North Shore Electric

This is all my Uncle Paul's 2 rail O scale from his basement in Gloucester MA.  I have been storing all of his equipment and salvaging the layout for restoration.  I am planning on setting up the pieces to set up as modules.  Hopefully I will have a few more sections ready for display next year.Standard gauge O scale Nehigh Valley Transit East Bay Terminal.  
North Shore Electric Rwy (42 inch gauge trolleys) set up in my garage.  The Nehigh Valley Southern cuts through (3 ft narrow gauge railroad).
NVT set up at its first train show...Upstate Model Railroaders show in South Glens Falls.
Brad Peterson

Tree Modeling

If you've been keeping up with the sporadic "chapters"  you know I'm a stickler for trying to accurately portray the scenery found in the Northeast.  While I make no claims to being a botanist, I am an observer of nature.  That said - there's a wide variety of tree species that CAN'T be modeled with "Super Trees" alone.  So far I've found ways to successfully portray Oaks, Maples, Pine, Hemlock, and Birch (among others) but Sycamores escaped me.  Fortunately for my size layout one signature tree was sufficient - 'cause modeling them somewhat accurately is TIME CONSUMING.
For my model Sycamore I used stranded picture frame wire to make the basic structure (This technique has been written up many times over the years in the model press.) After I was content with the form I created I coated it with Liquitex Modeling Paste and Gesso.  I referred to my photos at every step including (of course) the final painting and addition of Poly Fiber & ground foam foliage

This tree is a signature model and as such you only need (depending on the size of your layout) to make one or two.  While the Sycamore may not grow in the area you model, Cottonwoods can be done using the same technique.

As for Sumac - STILL trying….

Regards to ALL,
Wayne Sittner


Model Railroading isn't Just Trains!

I'm full up on buildings and I have enough railroad equipment to populate my layout several times over.  I've been concentrating on vehicles lately.   Actually portraits of cars & trucks I'm intimately familiar with.  All 1/87th of course! First Is my old '76 Celica (winter beater)

My son-in-law Jeff's work truck with its refueling set-up
 My '90 Saab 900T and what I went through to build it accurately.

The Stegmaier beer truck is for one of Wilkes-Barre's premier beers.

Jeff's VW camper bus.
This model railroading can have many avenues worth exploring.  

Wishing you well,
Wayne Sittner

Railroad Royalty

We have visiting royalty this weekend in New England railfan circles! The Norfolk Southern, Norfolk and Western Heritage engine wearing its one of a kind paint scheme! Even better, it was arriving in the preferred position...........LEADING its train, a 28N, which terminates at Ayer, Mass on Pan Am Southern (PAS) and has the same train number both coming and going, an oddity to me at least. Announced well in advance of 28Ns arrival in the area, when the train finally arrived at the PAS yard in Mechanicville, NY around 6 a.m., it sat in the yard all day and into the night waiting for a PAS crew to take the train eastward into Mass.!  Crews were called then reassigned, another crew call time was set back a couple hours into Friday evening. I found out about this crew being set back a couple hours afterwards, and it dawned on me that I might get lucky tonight!
So it was that at twenty one minutes after midnight I was driving through downtown Hinesburg southbound for PAS at Eagle Bridge, NY! I have never done well with eastbounds coming out of Mechanicville on PAS because of this variability in departure times, but here was a Heritage engine! Certainly worth making the effort to shoot! I have shot the N&W engine once before, down in Summerhill, PA. during spring of 2012. My plan for this adventure was to arrive at Eagle Bridge (over two hrs. away) and check signals, hoping to get some indication of 28Ns whereabouts. If an eastbound is out of Mechanicville the signal would be other than all red indication. The dreaded sunrise would come around 06:21 this morning. I had a small window of time for 28N to appear in darkness.
Arriving in Eagle Bridge around 02:40ish, the e.b. signal was displaying red over yellow over red, indicating an e.b. was indeed out of Mechanicville! The westbound Home signals were all red, telling of a meet planned at Eagle Bridge. I scampered over to nearby Hoosick Falls only to find both my locations featured a dump truck in the view! That would’nt do! I headed out further east for North Adams, meeting the westbound heading for Eagle Bridge roughly half way between the two towns around 03:15ish, and figured to have ninety minutes at minimum before this unknown e.b. would be in North Adams. My window of opportunity before sunrise was closing fast! I finished my trip, arriving across from the yard office in North Adams and setting up the lights and all by 04:45ish. As I wait the dispatcher comes on air talking to a 28N asking to make a move in Mechanicville Yard! I stare over at the car scanner perched on the half open window, saying to myself............”You gotta be kidding me!” 28N has been there for a good part of the day and they are just now switching out the train?! I conclude this 28N must be todays 28N, not yesterdays with the Heritage engine leading that I am set up for.
I can hear the unknown e.b. slowly approaching for over twenty min. Air horn blasts and GE prime movers revving up! It is well after five a.m., the surrounding mountains are silhouetted by the brightening sky. My window of time before dawn closing faster! Suddenly, the equipment detector west of town comes on air, proclaims no defects, and silence returns. I’m happy, this guy is going to make it past me before dawn! But........is it 28N? And, will he stay on the main? If he comes up the (closer to me) passing track...............I’m screwed! Headlight glow brightens the area below the bridge over the Hoosac Trench, I fire off the lighting and watch as headlights come into view...........ON THE MAIN! Yes! Holding up the tiny Ricoh GR I’m watching my edges and the level indicator as the leader rolls upgrade into the scene at around twenty mph. I glance up at the leaders number boards..............8103! That’s the one! Passing my mark, the shutter is released and the lighting reflects back SUCCESS! What a location to see the N&W engine!
Shot in North Adams, MA. on August 27, 2016 at 05:19. Special thanks to John “Cully” Cullinan for pointing out this location to me and train info! Also to Richard Wingler for his help! Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2016;


