By Chad Thomas/photos by the author
Based on scenes around Illinois and the American Midwest, the Chad, Devan & Robin is a freelanced 35 x 26 ft. HO scale model railroad I am building with my family. My main interests are building scenery and operating trains, though I am interested in getting into operations and hosting a session with friends.
I like to model something as close to the real thing as possible on the CD&R Railroad. Often times the results may not be prefect but it’s close enough for me. I like to focus on modeling rural scenes, such as farm fields, farm operations, elevators, and country landscapes. I currently have a small portion of the layout’s scenery completed, with plenty more to keep me busy for many years to come.
In my travels, I am always observing elements to incorporate into my model railroad. One of my goals is to create unique scenes using different materials and combinations of structures so they are different from what you might see on other layouts. For example, I have always wanted a real caboose in my yard, but have never been able to afford one. One night while sitting at my work bench I thought why not model a caboose in the front of the farm house on my layout? And so began the project. Of course, I just didn’t want to just set it there and then take photos. I thought, why not develop a series of vingettes showing the caboose being delivered and unloaded from the truck? Taking a number of photos from various angles, I completed the work in two evenings. It was a fun project and plan to do several more different projects in the near future.
One last note I would like to add. Always build your layout the way you like it. Don’t be intimidated by others and as the Cub Scout motto says, “Do Your Best!”
Recruiting a few friends over the course of a week in late summer, the farmer constructed a piece of panel track on his property where the caboose would be displayed. The caboose trucks were delivered a week before the big move so they would be ready and in position for the arrival of the caboose body. After months of planning and filing permits, everyone was excited to finally see the low-boy trailer coming down the street with the rest of the caboose!
Today’s the big day! The riggers are hard at work assembling the cradle the crane will use to lift the caboose body off the trailer, and onto its trucks on the farmer’s property.
Everyone holds their breath as the caboose is carefully lifted up into the air, and moved over onto the farmer’s property. Between the tall trees and the nearby power lines, the crane operator has a narrow window to work in.
Onlookers observe from a safe distance as the riggers work with the crane operator to gently lower the caboose body onto the trucks.
The riggers make sure the trucks line up with the bolsters as the caboose body is gently lowered onto the trucks.
Success! The caboose is once again whole, and a few photos are taken with the proud new owners of Norfolk & Western caboose no. 518599.
The farmer and his family is excited to have the caboose safely on their property. Soon they will work on cleaning up the interior and making it ready for friends and family to spend the night in the most unique accommodations in town. For now, they bask in the pride of a job well done.