Model Railroads That Have Influenced Me
By Nicholas Kalis


I learned that modeling urban industrial areas was possible by reading about William Denton's Kingsbury Branch. Denton models an N-scale version of the Milwaukee Road's Kingsbury Branch in Chicago. Denton built his railroad in two portable sections measuring 21 inches wide by six feet long. Linda Sand's Cedar River Terminal taught me that such an urban model was possible in HO scale. I learned from California's Harold Lloyd that great modeling was possible with the New York/New Jersey waterfront as its focus. Lloyd has been covered in Model Railroader as have the other two modelers who have inspired me. 

Another great modeler who has inspired me is Ron Parisi. Ron's HO-scale modules depicting the New York Central's West Side operations is truly awe-inspiring. Parisi is has had an article published in The Transfer that shows his skills in modeling car floats. I understand that Parisi is working on a car float module as his next challenge. Another dean of urban modeling continues to be Mike Palmiter. Mike's many published articles have inspired me by telling me that I am not alone in admiring the urban railroad scene. While not normally thought of as an urban modeler per se, Howard Zane is an accomplished modeler of urban scenes. I also took inspiration from Howard's evocative urban scenery. 

Inspiration for my modeling continues to come from such sources as the young architect whose urban layout housed in a Manhattan apartment recently won Second Place in Kalmbach's Small Layout Contest. I am speaking, of course, of Jonathan Jones, whose Mid-Atlantic & Western appeared in the May 2001 Model Railroader. I also took inspiration from Robert Smaus and his two-part series that ran in the December 1998 and January 1999 Railroad Model Craftsman entitled "Modernizing for the 50s".


The original inspiration for my layout might be traced to Dan Holbrock's "Designing 17th ST. Yard for the Missabe Division of the Burlington Northern" which appeared in the June 1992 Layout Design Journal.


From Jim Senese (Model Railroad Planning 1999, page 25) I learned to use color-coded clip-on job tags for operators (these tags are engraved plastic rectangles). Jim keyed the operator's tags by the railroads they operated on. Since I am modeling only one railroad, I thought the colors could signify the position held. The tag could have the [1] position held, [2] humorous nickname of the prototype operator, and [3] identify by color the position held.


Inspiration for the construction of my layout came from David Barrow's series on dominos that appeared in the 1996 Model Railroader and his 1995 series of articles on operating the Car Mountain & Santa Fe that appeared in the same magazine.


I was impressed with a favorable review in the January 1998 Dispatcher's Office of RealRoad, manufactured by Digital Power, Inc. Has anyone had occasion to use this item?