by Thomas Beutel

Category: Model Railroading

My favorite spot on the Redwoods and Pacific RR

When I planned the Redwoods and Pacific, I purposely built in many bridges. My favorite so far is this deck truss bridge. The bridge sits at the far end of a floor to ceiling canyon, so it isn’t one that I go up close to very often, but it is big enough to see well […]

Kitbashed Beet Gondola

A long time ago I won a Details Associates beet car at a PCR door raffle and it was only last year that I decided to put it together. It’s a wonderful kit, but it did take me several evenings to put it together. Now that I had one, I wanted a whole train of […]

Kitbashed Seafood Wholesale

I enjoy taking HO building kits and repurposing them. Here is one that I built for my seaside district. It’s a seafood wholesale building sitting on a pier over the water. I got the idea for this kitbash from Art Curren’s Kitbashing HO Model Structures book. It uses two Tyco Freight #7785 stations. As you […]


It is one of my favorite modeling techniques. Basically, I get a kit and throw out the instructions. The kit parts become raw materials to make something new and different, or to make a model of something from the real world that is not available in kit form. Sometimes I’ll combine two or more kits […]

Army Hospital Trains at Crissy Field

I go fishing at Crissy Field at least once a week and I often think about some of the fascinating history of the field. During WWII the Army had built a long 4 track yard to stage hospital trains. You can see pictures of the yard at this link. The yard was situated just north […]

Influences for the Redwoods and Pacific Railroad

I grew up as a toy train guy. My father started his first layout when I was three years old and growing up with trains meant that it was in my blood by the time of my first memories. His early layouts were not permanent until we moved into a house with a basement, but they […]

Yes, I am modeling the Embarcadero Freeway

The Embarcadero Freeway was truly a depressing structure and made the Embarcadero near the ferry building seem dark and foreboding. And although the 1989 earthquake was a terrible experience, one of the few good things that came out of that was the condemnation and eventual removal of the freeway. Now walking along the Embarcadero is […]

McArthur-Burney Falls on the Redwoods and Pacific Railroad

My latest project on my model railroad is this waterfall. I’ve patterned it after McArthur-Burney falls in Northern California. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m liking how it is turning out.

Island Mountain Bridge on the Redwoods and Pacific Railroad

A passenger local crosses the Island Mountain Bridge on the Redwoods and Pacific Railroad. The bridge is kitbashed from two Vollmer 2546 Kastenbrücke kits. The passenger cars are by Roundhouse and Model Power and the locomotive is a Sunset brass engine.

Using Skype to control a model train

Small wireless spy cameras are widely available, and there are even a few available specifically for HO-scale trains. This got me to thinking about letting my cousin in Germany run a train on my train layout, using Skype. Why not? Connecting the camera receiver to my laptop is easy and Skype allows you to select […]