Friday, September 27, 2019

MARPM Day 1 - An Ops Session & Two Layout Visits

Since I wasn't able to attend this year's New England Railroad Prototype Modeler's meet (NERPM), I decided to attend my first Mid-Atlantic RPM (MARPM). Wow! What a wonderful 4 days packed with operating sessions, layout visits, model displays, and clinics. I'm already making plans to attend MARPM 2020!

The first day started early with picking up Bill and driving down to the Baltimore area. Seems every time I try to get out of New England, there's some sort of traffic barrier. This time, it was the Merritt Parkway - it took us 3 hours to get to the west side of the Hudson River! But after over 7 hours, we finally arrived at our first stop: an ops session at John King's B&O Shenandoah Branch layout.

The engine terminal at the beginning of the branch, near the staging yard. All off-stage, but a beautiful collection of nicely detailed and operating steamers (a feat in itself!)

While most of the layout is unscenicked, that didn't detract at all from the fun of operating it - especially with mockups indicating all the industries.

As an operating layout first and foremost, it's no surprise that there's accommodation made for a dispatcher and operator. What is surprising though is how authentic a space John's made. Manning this desk, it'd be awful hard to remember that you're dispatching models and not actual trains!

Here's our local freight, ready to depart. Notice the white flags showing us as an Extra.

I mentioned the mockups before and this probably the largest. Very impressive!
After a nice trip back in time running trains in the late 1940s Virginias, we decided to try and get to at least two of the three layout open houses before the end of the day. We started off at Andrew Dodge's Colorado Midland . . .

To call this layout impressive would be an understatement. It's O scale, standard gauge, set in the 1890s and 100% fully scenicked. It's very easy to believe you've actually stepped back in time to turn-of-the-(last)century Colorado. And yes, all of the steam locomotives you see are scratchbuilt(!)

We rounded out a very busy day at Jim Brewer's Norfolk & Western layout . . .

Among the many highlights of the layout is the HUGE rayon plant, which you see first as you hit the bottom of the basement stairs.

Believe it or not, as large a complex as this is, it's still very much compressed. For more (and much better) photos, be sure to check out "How to Build Realistic Layouts: Industries You Can Model" published in a special issue by Model Railroader.

In addition to the rayon plant (and a not-very-much-compressed depiction of the entire town of Luray, VA), there are prototype scenes throughout the layout, including this one based on a famous O. Winston Link photo (handily provided on the fascia for comparison).

And how often do you see an entire baseball diamond on anybody's layout? Yup - Jim has one.

Here's the main classification yard - well, part of it. And yes, it goes all the way through the basement wall.

Another interesting feature of Jim's layout is the number of super deep scenes like this one. Soooo effective - and so difficult to fit in.
As you can imagine, these photos are just a very small sample of the many I took that day. But hopefully they give you a sense of the quantity and quality of layouts in the Baltimore area. They alone would have been worth the 7hr trip to see, but they were only the beginning of a fun-filled four days.

Despite how much we were enjoying ourselves though, we were ready to hit the sack so we could catch the first of the clinics the next morning. . .

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