February 1, 2011 | Comments Off on Layouts from the Railroad Hobby Show 2011

As promised, here are some of the layouts from the Railroad Hobby Show that took place in Springfield, MA on Jan 29-30th 2011

Technical Notes: Video taken with a Kodak Zi8 and i tried to steady it with a SteadePod. Not as good as using a tripod but in a crowd/show setting Steadepod did an okay job.

January 31, 2011 | Comments Off on A Report: Railroad Hobby Show 2011

The Railroad Hobby Show was a fun and informative train show held this past weekend in Springfield, MA. They dont call it the “Big One” for nothing. People, Vendors and layouts were everywhere. I spent 4 hours there and still have this feeling that i missed some part.

I stopped by the Clever Model’s booth and met Thom and David. As a cardstock modeler, their textures and kits are of an exceptional quality. Purists might scoff at “paper models” when compared to wood structures. However, these “paper models” could easily be placed in the background and no one will know the difference. They were offering their texture disk for $25 and the various kits-on-disk for $30. I did purchase their texture disk and will post a review in the coming days.

I also visited Evan Design’s Model Builder booth. For a paper/cardstock modeler, the options to create any structure in Model builder software and pairing it with Clever Model’s textures should give plenty of ideas.

A virtual simulator on a LCD monitor, showing the Connecticut Trolley Museum‘s route and streetcars caught my eye when i noticed that it was created in Trainz. The museum offers a 3 mile trip in restored streetcars. They will be opening in April for the season.

Though Trainz was not on tour at the show, the fact that the Trolley museum used it for their route display and Conrail Historical Society having a PC running theTrainz simulator for people to play with, proves that it is easy to use and create routes in.

I also stopped by the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum display. They have been doing a lot of restoration work on their rolling stock and structures.

There were a lot of layouts to savor in each of the buildings of the show. The Northeast N-Track had the biggest layout in the show. A few modules were encased/covered and they had made a night scene. This did give a unique perspective to the “always daylight” layouts. Wind power and solar farms in one module brought it to the our times.

The best layout, i felt should have been the CNY layout. I was mesmerized by the level of detail. Their layout drew you into the scenes and you felt you were part of the layout. I don’t know if I was tired or hungry when i was examining it but I could not get away from it. Details were plenty but not overly crowed. The use of foreground and background trees with photo backdrops placed you in the layout.

I did take videos but still have to process and edit them. I should be able to finish by the end of the week. Meanwhile, click on the picture for the show gallery:

January 20, 2011 | Comments Off on Upcoming: Amherst Railroad Hobby Show

The Grand Daddy of all Train Shows (at least in these parts) , the Amherst Railroad Hobby Show will be on January 29th and 30th, 2011 in Springfield, MA

The list of vendors is huge and it will surely take up most of the day trying to seeing all the layouts and vendor’s products. Check out the free clinics and plan your visit accordingly. Frequent visitors to the show tell me that Sunday is a better day to attend as crowds are slightly less than on Saturdays.

I am planning to attend the show on Sunday and hopefully will be able to stay on till 2pm to catch the “Hear That Whistle Blow: America’s Fabled Railroad Years In Story & Song” by Katie Green and Bob Reiser.

Previously in the Loop: Guide to Attending Train Shows

December 6, 2010 | Comments Off on HUB Division Train Show December 2010

NMRA HUB Division held their Fall Show in Marlborough, MA this weekend. The Royal Plaza Trade Center which hosts the event is a great location for a train show. They have good lighting and taking pictures or videotaping is easier as compared to last month’s Wilmington Show.

There were a large number of HO scale layouts. Other gauges were On30, N and S.

European Train Enthusiast‘s HO layout was were i was hung out most of the time. (I do have a weakness for Marklin locomotives and rolling stock) Good lighting is a must to differentiate between a good and a great layout. ETE’s layout had their own lighting system as part of their module.

