I knew Bill lived "somewhere in Pennsylvania" but when I learned at Paul Dolkos' that he was actually right on our way home, well, we just had to give him a call. And he enthusiastically invited us over to visit. Here's just a small sample of the photos I took of his outstanding work . . .
|I think the tablecloths are aluminium foil. Amazing. Check out those wall sconces!
|An R-3a 3500-series Mountain on the Shoreline. These were 3-cylindered engines, and yes there's a working 3rd valve gear hidden behind the air pumps. Oh, and this steamer - like all the others on this layout - is scratchbuilt. #speechless
|View of downtown Providence behind the passenger station. Certainly compressed, but still very effective and - not to mention - seldom modeled.
|Mystic station out on the Shoreline
|Another beautiful harbor scene. The New Haven's Shoreline Route crosses dozens of these between New Haven and Providence and they're well-represented on Bill's layout.
|"Shoreliner" type Hudson, 1400 series. Scratchbuilt. An amazing representation of a typical Shoreline Route passenger train.
|Here's the overpass at Rocky Neck that I mentioned earlier. Prototype photo.
|Here's the overpass at Rocky Neck that I mentioned earlier. Model photo. :^)
|Drone view of the Charles St. engine facility
We ended our jam-packed weekend with a quick detour to see our friend Joe Smith and the layout he's building depicting scenes on the Berkshire line.
|Here's Danbury, CT and a view not only of the yard, but the well-known and much-photographed freight house, which lasted into the 1990s IIRC.
|View the other way, showing the station and part of the City of Danbury.
|What is it with the folks I know who scratchbuild their own locomotives?! Yes, Joe scratchbuilt this model of one of the New Haven's unique Ingersoll-Rand switchers. It runs and sounds as good as it looks. What a cool looking engine! Be sure to check out Joe's blog for the build thread.
|Danbury was one of the locations for steam/diesel transition to electric on the New Haven. Here's part of the electric facility, with the much-photographed Danbury barn in the background.
|Long view of the Danbury yard, looking from the engine facility back west toward the station.
Joe's effort is truly amazing and pretty innovative if you ask me. I know folks that have strung together favorite prototype scenes, but I've never seen them presented in such a theatrical way as Joe's done here - nor with the overwhelming amount of carpentry!
If you want to see more photos - and, even better, benefit from learning how he does things - you're lucky in that he's documenting his builds on his blog at Signal Station 199 (named after the interlocking where the Berkshire line branches off the main). Be sure to check it out - I think you'll be as impressed as I am.
Whew! I think it's taken me longer to document and share my MARPM weekend as the weekend itself. But hopefully these posts have given you a sense of what a well-run RPM is like and also given you some motivation to seek out other layouts that may not be on the formal tour. I also hope you'll be sure to check out the links in these posts and visit the different blogs and websites for more information and photos. I'm always so impressed with the quality of work and level of dedication these modelers have. It's truly inspirational and I hope, like me, you'll get some wind in your modeling sails too.