Long Island Rail Road
Lower Montauk Branch


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 Long Island City Area 1953
(click map)

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c.1860 (click map)

Articles by Nick Kalis

Modeling Hints

Layout Description


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Prototype Photos

Layout Photos

Operations Timetable
Procedures Manual


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(click to enlarge passes)

Email Contact

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1898 LIRR Ad Long Island City 

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LIRR -Sunnyside, Yard A, Montauk Branch, Jamaica Yard & Morris Park Shops circa Fall 1952


  • Great Decals! long awaited Van Iderstine tallow tank car decals have finally arrived.
  • Bill Mosteller has finally brought out these HO scale decals for folks interested in modeling the Van Iderstine Rendering Plant in Blissville, Queens (New York).
  • This industry was served by the Long Island Railroad's Montauk Branch. Each set is enough to letter one (1) tank car.
  • Sets include numbers for lettering cars 1001 through 1009.
  • A good approximation of these cars can be found in the Proto 2000 8,000 gallon type 21 riveted tank car from Life Like.
  • These HO scale cars (Item 30679 Undecorated) are made in China.
  • I got mine from Granddad's Hobby Shop in Virginia for $16.98/each.
Order Decal Set Number 96 from Great Decals! P.O. Box 994, Herndon, Virginia 20172 or visit Bill's web site at www.greatdecals.com


Daily News Oct 28, 1958: 
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Nick Kalis, age 3, reviews New York's Last Trolley Run


What's New       Last Updated:04/14/21  

"Follow the Blue Arrow" see sign above

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Adam Metal Supply Company
48th Ave at East River, LI City 1, NY

  • This model railroad depicts the warehouse district of Long Island City in September 1963.
  • Three bodies of water are modeled: East River; Newtown Creek; and Dutch Kills.
  • HO scale is 1:87.
  • scenery is a combination of scratch-built and kit-bashed structures
  • Featured are the Honeywell, Queens Boulevard, and Thompson Avenue vehicular viaducts.
  • Figures and car float painted by Christos Zirps.

    Contact: Nicholas Kalis
    Tele: 703 585-0100 Fax: F 703 734-6801 Email

Layout Design

kalis7.jpg (75589 bytes) My layout itself , which consists of an around-the-room shelf that is mostly 18 inches deep and narrows to 12 inches deep plus an 18 inch deep peninsula that is 16 feet long occupies an area of 19' x 14'3".

My [1] layout, [2] built-in workbench, and [3] visitor lounge area (sofa and side tables plus tiny bookcase) fit in a room that measures 26 ' x 14' plus about 10' x 2' for the workbench. This room has carpeting, central air, recessed lighting, telephone, and intercom.

Lessons Learned Along The Way

Many of you know me as the author of a long article on Sunnyside Yard published in The Keystone. Others of you might know that I with the help to Ted Tubbesing, Ed McGill, Monroe Stewart, Ed Johnson, and Martin Denlinger, I built an HO scale model whose theme was Sunnyside Yard.   What did I learn from my previous layout. I learned that a finished layout room was an absolute necessity for enjoying this hobby. My last layout was in the unfinished area of my basement. All the cleaning and painting and lighting I did could not escape this reality. I also learned that my next layout would not be double deck nor would there be a helix.   As to modeling passenger operations, I learned that this was beyond my pocketbook, talents, space available, and free time available. I realized that I wanted a layout that would be reasonably complete in less than a lifetime. I could not count on staying at the current home and enjoying my current good health forever (not to imply that I foresee anything other than great health for as long as I can foresee).   What I did learn is that my interest in modeling urban areas and Queens, New York remained strong. My choice of the Long Island Rail Road Montauk Branch would allow me to put to good use the research I had been conducting on and off for 20 years. I had amassed a nice library of loose-leaf binders contained, track diagrams, photos, articles, and correspondence detailing the operations of the Montauk Branch.   Others positives I learned were that I liked HO scale. O scale would not afford me the opportunity to model the various scenes I had in mind. N scale was just too small for my eyes. HO had the greatest variety of supplies but that gap is narrowing at a dizzying pace.


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Ad from Roto Broil, Long Island City, NY - Track 19a location

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Maytag Appliances

Louis Sherry Ice Cream
 Long Island City, NY - Track 17a location

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Ads from Westinghouse, Long Island City, NY - Track 14 location

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National Casket Co.

Thanks to those who have helped me with this layout go to: Ted Tubbesing (wiring), Ed McGill (freight cars), Christos Zirps (tug, figures, & car float), Tony Fabrizi (float bridge)