Jeffrey and Chuck Jacobi's "O" Gauge Model Railroad
These are some photos of the model railroad we started building late in 2002. We began by building a 6 ft. x 10 ft table to mount the tracks on. We laid 1/2 inch plywood over a 2 x 4 frame and covered the whole thing with 1 inch styrofoam insulating panels, which we painted dark green with latex paint.
Then we built a frame work of wire and styrofoam for the mountain tunnel on the right and later, the elevated hills on the left. The framework was covered with sections of old cotton sheets soaked in a wet, loose mix of plaster of paris. Pulverized dry florist foam, in three shades of green, was applied after spraying the mountain with canned spray glue. Finally, green and brown spray paint was used to accent the ridges and peaks.
Our trees and bushes, with the exception of the hollies, are all hand made. We collected a variety of weeds from the woods around our house, trimmed them, gave them a coat of spray glue to hold them together and finished them with various colors of spray paint. Any grassy areas you notice were made using Woodland Scenics fine blended turf mix applied over spray glue or thinned down white glue and sealed in with the same. Dirt areas are just that... dirt from the backyard !! Our ponds and streams were made by carving a channel in the 1 inch styrofoam board, painting the channel brown and filling it with fiberglass resin.
The ballast for our tracks is made from kitty litter. (much less expensive than model RR packaged ballast) We spread the plain litter out on newspapers and sprayed it with gray primer and black enamel, mixed it around and sprayed it again until we got the color we wanted. It looks great and we keep it from getting all over by sealing it with a coat of spray glue after it's down. (you MUST tape the tracks off before you do this, spray glue is tough to get off the running surface of the rails)
We have lots of lights and accessories in addition to the two locomotives we run at once, so we opted for a 275 watt Lionel ZW transformer. This is a reconditioned 1950's model and it's a powerhouse !! Plenty of juice for everything and more !! We run a single outer loop using 054 curves and an inner loop using 031 curves which incorporates a figure 8, front and rear sidings (with power shut offs) and a short siding inside the left loop of the 8.
It's still very far from being complete, but we thought we'd show off our work a little bit !! Enjoy and let us know what you think !!
The 6x10 ft table after the track was roughly laid out. The mountain tunnel on the far side is done too.
A closer shot of the mountain tunnel. Notice the tracks are not secured yet and several of the switches are either missing or are manual... eventually all would be automatic 022 Lionel.
Looking lengthwise down the table at the rough layout..
Well, well, well !!! Alot has happened here !! Let's take a closer look !
Yes, we've been busy !! Here you see the vintage Lionel # 362 barrel loader in the left foreground which we operate with a vintage, 1955 Lionel # 3562 yellow barrel car. Behind it is the milk car platform, operated with two vintage Lionel milk cars, # 3462 (1947) and a # 3472 (1950). A Lionel 156 platform is on the right with 1957 Lionel 133 station behind it, complete with people and one of two original Lionel # 59 light posts (circa 1920). A # 47 repro double crossing gate is seen center left. A Lionel Prairie 2037 smoking locomotive ( circa 1955) in 027 scale is chugging along the front track with a 6026 whisling tender in tow, while the Lionel EMD 8770 Switcher performs some yardwork on the inside 8. The Hershey's Chocolate Factory is behind the 8770 Locomotive. A vintage, lighted Marx switch tower (circa 1940's) is in the back left of the photo.
This is the left side of the layout. Still fairly incomplete, but getting there. There is another large hill in the far back on which our cathedral sits. Several other Currier and Ives buildings line this side of the layout, which will depict a more wintery scene when finished. All the buildings are lighted for night operations !! A Lionel 494 reveolving light tower (c. 1950)is seen to the right of center, along with the yard tower (also lighted). A Lionel #153 block signal (c. 1950) is in the foreground and operates off the switch behind it. Several groups of construction workers perform some trackside maintenance. The Lionel # 3469 automatic dump car (c. 1949) offloads it's load of stone into a bin behind the orange boxcar in the foreground
Yard workers do some maintenance in the foreground and to the left of the diesel horn shack. The 8770 switcher is pulling into the yards. Notice the track ballast (kitty litter).
The crossover at the center of the layout. The pond is behind the yard tower and empties into the stream which courses under the tracks, the # 214 grider bridge and off into the back of the layout. More workers are visible in various places here. The diesel horn shack is in the foreground with the grey roof.
An empty space in the forward right corner was the perfect spot for some domestic animals !! A small pond provides a drink for the cows, hogs and horses. A couple of small mallards are in the grass to the left of the pond. In the background more workers toil away. Behind them an original 1941 Lionel 45N Gateman shack with RR crossbucks .... the door is open and the signalman is out with his lantern as the 2037 Prairie Steamer chugs by.
A slightly better shot of the 45N Gateman in the open position. Notice on the far right the old billboard.. We made several of these from small reprints of old crate labels I found on the internet and some scraps of wood !! They look great and fit perfectly into the time period of the layout. Also visible in this shot on the right is a yet to be hooked up Lionel # 154 Highway Signal (circa 1945).
Our newest addition and my favorite !! A New Haven EP-5 rectifier # 359 , with pantographs up, pulls into the station on the outside track. This is a beautiful, dual motor locomotive made by Williams that is extremely smooth, quiet and powerful. It is an almost exact replica of the original Lionel 2350 EP-5 of the 1950's at a fraction of the price. In the foreground a 1958 Buick is parked along the new road on this side of the tracks. If you look very closely you will see a fire hydrant behind the track.. and yes, that is a man peeing on it !!!
The New Haven EP-5 # 359 on the outer track, the EMD # 8770 on middle siding and the Prairie Steamer # 2037 on the inside track. The barrel loader is in the foreground. In the far left corner are two new Ameritowne building fronts just erected (look like old brownstones) and behind the diesel horn shack is the newly built O'Rourke's Hardware and Paint Store.
Here's what inspired the whole thing... that's me and my younger brother Jake about 1960 at the train table our dad would set up every Christmas in our apartment in the Bronx !! I think we've collected most of the old operating accessories again, including the Lionel ZW transformer.. but I see the ice station and newstand in this photo I've yet to get hold of.. and that great, white station in this photo, a Lionel # 115 from about 1935.. VERY pricey !! Oh, I sure wish I would have taken all these things when I had the chance years ago when my dad offered them up..hindsight is 20/20 I guess !!!! But it's great fun building it all back from scratch for my boy to enjoy now (and me !!)... and hey dad.. I think we have you beat now !!!
Thanks to Lionel Trains Horizontal Rules for this image of my EP-5 !! Click the train to go to their site !
This page was last updated on: February 5, 2012
Charlie's Irish Pub. Actually, this was a General Store kit from Buildings Unlimited, but my track workers were getting thirsty after a hard days work, so we made it an Irish Pub ! Roll your mouse over it to the interior, it's finished, including tables, a bar, pictures on the walls, stools, a couple of customers and Charlie serving drinks behind the bar ! The interior is also lighted.