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About Amtrak Modeling

About Amtrak Modeling

Since there are not many pages available in this section of my site, I would like to describe my Amtrak modeling goals for now. I model a basic time frame between 1993 and the present. 1993 is about when I started to become serious about modeling accuracy - though I was only seven years old at the time. I love to be up to date, though, so I'll include such models as the Acela Express and Acela Regional equipment in my roster, as well as recent Amtrak rebuilds. However, at the same time, I model some equipment that has now been retired or repainted to newer paint schemes, such as the Heritage Fleet cars formerly used on the Lake Shore Limited, which originates in Boston and New York.

My layout is a very small setup, approximately 5' x 7'. The trackplan is a simple oval with one of the sides doubled, allowing me to have a two-track station. The town is fictional, set somewhere in mid-Massachusetts. I can't seem to decide whether it should be on the Northeast Corridor or on a smaller route, but a smaller route would fit better with the single-track main line. The town itself, at least the part near the station, is loosely based on White River Junction, VT. When searching for a "generic New England town" to model, I found photos that I had taken while in Vermont once and decided that the arrangement of the station and nearby streets fit my setup very well. I only had to alter my plans slightly to bring the street closer to the tracks. Unfortunately, the trackwork itself is in poor condition, so I plan to eventually re-lay it using flextrack and high-quality turnouts. After that, I'll be able to scenick and detail the layout to provide a setting for my models.

My choice of models is basically consistent with what I see at Boston's South Station. I am working towards having consists for typical Northeast Corridor trains (Northeast Direct and/or Acela Regional), and I also have most of the cars for the Boston section of the Lake Shore Ltd., in both its 1990s and present-day configurations. I'm slowly gathering the cars for an Acela Express trainset, though naturally I wouldn't be able to realistically run it on my layout. The MBTA commuter rail also serves Boston, and I'm trying to build up enough cars for a two typical trains. However, much of the MBTA's equipment is unusual and requires me to kitbash or build from scratch.

As I mentioned, I try to keep alive some equipment from the past as well. Since things have changed significantly since 1993, I want to be able to run both present-day and early-'90s versions of the trains mentioned above. In fact, when the Swedish X2000 trainset toured the country that year, I fell in love with it and have a four-car set that I slowly purchased from a company selling X2000 souvenirs. The models are a little crude compared to my present collection, but I have considered upgrading them to higher standards. However, the Danish manufacturer Heljan plans to re-release the X2000 models, and they will likely be much-improved this time around.

I have a constant eagerness for thinking up new projects, and unfortunately that affects my current projects. Often I will work hard on one model, then get a new idea and start on another one, leaving the old one to gather dust. As a result, I have even more equipment than what I mentioned above. Currently, I'm trying to complete things so that I can document my work, because a lot of research and cost-saving thought goes into each project. In the future, I plan to make some additions to this site, including some possible downloadable material. In the meantime, I am always available by email to answer questions.

- Alex Stroshane