Wednesday, March 23, 2022


As mask requirements and related group gathering protocols finally give way, it is time to get back to hobby gatherings, including operations.  The month of March 2022 benefitted from timing as mask and gathering restrictions came off in Oregon just as several major RR hobby events appeared on the calendar.  My friends in the Willamette Model RR Club were able to hold what had been an annual swap meet on what turned out to be the first day in Oregon without mask requirements.  It was with great joy we finally could see full smiling faces of our fellow hobbyists.


The next event was Winterail, the major West Coast rail photography exhibition, now held in the Corvallis High School Performing Arts Center.  Winterail features shows with projected images set to music in the main auditorium and a companion railroadianna show held in the cafeteria space alongside the auditorium. This year’s Winterail featured a full standard Saturday program followed by a part-day program on Sunday.  The Saturday program was the show held over from 2020, which was cancelled at the last moment as the pandemic impact first hit.  New material for 2022 was shown on Sunday.  Producer Vic Neves reported ticket sales around 280—down a bit from pre-pandemic numbers, but decent enough.  As usual, the shows were of high quality with a couple of standouts.  Most notable was “Into the Light: Photography of Erik Lundgren” that had particularly striking lighting in images mostly around Colorado.  Images and music were particularly harmonious in this production by Tim Tonge.  Another takeaway from this year’s Winterail is the increasing use of camera drones helping photographers achieve a new perspective on railroading.


Taking advantage of several folk travelling to the Pacific Northwest for both Winterail and the next weekend’s Soundrail model railroad operations regional gathering, I scheduled a “Boomer” operating session on my railroad while my friends at WMRRC schedule one the following day.  Ten out-of-town “Boomers” were joined by a similar number of my local crew for a full operating session on my SP Cascade Line.  Shown below are a sampling of images from this fifty-second full operating session on my railroad.


Boomer Seth N. dispatched.  He has done so in prior visits and kept the railroad fluid.


Regulars Dave H. and Craig L. managed the Eugene Arrival-Departure Yard.  This combines both staging and A-D Yard functions.


Rodger C, (Boomer) Jim B, Craig L, study action at the RR-East end of my Eugene Classification Yard as “Santa Clara Tower Operator” Dave H. looks on.


Yardmaster Rick A. manages the Eugene Yard as RR-West Switcher Bill M. works his end of the yard.


Boomers Dave H. and Brian F. work the Springfield-A local job.  This job works Springfield industry on spurs on the backdrop side of the mainline.


Boomer Jeff F. brings a RR-East road freight around the curve into Springfield.


Dispatcher Seth N. has set up a major meet in Springfield with Jeff F.’s Eastbound road freight on the main, the out-going (RR-West) Oakridge Turn on the siding, and the Springfield-A job on the depot and drill tracks.


Jim B. pilots a RR-West freight around the curve past the Marcola Branch at the RR-West end of Springfield.


Jeff F. brings another RR-East train past Westfir.


Boomer Jim P. services the company fuel and maintenance of way tracks at Oakridge as part of the Oakridge Turn’s activity.


Oakridge Turn engineer Jim P. watcxhes as Helper engineer Boomer Dave A. cuts his helpers off the point of a RR-East train as that train’s engineer Boomer Ed S. watches.  Dispatcher Seth N. chose to bring most helpers back down to Oakridge on the point (front) of RR-East (downhill) trains.


Jim B. works a RR-West uphill with help from Jim L. as engineer on the mid-train helper at McCredie Springs.


The Dispatcher has set up a meet at Wicopee.  Jeff F. brings a RR-West uphill and into the siding as Dave H. and Dave A. hold their RR-East downhill train on the Main.


Meet accomplished, Road Engineer Jeff F. and Helper Jim L. check block authority with the Dispatcher as Helper Engineer Dave A. prepares to work further RR-East.


At the RR-West end of Wicopee, Boomer Greg W. checks his block authority as he works another train RR-West (uphill).


The 9363 drifts downhill over Salt Creek Trestle.


Ed S. and Dave A. bring another freight RR-East down over Salt Creek Trestle.


A priority meet at Cruzatte!  Greg W. (left) holds the main with the RR-East LABRF while Amtrak Number 11 works uphill (RR-West) under the guidance of Norm A. (right).


Boomer Jeff F. gets a procedural assist from local Jim L. at Crescent Lake as Jeff prepares to take a train out of Crescent Lake and RR-East downhill toward Eugene.


