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.

August 26, 2019

The Model Railroader Kiss of Death?

Mock up showing the height of the benchwork
\under the bridge.
Paul Dolkos stopped by today in part to see how the flood recovery was coming along.

We discussed plans for the Aquia Line expansion. Paul agrees with Alicia that the Aquia Line expansion should have minimal impact on the crew lounge. He suggested a narrow shelf along the east wall (the wall where the couch is now) instead of the big bridge scene.

The problem with the big bridge scene is that the bottom of the bridge would only be 28-30 inches above the floor. That makes placing the couch in under the bridge a problem. The photo at the left of the bridge mock-up illustrates the problem. Another concern is that the the river level under the bridge will be lower than the Potomac River at Aquia Landing on the opposite side of the room. That might cause some geotechnic confusion when once can see both scene at the same time.

To address those concerns I modified the plan. Instead of the large trestle, I would instead have an open country scene along the east wall. Part of that scene would have the track paralleling Clairborne Run, as it does in the prototype.

To satisfy my desire for another bridge, I would put a low trestle in the north room where Falmouth is now. There was a long low trestle at Accokeek Creek on the prototype, so having another trestle would be very plausible.

After Paul left, my advance copy of the September 2019 issue of Model Railroader arrived. The issue features a photo of the Aquia Line on the front cover.  I have had my modeling featured on the cover of several other magazines and catalogs, but this is the first time my work has appeared on the cover of Model Railroader.  I had a spot reserved for it on my Wall of Lost Layouts, so I framed it and put it up.

Now it is a well known phenomena that when one of my model railroads get published in the model railroad magazines, the layout is doomed. Can the Aquia Line be the exception and survive?  I hope so. It did survive the great flood of 2019.  I hope if stays around for a while longer.


  1. Bernie, Just got my October issue with your fantastic cover photo. Also you are on MRR Facebook with another of your photos. Great depth of field in the FB photo.

    What process are you using for getting the depth of field? How many photos stacked?

    Like the smoke and the steam touch ups. But surprised that the smoke is so black for burning wood??

    1. I used Focus stacking in Photoshop.
      The smoke is lifted from a photo of an actual wood burning 4-4-0