Happy Anniversary – BarstowRick.com

Oct. 4. 2015 marks one year and hours of time spent posting Model Railroad How-To’s.   Today, as I write:   We are well past our first anniversary and we invite you to celebrate with us.

Happy Anniversary – BarstowRick.com. 

In Reflection:

Originally a Birthday Gift from my Son-in-law and Associate.   Together we administrate this blog.    A shout out of Thanks to, Mr. Al Kirby.

Our first posting went out September 5 , 2014,   As a way to celebrate my 65th birthday.    See:   ABC Basic Training.      

Followed by:      Septembers Postings 2014   

If the print is bright green, you can click on it and you are cleared to  highball to the link indicated.   Model Railroading – How To’s.

As of Oct. 4, 2014 we had enough content and How-To’s to make it official.    As of said  date, we had over 212 visitors and I considered that a positive indicator to  continue.   I then added a Welcome Page, A Tutorial Page, My Profile and an Administrative Memo.    Did you get the Memo?    

In the last year:   We’ve had over 9,000 visitors.     Averaging  10.5   visitors a day.    The least number of visitors in a day was 7 and the most was 120.     A high point during the first years was 91 visitors in one day.   This  took place shortly after I introduced an evolving discussion on DCC Friendly Switches.   

Also noting we were  showing up on pages one through four on many of the various search engines.  Positive Indicators.

A Shout Out Of Thanks To Our Visitors!

We want to thank all who have stopped in for a visit and encourage you to come back again.    A shout out of appreciation to those who made submissions here.   Not to forget the comments you and others shared with us.    Thank-You!

I was told by a good friend Bob E. and you’ll find his input here.  He said, I could expect things to change here on BarstowRick.com and yes they have, did and are still evolving.

Looking To The Future:

If you haven’t heard about us before this:   Here on BarstowRick.com you will find a knowledgeable and experienced group of presenters.     With tips on How To build that new Toy Train Layout or a Model Railroad.    A Video Catalog that has been scrutinized to bring you the best of the best.

Take a few minutes from your  busy day to visit BarstowRick.com and take in a video or two .   In time it will start to happen for you.  You will start to develop your own track plan.   Industrial sidings, passenger train stations, various types of train yards and your own layout plan, scenery or city scape.    Ideas that will eventually turn into the real deal, howbeit in miniature.

I Learn Right Along With You:   

Me the alleged know it all, (ha ha ha) learns right along with you?  There are times I learn right along with you.    One example of such is the  discussion on  DCC Friendly Switches.  It  grew to four posts all rather long winded and seemingly took forever to present.    I couldn’t believe how much good and bad information had jumped up and out onto the internet and/or how quickly it accumulated.  

In those four postings you can find the research I did and my conclusions on the matter.   The first three posts I kept an open mind but I wasn’t discreet about my thoughts.  Some of it seemed repetitive and will in time be redundant. There are links to some of the finest professionals in the hobby and you can absorb it all.   On the other hand  if you really want to know what I think…!   In the 4th post, I leave no doubts, “No holes barred.” as I take the time to say what I think.  Not that it matters but if interested feel free to visit.

What can you expect when you visit BarstowRick.com. ?

You’ve just got a sampling in the paragraphs above.  

What can you expect?   It will be the same for you as it’s been for me.    You can expect your focus, perspective, understanding of the hobby to change.    For example:  Since I started this blog I have a totally different outlook on how I want to do my scenery.    I’m convinced you will too.  Check out some of our scenery presentations and assortment of informative videos.

I’d like to say you can find everything you need right here on BarstowRick.com.     Trouble is I keep bumping into new ideas, along with some Oldies but Goldie’s!   Plenty of ideas and How To’s!   It’s my goal, purpose and mission to present the best advice out there.    Nothing but excellent How To’s.  As wells as a variety of  lot’s of different ways to build something on your layout.    I’m sure you will discover for yourself the positive reinforcement here, our desire to help you and the revelation…. it really is all about you!

You can take my advice and the advice of others or not.     That’s up to you.    This is a mission of self discovery.     You will discover for yourself the way and means you deem appropriate and correct to build your Toy Train or Model Railroad.

Well that’s it from me.      I’ve yackity yacked long enough as it is,.

We are interested in hearing from you!

If we inspired you?   Let us know how your layout is coming along.    I’d like to feature it here.   Yep, right here on BarstowRick.com.     If we inspired you send me a write up, pictures or a video.    It will go under the heading:  Layouts Inspired.    Of course, by Us?   Whose Us? Those presenters, myself and you. 

