Minor expansion, plexiglas view guards

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated here, so I thought I should do that while the basement clears out from Testors Dullcote fumes.

Over the Christmas break, my daughters and I completed some minor expansion on the Aspinwall Belt.  Inspired in part by Dave Abeles’ recent Island Track addition, we relocated the Bethlehem enginehouse to a new peninsula opposite the aisle from Saucon Yard. We also filled in some of the little holes, and expanded the River Yard to three yard tracks.


After getting everything in, painted, and adding some track, it became quickly apparent that our larger guests, or toddlers-in-arms, created the potential for a quick derailment of a train.  After consulting the Model Railroading forum at, I ordered custom-cut plexiglas (acrylic) panels from Professional Plastics.  Also suggested by TO was to use a Mapp gas torch to polish the saw-cut edges of the panels.

Here are a couple views:

Before Polishing

Before Polishing

After Polishing

After Polishing

The saw cuts were a little deeper, so I could have buffed them with an orbital sander first. But for my temporary layout, they serve the purpose just fine, and they look pretty good in person!

Over the last two weeks, I received an Athearn SW1500 which was released in December.  Conrail 9522 is a beautifully-detailed model, looking quite like the prototype. My favorite feature is the metal grilles on the long hood, though the cab interior is a close second.  I added a DCC decoder and I did some weathering and detail painting (I don’t like the translucent look of the shiny engineering plastic used on modern handrails, so I usually repaint them.)

CR 9522 paired up with CR 8110 for tomorrow's East Penn Drill

CR 9522 paired up with CR 8110 for tomorrow’s East Penn Drill

Next up, I’m detailing and weathering Wisconsin Central 6505, a Proto2000 unit. More on that later!

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