#34 Status Report

August 2, 2009

This month the tour of recent changes to the EnterTRAINment Junction layout continues into the Middle Period.


One of the areas that has seen significant development and addition of detail is the coal mine just to the right after going through the tunnel into the Middle Period.  Figure 1 shows the mine and company town as seen from well past the tunnel exit.


Figure 1.  Middle Period Coal Mine


At the lowest level, is the main part of the company town, including a school, with flagpole and playground, and the company store, complete with interior, and customers, including Ray and Charlotte Hughes (Figure 2).


Figure 2.   The Company Town School and Company Store


A recent addition is the gas station and the wreck of an old pickup truck (Figure 3).  High above, and a bit difficult to see, running in and out of the shed at the top of the mine, are a pair of mine trains.  They have low-height electric locomotives, ostensibly powered from trolley poles on overhead wires.  One pulls a train full of miners into the mine building, the other pulls a train full of mined coal in the other direction.  (Sorry, I don’t have a picture of them for you.  I haven’t worked out yet how to photograph a moving train using a flash at that distance.)


Figure 3.  Gas Station


The company houses, which sit on stilts clinging to the mountainside, are wonderfully detailed with curtains in the windows, coal-dust covered miners, miners’ family members, clothes hanging on clotheslines, pigs in a pen, and children playing on the steep hillside (Figure 4, which was taken with a telephoto lens from the Mezzaine).


Figure 4.  Coal Mine Company Houses


At the far end of the mine area, closest to the start of the railroad museum displays, is a loading ramp for loading coal from small mine operators.  This is being automated to allow the truck to appear to dump its load.

Figure 5.  Coal Loader


Looking now at the other side of the aisle, at the city, there is the jail building.  It was added to the edge of the upper level of the city next to Union Station.  It has gotten some continuing improvements since its first installation in early December 2008.  The first was a fence surrounding an oh-so-small exercise yard.  But don’t fret for the poor jailbirds, there are compensations to such limited accommodations, in the form of some visiting ladies outside the fence, all under the watchful eyes of a guard at the jail’s door to the yard (Figure 6).

Figure 6.  The Jail


Meanwhile, around the corner of the jail is an escapee climbing down a rope of bedsheets (Figure 7).


Figure 7.  The Escapee


The final item to show you in this article is a new industry, Kitterman Construction, recently added to the area adjacent to the drive-in theater across from the handicapped elevator by the Mezzanine (Figure 8).  The building is a beautifully modeled old Quonset hut with a fenced in yard, interior and exterior detail, and a lot of weathering to make it look properly aged.

Figure 8.  Kitterman Construction


The name “Kitterman” should sound familiar.  It’s named in honor of John Kitterman, the expert modeler who created most of the big buildings for the Middle Period city as well as the “City of Monroe” steamboat for the Early Period lake.  Figure 9 shows some of the products of Kitterman Construction – what else but large scale model buildings (are they G-scale G-scale?  I’ll let you do the math).

Figure 9.  Kitterman Construction Products


This is just a sampling of the features and details that have been added recently, and the additions continue week to week as they are completed sufficiently to be put on display.  Some items are removed periodically to get further enhancements like interior detail, figures of people, and animations which help bring them to life.


Next time I’ll continue the look at the Middle Period, specifically the area of most interest to MVGRS, the engine servicing facility, which MVGRS members originally volunteered to design and construct, and for which we have been building the majority of the structures.


© 2009 Tom Bartsch

MVGRS Big Train Project Coordinator