Module Lighting at ETE

The HO layouts of Amherst Railway Society, Cape Cod Model Railroad Club and the NMRA HUB Division had a good mix of industrial and rural scenes. Each layout had their own version of a “really-long” train which was a hit with the kids.

Click on the picture for the show gallery:

Here is a small clip of the layouts. (Direct link)

Technical Notes: The video was taken with a Kodak Zi8. I had to dub the sounds from some clips as people laughing/talking were louder than the train sounds. I used Trainz Simulator loco and track sounds to overwrite the annoying chatter that one picks up during recording at train shows

November 22, 2010 | 1 Comments »

The Greenberg Train Show took place this past weekend at Wilmington, MA. The layouts were the same from the past shows. This time around though some of the better HO layouts were in a side room with horrible lighting. The low lighting did showcase the lighting in the structures and some locomotives but for taking pictures and videos, it was real challenging.

I always seem drawn to the Lego users train layout whenever they bring their layout to a show. Every inch of their layout had interesting and comical elements from today’s pop-culture. From a full blown light-saber battle in a part of the city to a marching band procession in the city center, it was all happening in the Lego layout.

MassBay Railroad Enthusiasts had a booth in this show and they were giving out free DVD’s of their past trips and details about their Steam in the Snow special coming this January.

Click on the picture for the still gallery:

May 5, 2010 | Comments Off on National Train Day 2010

The National Train Day is coming up this Saturday, May 8th. You are in luck if you are near or stay in Washington D.C , Philadelphia, Chicago or Los Angeles as there are many events at these cities and most include Train Equipment and Model Train displays. For the rest of us, please check for events scheduled in your cities.

March 10, 2010 | Comments Off on Model Railroad Open House

At the Rail-O-Rama show this weekend, i picked up a flyer by Ray Schofield, advertising a self-guided Model Railroad Open House of 10 Layouts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This event will be held on Saturday April 10th 2010 from 10:00am – 4:00pm, so mark you calendars. Please contact Ray Schofield for more inquiries.

Here are the locations for the open house:

1. New England and Western
Bill Robertson
63 Frontier Drive, Attleboro, MA. 02703
Tel # 1-508-222-7776
The New England and Western is a large freelance HO scale railroad, which models New England prototypes of the steam era with numerous interesting line side structures suitable for that period. The layout is operated by Dynatrol command control and features car card freight operation. The scenery is about 90% completed with some very interesting scenes depicting life in the early to mid part of the 20th century. Lou Sassi has photographed Bill’s layout for a future Model Railroader article.

2. Old Colony & South Shore Railroad
Cliff Coutinho
1097 Marlborough St. New Bedford, MA
Tel # 1-508-995-7616
The HO scale Old Colony & South Shore Railroad is an early 20th century era layout located on the second floor above the garage/workshop and features superb scenery and multi-train operation. Cliff’s layout has many scratch-built and super detailed structures from many manufacturers with beautiful city and town settings. The scenery is 98% complete. The layout was featured in the October 2004 Model Railroader and also in the 2009 Great Model Railroads. The OC &SS is DCC with an NCE system and can be operated with conventional DC also.

3. Aquidneck Valley RR
Ed Silvia
232 Honeyman Ave, Middletown, RI
Tel #401-846- 3436
The AVRR is a large HO railroad occupying two rooms, one 20×24, and the other 26×10. The minimum radius is 30 inches and all the track work is complete. The scenery is about 90% complete. The total track laid is about 1300 feet. Trains are powered by diesels, and controlled by a Digitrax DCC radio system with sound. The railroad has two large freight yards, numerous industries, including 3 coalmines, an ore mine, and gravel processing plant, many bridges, in an eastern mountainous setting. The layout was featured in the November 2004 Model Railroader.

