J. Alex Lang

Conrail Train Symbol Nerdology

This past weekend (Jan 13, 2024) I gave a presentation about Conrail Train Symbols at the Conrail Historical Society‘s 1st Quarterly membership meeting, held at the Power Director’s Office in Harrisburg, PA, maintained by the Harrisburg Chapter, NRHS. The Harrisburg Chapter is a must-visit when in the area, as both the Harris Tower and the […]

PRR G38 Ore Cars in HO

G38 Ore Gon

As I’m modeling Conrail in 1994, Bethlehem PA area, I have been accumulating Stewart and Bowser G39 ore hoppers for quite some time in order to feed the Bethlehem blast furnaces with iron ore for steelmaking purposes. By 1994, these aging cars were supplemented by occasional 70- and 100- coal hoppers as well, but – […]

Kitbashed Conrail B36-7

I’ve (finally) finished my pair of Atlas-kitbashed Conrail B36-7’s. I started these out in January, with parts that I’d accumulated over the prior year.  This project was aided and inspired by the Dave Abeles’ B36-7 fleet plying the rails of his HO scale Onondaga Cutoff (e.g. https://onondagacutoff.blogspot.com/2013/07/a-coat-of-paint.html)  You should know that there is a Murphy’s Law […]

Recent Weathering Updates

Recently, I was asked by a friend for some progress photos, so, here are some cars I’ve completed over the last six months or so. I’m tending to do a fade airbrush coat, then acrylic detail, then PanPastel weathering, with Testors DullCote layers in between each step. I try to weather cars in batches, and […]

Conrail 21248 N-21 Caboose, “Outer Limits”

It has been awhile since I’ve updated everyone… First, about the layout. The Aspinwall Belt was dismantled and put into storage in March, 2016 in preparation for waterproofing and finishing the basement. So far, that hasn’t happened yet. But, I was smart enough to leave my modeling work area intact, and so I’ve been using […]

20 Cylinders on the East Slope

“Man…” I thought, “I’m not getting out of bed for this!” John Z had just burst into the room explaining that a train was stopped outside The Station Inn, with a rare SD45-2 being towed behind the newer, more typical Norfolk Southern locomotives that pass by here daily. I reasoned that breakfast was more important.  […]

Recent Roster Additions – Atlas C40-8W

Christmas music is playing softly, I’m sipping a beer, and the kids are asleep (well, the baby is resisting, but she’ll be asleep soon enough…) so I will take a moment to update on things on the Aspinwall Belt.  We had a great operating session in late September, with a group of newer folks.  We […]

Remote Dispatching the Onondaga Cutoff

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of serving as Conrail’s Mohawk Dispatcher on Dave Abeles’ HO scale Onondaga Cutoff. Dave’s model railroad is located in northern New Jersey, and I was serving as the “2nd trick” train dispatcher from my home near Pittsburgh.  The “first shift” dispatcher starting the night off, was […]

Requiem for “The D&H”

Those who know me, know that I’ve never been much of a fan of sports.  I am, however, a fan of the railroad industry.  And at the end of this week, a piece of historic railroad changed hands, leaving me feeling like Baltimore fans must have felt when the Colts packed up late one night […]

GATX 2000, ex-Union Pacific SD40-2

As I model the Allentown, PA area in the mid-1990s, I knew that I would need a yellow-and-gray GATX SD40-2 lease unit for the Delaware & Hudson trackage rights trains that plied the rails from Rouses Point, New York to Philadelphia, Penna. During this era, railfans drowned in a sea of blue Conrail locomotives, and […]