Tracks-007, Issue #007 -- Model Railroading Newsletter

April 1, 2020

Building Your Model Railroad

Newsletter - April, 2020

Train Wreck

WELCOME to the April, 2020 issue of Tracks - a monthly newsletter published by Building Your Model Railroad, devoted to providing breaking news and tips to model railroaders of all ages and all scales in a quick and easy-to-read format. Resources are always credited where appropriate.

Whitelisting the email address of this newsletter is important. It assures that it doesn't end up in your Junk or Trash box every month. Please right click on the email address of the sender, copy the link and then go to your contacts program and paste it there as a new contact. You only have to do it once.

Note: √= sponsored link - See disclosure page for details. If you see a √ next to a link on this page or on the site, that signals that the link is an ad. So if you click on it and purchase something, I might get a small (very small, I might add) commission on it. Just so you know.

Requests: If there are any particular subjects that you would like to see in the newsletter, please let us know at [email protected]. Even better, if you have a tip or something you would like to add to the newsletter, please send it in!  Use the form in the Comments section of the BYMRR website.

Back Issues: And don't forget, there is a huge amount of information in the 33 issues of the old newsletter called BYMR-Zine as well as previous issues of Tracks.  Back Issues are available here.

Thank you for subscribing. We have lots of new tips and tricks in this issue to add to your model railroading pleasure. And please tell your friends about us. The more we can spread the word about model railroading, the better.

Photos: We're always looking for new photos for our Gallery pages. If you have photos of your layout that you would like to share with other model railroaders, I'd love to post them on the site. Send them in to [email protected].

Contributions Encouraged:  If you have a tip, picture, video or an article about model railroading that you would like to share in this newsletter, please let me know.  I'm always looking for more information.

Trying Times

A lot has been happening in this country and the rest of the world since our last issue of Tracks.  Many of you have been seriously affected by this ongoing tragedy in one way or another, and I suspect many more will be affected before it's over.  As a physician, whose job it is to try to protect and save people's lives, it is particularly heart-rendering to watch so much suffering in the world, about which there is little we can do at the moment other than staying away from each other.

Nevertheless, we can still communicate with each other, thanks to modern technology, so, in a way, we can still come together, even as we stay apart physically.  It is somewhat encouraging to see the country and the rest of the world becoming just a little less divided as we all battle against a common threat. It's unfortunate that it requires such a threat to unify humanity.  But the good news is that we can still do that as we always have been able to do - during the great flu epidemic of 1917, the polio and tuberculosis epidemics, the HIV crisis, Swine flu, SARS, and others throughout our history.

I am glad to be a member of an elite group of people throughout the country and the world who stay somewhat unified, congenial and helpful to each other even when we're not threatened.  I'm talking about model railroaders here.  We do seem to be connected in some way - perhaps related to the common science, art and goals that we all share, but mostly due to a sense of camaraderie and friendship - even with people we've never met.

At any rate, since I have a small venue in which I can communicate with others via this newsletter, I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to families who have lost loved ones, to those who are struggling and suffering, and my heartfelt gratitude to all those who are putting their own lives at risk to help others who are afflicted.  And I pray along with all of you that this great tragedy will end soon.

Gary Hoover's Norfolk and Western Railway

Despite the current state of the world, I was happy to see my favorite locomotive, the N&W J-Class 611, on the cover of the April, 2020 issue of Model Railroader recently.  The story is that Gary Hoover, a frequent contributor to MR, was inspired by the photography of O. Winston Link in the book "The Last Steam Railroad in America" to build his third major layout in his basement in Florissant, Missouri - which, by the way, just happens to be close to St. Louis, where the Gateway 2020 NMRA Convention is to be held in July (assuming, hoping it won't have to be cancelled).  I want to be the first to sign up for one of the fan trips that he is offering to visit this magnificent, 1950s era, late fall, early winter 24x49 foot HO layout during the convention.  Gary has incorporated many of the scenes that Link depicted in his famous photographs, which will be awesome to see in a three dimensional rendering!  The layout map by itself is magnanimous.  If the scenic pictures displayed in the article are anywhere near what the rest of the layout looks like, it will truly be a work of art and will be a thrill to visit in person.