PDF’s are welcomed.    If you have something you want to present you can send us a PDF.   The great thing about them is they can be downloaded and kept in your personal computer files for future reference.

You may  contact us, via the Contact Us and/or Comments box below this posting.   “Contact Us” is private.   “Comments.” are public.   After being approved you will be published,.   Your posting right here on BarstowRick.com.

Disclaimer:    Since our advertising isn’t paying off (Not enough fine folk clicking on them and watching them) so, we don’t get paid.    In turn we aren’t able to  pay for postings submitted.    Sorry about that.   Don’t let that discourage you.      I think the publications, wig wags aka magazines are the only ones paying for articles and that’s a limited amount.   Not much.

We do welcome comments and questions. 

Thanks for tuning in.

Read one post a day and keep the Train Doctor Away!

Edited add on:   September 8, 2016

October 4, 2016, will be the marker putting us we well past our first anniversary.     Things have changed up and is looking better everyday.     Our average number of visitors seems to be increasing and I expect that to continue.

If you like us.  tell a friend .   If you don’t,  that’s ok, tell a friend anyway.

**If it wasn’t for the gifts of others we’d have no gifts at all.**



In the meantime my layout has suffered from neglect and needs some serious work.    Time to get back to the real fun of railroad modeling.

I’ll check in and see how things are going here from time to time.


Rock Faces

Here is a very old method of making rock faces.    We’ve used this method on our model railroads for more years then I am old.

Josh R.  Cohn, shows us a unique way to make rock faces.

How To Make Rock Faces

Published on Dec 28, 2012

Part 1 of 2
This video was made to show how to make rock faces for model trains.  Please comment or ask any questions that you may have.
Like and Subscribe for information on following videos!  Thanks for watching Josh R. Cohn.

He makes it look easy.     You won’t know until you try it for yourself.

The only thing new here is the foam backing he uses.    You can also use a thinner coat, using a paint brush to paint it on the face of the foam.

Other products available are  HydroCal,  Woodland Scenics Plaster Cloth,  Bragdon’s Geodisic Foam and one of my favorites for small jobs is Patching Plaster mixed  with a Texturing Product.     There are all kinds of Rock Molds available as well as methods to get the job done.

So when do we get started?   I said with a reassuring grin!


Casting Resin Parts

Whether it’s airplanes, boats and/or trains you can cast your own resin parts.

From Fine Scale Modeler, a Kalmbach Publication.     Here is a How To, Casting Resin Parts.    FYI   Part Two, will automatically start so don’t shut’r down to quick.

Casting Resin Parts, Part 1: Making the Mold

Published on Jun 22, 2012

FineScale Modeler magazine Associate Editor Aaron Skinner walks you through the steps for casting resin parts for your scale modeling needs. In this, the first of two installments, Aaron shows you how to make a room-temperature-vulcanizing (RTV) rubber mold.

For more great scale modeling information, visit http://www.FineScale.com.     Thanks for tuning in, Aaron Skinner.

This is a great way to cast those hard to get parts.    You could make fans, horns, windows, handrails, headlights and more with the techniques shown here.     Providing you have something to work with.     I have a bunch of older engine shells sitting around that would lend themselves well to being scrapped for the parts and then make a mold.    Concluding with a part you can use.


Layout – Barry Bogs D&RGW & Casting Parts

Here is an unbelievable layout, including a presentation on how to cast certain hard to find parts.   The presenters don’t show you how to but they do  discuss the benefits of casting your own hard to find parts.  I will get to How-to in a different post.

There’s no question, I love the various Colorado Narrow Gauge and Standard Gauge Railroads.   Amazing what the 1:1 foot scale railroad builder, built in the Colorado Mountains.    Places like Ouray, Silverton, Durango, Chama, George Town Loop and to many other locations to mention here.     All would make for some fine toy train or model railroad layouts.

I had a step great granddad that worked for the Moffat Line.    He and his cronies called themselves the Moffat Men.  His stories were always interesting to hear.    Just wish I could remember a few of them.     He said it was COLD most of the time.   One thing he didn’t miss when he moved to Barstow, CA.      Oh, it does get cold in Barstow,  just not that cold.   They make up for it in the summer time.

Presenting Barry Bogs, G Scale, Denver and Rio Grande Western Railway.

Barry Bogs Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad

Barry Bogs Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad G Scale.    Thanks for taking the time to visit, Luke Eisebraun and Barry Bogs.

Is that awesome or what?   Ok, maybe what is the question?   Yes it is awesome.   However, it’s not necessarily the layout I would  like to have.     It’s a perfect example of building to please himself and hopefully others.   Before I leave the wrong impression.   There’s nothing wrong with that.   Awesome!

