A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

June 24, 2013

Golden Spike Ceremony

The crew is showing off their service medals.
(Left to right) (Back row) Joel, Janet, Gerry, Paul, Christian, Jeff, John, Linda,
(Front row) Gabriella, AW, Mark (Missing Marty and Dave)

Today was the last group work session on McCook's Landing. We had a great session and then an amazing dinner with a special cake.

Gerry Fitzgerald and Gabriella Petrick arrived first. They brought a large commemorative cake that required last minute assembly. I won't go into the details of this remarkable cake, as we will have a special post about it later. Let's just say it was scratch built with O Scale track and a life size edible golden spike made from marzipan.

Busy, busy, busy.....
Next Marty McGuirk, Jeff and Cristian Peck arrived. Marty brought a tray of chocolate chip cookies while Jeff brought a batch of Polock Johnny's Sausage from Baltimore. Joel Salmons, John Drye and Mark Franke showed up next. Joel had with him the finished artillery men he painted for the water battery. Dave Emery stopped by briefly to drop off a box car he built using a set of laser cut parts I provided. I'll get a photo of these models after I get them installed on the layout.

JD working on the barge lines.

Everyone got to work. Jeff and Christian worked on stacks of lumber. Marty made doors for Paul's barge. Gerry started to make doors for the warehouse but didn't finish. Mark worked on a flagpole and hitch posts, while JD glued the barges down and tied off the lines to the shore. Joel painted a batch of barrels for use in detailing the inside of the warehouse. Jeff also brought over a bunch of crates and bushels that he previously painted. They will be scattered about to detail the layout.

At dinner time, Paul and Linda Dolkos arrived for a golden spike cookout and awards ceremony. It was too hot to eat outside, so we all crowded around the dining room table for a group feast. Alicia made an triple batch of her special hot wings, three salads, and then the cake.

Yes, that is edible O Scale track.
After dinner we had a brief award ceremony where all the workers received USMRR Construction Corps service medals. The spouses and partners also got medals to reflect their support to our hobby.

All in all it was a fun day.

I want to thank all the folks that helped with this layout. Those of you that missed the dinner today can pick up your medals the next time you are over.

A super big thanks to my wife for her help, work and support not just today but every day while finishing this project.

At the end of the day, Gerry and I loaded Biscuit Run in his car to begin the trip to Atlanta. As we surveyed the section in the back, we realized there is room for another section in his car.  Time to start thinking on how to expand. (Actually, we already have a plan for expansion, but more on that later.)

After everyone left I finished most of the partially completed tasks. I added NBW and hand rail details to the barge doors and hatches and then glued it down. I finished the  doors on the warehouse.  I added the sign to the sutler's store and installed the glazing.

Gabriela and her masterpiece

Serious eating going on

Finished doors and interior details

The barge is finished, tied down and glued in place.


  1. I was able to see the "before" state for some of these projects during my drive-by boxcar spotting, so it's great to see how well they came out.

  2. Well done! I have enjoyed following the progress. Congrats to all involved.

  3. Here's hoping I get to come see this masterpiece in October...

  4. Tracy, I hope you mean the layout, as the cake will be gone by then. :)