Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Railroad Season Resumes

Now that the November winds are blowing cold and the beach has been washed away by Sandy, it's time to get back to the Aroostook Valley!  The photo shows a scene from Washburn prior to ballasting the tracks and completing a bit more of the scenery, but i include it to show off a couple 40 foot boxcars converted to woodchip cars.  This is what the BAR did with many surplus 40 footers, and it's a great use for some of my own.  The project is surprisingly easy; requiring only a saw and scrap styrene.  Decals were from Highball Graphics.


With the new paper mill going up in the Skyway Industrial Park (humor me here), these boxcars are going to rack up some mileage!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The winds of change?

Please take a look at the post of the track plan for the AVR posted in November, 2011.  You'll see the idea for the Skyway Industrial Park.  Even though I'm making progress - the buildings for the McCain potato processing plant, one of the Columbia Forest Products' buildings for the plywood factory are built and look pretty decent.  But . . .

I'm a bit frustrated that the industrial park is so linear, running parallel to the edge of the layout.  Grrr.  Then I spy the St. Regis paper mill on Mike Confalone's Allagash Railway in the April, 2012 Model Railroad Hobbyst e-magazine, and I pine away.  Oooh, wouldn't that look awesome in this space?  It might fit.  I might even be able to leave the McCain plant where it is.  But . . .

The AVR doesn't serve a paper mill (it did a paper box maker).  So what to do?  Yes, I know, it's my railroad.

I'd appreciate your thoughts and ideas for this space.  Help!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The little AVR makes the big time!

Well, in the "nothing ventured nothing gained" column, add the Aroostook Valley Railroad in N scale!  I received a letter yesterday from Model Railroader, telling me that although my submission to the layout design contest wasn't a winner, they found the track plan and concept "worthwhile" and they want to publish the entry in a future issue!  How about that for beginner's luck!

Meanwhile faithful friends, I'm making progress on the scenery - getting at least the base scenery in place over the entire layout except the industrial park.  Photos to come.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fingers Crossed

I'm not much of a drafter or commercial artist, but I went ahead and submitted the layout for the Aroostook Valley to Model Railroader magazine's layout design contest for small layouts.  Even if they say no, it's still a winner for me!

Track ballasting continues, and then it will be time to work on the scenery and roadways in the Skyway Industrial Park.  Looking at Google Street View maps, the park is almost devoid of any scenery and could be built on a ping pong table - but it's still a good excuse to add industries to switch!

Do any of you have photos of the small cement loading facility that was located at the CV yard in White River Junction, VT?  I'm thinking that would be a good facility to put on one of the spurs.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I thought we were in Maine?

I just opened the box from Tony's Train Exchange, where my recently purchased vintage BLW custom Green Mountain GP40, and an Atlas GP38 in the GTW red and blue that I re-decaled for the Central Vermont were having decoders installed.  Tony's does an outstanding job equipping these engines (something I am not good at).



I can hear you now: I thought the Aroostook Valley was a Maine short line?  Well, you're right, but I am a big fan of almost every northern New England railroad, and as a member of Northeast Ntrak have the capacity to run long trains on the modules when we're at a show.

Besides, if I switch the motive power and some signage on the layout, is there really any reason why the AVR can't become a short line in Vermont?

Does anyone else have the episodes of changing venues and railroads?  How do you cure yourself?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

March Madness

What was I so worried about?  Ballasting track is not that bad a chore!  A bit dull, perhaps; but nothing like trying to install decoders!  The BAR branch through Washburn is ballasted, and the AVR track in Washburn is now being worked on.

In other news, I've reserved myself one of the Bluford Shops short body cabooses (without the bay windows) to sacrifice to the X-acto knife and saw in the hopes of coming out with the AVR snowplow.  Won't that be a fun project!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Winterfest inspiration

This last weekend was the Winterfest train show in Springfield, MA. I saw old friends at Ntrak and in the booths, and walked away with great purchases, including a shaker full of dirt!  My wife gave me a strange look for that one, but the soil at home contains too much iron to be useful in ballasting (I figure the Aroostook Valley is a low budget railroad, so the ballast is pretty thin).  I'm inspired now to apply it next weekend!  Just what the doctor ordered by way of inspiration!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What's there to be afraid of?

In school, I liked the social studies classes, and was never too fond of science.  So the principal of inertia is still something I'm learning about.  I keep thinking, "when I get home from work, I'm going to . . ."  And then a project at work comes up and I have to catch a later train home.  Now it's 7:30 and still need to do the dishes . . .

I really do have the best of intentions!  I look at the photos of the layout my son took and think how much better it's all going to look when the track is ballasted, and a few more trees are in place!

Good thing this is a hobby, and all about having fun!