No. 1: Introducing The RPM Blog

Welcome to my blog, The Railroad Prototype Modeler.  I chose the name because I am an “RPMer”, and the RPM title also hints to my association with the St. Louis Railroad Prototype Modeler’s Meet.  I hope you enjoy reading and participating.

I started blogging in late 2015 when my family and I moved to Germany, but I felt like I was talking about myself too much.  I was uncomfortable with that, so when both our home computers crashed in April, 2016 I made the decision to abandon that blog and devote more time to family and modelingLately I decided to start it up again as a creative outlet to write, share, learn and grow.  I will do my best to make this blog about RPMing, and people, and not about me.

I retired from the active duty Air Force in 2010 and got a good job working as an Air Force civilian at Scott AFB.  My wife and I built a comfortable home in O’Fallon, Ill and settled down to raise our children and enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle.

In August 2015 I was offered a job in Germany.  We immediately accepted.  My family and I were ready for an adventure and the opportunity to live in the heart of Europe was too good to pass up.

The moving process, however, was murder.  Moving is tough.  It’s tougher moving to Europe.  We moved eight times on active duty but we found that this overseas move was exponentially more complex.  We had about 80 days to prep and leave and the amount of stuff we had to do was overwhelming.  I’ll save those stories for later…or never.  Let’s talk trains instead.

On To Modeling

There wasn’t much time left to lament what I was giving up. I had to leave behind management of St. Louis RPM, although I expected to be able to do most of the normal work from Germany since 95% of the work is online anyway. I also had to dismantle my 50 x 2-foot M&StL layout of Ackley, Iowa.  A few photos of the sad process are included below.


Golden - Leaving Home 1 (1)

I dismantled the layout immediately and packed everything useable into about 20 boxes for transport, with another ten boxes going to long-term storage.  A photo of one of the transport boxes is shown below.  I had about 20 of these plastic boxes, most of them numbered with contents photographed and catalogued.


I sold or gave away a hundred projects and finished models and other things to lighten our burden.  I sold a lot of books and threw away or recycled most of my older magazines.  Throwing out the layout was especially bittersweet. I built it to be “moveable” (one step down from “portable”, as I used to say) but it was still too heavy to move overseas. Storing it for three to five years wasn’t practical. It had to go. I took off everything I could re-use–including spikes, ties and wood screws–and broke the rest of it apart.  I burned a large amount of former layout lumber in the firepit.  The layout room, custom-built and full of personality and life, was left empty.

Golden - Leaving Home 1 (2)

Despite my manic schedule I managed to see my closest modeling friends–Dan Kohlberg, Lonnie Bathurst and Dave Roeder from St. Louis RPM–a few times before leaving, and caught up with Clark Propst and a bunch of other good friends at Naperville in October. I attended the Mid-Atlantic RPM (MARPM) for the first time and met up with a lot of old friends, and met Todd Herman, a school friend of my brother-in-law John Wemple. Todd and I had been e-mailing for some time and I was excited to finally meet him and spend some time with him. He’s a terrific modeler and is building a medium-sized L&NE layout in his home in Alexandria. I’ll talk more on his layout in a future blog post. I made plenty of new friends and learned a lot at Naperville and MARPM.

There is much for my family and I to see and learn and explore in Europe. New challenges, new friends, new experiences, and new horizons in the hobby. A new start in a totally unfamiliar place with the people I love the most.

Psalm 18:2  The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.




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