HO scale coal dump

Don’s been in touch with his HO scale coal dump:

“It was nice to see my kit bashing of trestles. Here are two more.

I made a coal dump. That is real coal off Ebay.

The second is short curved trestle at Harpers Ferry with the Susquehanna River. It meets the Potomac River here.

I had a problem with my scenery as shown by the open hole. The Harpers Ferry Station did not cover it. I added a canopy and trees. This is where the B&O crossed the Potomac River

The truss bridges are cut down Atlas kits. The supports for twin track girder bridge are Atlas bridge piers #81.

They are cut horizontally at the slots and then vertically. They are glued and .080 styrene added. Then weathered.


model railroad kit bash

(Unfortunately this is the only pic of the HO scale coal dump! But the rest are just as impressive.)

HO scale bridge

kit bashing

HO scale bushes

HO scale building

HO scale bridge water

HO scale bridge water

HO scale tunnel

HO scale tunnel

HO bridge

HO scale tunnel

HO scale tunnel

HO scale model railroad

I love that Don used real coak in his HO scale coal dump!

Over the years lots of ‘coal’ tips have come in – here are a few more that I could find with a quick look:

Robert’s uses black cinder purchased from a fabric store:

model railroad coal

(It’s in the middle of this post: Model train foam mountain.

And then there is Charles who scratch built a coal dump pit:

coal pit grill

Now on to Bob.

You may remember he recently sent in this wiring ‘how-to’.

Now he’s helping with something I get mailed a lot on – lihts and LEDs:


I picked up some dwarf signals at Aliexpress. I got 1o I a pack for $11.04 USD. You get 10 dwarf signals, 10 red LEDs, 10 Green LEDs, and 10 resistors.

LED for model railroad

Even though you must assemble them, to me they are a good buy. The only problem is that the dwarf signals have no backs. So once I position the LEDs, I use hot glue on the back to secure them.

gluing LED for model railroad

To finish them I apply liquid tape to the back.

taping LED

They look good when installed. If any light shines through the backs, a touch of liquid tape solves the problem.

LED lights model railroad

Thanks for hosting this great site.

Bob in Virginia”

A huge thanks to Don for his HO scale coal dump and to Bob too.

Please do keep ’em coming, folks, it’s all getting a bit thin on the ground this end.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if you want to take that magical first step.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

23 Responses to HO scale coal dump

  1. Jim says:

    The Shenandoah River flows into the Potomac at Harper’s Ferry. The Susquehanna is further north and flows directly into Chesapeake Bay.

  2. Very nice looks real nice art work.

  3. Robert Brady says:

    Don, All you water scenes are superb.I can see your layout is a work in progress.
    The Critic

  4. Cary B says:

    Nice details Don, you have done a great job on the rivers junction at Harpers Ferry.
    Been to that station to rail fan and chat with waiting Amtrak passengers.
    The whole area is interesting, my wife and I live about 30 minutes away. Thanks for sharing

    Cary B New Market MD

    PS. Maryland Midland RR fan

  5. Gregory Schaefer says:

    I agree with Robert and Cary. The water looks great. Can you share your technique with us please?

  6. Bill Suarez says:

    I use the same dwarf signals from Evemodel but I use Plastidip liquid plastic, black, to coat the backs.

    Lowes carries it.

  7. Bob Shipley says:

    Bob in Va- I used a similar dwarf signal on my layout (O scale). I used polystyrene tubing cut in half to cover the backs. I also cut a small piece of flat stock to make a top. Painted the whole thing flat black when I was done.

    Bob in NY

  8. Great idee and beutiful layout, made make a video from yor layout and put him online for al.
    HC Treintje Belgium Herman C.

  9. Marklin Ed. N Y says:

    THANKS Al. For the great web site. Great stuff Don and Bob, learning so much good and new ideas.

  10. Chris Warr says:

    Lovely detail and finishing touches, thanks for sharing

  11. Erick says:

    What size resistor did you use. I have a bunch of lights that needs a resistors.

  12. Alabama Mike says:

    Don, great work. I enjoyed the pictures very much. The scenery is beautiful. Also, you did a great job on the coal dump.

  13. Alabama Mike says:

    Bob, thanks for all the wiring tips.

  14. don kadunc says:

    Jim, that is correct. It is the Shenandoah River at Harpers Ferry.

  15. great layout don I love the paasenger trains
    thanks for the heads up on the signals bob

  16. Mark T. Pianka says:

    Out standing Job!! Well done!

  17. don kadunc says:

    Gregory. first I paint the bottom with tan , lite and dark greens. i bland the transitions to make different water depths. It also seals the bottom. i damn the edge and used woodland scenic deep water pour clear. I add their green tint to make it a little opaque. Finally ,I use their water effects for the waves. Hobby lobby carried this and I bought it over time with the 40% off coupons. otherwise it is too expensive. Unfortunately they no longer carry it here.

  18. johnny smith says:

    look great when i am in newport news i vist the club in yourktown,a great layout

  19. Some of the best and one reason are notes that go with the views.

  20. Just can’t help adding some “attaboys” for the terrific scenery work, bridges and tunnel portals. Realistic scenery makes a HUGE difference in a layout’s overall appearance!!

  21. Dan Hulitt says:

    Lots of history at Harper’s Ferry. 12000 Union troops were captured there in the largest capture of the war.

    Love the water effects and tunnel portals.

    I have those same signals yet to install, thanks for the tips!

    Mn Dan

  22. george zaky says:

    Great work and super layout. Coal dump is very well done as are the bridges.
    Thanks for that lighting info. Are they wired to a tortoise switch or other circuitry?

  23. Rob McCrain says:

    I like the idea of the dwarf signals. Knowing which way your switches are pointed at a glance can prevent running problems. Rob McCrain

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