Thursday, December 29, 2011

Like those backdrops?

If you're admiring the backdrops you see in any of these pictures, I want you to know you're not admiring scenes of northern Maine; you're looking at photos from southern Sweden!

I was admiring the work of Lennart Svedberg on his Tap Creek Division of the Chicago North Western Railroad, and after several back and forth emails, I think he must have took pity on me and offered to try to capture the look of Aroostook County in the farmlands near his home in Sweden.  I think he succeeded beautifully!

Lennart sent me several photos taken in the summer, and we discussed at length the right "shots."  Once we were agreed, it was a matter of waiting until Autumn and the leaves to turn for the right seasonal shots.

My special thanks to Lennart.  He's a skilled modeler, a great photographer, and and even better hobby pen-pal.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Oh to take a good photo!

First peek will be in Washburn:

Still much work to do on the road, and maybe this weekend the ballast will fill in between the ties.

Just north of the bridge over the Aroostook River, the 44 tonners wait for the BAR train to bring their train into the interchange track.

I sure hope I can get some better photos in the future!  One more thing to learn to do!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cats and Trains Don't Mix

My wife and I have three cats - for now.  We don't need any more, but it may be a long time before we have fewer. 

I've found, to my deep disappointment that cats and model railroading don't mix.  My cats would love to get into the trees and chew on them, and then throw them up somewhere else down the line.  It sounds gross and it is.  The solution (and yes, I did consider amping up the power in the rails) was proposed by a window contractor friend who offered to make an acrylic tent over the layout.  The vertical pieces are screwed into the fascia board, and a foot up from the back of the layout I ran a molding strip of wood and then put another acrylic piece sloping down to the sit on top of the vertical "wall" along the front of the layout.  The idea was that the slope of the top would allow the cats to simply slip off (they don't).  Instead they gingerly walk along the top as if suspended in mid-air until I yell at them to jump down (they do).

The top pieces are lined along the back with Velcro, which is strong enough to hold them in place and yet allow me to remove them when I want to operate trains or work on the layout.  Not only does this system keep the cats at bay, it's a wonderful device for keeping the dust to a minimum on the layout.

I wouldn't go to the trouble if I didn't have to, but it seems to be working out.