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A 1950’s scene

A 1950's scene
A 1950’s scene

I like the looks of masonry structures for my 1950’s scenes with only a few wood ones as in reality. Most of them burned down by then. This angle of the scene is not appreciated as the viewer. You would have to lean over the layout to see it this way. The streets are laid out at an angle to the layout edge. To avoid those parallel lines that make scenes boring.

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TRAIN WRECK Nightmare on the Chief

Is this the horrible result of a model railroader that switched from DC to DCC?
(My scene was inspired by an article in Trains Magazine published many years ago.)

The scene was built in twelve hours including hand laying the track. High Desert Soil (#107-03) is the ground cover with some #40 Blended Grass and # 62 Conifer Green Foliage amidst broken ties and twisted rail.
Looks like someone threw a switch the wrong way again.

Used 1302 as ballast, 1032 in between the tracks and 1250 as ground-cover.

The scene is modeled after a real train wreck between no. 8, the “Fast Mail” and no. 19, the westbound “Chief”. This disaster happened in September 1956 at Robinson siding New Mexico.

The Northbound Mail was sitting in the hole waiting for the Chief to pass by when the North Switch had been thrown the wrong way in the middle of the night. News reported out of Albuquerque was able to hop on an airplane and get aerial pictures of the devastation.



It’s totally impossible to have a head-on collision like this using DC.

Now look at the mess, twisted and burned diesel with death and injuries to the crew.



Use 1307 as the rocks

The Undertaker and Priest were summoned to sort out the living from the dead. “Oh why, oh why”, asks the owner of this layout, “if I stayed with DC, this never would have occurred”.




One of the Santa Fe’s private cars was at the rear of the Fast Mail and the occupants escaped injury even though the train was shoved back a car length from the collision.




In the wee hours of the morning, the boom car was brought in from Raton NM to salvage what it could. In order to lift the passenger car, numerous lead weights had to be installed in the Athearn boom car as a counterweight.

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Cal’s City Transfer, Rail Truck Terminal

This is a scratch-built I made and forgot about. It’s called” Cal’s City Transfer, Rail Truck Terminal”, named after my cousin with our Model Railroad Ballast.

First, we lay the track using our 122 Yard mix Ballast. Then we laid out the ground cover with 101 red cinder powder with some 100 industrial dirt and 1030 Black Cinder powder. Mixed in we place some of the n scale ballast to add some rock to the mix. We use our of your Green Foliage & Blended Grass Foliage( No long selling).

On the building we use our 14 pigment kit to add color. On the roof we used 1410 (Sunset Orange) 1420 (Supai red) 1440 (White) and 1450 (Black). On the sides we use 1430 (Earth) and 1450 (Black).


Cal's City Transfer, Rail Truck Terminal with Model Railroad Ballast

Choose the size and color appropriate for your scale, locale, and complement your scenery colors. Many real railroads use the rocks available in the local area as ballast. So it’s good to know what color ballast your prototypical railroad uses for their tracks in the area you are modeling. If you’re freelancing, this won’t matter much. You can pick whatever color of model railroad ballast that looks good with the rest of your scenery. If you don’t like any of the available colors, you can mix the different colors to get the shade you want.

Experiment with this first using a small amount of the ballast, e.g., 1 teaspoon of one color mixed with 1 teaspoon of another color, and see if the blend is what you are looking for. If so, then blend larger amounts in the same proportion to use on your layout. You may wish to vary the shade of model railroad ballast you use in different areas of your layout. For example, you may use a darker shade around freight yards. Engine servicing areas than you would on the mainline between towns. However, I wouldn’t use too many different shades or colors on the same layout—the technique for applying model railroad ballast. When you’re finished fixing your model railroad track to your sub roadbed and painting the rails and ties, you’re ready for ballasting.