4. Providence & Worcester
Donald Irace
11 Road C, North Scituate, RI
Tel #401-647-2455
This 42’x25’ double decked railroad is located in the basement. Enter from garage. It is a fictitious track plan between Worcester Ma. and Queens N.Y. It models the Providence &Worcester Railroad as a regional freight carrier with trackage rights on the Amtrak’s northeast corridor. Commodities include Paper goods, coal, stone, plastic resins, produce, lumber, grain, cement, chemicals, general merchandise and scrap metals. Interchange is made with CSX Transportation, Sea View a shortline railroad located in Davisville, RI, New England Central Railroad in Ct and the Guilford Rail System in Gardner Ma, The railroad is Dispatcher controlled by means of computerized CTC (Centralized Traffic Control) using two dispatchers. One on site and the 2nd which is located in Georgia. 1/3 of the layout was demolished and redesigned. Should have the mainline back up and finished before the tour. Yards maybe un-scenicked. For more info see the P & W website ( Using Google Type in 11 road C No. Scituate, RI 02857 not North Scituate.)

5. Quebec & New England Railway
Jim Reddington and Associates
17 Mia Court, Warwick, RI 02886 (Please enter through the garage)
Tel # 1-401-738-6899
The QNE represents a free-lanced bridge line running generally northeasterly from Hopewell Junction NY through the Springfield-Chicopee MA area to St. Johnsbury. The modeled portion of the road parallels the B&M Conn River line with an operational era of 1969-1980. Yard switching at Chicopee is handled by subsidiary Berkshire Terminal and includes interchange with New Haven/ Penn Central. The line is single track to St. J where live interchange occurs with CP & Maine Central, portions of which are also modeled. Approximately 80% of trackage is in place in the shelf-style format with about 15% being scenicked. Walthers turnouts are used exclusively, all operated by Tortoise machines. NCE DCC is in use and the layout occupies all of a 26’x44’ basement absent the stairway & furnace area. About half the power is painted for QNE, the remainder being mostly CP & MEC.

6. Rhode Haven Railroad
Marshall Sommer
Ski Valley Condominiums, 80 Fisher Road Unit #62
Cumberland, R.I. 02864
Tel #1-401-333-9647
The Rhode Haven is a freelanced HO railroad using New Haven power. It is set in the 1930’s through 1940’s era. Since I live in a condo I do not have a lot of room in the basement so I used two rooms with a duck under to try and incorporate as much railroading as possible. The main room consists of a large city and yard and the small room has a smaller town and country. The railroad features many craftsman kits as well as kit bashed and scratch built structures. It is 3/4 complete with only an unfinished peninsular remaining which will be built as a large waterfront scene. I was lucky enough to have Lou Sassi shoot the layout which was published in February 2010 Model Railroader

Directions to Fisher Rd can be found in Google maps. Once you get to Fisher Rd. you go up all the way until you get to a small post office on the right. Take the first right after the post office, go up the hill and take a left at the stone wall. Continue straight and look for # 62 on the left. If you get lost call 1-401-333-9647.

7. Atlantic Great Eastern Railroad
Jeff Leonard
184 Jerrold St. Holliston, MA.
Tel # 508-429-6546
The Atlantic Great Eastern is an HO scale railroad running through Northern New Jersey in 1958. It is loosely based on the Lackawanna’s “Old Road” and the Lehigh & Hudson River Railroad. The single deck layout occupies a 24′ x 36′ space in the basement. Most of the track is hand laid and the scenery is 90% complete. The railroad is powered by DC with tethered and radio throttles. It features both steam and diesel motive power on freights, locals and passenger trains.

8. Armand G. Lavoie
18 James Ave, Westport, Ma.
Tel # 1-508-678-4490 .
Armand has a freelance HO scale layout located in a 15 X 28 foot area of his basement. It is built with two main lines. It is controlled by a Lenz DCC system and can also be operated with conventional DC. It models small town New England mountain areas. The layout has many scratch built and craftsman kit structures with lighting and animation. Scenery is 98%.

