Welcome To BarstowRick.com

Model Railroading & Toy Train How-To’s  

Welcome to BarstowRick.com..

Good you found us!

If you are looking for ways to build your toy train or model railroad you’ve come to the right place.    Here in these posts you will find the Basic How To’s, starting with the essential ABC’s.    Things you need to know to build your layout.    Informative presentations by some of the best professionals out there.   Along with a few helpful tips from the editor, BarstowRick.

There’s more to BarstowRick.com then you’ll see at first glance.    Feel free to use the  navigational tools.  Check out “Select Category” to the right of this page just under the header.  There you’ll  find an assortment of  Toy Train and Model Railroad Topics and plenty of verbal  and video  How-To’s. 

You can spend hours on end searching the internet and waste your time for the most part or you can browse here.    It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.   More bad advice then good.   Newbies helping newbies make the same mistakes.  Something we want to avoid here on BarstowRick.com. 

In our fist video introduction, you will find me operating a train on John Acosta’s, HO Scale, Gulf & Pacific Railroad.  John will wave a highball and I will get the train underway.  You’ll see his hand to the right and I think, later you will catch a glimpse of him.

Union Pacific #721 from Sarah’s Valley to Davidsville

Published on Jun 13, 2017

Engineer: Rick Howland
Brakeman: John Acosta

Thanks for watching, John Acosta.

You’ll soon learn this is all about you and I’m all about promoting the hobby!

A Mission Of Self Discovery:

Where did they go I’m there leader and I can’t find them?   Seems to me someone got tired of being told what to do and ditched the leader.  Now that’s funny!

You won’t need a leader. A mentor perhaps but never a leader.   Here you are the sole person responsible for your Toy Train or Model Railroad Layout.   For you this will be a Mission of Self Discovery.   


How to negotiate the links here on BarstowRick.com:

  • I give you, your own personal Key to this blog, Click and Scroll.
  • Links:   If the print is GREEN or RED with a underscore, you can click on it and you will be cleared to highball to the next blog.
Build Your Own:  

You too can have a scene like this one on your model railroad.   Learn how!    See in “Select Categories” and or click on “Buildings”.

Chief At Rio Bendejo Station 055

Train Time At The Station.

About the picture above:   Looks like the East Bound, Grand Canyon with Heavy Weights, is loading and about to leave town.   The West Bound Chief and the East Bound Fast Mail appears to be  pulling in.  It’s going to be a busy time for the Mail and REA crews.

Introduction To the Editor and Associate:

For introduction sake.   I’m Rick Howland, of Big Bear Lake, California.    My nick or handle BarstowRick, is a long story and I will save it to  share  in my profile, “About BarstowRick.” 

My Associate and Partner in this adventure is Al K..   We both  wish you nothing but the best and hope you find what you are looking for right here.

I once said I’d write a book sharing with my fellow toy train and model railroad enthusiast the tips, tricks, techniques, methods and procedures I learned to use, to build a train layout.     No, this isn’t  a book and I’m not the only presenter.  On the other hand DCC guy has written a book how be it a bit technical and over my head.  Nonetheless  it’s as close as I’m going to get.   

I’m an experienced builder of toy train and model railroad layouts.  Whose made many of the same mistakes, I see  newbies making.   Yes, you can make mistakes and you will learn from them.   I’m old school with many of my own ideas.    In my not so humble opinion, “Old school is the best school.”  Yes,  I’ve been around a while.  Some might say to long.   Is that possible?   Don’t call me an old man.

  • I will  put before you  the best ways and means to build your model railroad. 
  • I will never intentionally miss-steer or misdirect you.   I will give you the best advice, videos to watch and the best links to other authors blogs to read.    You can choose what you like and what impresses you. 
  • Hopefully, in this setting I can help you and others get a better start then what I had.    To avoid some of those pitfalls that lurk around every corner.  IE.,  How to join my rails and cut in my blocks.  Line drop or resistance and how I cured it.   The common wire thing and the disaster that followed.   Much, much more.   
  • There is a better way!


A video introduction to Toy Trains and Model Railroading.

The following video will give you a introduction to what’s happening in the world of Toy Trains and Model Railroading.     The NMRA Train Show 2014:     This will be the first of over 120 videos in our video catalog of “How To’s.”      So enjoy this video, a introduction to Toy Trains and Model Railroading!

NMRA National Train Show 2014

Once every year the NMRA (National Model Railroad Association) hosts train conventions across the United States, in 2014, the city chosen was Cleveland. OhioRail and Bus Productions’ attended this spectacular event and is proud to present our footage!  Thanks for watching.   R&B Production.

Thanks for taking the time to give us a read.  You are cordially invited to keep coming back.

Looking for more information?
Recommended:   Read a post a day and it will  keep the train doctor away.
You can take what you want from here and  leave the rest behind.   Don’t hit the delete button…that’s my job.
Stay tuned and let’s act on the highball we are getting from the conductor and get this train rolling!    
We have the high green from Marcelline.    All Aboard!
Rick Howland
Signature:    If you look long enough, you are bound to find a prototype for what you desire to model on your layout.
Like us?   Tell a friend!    Don’t like us?    What the heck tell a friend anyway. 



The first video presented here is courtesy of John Acosta.  Taken while attending “Operations Night,” The Gulf & Pacific Model Railroad.  The next photo,   “Train Time at the Station,” and the one pictured in the header.   These resemble the Santa Fe Passenger Station, San Bernardino, CA., .  It was scratch built by Greg McGinnis.       The buildings in the background are Greg’s, kit bashed or scratch built.     The view of the station is one the public seldom got to see unless arriving or departing on a train.  Photographs courtesy of self.

Our first post:    Sept. 5, 2014.   We hope to be around awhile.   Like everything else one has to learn how to use this new technology.   It took me awhile.

Thanks for taking the time to visit with us.    There’s more to see so  keep coming back for what else…more of the same.

Signing off but never gone:  RickH.



  • Nice site Rick! We missed you at the last swap meet hopefully you can come out in Feb.

    From RickH.
    I missed you guys as well. Maybe next time.

  • Nice site Rick, I can see lots of possibilities. I don’t know much about how these work, but I’d be interested in something like this for myself to post my projects in.
    Anyway my wife and I enjoyed our visit with you yesterday and I hope you will be able to make good use out of that rigid insulation. I also want to thank you again for the power supply and turnouts you gave me, but you are much too generous.

    From RickH.,
    Generosity flows both ways. Thank-you for your gift of the rigid insulation. I have some of it in and hope to get the rest in in the next few weeks.
    With regard to the switches: No problem Johnny, please keep them and if you can’t use them pay forward to someone else.

  • Nice website; I enjoyed visiting it. I also think about our next Operations Night often!

    From RickH.

    So do I. Let me know when you want to shoot for another one. Nothing but fun!

  • This design is incredible! You certainly know how to keep a reader entertained.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job.
    I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

  • Hey Rick, long time brother. Came across your site and it is very nice. How ya been? Lots changed here. E mail me when you get a chance. Long time since Toy Train Hobby.

    Response From Rick,
    My adopted brother, good to hear from you. Yes, it’s been a long time since we both worked at Toy Trains in Kettering, Ohio. I still look back on that with fond memories of good times and fine people to work with. Who could beat working with and getting to play with our favorite toys. Nothing like the train department.

    I’ve wondered at times how the Brady bunch is doing and think of them often. Good to hear from you. Stay in touch. RickH.

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