Making your model railroad personal

Dan’s been in touch with a wonderful post on how he made his model railroad personal.

He’s done what I lot of you do and really made his layout ‘his own’ by adding some personal touches:

“By design I had gathered some rolling stock that had a connection with parts of my career. The consist that the attached photos show started in 1990.

The event was the Mid Atlantic Food Dealers exhibition in Baltimore, MD. Our company, Norristown Wholesale Inc. was a family owned produce distribution company, one of the largest, if not the largest, in the Delaware Valley marketing area.

We had established a pattern of being very creative in our displays, and we always ended up winning a major prize for our efforts.

I was the lead for this show, and I took advantage of Baltimore as a railroad hub, and I used that as part of our theme.

I built a station with a fruit and vegetable counter with track announcements, and a window view of the old Camden Station.

Today that building still stands as a Historic Landmark. The photo was a pre-WWII view of the station that I obtained from the B&O Railroad Museum. My wife made some drapes to add to the window look.

model railroad personal

The front of the fruit counter was made up of the F-3 diesel engine and 3 railroad cars that represented the some of the products we sold.

These cars were popular HO commodity cars, namely Brach’s Candy (which was sold in produce departments), State of Maine Potatoes, and Pacific Fruit Express.

I made a HO train of these cars with an F-3 lead and of course a caboose. Both the engine and caboose were in the NWI livery. The colors on the display were rather soft as we used fire retardant paint that does not have a lot of pigment.

Our little HO train would go back and forth across the top of the counter. We finished our display early, and Charlie, one of our regional managers came up with the idea of making tunnels out of Hubbard squash. It was a great use for the lumpy squash and a good look for the days of the show ….any longer then things would of course get rotten.

In 200 I transferred to the Supervalu home office were I performed a variety of duties, including serving as a Corporate Meat Procurement Officer. I had a some meat related cars in inventory, and after I retired I realized I had an opportunity to create a consist that included many of my vendors and packers.

I have 2 Hormel cars because one was thought to be lost only to arrive weeks later in the mail. It was fun searching for the cars. One stretch is the Seaboard Lines car, as I could not find a car for Seaboard Packing.

I bought product for a variety of supermarket chains, both corporate and independent. One of the largest chains was Acme Markets, a corporate chain with stores throughout the mid-Atlantic region. I even worked for Acme the summer before grad school. The Penna. flatcar with two Acme vans was a good item to complete the consist.

The Acme vans are not official to the chain, maybe closer to Wyllie Coyote and the Roadrunner. The Berkshire commemorative engine, a gift from a good friend, pulls the 11 cars up my 2% grade with ease.

My commodity train was a fun project and it tells a story. My next consist will be made of actual companies that use the names of my grandchildren. A project for the fall.

model railroad personal

model railroad personal

model railroad personal

model railroad personal

model railroad personal

model railroad personal

Tha tha that’s all folks!


A big thanks to Dan for sharing his how he made his model railroad personal.

I do love how you all add your personal touches to your layouts.

Gary’s HO layout is another good example.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

6 Responses to Making your model railroad personal

  1. Wow Al…
    Love a good narrative and Dan’s was fantastic!
    The new buildings are great as well and I am going to have to have a go at them soon…

  2. Erick says:

    Pretty Kool.!!!!!

  3. STJr says:

    My model railroad is O scale. The examples shown in the video appear to be HO scale. How do you compensate for different/larger scales?

  4. Dan Hulitt says:

    Increase by 143% for 0 scale, or print at 143% if that formula makes more sense.
    They really are a lot of fun to do, plus you can print as many as you like.
    Mn Dan

  5. Richard says:

    Besides WOW ! truly inventive and reflects the reality of advertising back in the day.

  6. don kadunc says:

    I just bought the set for $9 I am amazed how much is included in the price. It is easily worth ten times what I paid for it. I highly recommend this set.

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