Saturday, January 25, 2020

Sad News - Keith Stillman has passed away

Keith Stillman passed away January 18th.

Keith was the Superintendent of the Easton and Potomac. His railroad was the leader in the Richmond area for prototype, TT&TO operations.

I met Keith now over 10 years ago via the local hobby shop. Keith's name and email address was given to me from the gentlemen at Chesterfield Hobbies as one of the local "train guys" that was very active in the hobby.

I had been living in town about a year or so and had started finishing the
basement in the previous house for the construction of a railroad. (Richmond Terminal version 1). It seemed like a good idea to make contact with other modelers, so I sent him an email.

I didn't know it then, but that was a turning point in my approach to the hobby. Keith was the person that introduced me to true operation of model railroads. Up until that point, I would certainly "play train" but it didn't occur to me that there was a way to approach the play with an amount of rigor that made the challenge have excellent replay value.

Keith attended the first work session on version 1, and pointed out a design mistake during our work. I had a S curve that was spaced poorly and he mentioned checking out the John Armstrong book for options on fixing that sort of track arrangement.

That was the beginning, but certainly not the end of the mentoring. I would see what he had done with the E&P and then sought to figure out how I could do that on my own layout since he had solved a novel problem or I could learn from his experience.

Keith dispatched the RTRRv1 a couple of times as well as filling other slots. He approached operations seriously, but didn't let that take the humor out of the situation. He never let a good opportunity to make fun of us "train nuts" and himself, by extension, go to waste. He set the standard for documenting a railroad, even with his frequent complaint that model railroaders can't read.

We lost a craftsman, an author and a contributor to the progress of the hobby with his passing. I am indebted to Keith more than I can put into a couple of paragraphs and I expect that I'm not alone in reflecting on his impact.

Keith dispatching V1 before I moved the DS office under the stairs.

Status Update

First operating session was held in December on Pearl Harbor Day, 2019.

Broken stuff was found and a long list of fixes was written.

I didn't give up and take up model airplanes as a hobby, so that's positive.

I am sifting through something like 500 plus pictures so I can add some more content to the blog. Please bear with me a bit here.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Bridge 3 is the first to get track

The final bridge built ended up being the first bridge to get track installed, cut and go through the test remove process.

Note, something this large on the floor is a bit of a hazard.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Walkway Changes or when planning isn't good enough

The railroad has minimum 36" aisleways except for one area where the helix footprint encroaches the walkway, narrowing it to about 30".

When compared to other areas with 48" of clearance, a study to improve this area was in order.

After some measuring and test fitting of the helix, it was decided that 6" and change would be able to be cut away.

We set the long fence up and ran the circular saw. Results as follows.

Cut everything at once to eliminate any potential overhang
All done:
Opened up the area nicely.
A few more pictures can be found on the gallery at

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Doswell Track Layout

I needed to build a small ladder in Doswell to connect the interchange tracks with the wye and through track for the branch, as well as the industry spot I need in the corner.

After a couple of layout tests using a mix of number 6 and number 8 options, I settled on a all number 6.

I have two right hand back to back that go into the diverging of a left hand.

The final layout being used to cut rail.
After assembly; just needs throw bars and ties.
This area is pretty close to complete so look for some additional pictures in a future update.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Roadbed for Doswell

As the 3rd bridge was in place, I could complete roadbed in Doswell.

Weight down as the glue dries

Final result.
And roadbed has landed on the other side too.
Additional pictures are available at