Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Engine House

This single-stall engine house was built based on an article that ran in the March 1977 issue of Model Railroader magazine: An enginehouse for the CT&C, by Pat Ford. It was actually a construction article for an N-scale structure, but I liked it and decided to scale it up to HO. I think I started building it soon after the article was published.

As you can see, the results are mixed, but I think it has its own charm with the attempt at a detailed interior. The roofless structure in the article’s opening page that allowed a view to the interior was what attracted me to this project. My interior and structure was crude, but it’s a interesting attempt.

I’m still attracted by the idea of being able to look into and through a model. I recently finished the Overlook building and part of the attraction in building it was the possibilities it allowed for a viewable interior - hopefully, I’ll get some photos posted soon. I played with this idea a bit in model spacecraft too - with the Age of Discovery I wanted to be able to look into the ship, and in that project it took the form of a viewable shuttle-bay. I've still got the itch for looking into things, but I’m not sure where it might go from here; maybe a spacecraft with dual shuttle-bays so the viewer can look into them and through them into the ship - who knows.

The enginehouse was also my first try at using E.L. Moore’s method for making metal panels from paper- the very same method I tried 30 years later in the Bunn's Feed & Seed and Jones' Chemical Company projects. However, I left out a very important step when I built this engine house: I didn’t actually emboss the corrugations over a form, but merely ran a ball-point pen over the paper. This gives a very limited effect, and doesn’t do justice to Mr. Moore’s method: the corrugations appear very flat. Back then I didn’t have any readily available sources for a suitable embossing form as I do today.

I don’t think this engine house will appear on the layout. It’s still parked on the shelf for now.


  1. Pat Ford was one of the very few women who wrote articles for MR, or for that matter, any model railroad magazine. This enginehouse was memorable, like many great construction articles of that period. Of course, ELM was the most memorable. Still, I don't think they write 'em like they used to. So many articles these days aren't nearly as interesting or desirable to build. Back then, I made photocopies and kept files of projects I looked forward to building. Now it's all a blur of nondescript forgettables.

    1. There were a lot of great projects published in the decades gone by. Maybe one reason was that there wasn't as much available commerically as there is today. Possibly another is due to the dominance of electronic and computerized forms of entertainment in mainstream culture. However, I still think there is interesting stuff going on today. The problem is that it's spread across a lot of different outlets: forums, blogs, websites, video, e-magazines as well as traditional print magazines. Again, it's both good and bad. Bad in that it makes things harder to find, but good because the barriers to individual participation are much lower than they were decades ago. I could go on and on about this, but I hear coffee calling my name :-)