Each and every time I watch this video I get all kinds of ideas and see things I’d like to do on my layout.

The Rio Grande is a favorite of many model railroaders.    Capturing their imagination to build some superbly finely crafted mountain railroads.    Bob has captured some interesting elements of the Colorado Rockies.   It’s not my kind of layout but that doesn’t really matter.    This is about him and what he likes.    As it will be with you and your layout.

Barry and Luke talk about Casting Resin Parts for Barry’s homemade train equipment.     Looking for that hard to find part and you have one.    Good news is you can  cast your own train car parts.   They don’t give us a How To but I will get to that in the next post here on BarstowRick.com:  http://www.barstowrick.com/casting-resin-parts/

What they do is talk about casting parts and Barry shows the various things he’s been able to make.   What comes home is that you and I can  cast  various parts for our layouts.    It’s not as difficult as it sounds.

Personally, I’d like to make casting and parts for my own train equipment as well as scenery and etc..   Like Barry I can’t find the items I want “Ready To Run.”     Casting my own scenery parts, car parts, bridge parts and more appeals to me.   I have a number of buildings on the layout that has parts from castings as built by GregM.

This isn’t cheap.   When you get around to pricing casting materials you might be taken back a bit.    However, one mold will serve you for better then  then a dozen high quality castings.     Depending on what you cast.    The molds have a tendency to loose their resilience and will eventually loose details as the casting material will break down.     One reason to look into castings you can melt down and re-use.    Try Micro-Mark, available via the internet.

They also talk about the future of the hobby.      My answer is, it all depends on the youth and what they do or don’t find attractive about the hobby.

I have a friend who thinks that railroads will eventually dry up and wither away.     He thinks the same of the hobby.    I doubt it.   The 1:1 foot scale is here to stay and the same goes for the hobby.

There are more Toy Train Enthusiast and Model Railroaders, not to exclude the Prototypers,   More Railroad Modelers, then at any other time in the history of the hobby.   More Groups like our local BVMR’s, Private Clubs, Personal Layouts and working Museums with preserved 1:1 foot scale train equipment…then ever before.

Numbers elude me but Joe Fugate, talks about it on one of his video’s.   More of us today then there’s ever been in the past.

More to see and more to learn so,  stay tuned and feel free to come back and see what’s new.


Backdrops – By Mike Fifer

Back drops aren’t always necessary but if you are looking for a way to  create one Mike Fifer, has some good advice for you.

How to Make Backdrops for Model Trains by Fifer Hobby Supply

Uploaded on Aug 28, 2011

How to Make Backdrops for Model Trains by Fifer Hobby Supply.   Thanks for watching Mike Fifer.

Now if I can get you to take a look at Low Relief Buildings and you add these to your backdrop you might be pleased with the results.  See:   Low Relief. Buildings.

Backdrops don’t have to be fancy or terribly artistic.    What I would be looking for is back drops that are attractive but not overdone.    As in they don’t steal the scene.

I’m determined that on my layout the backdrops and scenery will not distract or take away from the trains running past them.    The trains are the stars and as such should be what most fine folk are focusing on during their  visit.     They won’t.    The ladies will ow and awe with regard to the buildings and any interiors you put in them.   The people, oh look at the people.    They are all over the place.     The Doll House thing.     And, why not!      The guys look at the street car, the trucks, how did you get such a vintage automobile….who made that?

The true train lovers will ogle and drool all over the California Zephyr, Coastal Daylight and or the Santa Fe Super Chief.     What freight trains?    A mixed consist…they never ran them like that.   Oh yes they did.    Then when a Big Boy pulls out of the staging yard.  You might as well get a towel out.    And I thought my male Tom Cat’s were bad at marking their territory.

Just fun-ING!  See if I’ve missed the mark the next time visitors stop in to gander, drool and oogle over your layout.

A shout out to Mike Fifer, for allowing us to share his How To Video’s here on BarstowRick.com.


Operation Session – Switching Moves

“Operations On Your Layout.”

Trains classified,  reclassified, locals made up, inbound and out bound freight cars, full loads out and empty freight cars to be spotted at various industries.          Learn how to handle and replicate these kinds of train movements.

Operations Night or a weekend all Day event and how about a  Weekend Marathon.    Any time is a  good time for Operations.    Learn how you too can make those daunting switch moves.   Maybe you’ve set trackside watching the 1:1 foot scale making various switch moves and wondered what’s up?    What’s a going on?    What purpose does it serve?    Simply, freight cars being picked up to be shipped elsewhere,  made up of full loads departing and the arrival of empty cars to be set out aka spotted to be loaded.     Or you can reverse the order.   A fun thing to do on, “Operations Night”.

