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Thread: A Model Train Station from the 1910ís

  1. #1
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 1,750
    I'm Russell.

    Default A Model Train Station from the 1910ís

    Ian was showing off his motorcycle models, and got me nostalgic about some model railroading I did when I was laid up. My railroad was N scale, which is rather small really, but I had a friend in Florida whoís railroad was HO, (I think in England itís sometimes called OO?)

    I was a member of a chat group on Yahoo for Digitrax, a digital system for operating model railroads, super technical stuff! I got into model railroading because of the computer operation, I liked the technical aspect. But, once I was into it, I discovered I loved the modeling the most! Scenery and landscaping, buildings and period objects, weathering, etc. and the photography of said models. Seeing otherís work in magazines spurred me on.

    Through this group I made a friend down in Florida, an elderly man in his late 80ís, nearly blind, he picked me out of the crowd to ask for help on his railroad, he was having trouble getting the digital stuff to work. I was more than happy to help, and we became good friends, at a distance. He was very kind, and even sent me his expensive camcorder so I could take movies of my railroad to send him. So I decided I would build him a model for his railroad! He could simply cut a square hole, and drop this model train station right next to his track. Well, I bit off more than I could chew.

    He lived in Florida, his wife had severe Alzheimerís and her doctors were in Florida, but he came from California, and talked about it all the time. So I chose a train station from the California desert. Capistrano in San Juan. I found an old model, maybe the last one on earth! What they call a ďCraftsmanĒ, model, of this train station in HO. I got it fairly cheap, and when I opened the box, I was a bit overwhelmed. There was nothing in the box, but thick cardboard and wooden sticks and blocks! And detailed drawings. I had to draw the walls on the cardboard, spray them with shellac to make them hard, and all the trim was hand made from individual tiny sticks of wood, the bell tower was carved from a solid block of wood. I sourced other parts from eBay and elsewhere like the floor and roof, lights and all the people and scenery. I worked on it for a while, and then put it away, the talent needed was over my head. As I worked on my own layout, I developed better modeling skills.

    Then one day he told me he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was not going to do the chemo, he would accept his fate, at the age of 89. So! I got to working on this model! I estimate Iíve got 800 to 1000 hours involved! I made a custom crate for it, and shipped it off to Florida, and he was able to enjoy it for 3 weeks before he passed. His nurse told me later that she had to keep it setting where he could see it at all times. I figured Iíd never see the model again, but the nurse and her husband were nice enough to box it back up and return it to me. It got a little banged up on the return trip, and it still needs repair. But all these pictures were taken before it left. My sister painted the sky on the backdrop for these photos.

    A few years after this happened, I had an operation that saved my life, and got me back on my feet, and Iíve gotten back into playing music with the boys, and riding motorcycles, etc. but Iíve still got all my Model train stuff stashed away, for the day I get too old to rock and roll, or ride. A hobby that goes very well with stereo actually! I played a lot of music while working on all these things.

    These are photos of the actual train station in San Juan, itís still there but looks completely different now. These pictures were taken back in the 1910ís I do believe.


    So I took a few liberties, I didnít include the fence, but I did make a Jonny house like the one in the photo



    Iíve got a ton more pictures! But Iíll add them in another post if needed.

    Russell




    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Join Date: Nov 2011

    Location: Seaton, Devon, UK

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    I'm Adrian.

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    Lovely model and great thing to do Russell, I’m sure your friend got great pleasure from it.
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  3. #3
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 1,750
    I'm Russell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AJSki2fly View Post
    Lovely model and great thing to do Russell, Iím sure your friend got great pleasure from it.
    Itís a sad story, but I did enjoy building it. My Mom wants me to get it back to finished, and put a nice trim around the base, and put it on display. Iím wondering how much I could sell it for?!

    Russell

  4. #4
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

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    I'm Russell.

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    A few more detailed pics....



    Russell

  5. #5
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: Northern Ireland

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    I'm John.

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    Very cool model and a nice story Russel. Thanks for sharing.
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  6. #6
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

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    I'm Martin.

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    It's amazing.
    Current Lash Up:

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  7. #7
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 1,750
    I'm Russell.

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    Thanks guys,

    The roof is held on by magnets, so one could look inside or move the furniture, itís finished on the inside too. As I was laid up at the time, I told my folks I needed red sand, and they drove all over looking for it, and found some near a lake not too far away. The glass insulators on the poles are actually quilt pins, I chucked them up in a drill and shaped them with a file, and painted them the appropriate green. I made the Johnny house from scratch, all the junk laying around is made from soft metal, and the fence is made from drywall tape. You canít see it but the doors have tiny knobs and hinges, and the train signal out front actually works, from a wire that hangs out the bottom. The lights are not LED, but actual incandescent bulbs, called, ďGrain of RiceĒ, bulbs. The electric wires are elastic strings, so if you get your hand caught itíll stretch rather than break. Telephone poles are Kabob sticks, just too many details to remember!

    Russell

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2019

    Location: Kent UK

    Posts: 246
    I'm Martin.

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    I like looking at stuff like this but I donít have the patience to do something like this.

    Looks great Russel.


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  9. #9
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 25,937
    I'm Martin.

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    I especially like the way you have done all the bushes, plants and grass. They look real.
    Current Lash Up:

    *Sony SCD XB790QS* Nelson Pass DCB1 / Krell KSA100 mkII * JM Lab Electra 926 *


    'You fool! To think that your ape-brain could contain the full knowledge of the Krell!'

  10. #10
    Alex_UK's Avatar
    Alex_UK is offline Spotify + Facebook Moderator / Chilled-Out Wino and only here for the shilling
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    Great story, great model! Great stuff Russell, you should be very proud.
    Alex

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