Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Twelfth anniversary of this blog!

 Today, December 7, 2022, completes 12 years of this blog, because my first post was on December 8, 2010. I certainly never envisioned anything like what has transpired between then and now. I am closing in on a total of 1500 posts, a number I can barely even start to comprehend — shows what happens when you just “show up for work” about every three days for 12 years!

Equally amazing, as it has been practically from the beginning, is the number of page views (not counting my own), which is now just a little short of two and a quarter million, in these 12 years. And I continue to value the many comments and questions regarding particular posts, both those posted as comments to and those sent to me separately. They often illuminate something I did not clearly explain or describe. 

In this past year I posted the 100th segment of my ongoing descriptions of topics relating to waybills for freight operation. (It was in fact a “guide” to all the preceding posts, actually more than 99, on the topic; here’s a link: ). My interest in this topic continues and doubtless will result in more posts in the upcoming year. 

An important focus of my model railroading has been and continues to be my layout. Many of the projects or research pursuits I have described are for the layout, directly or indirectly. The layout is largely complete by now, but there do remain a fair number of small projects still to do, along with a couple of lagging bigger ones.

Here are a couple of photos of different parts of the layout, as they are today. First, I’ll show the Chamisal Road grade crossing in my layout town of Shumala, leading to the underpass under the beginning of the Santa Rosalia Branch. This is one of the oldest parts of the layout, and has gradually received upgrades to current standards, including the scratchbuilt depot at left. The track nearest the camera is the main line of Southern Pacific’s Coast Route.

Another area I have enjoyed working on is the large winery in the town of Ballard. It is a repurposed Magnuson power house kit with a tile roof, along with many added details. This photo shows the tank car loading rack for bulk wine. That’s Nipomo Street in the foreground.

Another topic to which I often return in the blog is the various regional conventions and operating weekends than I attend. This is not intended as showing off my personal life; one of the last things I would want to do is provide a personal-diary kind of blog. Instead, I hope it may encourage someone who hasn’t tried conventions or op weekends to try one. I really enjoy them, and hope someone who doesn’t quite realize what they offer might be inspired to give one a try. 

A great aspect of 2022 was the decline of the pandemic, to where we could again gather for these conventions and operating events. This fall, for example, I greatly enjoyed the 2022 Prairie Rail event in Kansas City, especially John Breau’s superb layout (you can see my description at: ). I show below his town of Dutton, Montana, with its array of grain elevators (all of which are switched, of course). Really a great experience.

So the blog continues. I still enjoy it and certainly find it fun to research and compile many of the posts. As long as that’s true, I will keep on doing it.

Tony Thompson


  1. Looking forward to the next dozen years!

  2. ...and all of the information is invaluable. Thank YOU for sharing your wealth of information with the rest of us!

  3. What model did you use for the wine bulk loading rack or did you scratchbuild it?

  4. Thanks, Tony. Your blog is my primary go-to encyclopedia for prototype info and ideas.

    1. Thanks, Jay, I appreciate that, especially as I still remember enjoying operating on your layout as much as anywhere.
      Tony Thompson