Welcome to My HO Model Railroad Blog
This Blog is about my HO Model Railroad Hobby and how I model the Southern Pacific from my memories of the mid 1950s era as a teenager. I wrote a short synopsis of my back ground that can be found by going to my About Me page.

My layout is set in the mid 1950s in the Southern New Mexico/West Texas area. I grew up in El Paso Texas during the end of the Steam Era and lived in Alamogordo, NM during the 1960s & 70s. My wife and I are both retired and now reside in Bakersfield California. We have lived on both ends of the Southern Pacific Cab Forward Southern Route.

I recently learned that my type of layout is referred to as a "Twice Around", the mainline is one long double loop up and over it's self.

This is a simple track layout drawing of my Model Railroad.

My layout is essentially a modification of John Allen's first Gorre and Daphetid layout, he was and still is my model railroading mentor.

You can click on the colored text to follow the links.

I moved the About Me & My Layout articles to their own page because they seldom change.
Updated December 5, 2014

To go to my current Locomotive Inventory click here.
Updated September 14, 2015

To go to my additional pages scroll down to the bottom of my Blog, there are links to navigate my blog as well as other model railroad interests.

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I respond to all inquires about My Model Railroad.

Thanks for taking the time to visit my Blog!

March 5, 2022, New to my layout - Heavy Weight Lounge Car


I's been awhile since I have updated my Blog, growing old is the pits!!  I tore up my Control Panel January 2021 to make some modifications and got caught by a bad case of Arthritis most likely due to the weather change.  Its still unfinished, can't run my trains.

Being stuck in my recliner and or my computer chair I have been working at my workbench as much as my Arthritis will allow.

Below is a project that consumed quite a bit of my time, I love working with tiny people.

I had the working parts to create a Heavy Weight Lounge car so here is a Mel creation.



I bought this shell off eBay and it needs some surgery.


It became a donor for the Athearn Diner car soon to be Lounge car.  




I needed max head room so I filled the depression in the middle of the Athearn floor with #8 bird shot then covered the small bbs with Styrene sheet.





I mounted sockets in the floor for the tables with the LED lamps. 



I mounted a 2K ten turn pot on the floor in the doorway to adjust the LED brightness.


 The staff room lighting is finished.



This is the shell mounted connector for the over head LEDs in the lounge.



This shows the connectors for the overhead lighting mounted to the shell (female) and floor (male).  The two connectors slip together when the shell is slipped on to the floor, no loose wiring.


Partially occupied and LEDs on.

The drinking glasses are 1mm diameter fiber optic cable approximately ⅛" long.



Interior finished.






October 2, 2020 Woodland Scenics Aermotor Windmill

 I like seeing things move on my layout so I'm adding a Woodland Sciences Aermotor Windmill.  It came in kit form made of cast metal and while I normally don't like to bad mouth products this kit left me with a bitter taste.  All of the castings except the fan were badly bent out of the box.  It is definitely not a beginners kit.  I managed to clean up the bent pieces and used super glue to assemble the parts.  And I ended up overall with a pretty nice looking windmill.

The base is three layers of .03" Styrene sheet stock staggered in size to create uneven ground.  I used WS scenery flocking for the ground cover.

I used a small 12 volt 6000 RPM motor and robotic gears to turn the fan, the gear ratio is approximately 50:1.  With the voltage set to 10 volts the fan turns at about 100RPM and looks pretty realistic to me.


October 8, 2020 Mabuchi FK-280SA motor

I made a great find for a direct replacement motor for the Athearn Blue Box locomotives, the Mabuchi FK-280SA.

The actual motor number to look for is Mabuchi FK-280SA-14200  12300RPM Dual Shaft Motor



The motor has 2mm OD shafts and the Athearn flywheels have 3mm ID.  My first few attempts were to us K&S 3mm brass tubing as shown in the following pictures.


I us a short piece of 2mm rod to hold the brass sleeve until the glue sets up.


The K&S tubing is a tad small in the Athearn flywheel so carefully making sure the brass sleeve is fully covered with CA Gel or Super Glue Gel the thick glue will self fill the difference in diameter. 

The 2mm shaft is helped by the 2mm hole in the Athearn universal.


Later on with the help of Hornblower (Model Railroad Forum Member) I found out that Evergreen #224 Styrene tubing is a perfect snug fit for the motor to flywheel sleeve adapter, regular CA or Super Glue and you are done.

Below is one of my Athearn SD9s with a Mabuchi Motor installed.  To keep the wires from touching the flywheels I use a short section of Evergreen Rectangular Tubing #258 to house the wires above the motor using Amazing Goop to attach it to the motor.


I use Micro Connector Pins to connect the wires to the Athearn trucks making the trucks easy removable without having to get out the soldering iron.  Red and Black #20 AWG Superflex wire, red to the right (engineer side) rail black to the left rail.  I always wire both sides of the trucks for better power connection, I don't depend on the truck to frame connection.

I don't intend to install a DCC decoder in my SDs, I always run my SDs in DC mode on my layout.  It would be very easy to install a decoder in any Athearn BB locomotive as the Mabuchi motors are fully insulated to the motor shell.

I use Amazing Goop to attach the motors to the Athearn Frames, a small .08" strip filler between the frame and motor gives perfect drive line alignment. 


May 5, 2020 My HO scale M38 Jeep

I was down a our local park with my great grand daughter when I stepped on something in the grass.  It was a tiny military jeep, M38.  It looked like I had been there for years.  Marked on the bottom was 1:87.  Needless to say it went in to my pocket.

When I got home I cleaned it up and the wheels were in perfect condition, the windshield was broken on one corner but other wise it was in very good shape.

It cleaned up very nicely as you can see.

I cut out the floor boards to make room for the passengers legs.

I cut a small piece of clear Styrene for the window glass.

I installed 1206 chip LEDs for headlights and taillight.

I painted it civilian metallic gray with tan seats and the traditional Red Jerry Can.

For a lost and found kids toy I ended up with a very nice jeep for my layout.

Apil 15,2020 Kenworth tractor & trailer Lighting

This is my first attempt at a complex LED lit vehicle.  1mm micro bulbs would have been much easier and faster.  I can't find a source for the 1mm 1½ volt micro bulbs so I'm stuck using LEDs.

I still have to paint the roof to cover up my errors then trim the marker fibers.

Even working on the bottom is a problem, the #36 Litz wire has a mind of its own.

The marker LEDs turned out pretty good but the taillights need work.

I went with a polarized micro connector between tractor and trailer (polarized because of the LEDs).

All the rest of my vehicles operate on 1.4 volts and use a Mel connector to the road for power, I decided to go with Arduino connectors on my LED lit vehicles to prevent having the ability to plug in a 1.4 volt vehicle into a 12 volt socket would be very bad.

I'll trim the marker fibers after I paint the roof.

When it's finished I'll update this post with a finished picture.

The LEDs are all installed, wired and working.

The 1206 LEDs were a bit large for the taillights so I ordered some 0603 LEDs, they are not easy to work with.

As this picture shows the tiny 0603 compared to a 1206, the 1206 is below Roosevelt's ear and the 0603 is near his nose.