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Peter's Model Railroading


This is a hobby web site owned by Peter Vanvliet. Its primary focus is to document the construction of my model railroad, which is accurately based on the Pennsylvania Railroad's "Chartiers" branch as it existed in the summer of 1924. The models are in S-scale (1:64). This web site is updated every Friday. A summary of my past month's activities are shown at the bottom of this page. Most photos contained within this web site can be clicked to view a larger version. All photos on this web site are copyright © Peter Vanvliet, unless otherwise indicated; All Rights Reserved.

The current extent of my 'layout', as of July 14, 2023.

My layout is modular/sectional in nature, currently consisting of one module (shown here), with many more planned. Click "The Layout" button on the left to read the full story, with lots of photos. The module's framework is made out of Gatorfoam boards. I am very happy with this solution, and will continue to use this for all future ones. It is part of a set of modules that are centered around the Hazel coal mine in Canonsburg, PA, which is shown in this first module. The module is finished now, but I will be adding more detailing parts and applying some more weathering over time, but that is a gradual process. It took me one month shy of three years to build. The main building was built out of a 1/4" plywood sub-structure and decorated with 485 individually-shaped, aluminum corrugated sheets. The support structure the building sits on consists of 1,146 individual pieces of ABS and styrene plastic that I cut to size. The incline in the back consists of another 168 such pieces (not counting the track or the wooden walkway).

I am taking a break from working on the layout. My current project is to try out the new Inventive Models brass S-scale couplers that just came out.

September 1, 2023

I finally completed one of the three Railmaster Exports truck kits this week. I installed the clear styrene "glass", scratchbuilt the interior, painted the interior, and finally glued said interior into the cab and glued the cab to the truck's frame. I also got a lead from a fellow S-scale modeler, which led me to realize that these are actually models of the Dodge 100 "Kew" trucks, built in the Kew district of London, starting in 1949. So, I have renamed the pages of the articles accordingly.

The other exciting thing this week was that I received my order of the new S-scale brass couplers. These are couplers based on the Frank Sergent design, the design of which he put into public domain for all to use. Inventive Models, a China-based small company, has taken that design and made available HO- and S-scale brass couplers. These work in the same way that Sergent Engineering couplers worked, i.e. a magnet is used to raise an internally-captured ball that releases the coupler head so that the cars can be uncoupled. When the magnet is removed and the cars are coupled, the head closes and remains closed. Fellow S-scale modeler John Degnan was the one who spearheaded a gathering of orders for these couplers, so that we could take advantage of a large-order discount and also save, collectively, on shipping. The total order was for over 1,300 pair of these couplers. Not bad for S-scale!

September 2, 2023

It took me a bit over a month of modeling time, but I finally finished building the Dodge 100 truck kits by Railmaster Exports. You can see the final photos by going to this page.

September 8, 2023

(I had previously posted a photo of the new Inventive Models brass coupler; see below for details).

September 15, 2023

(I had previously posted a photo of the new Inventive Models brass couplers installed on a box car; see below for details).

September 22, 2023

I have added an article describing the new Inventive Models brass couplers for S-scale. I also added an article about how I actually installed these on an S-Helper Service box car.

September 29, 2023

I was able to replace one coupler on my S-Helper Service NW2 to the new Inventive Models brass coupler this week. The other one will be next. These are a highly customized solution, but I will share a photo when it is done. At least it allowed me to test the working of the I.M. coupler with the box car I converted last week, and it worked great; the experience was similar to the Sergent Engineering version from years past.