Ed, Sarah & EJ

I was approached by NECR engineer/conductor Ed Ferguson earlier this year about the chances of meeting me during the summer sometime, in Gorham, NH, to take a night photo of Eds family with SLR train 393 coming by. I of course, said sure! Knowing of the increased appeal that having people in night photos of trains brings. We settled on last Friday evening to meet and the scene with the church for the composition. A classic New England scene, only available to be enjoyed with a train during the four nights a week the Saint Lawrence & Atlantic (SLR) operates presently. I had shot the scene a few times before with the late Don Provencher and friends posing, so I was comfortable with what I was getting into. I invited Dons sister Linda to stop by and say hello, (she could not make it) and............I invited Lin and Hugh Chapman from over in Gilead, Maine, with the understanding beforehand that it was to be a family portrait for Ed. Inviting Lin and Hugh turned out to be a stroke of good fortune!
The big unknown in the days leading up to Friday was what time? My previous week spent on the west end of the SLR in Island Pond at Lakeside Camping had seen 394 departing later than normal from town, once after 2300. They exchanged trains with 394s crew in Berlin, NH around 0200 to 0300. The Chapmans, who live trackside in Gilead reported hearing 393 going by recently between 2330ish and midnight thirty! I suggested to Ed and The Chapmans that we meet at 2200, thinking it better to be safe and hang around waiting, than late and get no photo at all. So I came rolling into downtown Gorham around 2130, happily noticing the temp readout at a bank of 69 degrees, pulled to a stop at the town green and began to set up the lighting for the church and house. I was soon joined by Ed, Sarah and four years young Ed Jr. (EJ) and we exchanged greetings. EJ was full of energy, seeing me again he knew the orange train was coming! LOL! Ed and Sarah corralled EJ while I finished setting up a flash unit, then we moved over across the tracks to where we would shoot the photo.
I was halfway through setting up the lighting for the train when the Chapmans arrived, and they brought news! Lins brother had been recruited to be the lookout for us and he had just called to say 393 was going through Gilead at that time! Earlier than expected! How out of character for the railroad. Ten pm was looking like a good time to meet. Lin and Hugh get another Gold Star for driving over with such timely train info! We figured Gilead to be around thirty minutes away by train so we were all happy at the prospect of 393 coming by before midnight. Fifteen min. later found everyone in their places! Gary atop the stepladder, Ed, Sarah and EJ down below me on the lawn and Lin and Hugh Chapman standing off to the side (happy to be watching and not posing?). Several minutes pass by as I tweaked the flash units and moved Ed, Sarah and EJ around, then we waited, shootin’ the breeze until 393s locomotives could be heard just before the engineer began whistling for the first grade crossing coming into town.
Once over the grade crossing, 393 heads up tangent track which brings them through our set up by the church, and I fire off an awareness flash of the lights for the crew. I get a couple toots acknowledging they saw it. A mass of headlights appear coming up to Glen Road crossing just below us, dissolving into the triangle shape of locomotive headlights and the shape of a cab emerging from the darkness. Spellbinding to watch at night, as the locomotives complete this beautiful New England landscape! Once over Glen Road crossing the leaders pilot plow comes into position and the lighting flashes out, reflecting back.........success! Then the engines are rolling past me at maybe twenty to thirty mph. A short consist follows then silence slowly returns. Only in examining the photo afterwards does Ed point out how both of the SLRs (rare) GP 40Xs were in the engine consist! 3806 leading with 3805 trailing! Shot in Gorham, NH on July 29, 2016 at 22:32. Special thanks to all involved! Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2016;
Gary Knapp