Caution:     What you are about to see on this video may inspire you to add industries and working industrial yards to your train layout.     The sequence starts with:   A train has arrived referred to in some circles as a manifest freight.    It  is now parked on the arrival track in the classification yard.       There are some cars that need to be cut out of the manifest and from this and other trains in the yard they need to make up trains as in locals, turns and/or other  through freights.   I might add a through freight is not one that makes stops to set out or pick up freight cars.     It’s strictly a runner moving from point A to point B.    Once it arrives at it’s destination the freight cars that make up the train  are reclassified.   The train is dismantled and specific freight cars are then sent to specific industries by locals or what some call turns..

The yard crew aka Mike Hamer, is going to show us how this is done.   The plan here is to take a train that has arrived and is now setting in the arrival yard, to cut the cars out that need to go to various  local industries and set them out.    The  job of spotting them at various industries becomes the challenge and focus of this video.    At these same industries he is required to  pick up an assortment of  loaded and/or empty, freight cars with plans to  make up or build a new freight train.     All the while keeping  an eye out on making up  a local, which will travel down the main to serve other industries.     Empty loads in and full loads out or visa versa.

Helpful Hints for Operating Model Railroads: Part 4: Yard and Industrial Switching

In Part 4, our hosts Mike Hamer and Chris Lyon take us through a process of bringing a cut of cars into an industrial area with time saver design on the Lyon Valley Northern and they describe in detail useful approaches to simplify lifting and dropping cars, They explain, classification, blocking, facing and trailing switches, using the runaround and yard leads. Also how to best reduce the number of moves to accomplish the switching task. The video is intended to provide you with some new knowledge or confirm what you know. Having a good handle on these concepts will simplify model railroad operations so that you can go to any layout and feel confident that you can step in and do your part to enjoy the experience of model railroad operations.      Thanks for tuning in  Mike Hammer and  CNLVN.

Operation of a model railroad in this fashion adds a whole new dimension to any layout.    One of those things I enjoy.    It gives purpose to a model railroad and provides hours of fun.    Is this beginning to look like something you’d like to do?

It’s the only time you can behave badly and get away with  pushing and shoving….a-lot.  Grin!


Operations – The J&G Railroad

I will let this next video introduce itself and explain to you the operations of The J&G Railroad.     Realistic railroad operations.

Grab your favorite beverage or snack and enjoy Model Railroad Operations on the Johnstown and Gerryville R&R.

Model railroad operation on the Johnstown and Gerryville 20141129

Published on Dec 1, 2014

This presentation details the operation of a model railroad, how it could work and what is needed. The footage was filmed with a Panasonic HDC-HS700. The footage (2+ hours) was edited using an iMac 27″ and Adobe Premiere Elements 11. The editing took place in the Netherlands where as the footage was filmed on location in Hoschton GA.     Thanks for watching!

How about that?

The interesting thing about this particular layout it’s  Freelance, as far as location and  Fictitious, in namesake but operates prototypicaly  modeled after the Pennsylvania  Railroad.

Taking the idea of realistic operations to this level is both a challenge and gives you the feel of real railroading.   On the part of the owner it takes hours of preparation, to set up an operations session.     Which can be fun in it’s own right.

My thoughts.    You aren’t likely to find me  operating my railroad in this fashion.   It wouldn’t work on my layout.   However, I’ve enjoyed many an operations night on friends railroads and had loads of fun.   Nothing like operating like the big boys.

Take some time to visit model railroaders who  operate trains in this fashion.    I think you will find it interesting if not awe inspiring.


Operations – Realistic

When it comes to building layouts there are  three basic categories to consider.

  1.  A Loopity Loop:    A great place to start.   Trains run around until it makes you dizzy.   Scenery is optional.   You can fill in the scenery blanks with your imagination.    Most first timers to the hobby will start out this way.   Their first layout will most likely be a  loopity loop.   A great teaching layout and perfect for the first timer.
  2. Entertainment:   Lot’s of loop’s with trains running around.     Appears to have lot’s of action going on.   You might think back to the layouts you used to see in the large department stores with loops of track inside other loops with trains running a hundred miles an hour.     Visitors seem to be enamored by these. Very entertaining to watch but not much in the way  of real railroad action going on.
  3. Operations:    A model railroad built for realism with operations like or similar to  the 1:1 foot scale.   Operating locals, through freights and passenger trains.    More commonly referred to as an Operations Layout and you may hear the term “Operations Night” where friends who like such a thing are invited to attend and participate.   It doesn’t have to be at night but it can occur on the weekend, during the week, in the afternoon or evening.  Anytime you schedule such.

