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Rail Time - a Model Train Blog: Waffles

Sunday, July 13, 2008


I'm a waffler.

Not sure how that term came to mean flip-flopping on an issue (here's a start), but since it's election season, I'll use it here. In 25 years I went from modeling standard gauge HO Santa Fe (thanks to my first Bachmann train set) to standard gauge western freelance to Rio Grande Southern in HOn3 to freelance turn-of-the-last-century standard gauge Colorado freelance in HO (based on the Colorado Midland) to freelance early teens central PA standard gauge coal hauler (based on EBT and H&BTM) to N scale PRR 1950s in 2002.

And I've started waffling again.

A few months ago I started building a Conrail roster circa 1980; this was early Conrail when many locomotives and cars still wore the colors of their pre-Conrail owners with sloppy "CR" stencils barely covering the old paint. In contrast, many locomotives and cabin cars wore the new blue and white (Penn State?) scheme. Cabin cars (cabooses to non-PRR/CR types!) were still very much in use in 1980, as were many PRR and Penn Central cars in their original paint. It's a neat time to model. Plus, I was 6 at that time, and very impressionable. While railfanning with my Dad in PA at that time, we were usually in search of something more obscure, like the Stewartstown RR or the Maryland and Pennsylvania RR, but I always kept an eye on the Conrail/Amtrak mainline. I've been feeling nostalgic lately.

I guess it's a half-waffle.

I'm keeping the Pennsylvania RR equipment I've acquired and built. The good news is that the right-of-way didn't change much between 1956 (PRR) and 1980 (CR). The structures and vehicles changed, and the trees grew up a bit, but the scenery, bridges, and signals remained the same. I've mused aloud elsewhere on the web about how I might pull off a "dual-era" layout; it involves swapping trains, vehicles, and some structures. The real bonus is that it will help keep my tiny layout more interesting for a longer time. I hope that it can stick with me at least until I retire from the Air Force.

In the meantime, it's a fine waffle indeed.


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