Standard CarBuilder ends, Superior doors and CGW decals. Also bought a USRA double sheath urethane body to build up, probably as B&M. Met Norm Buckhart of Protocraft (a key supplier to the Proto 48 crowd) and walked away with a set of P48 Andrews trucks and some B&M decals.

There were GE 44-tonners from every manufacturer I remember (Sunset, Custom Brass, W&R, RY Models) but no 70-tonners, which was what I was looking for. Lots of brass on the tables. Still quite a few Intermountain kits around but little bronze age stuff to be found.

Tony Koester and Jim Cantor brought their portable Proto 48 layouts — both are NKP theme. Tony’s will appear in a project series in MR next year.

The layout tours were second to none. Made it to Nick Powell’s wonderful B&O layout in Halethorpe, MD, just off the B&O Old Mainline near Thomas Viaduct. Nick was a 30 year veteran B&O engineer and part of John Armstrong’s Canandaigua operating crew back in the day. He has an outstanding roster of B&O steam and diesel locomotives. In the yard was every variation of B&O wagon top boxcar and Nick can give you a detailed account of each one. The layout is a John Armstrong design — you can tell by the aisleways! Nick himself designed the beautiful, detailed engine terminal and the long, long division yard. I loved the spotlights on the Capital Limited’s dome car roof. I met Nick at the Strasburg, PA O scale show early this year. He’s a great guy and his layout is a gem.

I got to two Western Maryland layouts. The late Wes Morganstern’s layout — also, I believe, a John Armstrong design —  was open one last time. It’s a layout built for operation and it operates flawlessly. And Pat Michael’s P48 layout that is an engineering marvel. He has a huge collection of WM big time steam and a 19′ train elevator to get complete trains up and down between levels. In addition to converting all of his steam locomotives to P48, Pat also casts his own detailed tie strips from urethane molds.

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There were two layouts that took my breath away. I saw his South Park On3 layout some years ago and Andrew Dodge’s new P48 Colorado Midland is just as spectacular. Even more so when you find out he scratch build eleven (or so) period steam locomotives to get himself started in P48! The scenery and backdrops are outstanding.

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But my favorite layout of all was Bernard Kempinski’s U.S. Military Railroad Civil War era layout in my old hometown of Alexandria, VA. It could be picked up and moved to a museum. The scenery, the use of perspective, and the understated backdrop art was to die for. I tried to absorb everything I could to bring back to the D&NE. There were a half-dozen or so 4-4-0s and lots of period rolling stock. The couplers are, of course, link and pin. It operates as a real railroad as did the USMR with strict timetables, the only difference being that if you violate Rule G you’re put in front of a firing squad! Military encampments and soldiers are everywhere. I’ve included a few photos but they don’t begin to do this layout justice.

I spent most of the weekend at Jack Keene’s Delaware & Hudson Susquehanna Division layout helping out with what I could reach. Jack’s layout is a triple decker! I can walk clear under the upper deck without stooping! That upper most deck — the one I need a ladder to see — is well underway. This is an operations oriented layout with several yards and a long run. I’d say it’s 20% built. We worked the last DCC bug out of the seven track staging loops and Jack ran trains on the third level from Oneonta out and back through the loops. The layout is planted in the mid-70s. Lots of big time diesel lashups. Jack’s crew are mostly HOers but I bet he picks up a few converts along the way. Beware though. There is a height restriction. You must be at least 6′-2″ to enjoy this ride! Just fooling!

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One thing missing was all the narrow gauge activity we used to have around the D.C. area. There was John Peterson’s SR&RL On2 railroad, Charlie Eckstein’s Colorado On3 layout, Gordon North’s pioneer On30 Denver & Western. They would have been open for the convention, but, they’re all gone now and I really miss them.

Well, after all that I headed south to Fredericksburg, VA to visit with family and then back to New Hampshire with two of my mother’s zuchini breads. A great time was had by all. Congratulations to the SONC 2018 crew!






Ruminations · Train Shows

SONC 2018

Off to the Scale O National Convention (SONC 2018) in Rockville MD tomorrow morning! Should be a great time. Lots of great layouts on the tour including a number of P48 pikes much more substantial than mine! On Saturday and Sunday I’ll be helping Jack Keene show his Delaware & Hudson Susquehanna Division. He has a 7 track staging loop in operation up near the ceiling so they’ll be a steady flow of traffic past SW cabin at Niveneh Jct.