It’s the last one we want to look at here.     The first two don’t really need any introduction or instructions other then run trains.

Through the eyes of DJS Trains, a Professional Rail.  A hoghead for the CSX.    He is going to share with us some ideas on creating a realistic railroad which copies the 1:1 foot scale, train and the typical every day operations.

Model Railroad: Track Planning For More Prototypical Operations. Fixing Common Mistakes

Published on Dec 28, 2013


THIS VIDEO IS NOT FOR EVERYBODY!     For those looking for realistic operations here it is.    Thanks for watching DJS Trains.

Thanks for the warning DJ.     Here DJ shows us examples of realistic operations using a track plan found on the internet.    No offense meant toward the designer or planner of said track plan.     The track plan was designed around an Entertainment Layout.    Lot’s of Trains going nowhere but fun to watch.

FYI:    I’m not afraid to put in a Wye or a Reversing Loop.    They add much to the operations of my personal layout.     I have three reversing loops and one wye.      Why?     It allows me to run an eastbound Chief and later turn it around and run it as a westbound Chief.     Same train, half the cost and my layout appears to have lot’s of passenger trains passing through it.   So, I’m cheap.

The Prototype”?   There is/are and you can still find two yards in southern California that have reversing loops.   You can find them at both ends of the Cajon Sub Division.     Barstow, Ca., and Colton,  CA.

Other then those two I…no….wait a minute, up on the old  W.P. main line, at the old maintenance facility they have a reverse loop.    It’s a museum now.    The museum  operates trains on it during the weekends.    Ok, what’s the name of it?  Here’s a hint Portola, California.    The first one to respond and properly identifies it gets recognition for having done so.   Now is that a prize or what?

The former SP Yard in Colton, Ca., now the proud property of the Union Pacific.   Has a reversing loop.   It is to facilitate turning trains scheduled to run westbound but facing east, to turn the train heading out of the departure yard.   To turn them so they are heading   west into L.A. and or up the coast route.    It’s not a true reversing loop   as model railroaders might think    But who said that was important.    The way the tracks are arranged there are crossovers the train has to take to access the reverse loop.    It does come back on itself but and ties into the mainline.     More like a balloon loop,

Barstow.    In town be sure to visit the W.A.R.M. railroad museum. The newest reversing loop was originally designed to turn sets of locomotives.    Although with diesels you don’t need to turn most sets.     They had a Wye but when they relocated the tracks coming in from Mojave, Ca.   they lost it.    Darn thing disappeared.

Why?    What I’m expected to know and explain everything.    Ok, Ok, you win.   The mainline  track that came from Mojave near the old west tower was relocated.    It  by-passed the Wye and access to it was cut off…that’s why.   Grin!

Barstow has a new Wye.   It is a very odd configuration and not necessarily in the best location.   I’ve only seen crews use the Wye once.    I’m sure they’ve used it more often.   The Wye is located at the western junction or west entrance into the main yard.     To use it you would have to foul both mains and the yard lead tracks.      Today, the only trains that get turned on the Wye is the #3751 pulling an  excursion train and/or BNSF’s inspection  trains.    Freight trains don’t typically need to be turned.

Purpose, if a track has a purpose and it makes sense then by all means add it to your layout.     They don’t call me “More Track Rick,” for nothing.

Planning Your Layout:     You can find another video of DJS’s:  Planning your model railroad with Prototypical Rail Yards.

Other examples would be a Point To Point railroad.   Here on BarstowRick.com you can find an example of Point To Point by visiting:   John Acosta’s, Gulf & Pacific Railroad.

There’s nothing like getting ideas,  mentally digesting them and then create you own track plan.   Bringing  to life your own vision of a railroad, on your train layout.   Oh, and who said you can’t make a creative change while doing so.    I’ve done that and usually the new idea works better then the original plan.

One other thing I’d like to suggest here.    Go sit trackside and watch the Rails, switch their trains,      Make up trains, work a local, spot cars and pick-up cars to be delivered to a specific destination.     Look at your model of a railroad and ask yourself, “What’s the purpose?”      Unless you just like to see trains run…around and around, going nowhere with no specific purpose…then knock yourself out.    After all this is about your interpretation of fun.

Speaking of which, Go Have Some Fun!

Rick H.