Saturday, December 7, 2019

Completing the ninth year of this blog

As we reach December 8 again, I reach another anniversary of this blog, which I began with my first post on December 8, 2010. That’s nine years ago, and as always on these anniversaries, it seems an impossible span of time, looking back; but as the saying goes, “time flies when you don’t know what you’re doing” (see: ).
     I have continued to post something roughly like every third day, subject of course to innumerable constraints and intervening issues. That amounts to around 120 to 125 posts a year, and such a total obviously implies, over nine years, that I must have done something in the vicinity of 1100 posts by now. In fact, the number, including today, happens to be 1115 altogether. To me, that’s even more strikingly large a number than the nine-year history.
     The other aspect of writing this blog, at first mildly surprising and eventually completely amazing, is the page views that the blog receives. In recent years, it has run around 200,000 views a year (not counting my own visits), and this last year it was once again in that ballpark, totalling more like 225,000 views. The total now, spanning the entire nine years, is more that one and half million page views. Wow.
     But enough on performance. It has been an interesting modeling year. One of the projects I really enjoyed doing on my layout was the installation of “pull-outs” for speeders along the track, something I described in a series of posts (concluding with this one: ). These are very familiar in the prototype but are seldom seen on model railroads, so I was happy to add them. The photo below is a depiction of a double-track arrangement on the Southern Pacific, similar to what I had shown in the posts for other railroads (SP photo, negative N-2009-1, Shasta Division Archives). The location is the Sierra Nevada.

     Other projects that were satisfying included the Union Oil gas station that I kitbashed from a City Classics kit (the concluding post about that project is here: ). This not only filled an empty spot on the layout but was a scenic feature I had long wanted to include. I still enjoy it, every time I notice it on the layout. Here’s how it looks:

     A long-postponed project that finally moved ahead in the past year was the activating of the “back track,” called Track 7, in my layout town of Ballard (see this post: ). This permitted several industries already located there to be switched, such as Santa Maria Tool and Machine, a machine shop housed in this Quonset hut (built from an old Tru-Scale kit: ) and with a scratchbuilt loading dock.

     Another long-running series of posts began with upgrading the Roco model of a U.S. Army flat car with six-wheel trucks, and extended into creating a variety of loads for the car, including a number of examples of armored vehicles (see this one: ). A photo from that post is repeated below, with an M4 Sherman and an M7 howitzer gun carriage being shipped on the Roco car.

It was interesting to me to research this car as well as the loads, and to complete HO scale versions of them. That combination of research and modeling is one of the things I like best in the hobby.
     It’s been another fun year for me in doing this blog, and of course even more so in the research and modeling that lies behind many posts. I look forward to what may come in the next year.
Tony Thompson


  1. I really enjoy your blog, Tony, and refer to it frequently in improving and operating my Friant Branch, which you have operated on. Keep up the good work, and all the best to you and yours this holiday season.

  2. Thank you for your efforts Tony. I check your blog every few days because I enjoy your writing and I actually, from time to time, learn something! All the best for you in the coming years.

  3. Thanks so much Tony, even if my "perennially work in progress" layout would be loosely based on Santa Fe San Joaquin Valley operations, your blog is always interesting and inspiring, and a pleasure to read.
    Keep up the great work. All the best for you and your family.
    Fabio from the far Italy

  4. Great blog! I have discovered last ear searching SP caboose information. I have been reading it ever since, thanks for it! :)

  5. Congratulations on another great year of sharing insightful information, not only on the SP but on modeling in general. Your knowledge on how the "real" railroads did things has contributed to my growth in railroad modeling.

    George Corral
    Holiday, FL

    Between you, the late, great Richard Hendrickson, and several others in the modeling community, I and many others I'm sure have benefited greatly from your generosity and fellowship.

  6. Congratulations, and thanks for inspiring me to be a better modeler and for all the help you've provided over the years. I really appreciate both your attention to detail, and your writing style. I hope there are many more years ahead for you, this blog, and the fine work you're doing at Signature Press.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. Thanks so much for all the information and experiences that you've shared on this blog! I'm a regular reader and always appreciate your prototype-focused modeling and clear explanations of long-vanished aspects of the railway. I also share an interest in appropriate fonts and particularly enjoy your writings on that topic. I really appreciate and have benefited from your generosity with your time and knowledge.

    Thank you!

  8. Thanks to all of you for your kind comments. I still enjoy writing the blog (and of course the SP modeling impetus behind it), and I'm delighted you all find it useful.
    Tony Thompson