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.

March 12, 2015


Several of you have noted that I have not made much progress on the Aquia Line lately. Yes, it is true that other projects have bumped it back, but I do intend to finish it. Keep reading to see why.

I recently started working on my next book for Kalmbach. That book will include a couple projects including a brand new layout. That layout will be based on a modern harbor, probably based on Beaumont, TX.

I selected Beaumont for several reasons, first I wanted a topic  that was manageable in that I could build it less than a year. Beaumont is a major port, but it is composed of many discrete elements.  Picking a piece to model was not easy, but it was fun. Second, I wanted a port that shipped military vehicles. Beaumont is a major destination for US Army military shipments. This will allow me to use the DODX cars I am developing in an actual layout.  Since those are HO cars,  it has to be an HO layout. That ties in with my plan to develop more HO kits for Alkem Scale Models, so this layout provides a test bed for developing new products.  Finally, I want the layout to provide some interesting operations. Looking at the prototype plan you see some very interesting track work.

The track work in between the transit sheds at Harbor Island includes four diamond crossovers.

The yard throat to the grain elevator would rival
Chicago (OK, not really) but it does have a double crossover
and at least one double slip switch.
Last weekend I had a chance to operate on Paul Dolkos's new Baltimore Harbor Layout. I worked the B&O Carroll Street job. That job operates over an area about 1.5 by 12 feet long. There was plenty of thought provoking switching operation in just that area.  That reinforced my belief that a small harbor switching layout in a similar footprint could be fun to operate.

Here is a draft track plan I envision of the project layout. It uses the recycled benchwork from McCook's Landing, along with a new extension on the left wall.  Under this extension will be new bookshelves.

The Phase 2 oil terminal will be built later, as it is not needed for the book, but does add an interesting industry to operate. It can also be made removable, even as a  FREMO module.

I call this layout Chase Marine Terminal 3, since it is freelanced, but it is based on selectively compressed areas the Harbor Island and Carroll Street sections of Beaumont. This will be the third iteration of Chase Marine Terminal. The first two were N Scale.

For now, I will not discuss this layout plan much except to ask that any readers that know about this area, please let me know your thoughts or comments. I would like to learn a little more about how the railroads work this area.  I will also tap my network for suggestions on DCC, rolling stock etc. This is a first major foray into an HO scale layout and I am very excited about it. But, I am not that familiar with all the HO stuff available.

I plan to include discussion of the port layout on this blog, since I did not feel the extra work of a second blog was worth the effort. It will focus on aspects that will not be in the book. Things like DCC installs, loco repaint, etc.

So what does this have to do with Aquia Line except provide more distractions? As part of this next book, I also intend to complete the wharf at Aquia Landing as project. So I will be working on that too (among other projects).  See - Convergence.

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