The era of my railroad is the early 1950's so steam locomotives are still around. With regard to my level of detailing, I try to satisfy an arm's length inspection. By modeling full size, I'm not restricted by any size limitations due to scale so I could model every bolt, washer and nut if I cared to expend the time and computer memory. But I take the attitude that these models are never really finished. I can always add more detail. And I'm anything but a nit-picker for absolute accuracy, preferring a model to reflect my idea of what looks good rather than slavishly match the prototype.
I decided that if I'm going to build a part of a railroad on a digital "back lot", it might as well be a visually interesting one and in my mind it doesn't get any more interesting than following photo. This is Salina Street in Syracuse, New York which, well into the 20th century, had a main line of the New Central Railroad running though the middle of the city at street level. My mind is boggled by the concept of being able to walk down a city street and have a freight train pass by.
Salina Street in the early part of the 20th century
Here's what my back lot looks like so far. I chose to capitalize on having a set of tracks running down a city street by installing overhead power lines for a street car so I could run both kinds of motive power.
This is a PCC (President's Conference Committee) street car from the middle of the last century. The design was the final attempt by all stakeholders in the street car industry to sell a fast, quiet, state-of-the-art vehicle to cities with street cars and withstand the spread of diesel buses ... and we all know how that turned out. I remember, as a kid, travelling to Toronto where these street cars were kept running long past their design lifetimes. I liked their shape then and I still do. (most recent update on Apr. 3/2017)
After more than two years of modeling and texturing, the my 4-6-4 steam locomotive is essentially finished. I've called it a JF6 because I'm combining the frame, trucks, wheels and valve gear layout for a Milwaukee F6 with the streamlining sheet metal for a N&W Class J. This is without doubt the most detailed and complicated model I've ever attempted.
Since I was building the diner from the Edward Hopper painting "Nighthawks", I needed a facade for across the street. I decided the best choice would be another Hopper painting "Early Sunday Morning".
The coffee shop from the Edward Hopper painting "Nighthawks". I'm calling it the Penn Diner because it's going to be just down the street from Pennsylvania Station. The popular name "Phillies" comes from the cigar billboard on the roof.
This is a fair replica of an existing building in downtown Windsor, Ontario, Canada. At one time it was the main post office.
A standard, 40 ft. railroad box car. Each side is painted with a different railroad company logo so that with a copy of the model turned 180 deg., I have two useable cars.
The name of this combination car comes from its dual application. Two thirds of the car is used as a mail car while the remaining third can carry passengers. Since it's a modified passenger car it has Pullman trucks.