Sunday, April 3, 2016

"The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco." Mark Twain

We just returned from our West Coast trip which took us on a Pacific voyage from San Francisco, down the coast of California to Ensenada Mexico, and back to San Francisco.  It was a nice relaxing itinerary, though the weather was chilly for California and Mexico, consistently in the low 60's with temps in the low 50's at night even in Mexico.

Despite it's short comings in it's political state, California is beautiful and it's real hard to justify why I live in NJ when there is such a beautiful place to live like CA.  Santa Barbara was stunning, peaceful and relaxing, and I loved San Diego too.  I was able to visit the La Mesa Club at the San Diego MR Museum and pictures do not do justice to what they have accomplished there. One of the members invited me into the layout and I was able to take a lot of great pictures.  If there is interest I'll share some here in the near future.

San Francisco was the crown jewel of the trip.  Cable cars were fun to ride but the thing RR wise that got me excited was the vintage PCC trolley cars of the F Line.  Being a closet traction and trolley fan I was having a blast photographing the various cars painted for the lines they came from.  One of my favorites was a Red Arrow car from Philly and of course the Newark City Subway car painted in original Public Service paint scheme.  Again, I know this is a blog about my Ma & Pa RR layout and you're expecting an update, so I hesitate to post the pics here but if there is interest, I will do so.


I gave a clinic at the Valley Forge RPM in Malvern PA two weekends ago.  In a break from my usual update on the layout clinic I did one on building helixes, and specifically my backbone helix.  There was Ma & Pa content in the clinic as I covered how I model the town of Yoe on the outer loops of the helix.  I had pictures of how I've done the scenery there.  It was a great weekend catching up with many friends and especially nice to see Dick Bradley and Art Kuperstein again!  

There is a open house coming up in May during the next NJ Division NMRA meet so I need to kick things into gear and get the layout cleaned up and more progress done before then.


  1. Your helix clinic dd a good job of showing how you built it. I worry that glued components, particularly to hardboard, may not have sufficient strength or long life. Afterwards conversation raised the possibility of incorporating some metal brackets with screws through the hardboard. The objection to this was marring of the visible side. This can be fixed with spackling. And the question of adustibility of the brackets arose. Remember the oval hole which allows some vertical movement.

    I've just returned from the NMRA Mid Central Region convention in Columbus, Ohio. It was a very well run meeting, some old friends, some new acquaintaces. Clinics taught me things to do - and not to do. I took four cars from my self to show as a Ma & Pa display. But there was no display category, just contest entries. Caboose 2002 and baggage 44 each took first place in their categories.

    I'm looking forward to the Ma &Pa meet in Strasburg in June.
    Dick Bradley

  2. Hi Dick,

    It was great to see you at the Valley Forge RPM in Malvern this past February. I got a lot of good feedback on that clinic and it was the first time presenting it. I'm doing it again June 3rd at the NERPM in CT. Unfortunately the RPM is the same weekend as the Society meet so I won't be making it to Strasburg.