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Statement from Ixion Model Railways Ltd
After writing my initial post here, I took a job in the UK and now live in Northwest London. One of the nice things about V-scale model railroading is that there wasn't any packing to do beyond transferring the files to my laptop so I could keep working until my household goods caught up with me. Having carted a good bit of HO stuff with me during my military moves in the 80s and 90s, I found it very pleasant to make a move without any worries about damaged models!
The Michigan Southern Railroad is a 17-mile short line owned and operated by Pioneer Railcorp (PREX), running between White Pigeon and Sturgis, MI. The main east/west line is the old NYC main line (which became the PRR main, then Conrail), now referred to locally as "The Old Road". The old stone NYC mile markers are still in place. The north/south spurs were built as part of the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad, and is still called "The GR&I".
I'm modeling the MSO as it was in the summer of 2011, with operations based on the customers being serviced from the end of June to the beginning of August. My goal here is to recreate the operations while the in-cab viewpoint is reasonably immersive. My 3D modeling skills are effectively nonexistent, so I'm limited to what models are currently available, with some notable exceptions I'll talk about later. I'd love to be able to build 3D models of the major customers at some point, but for now, I'm settling for an occasional landmark that lines up -- for example, there's a Autozone Auto Parts store on the corner of W Chicago Road and Jacob Street in both the real and virtual worlds.
The line interchanges with the Grand Elk Railroad at White Pigeon. In the summer of 2011, the GDLK had only been in operation for two years, and deliveries to the MSO were spotty. Normally, the GDLK operated a local that would arrive around 10 am to pull outbound cars off the MSO main and shove inbounds to replace them (at "A" on the map).
In the summer of 2011, the MSO was still technically connected to the Indiana Northeastern at Sturgis, but I've found nothing to indicate that interchange was active, and that connection was officially abandoned in 2012.
One of the aspects of V-scale that I find most appealing is that in a case like this, there's no need for selective compression. I've laid the full 17.09 miles of track here, thanks to some careful measurements taken from Google Earth. As an example of how helpful GE can be, here's the grade crossing on the Old Road at US Rte 12 shown in Google Earth:
And the same shot in the virtual MSO while I was working on that scene:
And the (mostly) finished scene in Trainz: A New Era:
Since starting the project, I've moved it to Trainz 2019, which offers some scenery features I didn't have in "A New Era", but at the cost of starting all over again with the lighting.
The drawback to modeling the entire line is that there's roughly 15 square miles of scenicking that needs to be done. That ought to keep me busy for a while!
Next up -- planning for operations.
Kurt "Yoda" Kalbfleisch
Modeling the Michigan Southern in V-Scale
This article first appeared on model-railroad-hobbyist.com
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