Tips from the Past

These are tip-gems from past issues of BYMR-Zine and Tracks that I thought might be still helpful even now. Some techniques have changed, but some probably never will. Remember, the Search button at the top of every page will give you access to all these old issues. Also feel free to go to the "Newsletter" and click on the link to "Back Issues" for a world of information about model railroading collected over 12 years...

The first issue of BYMRR-Zine, June 1, 2009:

Hand Laying Track 

Hand laying your own track sounds intimidating to most model railroaders, but it's really not all that bad.  It's much cheaper than buying your own track, although much more time consuming.  It's best to start with straight track, then curves and then you can try turnouts. The tools available from Micromark are very helpful as you can see in the following video. Be sure to watch the next video as well which shows how to scratchbuild the ties.

Also, Fast Tracks is a great resource for materials needed for hand-laying track.

27 Historic Diesels

If you love diesels, you will love this video, even if you've seen it before.  It records a gathering of 27 historic streamliners all in one place at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, NC in May, 1914.  Clear, beautiful presentations of some of the most majestic, powerful transportation machines ever built...

More Great Videos

Another Look at Howard Zane's Piermont Division
(Don't skip the ad - It's very compelling)

Exclusive Preview of Great Model Railroads 2020

Tim Dickinson's Burlington Northern Layout Tour

Photo Etching at Home - The Ultimate in Scratchbuilding

A New Train Store

There's a new kid on the block!

Introducing a new online store associated with our BYMRR site, called The Building Your Model Railroad Hobby Central Train Station (The BYMRR Hobby Center, for short). This store caters to the serious model railroader (from beginner to advanced) and offers...

  • High quality products 
  • Very reasonable prices
  • Free shipping on most items in the US and Canada.
  • 30-day money back guarantee for any reason
  • Excellent Customer Service

The store is young and the inventory is limited, but new items are added every day. I hope you will give us a try. 

Upcoming Train Shows and Events

**Don't forget to register for Gateway 2020: the NMRA National Convention in St. Louis. Missouri,  July 12-18 !!!

(It's still on the calendar)

Also, I have to put in a plug here for the Carolina Special, the 2020 Mid-Eastern Region Convention to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, October 15-18, 2020.  The Mid-East Region (MER) of the NMRA comprises model railroaders from Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, D.C., and parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North and South Carolina.  This will be a great way to "pick up the pieces" and enjoy getting together to share our crafts.  It may be the first actual opportunity that we will have to do so.  If you don't live in MER territory, be sure to watch out for regional conventions in your area. Many have already been cancelled for this year, but like they say in baseball, "There's always next year!"  The ones that have been scheduled for later this year may still happen, so it's best to check the site and look at the section on "Region Conventions" before making plans.

Most local train shows will be cancelled for the foreseeable future, at least until July or later, so for the safety for all of us, we will just have to "hunker down" and work on our own model railroad projects at home. This would be a good time to work on getting a few of those AP (Achievement Program) certificates you've been wanting to get to but never had the time for.  I'm, of course, referring to working toward getting that Holy Grail of model railroading - The MMR (Master Model Railroader).  (Click on the links in the text for more information.)

Sunflower in front of rail car

√Model Railroading Books!

Learn even more tips and techniques from these great

Model Railroading DVDs

Model Train Supply Store

Buy all your supplies here!

Trains, tracks, electrical supplies, scenery, tools, paints, weathering supplies, buildings, locomotives with or without DCC, freight and passenger cars.

Available in all scales from 12 major manufactures!

Hope you enjoyed this issue of Tracks. Feel free to pass it on to your friends, family and other model railroaders. If you have a great tip or article that you would like to publish on the website, please let me know - The more, the better. Any comments or suggestions are always welcome. You can either go to the Comments/Contact Page and enter your suggestions there or contact me directly at [email protected]

Thank you for your support and for subscribing to the free newsletter for Building Your Model Railroad.

And, as always, thank you for visiting the BYMRR website at We are committed to providing all the newest techniques, tips and articles to help YOU build your own great model railroad!

-Greg Warth

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