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Sooo...Anything new in the last six years?

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Hi Everyone!

I guess I'd better do an update if this is going to make any sense at all. My last posts dealt with two things, my layout and my cable access TV show. I did 18 episodes of the show and then summer came, and my involvement with the Cape Cod Baseball League took center stage. For the second season of "Mini-Rails" I had eight or ten people lined up to visit and tour their layouts when our family life took at hit. Fallout included the sale of a piece of rental property that gave me enough money to remodel my primary residence and in so doing, my layout room was bisected, and so was the B-Line. Somewhere along the way I bought a video game called Train Simulator, so I was able to participate in the hobby that way for a while as well.

Then I got sick! Mind you, I've never been really sick in my life. About a year ago I began to make up for it. I developed a bladder infection and had to have very uncomfortable surgery performed. In the course of prep for that they found out I am diabetic and I had had a heart attack somewhere along the way! It took quite a few tests and procedures to determine the exact nature of the problem with my ticker, (weighing 300 pounds was a big part of it) but the end result was triple by-pass surgery in December. As an added, no cost bonus, my carotid artery was 97% blocked and I had to have that done before they could do my heart.
To make a long story even longer, I had the by-pass surgery in December, came home from the hospital on Christmas Eve, and began the healing. While I was recovering, I slept in a recliner, in front of a huge TV that had suddenly become surplus to a buddy. I found myself watching N-scale videos at all hours of the day and night, and that's when it hit me. Things had improved rapidly. Since the initial diagnosis, I have lost 80 pounds, my diabetes has gone away and with my newfound energy I decided to could dive into the B-Line once again. My train room is only 8' X 8' and the heating system took half of that, so I felt dispossessed at the very least. Then I got the bright idea to build the layout in modules! I figured I could build the start first, then the finish, and add "middles" at my leisure. I might add that I have been modeling the same, fictitious railroad since I was a teenager, in HO. My wife gave me an N-scale starter set for our first Christmas together, in 1969, because she thought they looked "cute". I forgave her, and became an N-scaler.

Though I like freight trains, I prefer passenger. My dad was a carpenter for the New Haven RR and he worked on the coaches and mail cars that ran south of Boston . His dad was the pay master for the whole system. Dad started in 1927 and except for a brief hiatus courtesy of Mr. Hitler, he remained there till 1972, when he retired. They didn't call it "Commuter Rail" back then, but that's what it was, and this is where my main interest lies.

My railroad is pure fiction. Earlier in this blog I tell the story of the B-Line so I won't repeat it here. I will say that, recently, while following some seldom used trackage in my area I came upon the City of New Bedford, Mass. It bears a striking resemblance to the Beaufield of my imagination, and so some of my old narrative has changed. In short, there will be more emphasis on the fishing industry than I had figured on. Oh well, it's nice to be God.

To begin, I have started the first module. It begins at the waterfront, where the Terminal for the passenger service is located. I have a friend who is absolutely crazy for lighthouses and in her honor I decided to include one. I called her up and asked if she had a favorite and as expected, she did. It is Scituate Lighthouse in Scituate Massachusetts. It's fortunate that I live only about a 45 minute drive from there. She lives near Buffalo, and has been all over the country photographing lighthouses so it was extra-convenient that her favorite is nearby. The internet is loaded with pictures of Scituate Light, so I had no problems there, but I wanted to walk around the thing and take my own pics, so off I went. Right away I had a problem. I really liked the front of the keeper's house, but that would face away from one's vantage point when looking at the layout. So I simply reversed the negative (digitally of course) and built the thing backwards. Let me tell you, making a tapered octagon in N-scale ain't easy. In fact I made a total of five of them! The last one is no where near perfect, but it'll have to do. I haven't finished it yet, but I grew weary of the geometry of it and moved on to the rest of the scene. I'll get back to it, but I need a break!


I finally managed to create the "dome" that sits atop the tower of the lighthouse. Let me tell you folks, it wasn't easy! I took a 3/4" wooden dowel and drilled a 1/2" hole straight into the end of it. It took three or four tries before I was able to get the hole centered enough, and deep enough to satisfy me. Then I cut the dowel off about 1/8" above the top of the dome created by the drill bit and very gingerly held it to a belt sander and rounded the top till it approximated the shape of (what I now know is called) the "lightroom". Then it got tedious! I had to cut notches in it to simulate the openings in the lightroom. After bandaging my fingers, and making another dome, I finally was able to notch the thing enough to satisfy myself that it looked close enough to pass the "2 foot test". Then it was just a matter of mixing up some paint to make a wooden dowel look like weathered copper and I was home free!

This morning I finally got busy and made the doors and windows for the keeper's house. Here's a little tip: I use a lot of styrene, which some hobby shops charge $8.00 a sheet for. I saw a guy on YouTube saying that he would go to Home Depot and buy For Sale signs of something similar for a couple of bucks and use them. I happened to be in a dollar store and found the same things for a buck! The red background on the sign was the exact shade of red that I wanted for the doors to the house, so I used that and it worked like a dream! Feeling extra cheap this morning, I took one of those plastic packages that batteries come in and cut my window glass out of that and got all my windows with quite a bit of plastic left over, plus I had to buy batteries yesterday, so there will be more windows in my future!
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Updated 14th Jun 2020 at 10:39 AM by Albey25

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