Background Modeling


Wayne Sittner

My Specialty

One of the new locations I got to enjoy while staying with my sister in Wells, Maine was the station on Pan Am in nearby Kennebunk. Built in 1872, an example of “stick style” architecture, there are plans in the works for converting the west end of the building into a stop on Amtraks Downeaster route. Hopefully Amtrak will not get carried away modernizing/scarring the building and surroundings. Westport, NY comes to mind with its Amtrak wheelchair lift storage shed installed at the north end of the platform. One good thing here is the building already is equipped with an elevated platform of sorts! For now, Kennebunk station makes a wonderful location for shooting eastbound Pan Am freights, and on slow nights even Amtrak Downeasters cruising past! Unfortunately, the west end of the station lacks a “Kennebunk” station sign at present, making it less appealing for night photos of westbounds. I am not knowledgeable about traffic yet, relying on friends in the area as to what to expect. The trains to and from CSXTs Selkirk Yard from Portland I saw each of three nights I shot here but no eastbound Pan Am freights. Until tonight!
This time of year, I take my chances with the shortest nights to shoot in. Unless it is overcast, the “dreaded dawn effect” is evident around 04:30! My last night here for this visit, a saturday night, I enjoyed lobstah for dinner, my sister treated, then came up here, a mere five miles from Wells, determined to at least give my specialty at night a try, the “all night stakeout” (a.k.a. stare down with the railroad) hoping to get a chance at a passing Pan Am freight. Arriving at nine pm, an extra Downeaster move went past as I set up, then silence until around 01:00 when a scheduled Downeaster sped past. Around 3 a.m. I got a call from Brian Jennison west of me in Newmarket, NH telling of an eastbound Pan Am freight spotted going past his house! At the time we talked the signal west of my location had been green for a while and I was ready to shoot what turned out to be a long Pan Am POED (Portland to East Deerfield). Afterwards, as I happily went about relocating the lights for the eastbound Brian reported, the unknown was “IF” the e.b. would be held up meeting POED long enough to pass by too late, after dawn?
Happily, as you can see in the attached photo, the eastbound delivered success! The fog delayed the brightening of the sky which helped. Not knowing what to expect for a leader, I was hoping for one of Pan Ams group of SD 40-2s. Standing next to the stepladder, it was quiet enough to allow me to hear the train blowing for the crossing five miles away in Wells. The engineer was accelerating out of Wells, I listened to the EMDs through a muffling highway overpass, out the near side then he throttled back and silence returned. Up atop the stepladder I was smiling to myself, thinking how of course the westbound must have mentioned to the crew of a night photo up at Kennebunk when they met earlier! These guys are coming in in “stealth mode”! At night, trains can be amazingly silent, foggy conditions like tonight muffle train noise even more it seems. Looking down the tracks, time seems to stop. A minute passes perhaps before headlight glow can be discerned in the fog, I fire off the lighting for the crews benefit, then a mass of light appears, becomes the triangle shape of headlights and ditchlights, and I watch as the shape of the leader comes into the scene out of the haze, glancing at the number board, see “600”! Idling along at track speed, maybe forty mph, 600s nose passes my mark and the lighting, with the GR, captures the moment! Then the head end glides past with a short consist, minutes ahead of dawn.
That was worth waiting for! I hope you agree. Cloud nine stuff for me! Afterwards I met Gordon Collins, who lives up the street from the station, out walking his lab “Trapper”, and we had a pleasant conversation. Gordon thought, not knowing what I was up to, that I might have been surveying for Amtrak, and contributed as to how plans were to convert a portion of the station into a stop for the Downeasters. He was more interested upon learning I was taking train photos with flash units to share with others, and he now joins you on this list! Welcome Gordon! Shot in Kennebunk, Maine on June 5, 2016 at 04:21. Special thanks to Brian Jennison, for getting out of bed at 3 a.m. in time to confirm the passing train was an eastbound! Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2016;
Gary Knapp


RPI Op Session

On April 30th Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY had a operation session, here's a few photos.