9. Scott Mason
9 Lee Street, Franklin, Ma. 02038
Scott is well known in the hobby as the purveyor of model railroad DVDs and the Craftsman’s Structure GURU. What many of you don’t know is he is in the process of recreating the Rutland Railroad in his large basement, including a little freelancing of an interchange with the Hoosac Tunnel and Wilmington. Scott will explain to you how this happened

10. Dave MacPherson MMR
83 Bridge Street, East Bridgewater, Ma 02333
Tel # 1-508-378-3617
Dave’s Clinch Mountain Railway is an HO scale, early 1960s, freelance layout located in two rooms in his basement, with many scratch-built and kit-bashed structures, wireless throttles, hand-laid track and finished scenery. It is a bridge route serving New England, interchanging with all local roads of the time period, with both point-to-point and continuous operation and featuring both steam and diesel motive power. Much has been added to the layout over the past two years including a new industrial area with many more structures.

I have created a PDF version of this listing which might be more helpful.

March 8, 2010 | Comments Off on Rail-O-Rama Train Show

I had missed out on a few previous train shows so this time made it a point to attend
the Rail-o-Rama organized by the Mystic Valley Railway Society was held in Foxboro, Ma yesterday.

The show opened at 10am but by 9:45am the parking lot was getting full. There were some HO layouts and a few Lionel ones. The Garden Railroad Club of Boston, with their G scale was a newcomer at this event. There also were quite a few Thomas trains running around the layouts for all the wide-eyed kids. I did buy a HO scale CSX boxcar on which to practice weathering techniques. Will update later on how that goes.

For pictures, click below for the gallery:

December 7, 2009 | Comments Off on HUB Train Show December 2009

The HUB Division’s Annual HUB Train Expo took place this weekend in Marlborough, MA. I have been attending train show in the area for the last three years and the layouts do get repetitive. But, i was happy this time that some of the railroads had introduced new modules and locomotives in their layout.

Because of my weakness for European models, i started with the Marklin layout of the European Train Enthusiasts. They did not have new modules but rolling stock was different from the last time i had seen their layout. MaiNe trak and HUB division both had introduced some new modules which was interesting to study.

If there was a prize, then i would have given it to the On30 layout done by Narragansett Bay Railroad. Most layouts have hills and valleys, trees and industry but this one was based on the Narragansett Bay and thus had a few buildings amid sand dunes, reeds, marshes and grass. The few trees that were there were exceptionally detailed. Also, they did have an impressive fleet of steam locomotives. I spent a lot of time at their layout taking pictures. One of their modelers also used Evan Design’s Modelbuilder software to create temporary structures, till they built the final one out of wood. Another important feature that i liked was the layout was higher than usual and that made it much better to see all the details.

Among the vendors, i did stop by Scotty Mason, Dave Frary, Minuteman Scale Models and a dealer for the Northeastern Scale Lumber. I have been thinking of trying to make a simple structure out of wood and was looking at the various HO options available for wood. Its seems to be more work, ie, cutting, painting but the results are much better than a cardstock structure.

Click on the picture for the show gallery:

October 28, 2009 | Comments Off on Upcoming Trains Shows

Here in the North East, as the trees change color and winter approaches, the various trains shows begin to come to town. Attending train shows is a great motivation tool to make one start or complete a layout. The Craftsman and the Springfield shows are particularly interesting.

I love to take photos at train shows. I use a Canon 570IS and it gives me satisfactory results. Here are simple ways to take better pictures at the show:
# Use the camera’s Macro mode (the tulip/flower icon) to get up close.
# Do not use flash. It drowns the scene with bright light.
# Since we cannot use a tripod and clicking on the shutter might shake your camera, try getting sharper pictures by using the camera’s timer. Pull your arms closer and hold your breath just before it takes the picture. Or, you could try making a real cheap tripod.

I am not very successful at taking video. The lighting is poor and not being able to use a tripod makes it challenging. Some of my train show videos from last year

So what do you love to do at a Train Show?

Previously on the PassingLoop
Guide to attending Train Shows.
Macro Photography for your railroad world

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