Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Railfan Sampler

I've had the pleasure of having another article published in Issue #2 of the Model Railroad Hobbyist e-zine. The layout design project itself was a bit different from most for me in that it was a very specific railfan focus practically to the exclusion of any traditional operating elements.

There is one fairly large yard, but it's meant to be a place for consists to be changed or power swapped, not as a base of local switching operations. And the scenes are famous railfan locales (Tehachapi, Cajon, etc.) rather than the more common towns and industries found on many layouts. The overall layout is quite large, occupying a floor in a commercial building, but the effort to capture the essence of famous scenes like The Loop and the horseshoe curve at Caliente demands a lot of space.

Model Railroad Hobbyist is a free download here and you can see the track plan and read more about the design itself. While working on the project, I snapped some railfan style photos during a pass through the Tehachapi area on a "slightly intentional" railfan trip I wrote about here earlier.

You can also see two different approaches to large HO track plans featuring Tehachapi in my Layout Design Gallery.

It was an interesting project with a unique layout vision and concept and it's great to see it in the "pages" of Model Railroad Hobbyist.

Over the weekend I happened to pluck the Georgia Satellites' eponymous 1986 debut release from a teetering stack of CDs. AC/DC meets Allman Brothers Band in a torrent of power chords and 12-bar blues! I suppose many would consider the band a one-hit-wonder, but there's a lot more here than just the radio-friendly "Keep Your Hands to Yourself". Lead guitarist Rick Richards shows off his "Dixie-fried" chops throughout, and the tunes where lead singer Dan Baird and Richards join voices are particularly effective, such as on Terry Anderson's "Battleship Chains" and the turn-it-to-eleven rocker "Can't Stand the Pain" (aided and abetted by Richards' stinging slide work). Unfortunately Baird left the band after two less-successful later releases, but Georgia Satellites shows they were really on to something for a while.