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 15, 2020

Back to the grindstone

This was Victoria's first visit to the Aquia Line
The flood and drainage contractors have completed their work. We now have 5 pumps in two separate sumps, new drainage pipes for our down spouts and pump exhausts, and have a new french drain to catch the run off from my neighbor's driveway.  I think the most important change we made was to reroute the sump from the backyard to the front.  Now we need to see if it will help. We may find out soon as rain is forecast. Meanwhile, we spent the day trying to get the basement back in normal condition. I took the opportunity to cull some of my stuff. I threw out a bunch of books, got rid of an old dresser, and donated my collection of music CD's to the Salvation Army. The new sump reduced some of the storage space in my HVAC closet so I  decided to get rid of the urban modules I was storing there. Luckily, Mat Thompson offered to take them to use in a new small layout project he is planning for next year. He and his wife stopped by today to pick them up.

The first room I got set up was my office. I moved my desk to the east wall. This seems to create a more spacious feel and creates ample space for my HO layout. Since we didn't have to upgrade our electric panel, there is room for the HO layout.  I also got a new computer and monitor. I traded in my old iMac (Apple gave me a great price for the trade in)  for a MacMini and a 49 inch Dell Ultrasharp monitor. This is a great set up as it allows me to open several applications at a time with ample screen space. So far I am really loving it.  This monitor will allow me to run both my mac and PC laptop with the same mouse and keyboard. That feature will come in handy when drawing for the laser cutter. The south wall will house a long narrow strip of bench work on top of my 12 inch deep IVAR book shelves. I would build a new Stonemans Station in this location. The former location of Stonemans Station will become the new Potomac Creek Station.

The new monitor inspired me to work on a new track plan for the Aquia Line. The plan requires that I delete the Burnside Wharf tracks and move Aquia Landing about 6 feet to the east. Then I would trim off some of the water of the wharf scene and replace it with the new Falmouth. Thus I would have a two-sided peninsula in the room with the opposite ends of the railroad on each side of the sky board.  

With this plan I would have all the stations of the prototype line. Brooke will be the only station that could not hold a design length train. The mainline gets a nice bump to about 215 feet, which is almost 2 scale miles in O scale. The expanded main line might allow enough running room to have a third crew, assuming we ever get back to op sessions.

The draw backs to the plan are that I lose the sidings at Burnside Wharf, the crew lounge gets a bit smaller making the gaming area a bit tight, and there would no room for the ironclad Passaic. But I did add sidings at Aquia Landing to make up for the lost switching. So the crews should stay reasonably busy at Aquia Landing.  On the plus side, I would not lose the big storm cloud that I painted on the backdrop by Burnside Wharf.


  1. Bernie,

    That’s quite a change. I like the ability to have longer scenic runs.

    Have you considered keeping the wye at the landing by having the tail hidden behind the curve between Stoneman’s and Falmouth? Did the prototype have the wye or the turntable? Turntable does save space.

    Hopefully your drainage changes and pumps will do the trick. I had to extend pump outflows and redirect a backyard downspout drain to the front yard to keep it from ponding against the house and getting to the basement. The house is not in low lands but the clay ground saturates and water ponds and 60 year old French drains failed years ago.

    BR - Amby

    1. The wye has not been as bullet-proof as i would have liked. I think getting rid of it is not a concern for me. Yes, they did have two wyes at Aquia Landing.

  2. Bernie, is that a photo of Delmar Benjamins Gee Bee above your desk? I saw him at an airshow in California many years ago, it was an amazing site to see him
    fly. A great pilot indeed. Jeff Mrock

    1. That is a painting that my dad painted in the 1990s. He based it on a photo of Delmar Benjamin's Gee Bee. The painting below it is a scene of two Porsche 917 race cars that my brother painted for me as a gift.

    2. You have a very talented family.

    3. Most of the men in our family are engineers, but we all have an artsy side too.

    4. Us too, perhaps this is why I chose architecture as a profession. A blend of art/science & engineering. I'm not sure it was the right choice sometimes though.