I still remember when Jack and I brought our On2 layout to SONC 1981 also in Wash D.C. We were running a couple of John Peterson’s PFM sound equipped SR&RL locos. All the old farts thought it was HO, or maybe S scale. What was it doing at SONC anyway? And what’s this green stuff all over the layout? Now Jack and I are the old farts!

This delightful little teakettle ran on Wayne Slaughter and Jack Keene’s portable narrow gauge railway during SONC’81, Wash D.C.

If you happen to bump in to me please say hello.


GE 44 tonner · Ruminations

Summer days

July has been a busy month for non-railroad pursuits. And work is still consuming a lot of energy. What time I’ve had has remained focused on the GE 44-tonner. I just finished painting the parts of the power trucks that will be visible. I repaired the hood with the detached top and front. After scratch building a pair of MU receptacles I discovered that Bowser carries something very similar so I ordered a set to see if they’re better than mine. Next I’ll be reassembling the power trucks and trying them out. Cleaning the frame and body to the point where I can paint them has been frustrating. My cheap Amazon grit blaster isn’t much good. Twinkle has helped but I’m not happy yet.

Designed vector artwork for decals using “Inkscape”. I layed out enough to letter this 44-tonner, two 70-tonners, a Whitcome 65-tonner (future scratch build project) and a couple of boxcars. Sent it off to Shawmut Car Shops for custom decals but haven’t heard back yet. My herald is based on the W&OD inverted triangle although the 44-tonner doesn’t get one.

Also started rehabing the NYC drop bottom gondola I built from a West Shore Lines kit years ago. Converted the trucks to P48 with a NWSL wheel set, replaced the couplers with Protocraft Gould-Symington “E” type and upgraded a few details. Still a little work to do. Need to change the reweigh dates for the 1953 period and touch up paint and weathering.

This will be the first “completed” car on the D&NE. I think I’ll do a couple of Intermountain boxcars next and maybe an Atlas hopper or two just to have some cars to switch. These cars need trucks converted, new Protocraft couplers, a few detail upgrades and correct reweigh dates. Then I’ll dig into the CN Howe truss box car and get that done. I did get in a beautiful set of Protocraft ‘s Dalman Two-Level trucks for this car.

Spent some time today arranging our trip to the D.C. area late August to attend the SONC 2018 convention and visit some friends and family. Hope to see a couple of Proto48 layouts and spend Saturday helping Jack Keene with his layout tour open house. Jack’s D&H Susquehanna Division takes up an entire expanded basement! Yes, he expanded his basement! A bit of contrast to my humble shortline.

Back to that darn 44-tonner…




MetaBlog (A blog about the blog)

I hope this isn’t too boring but I thought I’d share the blog’s progress so far. Work has been very consuming these last 6 months or so and the blog entries haven’t been as frequent as I would like …  mostly because I haven’t finished that many projects! I’ve been making a career out of the GE 44-tonner overhaul and conversion refusing to start on much else until it’s done.

But despite all of that, the blog has grown nicely and I thank everyone who follows it. I started the blog in May of 2017 and attracted a whooping 5 visitors. It grew steadily to 6, 8, 9, 10 by September. (A special shout out to my close friends and family.)

In October – BLAM – 455 visitors. What happened? That was the month Gene Deimling gave the blog a mention on his popular blog MyP48. Thank-you Gene from the bottom of my heart. And around the same time, Trevor Marshall mentioned the D&NE and added a referral link to the “Achievable Layouts” section of his very popular Port Rowan blog. These happen to be my very favorite blogs and I follow them religiously. I’m honored they saw fit to pass this blog along.

Since these heads-up went out to the blogosphere the D&NE has maintained a 300-400 visitor pace every month. Those two blogs continue to send the most referrals with a blog in the UK ( and search engines in general right behind. The visitors come from all over: the USA, Canada, the UK, Oz (Australia), New Zealand, Germany, The Netherlands, France, Sweden and Russia.

