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A Side Project: MD Tower

I’m playing catch-up on a few things and this is one of them. Better late than never, and all that. A friend is building a spectacular HO scale layout focusing on operations around Clarksburg, WV as the centerpiece. He asked if I could assist with building a laser cut model from some similar plans published in Model Railroader some years ago. I scanned in the drawings and went about trying to scale everything to fit. A bit of tweaking and I had a version 1.0 ready to go. This was laser cut and engraved into mat board, which is a great prototyping tool for making laser kits. Actually, I think it would be a great material overall for making inexpensive laser cut kits, but I digress. Here is a photo of the completed structure:

MD Tower in HO scale, version 1.0

The roof is made with strips of masking tape over the mat board, to give the look of shingles. This was a quick-and-dirty job. Just to get it done. Obviously, all of the windows, doors and other pieces are missing. This is to get the fitting correct.

I gave this version 1.0 structure to Matt and his buddy Brian couldn’t wait to paint & weather this stand-in model and get it situated on the layout with a few small modifications. I think it looks pretty awesome for a few minutes of work! 🙂

More is to come on this project. I am in the process of trying to develop the aluminum window frames, doors and other final pieces. Should be a neat model when it’s complete! Stay tuned…

Q-4 #4437 at Georgetown Junction, Feb 2, 1949

Another photo from my collection. I believe I purchased this on eBay but I’m not certain. The location is the far East end of the Georgetown Branch lead on the main line. B&O loco #4437 is on point as a crewman climbs aboard. The double-wide section shed is to the left, and still has its decorative trees in place. My best guess is that either they are dropping cars off at the team tracks or, more likely, picking them up from the yard. It appears the rest of their train is waiting on the Eastbound main of the Met. Looking at this photo just makes me feel cold! Enjoy!

19490202 BO 4437 Georgetown Jct
It’s a frosty February 2nd in 1949 and B&O Q-4 #4437 waits for orders as a crewman climbs aboard. Location is Georgetown Junction.

Layout Notes: Knife-Edge Blades For Cutting Homasote

Bosch T113A3
Bosch T113A3

I purchased a 3-pack of these Bosch T113A3 4″ T-shank jigsaw blades to make a go at cutting some 1/2″ Homasote that I will be using as subroadbed on the layout. My intent was to avoid the legendarily bad dust that is created using conventional wood-cutting, teethed blades. I have seen these type of blades around  but never given one a shot.

My initial impression was that the blade appears to be sharp and is wedge-shaped. It loaded easily in my DeWalt jigsaw and operated well. The initial cut into the Homasote was smooth and steady, to be expected and at first it seemed that it would work well. There was little dust. However, there was another problem. Smoke. Yep, after about 3-4″ the material started smoking heavily. I removed the blade from the material and the blade itself had burn marks on it. I switched to a regular wood-cutting blade and went back to cutting and it all worked out fine.

TL:DR: Knife-edge jigsaw blades are inappropriate for cutting Homasote. Stick with wood-cutting blades outside, with plenty of ventilation and preferably with a breeze to blow the dust away. Wear a mask!

View of Water St., Georgetown, ca. 1930

Aqueduct Bridge vignette, ca 1930
Aqueduct Bridge vignette, ca 1930

A fantastic and very rare view of Georgetown from beneath the Aqueduct bridge arch looking down Water St. You can see many things here including the new Key Bridge, the end of the Belgian block pavers that lined the street prior to it being converted to concrete and many of the waterfront buildings. An impressive view! (via the Old Time DC Facebook page)

View the image here at the Library of Congress: “Train tracks near Potomac River, Washington, D.C.

RIP Ray Mumford

Mr. Mumford passed away last Tuesday unexpectedly on Dec 13, 2011. His enthusiasm and pride for each and every photograph and story he shared with me was wonderful. I always considered his photo collection depicting the Georgetown Branch as the “missing link” of my research. I have never found any other sets of photos that document the railroad in the 40s and 50s as well as his. He was always friendly and helpful to me and I will never forget that. God Speed, Mr. Mumford.

To view photographs from the collection, click here.

Bethesda, from above

The recent addition of the Bethesda got me thinking that having some aerial views would be nice. Well, luckily there are some online resources for this. Here’s a link to Microsoft Terraserver showing an aerial photo ca. 1988. I know that much of the RR was wiped out by then, but it’s a start to gain some perspective on the city since online resources are so scarse.|bethesda|md|