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 3, 2019

New England Blitz Tour

Morning panorama at Mystic Seaport Museum

Ken Karlewicz's 
This weekend Alicia and I travelled north to Farmington,  Connecticut to attend the New England Railroad Prototype Meet.  Our trip started with a golf lesson in Columbia, Maryland. We then headed north crossing the new Tappan Zee Bridge. That is a very impressive engineering achievement, much improved over the old bridge. We arrived in Farmington late Friday afternoon in time to get dinner and attend a clinic where Ken Kalewicz gave an impassioned plea to include stark side lighting and dark shadows in your model railroad photos.

Neat tug and barge model

The next day I attended several more clinics, got a chance to try weathering with pan pastels on a freight car, and presented a clinic about developments on my railroad.  Some of the clinics I saw were outstanding with excellent modeling on display. Randy Laframboise's clinic on his Rutland railroad was a real standout. He and his life time buddy, Sparky, have built a gorgeous rendition of the Rutland Railroad in HO scale on two decks in his  house.  His layout was featured in MRP a few years ago, and their railroad has gotten better since then. Hopefully, we can get him to present this clinic at MARPM.

Jim Otto's collection of WWII Army vehicles
The NERPM exhibit hall was very full of models and vendors. I heard that they actually had to turn away some displays due to lack of space. I did have a chance to display some of my O scale rolling stock and show some new Alkem Scale Models products.

It was great to chat with friends and meet new folks too. I had a nice chat with Jim Dufour, who is planning on delivering a clinic on his fantastic railroad at MARPM 2019. Both Jim's and Randy's clinics will be "must see" at MARPM 2019.

The sun popped out at noon for some blue sky shots

One of many ship models on display at Mystic Seaport
The Sunday after the show, Alicia and I went to Mystic Seaport. She had never been there, while it had been over 50 years since I was there. It is a great place to visit. The Mystic Sea Port Museum has some new buildings, including the entrance halls and a neat whaling museum with lots of cool ship models.

Very cool seaport diorama at Mystic. Looks to be about N Scale.
Sabino looked to be in good shape 
The recreated town with bank, smith, carpentry shop, churches, stores, newspaper office, etc, was very well done.  The large seaport diorama was also very cool. However, the featured ships seemed to be very worn looking.  The Charles W Morgan looked like it needs a good overhaul. The fishing schooner, Dunton, was missing a mast and almost all its rigging.  Its wood was in desperate need of maintenance, The trawler Roan, and steamer Sabino looked a little better off.
Charming recreation of a 19th century seaport  makes me want to add a town to my layout

There were two special guest ships at the sea port. First was the Mayflower II, which was in the shipyard undergoing extensive repairs. It was hard to see as it was covered by a large plastic tent. But they had a nice exhibit explaining the work they were doing.

The Draken Harald Hårfagre without its mast
Alicia in the bow of the Draken
Second, in  the water near the Charles W. Morgan was the Draken Harald Hårfagre. It is a clinker-built Viking longship, a reconstruction of what the Norse Sagas refer to as a “Great Ship.” The volunteer crew had removed the mast, and were doing repairs to the ship. One of the crew said they would have the mast back up in a week. The Draken is staying in Mystic as a base of operations for maintenance and repairs before doing tours to other ports in the United States, though one crew man said the plans were not yet definite.

Viking cooking
Viking soldier
Alicia really got a thrill from seeing the Viking Ship.  She said she had no idea they were as big as this one.

 In addition, the Mystic Sea Port was hosting "Viking Days" that weekend.  So, the central village green was occupied by a Viking camp. The Vikings were living history reeanctors from the US and Canada.  Alicia and I agreed that Viking dress looked very comfortable.

Later we  did a walking tour of the town of Mystic. It is a quaint New England coastal town.  We had a nice seafood lunch overlooking  the harbor. Seeing the charming town got me thinking that I need to include a town on my railroad. Perhaps the Fredericksburg Extension will get another look.

We left Mystic and headed to Havre de Grace in Maryland. We arrived at sunset, but with enough light to enjoy a walk on their waterfront promenade. Havre de Grace was attacked by the British in the War of 1812 and much of the town was destroyed.

We pose by the WWI diorama

On Monday we played golf at Bulle Rock, near Havre de Grace. Then we stopped at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore where we met with Travis Harry, a curator there. We had a tour of the new exhibit on World War I. A big part of the exhibit was the display of the WWI layout that I constructed for my "Model Railroads Go to War" book. They have installed the layout in a vitrine with the town of Fins on display but with the trench side covered. It is a static display as I did not provide any functioning locomotives. It was a thrill for Alicia and I to see my model on display.  This exhibit will remain for a few more months.

Then Travis took us around the rest of the museum and showed us some of the new exhibits in place now that the 2003 storm damage has been fully repaired.

Of special note was Engine 25. It had been renovated and painted in the correct colors for the Civil War era.  They found traces of the original colors when they restored it. They also fabricated a new, correct,  builders plate. This is the one that goes between the drivers. They used the wood part as a master to make a mold and then cast a new plate in brass.

Alas, the crown sheet  did not pass the 15 year safety inspection. So the loco sits in the roundhouse  as a static display. It will stay that way unless they can get funds to pay for repairs. But it is gorgeous, and a treat to see.

Alicia at the throttle an Allegheny 2-6-6-6
All in all a great  weekend.


  1. Wow, looks like you guys had a lot of fun. I would like to go there now.

  2. Sounds like you had a great time. Thanx for sharing.

  3. Hey, I just went to the Baltimore Museum as well last weekend and had a great time. I saw your exhibit too and wrote a little about it on my blog. Glad you got to see the wonderful treatment that they prepared for it!

    1. Yes, I saw that on your blog. Glad you liked the exhibit