It was great to have a full crew run my railroad after two years of limited operations.  I was happy to open up the RR to out-of-state visitors, taking advantage of rail events nearby on successive weekends.  This was a great way to celebrate a return to group activities.

Friday, March 4, 2022


My effort to fill the six new industrial spurs in the congested area geo-north, RR-East, of the Eugene Depot brought me to the spot designated for the BiMart warehouse.  As I noted in the first of the posts in this series (, I consulted multiple sources to identify what industries I would model.  Most of the industries appeared on the 1977 SPINS (Southern Pacific Industrial Numbering System) diagrams for Eugene.  Given our positive view of BiMart here in Oregon plus a family tale we delight in, BiMart immediately became a winner.


BiMart is a local-to-the-Pacific-Northwest discount retailer, much like Costco.  Founded in Yakima, Washington, BiMart quickly became an Oregon institution and soon headquartered in Eugene.  I searched the internet for more information and found their current headquarters and distribution warehouse on Google Earth satellite view.  The current warehouse is served strictly by truck, but that 1977 SPINS document clearly identified a BiMart warehouse as an SP customer.  I suspect BiMart changed warehouse locations to a much larger truck facility as their business grew and transportation shifted to trucks.  The current satellite and street views are of a different warehouse.  


I chose to model a typical warehouse from the mid-century.  Concrete tilt-slab wall construction and bowed roofs were very common.  This structural form lends itself well to foam-core model construction as I have done on a number of other structures.  The bowed roof added a bit of challenge as I wanted to make a hipped version of such a roof—another common feature.  An added challenge for my model was the need for a diagonal cut along the back of my structure to fit it against the wall while having the rail side parallel the spur track.


BiMart Warehouse.


I built my model in two major sub-assemblies.  The walls were my conventional foam-core construction with a cardstock siding laminated to the core structure walls.  I simply painted the cardstock a creamy off-white.  I captured the BiMart logo from the back side of a receipt and then printed it on one of the painted cardstock sheets.  The columns were strips of plastic, painted the same wall color.  Both the roll-up freight doors and personnel doors came from my favorite Clever Models steel structure pack.  Other bits of styrene from my scrap bin provided the freight docks and personnel stairs.


BiMart wall construction. The freight doors are inset into the foam core sides.


Roof construction began with finding a suitable form for the roof arch.  Fortunately, I had a round metal tray of an appropriate size.  I cut a series of roof formers in foam-core.  I glued these to a foam-core base—a sub-roof.  I used one of the rounded formers and more foam core to duplicate the end geometry.  I wanted something to experiment with for the roof ends.  I installed longitudinal roof formers between the arches.  I also laminated wood beams to the underside of the sub-roof to keep it flat.  


BiMart roof assembly.  The lateral arched roof formers were joined by longitudinal formers.  Triangular pieces help form the roof ends.  A diagonal former was placed where the roof would be cut at the back of the structure.


I glued a sheet of cardstock to my trial end piece using rubber cement.  After this set, I trimmed the cardstock to fit the edges of the end former.  I then removed the cardstock from the former to use it as a template for the final roof pieces.  The resulting template has a gentle arch to fit the roof arch and side sections that edge outward to meet that gentle arch.


Trial roof end former and cardstock roof template after it was shaped and removed from the former.  The upper surface has a gentle arch and the sides angle out from the low front corners.


I used the roof end template to layout cut lines on the roof cardstock (chipboard).  I left quarter-inch margins outside my template for subsequent trimming.  This turned out to be perfect!  I cut the gentle arch freehand, as I no longer had a hard device to use for a cutting guide.  I accounted for this with my roof former design and my ultimate plan to cover the roof joints with paper strips. 


I glued the end roof sections to the roof structure using both carpenter’s glue and gap-filling CA glue.  I then placed wood pieces as weights to hold the roof panels in place on the former.  I did a small amount of trimming of the end roof sections where they overhung the arch roof former.  I then added a second arch roof former inside the end formers to support the center roof panel edges.  The center roof section was applied, once again aided by heavy wood pieces on the top and edges to hold everything in place as the glues set.   Finally, I cut the roof along the diagonal back roof former. 


Roof back trimmed along the diagonal former.


Several coats of paint were applied to the chipboard roof panels as they soaked up a lot of paint.  I was pleasantly surprised to find my guestimates of extra margins around the roof were perfect for my needs. The sub-roof neatly fit into the wall assembly.  The freight docks and stairs were built from scrap-box styrene pieces, and painted to match the structure.


BiMart Warehouse in place and ready for business.