J. Alex Lang

Minor expansion, plexiglas view guards

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated here, so I thought I should do that while the basement clears out from Testors Dullcote fumes. Over the Christmas break, my daughters and I completed some minor expansion on the Aspinwall Belt.  Inspired in part by Dave Abeles’ recent Island Track addition, we relocated the Bethlehem […]

Photographing the Norfolk Southern Heritage Units

After the 2012 release of Norfolk Southern Corp’s twenty “Heritage Locomotives”, many camera-toting rail enthusiasts sought to photograph all twenty.  Many of us (me included) made the trek to Spencer, North Carolina, where NS partnered with the North Carolina Transportation Museum to display all 20 in one location: But this is shooting fish in a […]

Conrail 3401 GP40-2 in HO Scale

Last summer, on a random trip to a local hobby shop, I spotted Conrail 3401 for sale at a good price.  Thinking that I could use some more four axle power for my intermodal trains, I purchased the Athearn RTR unit for about $65.  I knew that the numberboards would need to be re-decaled as […]

1st Operating Session & Subsequent Improvements

In October, the Aspinwall Belt hosted the first “official” Operating Session.  For the uninitiated, this is essentially a bunch of grown men pretending to run a real railroad, when obviously it isn’t.  But that’s the last time you’ll hear me admit this. I set up some documentation for the group, including an overall train plan, […]

Conrail 8110 GP38-2 in HO

[singlepic id=21 w=320 h=240 float=center] After the baby was born, I received the most awesome of gifts from a close friend of mine: a Life-Like Proto2000 GP38-2, painted as Conrail 7993.  These engines are wonderfully detailed, out of the box, and they run really well.  Well, I’m modeling the early-mid 1990s, and by then, this […]

Conrail’s Aspinwall Belt track expansion

In August, I posted an outline of the so-called “temporary layout”, Conrail’s Aspinwall Belt.  I thought I would share some layout progress and additional thoughts.  As I mentioned last time, the goal of this layout was to quickly get to the point where the kids and I could run some trains.  This way, Dad can […]

The Aspinwall Belt

I have always been troubled by having too many hobbies, and never time for all of them.  Consequently, I go through various phases… As a kid, HO scale model trains (along with a few military aircraft for good measure).  High school was mostly music, with a bit of railroad photography; college was about the same.  […]

Heritage locomotives in Pittsburgh

As of late, many of Norfolk Southern’s famous Heritage fleet of 20 locomotives – modern diesels painted in historic liveries for 20 of NS’s predecessor railroads – have been passing through Pittsburgh.  Many of these have been making long-distance trips from the Bakken Shale (in the Dakotas) bringing crude oil east to refineries in Delaware […]

Trip Report – Position Light Signals

It’s been awhile since I’ve sent any sort of trip report, as it’s been awhile since I’ve been on any sort of trip.  With baby Allison now at 7 weeks, my wife was ready to get me out of the house.  I greased the wheels by cooking some good food, and making sure my wife […]