Last month I was in Kansas City for a short business trip and had the opportunity to visit a very ambitious HO-scale layout being built by Stephen and Joel Priest. We had met Stephen, Joel and Cinthia at the NMRA 2014 Convention in Cleveland and they extended an invitation to stop by if we were ever in the area. Stephen's company, Paired Rail Railroad Publications, is the publisher of several model railroad publications, including the monthly NMRA magazine. Unfortunately, Joel had already started school and Cindy was not home during my visit.
The model workshop area is a dream come true with every imaginable tool and part
I could go on and on about the beautiful craftsmanship that is going into this layout, but I want to focus on three "takeaways" that I learned during my visit. The first is the backdrop joints. Like us, Steve and Joel are using masonite sheets for the backdrop. I have tried to minimize the gaps at the joints on our layout, then finish them with paper tape like a drywall joint. No more, there is a better way:
The next takeaway has to do with backdrop buildings. Keep in mind that Steve is a graphic artist and a first class photographer. He shoots interesting buildings wherever he goes, then edits the pictures and uses them as background buildings.
The third takeaway from my visit was this technique to keep ballast from interfering with turnout switch motor operation.
This is an inspiring layout filled with interesting techniques and ideas. They also have a very informative website at www.stlouisdivision.com which is worth checking out. Thank you Stephen for taking time out of your busy schedule to show me around - I look forward to a return visit! (This layout will be open during the 2018 NMRA National Convention to be held in St. Louis.)
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