Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"We come from the land of the ice and snow, From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.." The Immigrant Song- Led Zeppelin

I was very busy this past month.  Amy and I just returned from our cruise of the North Sea and Baltic Sea region in Europe.  I literally finished work on the last day of school June 19th, ran home, grabbed our bags, hopped in a cab to Newark Liberty, and took off for England that night!  We had gotten a phenomenal deal on a 12 night cruise out of Dover England on Carnival and sailed to Copenhagen Denmark, Warnemunde Germany, Helsinki  Finland, St. Petersburg Russia, Talin Estonia and Brugges Belgium.  What a fantastic itinerary and we had a very enjoyable vacation!  What does this have to to do with modeling the Ma & Pa you ask?  Not a damn thing outside of obviously not being able to work on the layout during this time. :p  But if you would indulge me, I'd like to share a little of what we saw on this trip (train related) and I promise some Ma & Pa RR 1943 layout content at the end. ;)

In Warnemunde Germany (which used to be in what was once East Germany) we boarded a coach bus to visit the "Molli" RR in Bad Doberan.

The Molli is a narrow gauge line (900 mm) that runs from Bad Doberan to Kuhlengsborn on the Baltic Sea coast.  It was founded in 1886.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm a closet traction fan so I really enjoyed seeing a lot of the tram systems throughout our travels around the world.  This tram was on one of the main thoroughfares in Helsinki Finland.

A local commuter train at the Helsinki Train Station.

Another highlight of the trip for me rail wise was our excursion into the Metro Subway in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The subway was built at up to 100 meters (about 300 feet) below ground during the Stalin Era.  It's one mighty long escalator ride to get in and out of the Metro.

Inside and out, the equipment doesn't look like it's changed much during the years.

Our train pulling into the station.

One of the lines we traveled.

A modern tram in the middle of St. Petersburg.

Here is an older, more utilitarian looking tram located in Talin Estonia.

One of the unique things we experienced on the cruise was the midnight sun.  In St. Petersburg they call it "White Nights".  Here in this photo it's just past midnight.

Another look at the midnight sun. This was taken just after midnight the night
after we sailed from St. Petersburgh. The sun finally sets around 1am and rises again just after 4am this time of year.

And how could we be in London and not ride on their famed "Tubes"?  The London Underground was the most convenient way to get around the city, and it is celebrating it's 150th year of operation, having first opened in 1863!

Thanks for indulging me and now time for some Ma & Pa RR 1943 layout related content:

While we were away, Sign-O-Matic, a sign engraving company based in Sweden: 

was producing and shipping an order for some layout signs that I designed on their website.  I've seen quite a few other model railroaders using their service and all of them say they were pleased with what they received from Sign-O-Matic.  I kicked some designs back and forth with my friend Jim Fawcett and we debated (or as Jim said at one point: we OBSESSED over) the right design before I finally bit the bullet and ordered the signs just before I left.  

Here are the signs I ordered from Sign-O-Matic in Sweden.  I designed the 3 town signs with feedback from my friend Jim Fawcett.  I also designed direction arrows for orientation, and some nice little Ma & Pa heralds for each location.

I'm very pleased with the way these signs turned out!  The total cost was $43 USD (that included $4.50 shipping from Sweden) and I feel the quality of these engraved acrylic signs are well worth the price.

And don't think the irony of the fact I probably crossed paths with my signs during our trip to the Baltic after they were shipped didn't cross my mind.  We were just across The Øresund Bridge from Sweden while we were in Copenhagen Denmark.  Maybe I could have picked them up in person and saved the $4.50 shipping...


  1. Looks like you two had a great time Ted. Thanks for sharing your pictures. But Amy is way more photogenic than you are! :>)