National Park model railroad

Gary’s been back in touch with his his ‘National park’ model railroad theme.

He’s been busy adding more personal touches:


As always, thanks for all that you do. You have published two of my submittals and here is an update on a few new “features”.

As you may recall, my layout is based on a “National Park” theme and now there are some new stories to go with my Mount Thornton National Railway Park.

model train track curve

The first is the naming of the tunnel on Mt Thornton. Last fall my son-in-law volunteered himself and his brother Tim to rebuild the deck off my back porch.

In appreciation we held a dedication ceremony, had Tim cut the ribbon and unveil the sign for Tim’s Tunnel. He was very surprised and appreciative of the recognition.

national park model train wooden train tunnel

Then my nephew came to visit along with his 10 year old son, Carson, who immediately fell in love with model railroading.

He so loved running the trains, that given the option the next day to do whatever he wanted to do while in town, he chose to do more railroading and he spent hours running the units all over the layout. It seemed only fitting the Carson’s Creek became part of the local lore.

model train national park

Then I pulled off the ultimate tribute. My wife of 60 years (the one that let me build my layout in the garage and install the hoist that lifts it to the ceiling), already had her “Sharon’s Summit”.

However four years ago, before I started the layout, she required surgery which was quite successful and her oncologist/surgeon was extremely personable and supportive. One year ago, for her check-up visit, I shared some photos of Mount Thornton National Railway Park and now he makes it a point to ask what’s new.

This year, unbeknownst to my wife, I created Gubbi’s Grove and shared the pictures with my wife and the doctor of the new area named for him.

national park model railroad diesel locomotive

He was really surprised and honored to become part of the lore of the “park”. I created a small (3” x 5”) replica of Gubbi’s Grove, complete with trees, shrubs, gravel and ground cover, so that he had more than a photo as a reminder of what he has meant to my wife and the rest of the family.

These are things that I never anticipated when I started my model railroading journey, but they have become a highlight of my experience because people seem to be so honored to be recognized in such a unique way.

I guess it is just more proof of the multiple joys that can be derived from model railroading.


Now on to Jack:

“Hi Al,

I guess we all have setbacks with our layouts. I’ve had two in the past week.

I had set up my lake using Woodland Scenics Realistic Water. I had a dock, canoes and a car backing in to unload a boat. A reader of one of my emails said he had trouble with bubbles using Realistic Water. I started having the same problem. The bubbles ruined the scene.

I researched Realistic Water and found that off gassing from the foam insulation causes the bubbles. Woodland Scenics recommends lining the water with plaster cloth, completely sealing the foam. So, I ripped out the lake and lined it with plaster cloth. Back to square one.

The other issue was a water leak on the first floor, that dripped down on the layout in the basement. By the time I found the damage, much of the grass in my residential area was ruined. So, using a dropper and warm water I loosened the grass in small sections at a time and scraped it off.

I’ve got the grass redone and am currently setting the area back up. I’ve got some kids flying kites and others on the playground. The pool party is in progress. A family is fishing at the fishing hole (which also has bubbles, but it’s at the back of the layout so I’ll address it later).

Hopefully now I can get on to making some progress.

Jack In PA”

A big thanks to Jeff and Gary.

I do like the way Jeff has added personal touches to his layout – the make a layout much more interesting.

That’s all for today folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout just like Jeff and Gary did, the Beginner’s Guide is here.

Remember, it’s the start that stops most people.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

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

11 Responses to National Park model railroad

  1. robert dale tiemann says:

    i like all this. nice job.

  2. Stephen Hill says:

    Well I’d bet the little fella wanted to play with the display … who wouldn’t? Great job Jeff , very nicely done , magnificent detail .

    Gary , very clean and orderly , i like it , detailing is awesome

  3. George Zaky says:

    Our Hobby is not all about recreating something in miniature. It’s like writing a book except it’s visual not words. There is a story behind each creation and that whole picture is what is SO terrific about what we do.
    Cheers to you for your work, your caring for others, and for sharing with us.
    Water features-A light flame over the surface while its wet eats the bubbles. Dont stir like crazy- Mix, rapidly but gently pour the mix, and have a lot of the time burning out the bubbles.
    Very nice layout.

  4. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Gary….:: great looking layout. Your attention to detail with the scenery is fantastic. Good job

    Pat…. We all have set backs and redos and major changes due to unforeseen events. At the time they are very aggravating. But your layout looks great. Nice job. I love the house with the inground pool.

  5. Rick Rodgers says:

    Quite by accident I solved the bubbling problem by lining the lake with silicone prior to pouring the epoxy into the lake. Worked like a charm. Pre painted the bottom and sides.

  6. william j plmer says:

    very nice

  7. Bryce in Texas says:

    A wonderful layout and a job well done to Jack and Gary.

    Just a suggestion on the bubbles. Leave them as they are and make up a story that Godzilla is under the water in the lake. I’ve lived in BC Canada and every lake had a creature in it that causes bubbles. Job well done…

  8. Lorraine Swank says:

    It is great to see a layout that includes people doing everyday activities. I especially enjoyed the children flying kites. The colors are rich and vibrant. Bravo!

  9. Robert Brady says:

    Great latout U used the same boat dock and boat as I did . Your lake is crystal clear . Good job

  10. Rich B. says:

    Why would you want to eliminate bubbles in still pond water? Ask how much work is it to make the bubbles? Have never seen water where this isn’t the “NORM”. Always rotting debris/vegetation on bottoms regurgitating. Maybe a decaying body even lingering at bottom.

    Only thing is this ready made track with ballast bed. Nobody’s fault there but it just doesn’t add anything or realism to the overall conveyance of RR, does look toyish. Rest of everything is really well done and detailed beyond “good enough”.

    Rich, Regards

  11. Brian Olson says:

    Love the water scenes and kids flying kites!

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