Alan Anderson's
Kristenville and Micheleville RR

Dave Renard's
Sylvania   Central RR

March 9, 2008

Anderson pics
click to see Alan's album

  March's double open house in Belair was certainly worth the ride. I started out at Alan Anderson's Kristenville and Micheleville RR where he models a 1920 steam railroad as it claws its way thru the mountains of Pennsylvania.  The railroad itself is in one large room with another smaller room filled with a town on the edge of a mountain and a third narrow area filled with a helix and staging.
        The main line is standard gauge with all the rural Pennsylvania industries you can imagine. Sawmills, coal mines, local brewery, local bar to drink the beer in, lemon soda bottler, hardware and mining supplier are but a few of the buildings Alan has built and super detailed.
         The narrow gauge division is primarily a logging enterprise with dual gauge track up to the main stop. This division has everything from geared locos to a pile driver with an extremely detailed high line as the focus of one corner.
         A little history lesson is needed to explain the high line. Alan told me that the railroad was able to hire a rigging boss from Oregon who devised the high line which increased production tremendously. I should admit that logging operations have long intrigued me. You could see every shackle, snatch block, sheave and slack feeder ready to go on this model.  Directly behind the high line is a panoramic picture of the Canadian north woods that makes you feel as if you are in the woods yourself.
Renard pics
click to see Deve's album
          I then drove over to Dave Renard's Sylvania  Central RR. This railroad is loosely based on the Reading which Dave saw growing up north of Philadelphia. This railroad's time period is the 60 with diesels lettered for the reading and the Sylvania. Dave is a MMR and there are some items on the railroad that just amazed me with the effect he achieved using everyday materials.
         The first were the concrete retaining walls and a dam made using built up strips (styrene, participle board) and then painted with Ralph Lauren paint. These were simple yet stunning in their effect. Behind the dam he used a panoramic picture like Alan that gives the dam a just the right touch. Another treat is the coal tipple that actually loads real coal into the hoppers and the rotary dumper that unloads them.
          One thing that stood out was that the industries on both railroads seemed to be alive. There were scores of figures on both and the industries were a part of the railroad and not just buildings put on the layout. Take the car ferry on the Sylvania as an example. The ferry is used for operations and what do you see but a man standing in the center of the tracks directing traffic. Another example is a meat packer with slabs of beef ready to load. The K&M is the same way. You have workers on loading docks, men in period clothes, old cars all around, houses being painted
         Both of these railroads will be open for the convention so if you missed them this time make an effort to see them then.
         When you do visit them in the future be sure to take a good look and see all the detail and humor that went into these two railroads. Look for "Siesta Motors- cars built while you sleep" or the house painters that look like they had one too many Yeunglings at lunch.

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