Don’t get too many comments. I have published all that have been submitted. They might pick up when I get into more interesting modeling topics in the future. I love questions and suggestions and look forward to attracting more interaction.

So, thanks again to everyone who visits. I hope I can maintain your interest in the days and months to come. Lots to do on the D&NE!

Wayne Slaughter




Layout Construction

Shorty Builds a Pop Out

In Access I had come to the realization that the immediate front of St. George needed a pop out section for access to the deep areas of the yard. The crossover and station area needed much better access than was possible with solid benchwork. So I went about constructing a small section of removeable benchwork to provide that access with only a little nusisance. In any case, the pop out won’t be removed all that often.

First, I determined the exact location of the pop out and repositioned the joists on either side to be exactly perpendicular to the L-girders. (Have I mentioned that I love L-girder benchwork?) The space between the joists was set at 32″. The joist between those two was cut back to the L-girder.

Next, I added bottom slides by attaching 1x3s to the bottom of the joists. Some bumper stops and cleat supports were attached to the L-girder to help position and support the insert.

The insert (32″ by 15″) was constructed from the same 1×3 lumber as the joists. It slides right in and is nicely supported on 3 sides.

The joists have been repositioned and the guides and bumpers constructed.
Pop out partially inserted.
Pop out firmly in place.
The pop out is 32″ by 15″

The front industrial siding will cross the pop out requiring two track joints. It’ll snake around to serve a creamery, a run down storage shed for bagged animal feed and a coal trestle. I’m going for a busy lower village setting with a gaggle of buildings lining the tracks. We’ll have to see how it turns out. Maybe a few more building mockups will help.

Model Building · Proto48

Smoky Mountain AAR Flat


Exciting day at the mailbox! My Smoky Mountain Model Works AAR 70-ton flat car kit arrived and it’s a beaut! Gene Deimling reviewed it a few weeks back so I’ll just say thank-you Jim King for producing such a wonderful kit in O scale. Debating on whether to letter mine for Pere Marquette (they might have been relettered C&O by my era, 1953) or maybe B&O. Protocraft has trucks, couplers and decals for these cars. Weight being a concern with my heavy roster I’ll see if tungsten cylinders from Maximum Velocity will fit inside the center sill. Can’t wait to start on it. Got to get that 44-tonner finished first!


Layout Construction · Track Plan


When planning St. George, I went a little overboard on the depth. It’s just over 4′. I needed this much depth — could have used more — to get the scene I was after. In the original plan it was even worse. The industrial siding now at the front of the scene was in the back! Totally unreachable!  I addressed that in Changes to St. George. But still, the scene is just as deep and I need to get back there to build and scenic things. So I left the front benchwork incomplete so I could build the crossover. But the station platform was a pain to reach.

This consumed much deep navel contemplation over many months. The front couldn’t be filled in until the back area was completed. But then what? Finally, the idea came to make a section of the front scene removable! By pulling out the removable section I’ll be able to reach all the important stuff at the back of the scene.



First step was to cut the existing plywood surface to clear the way. After taping the rail, I grabbed the circular saw and cut right along the freight house track and removed the wedge of plywood. Next, a piece of pink foam board was cut to size to fill in the entire scene. The front industrial track will be on this foam along with a decent sized creamery, a run down shed for storing bagged animal feed and a coal trestle. The freight house is sited at the back and faces the existing siding. To get things right, the plan was drawn full size on the foam board.


The benchwork was modified to provide support for the foam board but give generous access when removed. Every other joist was cut back to the L-girder to be replaced by partial joists attached to the foam board that slide in between the plywood and the L-girder.

Homasote roadbed from Cascade Rail Supply will be glued down with Liquid Nails for foam. It’ll snake around a bit as these sidings often do to give the scene a little extra interest. Like the freight house siding, this siding will be code 83 (55#) rail on ties mostly buried in ground. The turnout on the freight house spur is already complete.

Next on the agenda is to build the frame for the removeable section. It’ll need to be keyed in some way for good alignment. It’ll need a plug and socket for the feeders. And I think I’ll round the front edge of the fascia a little for a more pleasing viewing experience.

So there you have it. Procastination pays off as usual. If I hadn’t made that section removable I would have really regretted it down the road. Though Micro-Mark does have this crazy contraption for hovering over your layout…