 Port Henry, NY

Summertime backyard in Troy, NY

Just One Look

Another member of the Norfolk Southern Heritage Locomotive group visited Pan Am Southern (PAS) recently! The ERIE Railroad Heritage engine, NS 1086, led 22K east over to Ayer, MA. Monday, returning Tuesday on the point of 23K, departing early in the afternoon around 13:30ish. I planned to shoot it at Elm St. in Hoosick Falls, but the train made a fast run over and we both arrived at Elm St. crossing at the same time around 20:30ish! Seven hours running time Ayer to Hoosick Falls is very good! We will note this would happen only when a Heritage engine leads! (Big smile) Not really the desired effect. Undeterred, I recalled the old adage, about how when you miss a photo not to dwell on it, it just means there is a better shot waiting further down the road. Admittedly, I may have followed this thinking to an extreme tonight! Lol!
I shot 23K with the 1086 at three locations later into the overnight, ending up in Afton, NY of all places! Over five hours drive away from home in Hinesburg. It was around 2 a.m. and I was not liking the locations I had come down here to shoot 23k within. What to do? I opted to head back north toward the train I wanted to shoot to look around Bainbridge, the next town north of Afton. In railfan circles this is not considered to be the best idea in this situation, as you are “inviting” the train you want to shoot to suddenly appear as you drive back towards it. Bainbridge is less than ten miles away, so I take rte. 7 leaving Afton and do not make the time consuming drive going back out to the Interstate. This move likely saved me from missing the attached photo!
I had visited Bainbridge years ago, remembered the D&H station and more importantly, how to find it at night! Pulling into the parking lot across from the station I was reminded of the lyrics to the hit song.......”Just One Look”, made popular by Doris Troy and more recently Linda Ronstadt.................”Just one look, that’s all it took yeah, just one look”. Here were the ingredients for a night photo, location shown by the town offices sign on the ex-D&H station, the American flag flying and the main line up close, ensuring no mistake on the viewers part what the subject is. Very similar to Elm St. crossing in Hoosick Falls! The only restriction I had to work around was a sign to my immediate left limiting the angle I had available to include the station canopy with.
So I go about setting up the lighting, have maybe five flash units in place when I hear an air horn off to the north of town! Jeesome Crow! They are here I thought to myself. I drag the stepladder out of the rear of the Civic, making a considerable racket with unused light stands tossed around in the process. Spot the stepladder next to the sign with the tiny Ricoh GR already around my neck. A couple test shots look promising! I walk over and move my mark up closer, then return to the car to grab another already assembled flash unit/light stand and place it third or fourth down the line of flashes in the parking lot to the right. Now 23K is obviously close by, in town, whistling for grade crossings. The air horn blasts are close together, indicating they might be moving faster than when I shot them earlier and they were going by slowly. Another test shot atop the stepladder with the adjusted lighting looks surprisingly good!
I can hear the diesels, but can not see headlights looking up the track maybe 1/8 mi. to a curve............. then the crossing signals activate directly behind me! An “eyebrow raiser” for sure! I know what this implies, and think to myself..........OH,OH! LOL! Headlight glow appears as another grade crossing is whistled for, lighting up the curve and I fire off the lighting to alert the crew. Around the curve comes 23K in the form of  1086s headlights! Handholding the Ricoh GR, I’m watching the level indicator on the rear and glancing at the approaching 1086 with my mark seen above the camera across the tracks and again think.......OH,OH, as 1086 quickly descends into the scene, its engineer whistling for the crossing behind me! I know enough to press the shutter release when 1086s pilot plow is “around” my mark, at this speed, close is good enough! Then the power is by me, containers rolling by. Up atop the stepladder is a smiling Gary looking at this image! Shot in Bainbridge, NY on April 13, 2016 at 03:00. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2016;
Gary Knapp


Build a Static Grass Applicator

I wanted a static grass applicator, $40 or $130??!  I built one for five dollars and 30 minutes of work! Here's the article Build a Static Grass Applicator for Model Train Scenery It works great, see my results above!

Rob D

Model Spike Drums

These metal spike barrels were prevalent in the '80's after the ones contained in wooden barrels were used up.  Grandt Line N scale oil barrels can be used but a more accurate, cheap and time effective way is to use Evergreen Styrene 1/8" tubing. I simply cut the pieces 2' (scale) tall, thinned the walls to a more protypical thickness, filled the bottoms with Squadron putty and painted them appropriately.
Prototype example from Bellows Falls.

Wayne Sittner


Progress Report Photos

I have been working along on my own layout, added a few photos to show some progress...
Above is my version of the bridge over Lake Memphremagog in Newport, Vermont. It's no where the what the real bridge looks like, but I like this one better!


 I built a feeder canal that goes through Ethan Allen furniture...work in progess

North end of the St Johnsbury yard....painted the fascia, with staging below...

Enjoy, Rob

D&H Fleet

Aaron's D&H fleet is expanding, a few photos to share....


Doug Dederick- Great Northern RR Kalispell Division

Hudson- Berkshire Division visited the N Scale Great Northern RR Kalispell Division of Doug Dederick's basement empire. The amount of progress that has been made is impressive. New track work, new scenery, new structures - and operating sessions have all been the goal of Doug's endeavors as he looks toward hosting at the HBD PACEMAKER Convention in September.