Model Rail Radio

Live Radio Devoted to Model Railroading

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Show recording times...

Show 198 - Saturday, December 5, 2020, 4-6pm Pacific US, 7-9pm Eastern US, 10am-noon (potentially?) Eastern Australian

Show 199 - Saturday, December 19, 2020, 4-6pm Pacific US, 7-9pm Eastern US, 10am-noon (potentially?) Eastern Australian

Show 200 - Saturday, January 2, 2021, 9am-Noon, 1-4pm, 5pm-8pm, 9pm-Midnight Pacific US


Model Rail Radio / Mine Mount Models Layout Design Contest 2021

It's that time of year again. This year, the entry criteria is minimalist!

Design an HO (standard or narrow gauge) layout of any size with five turnouts. The layout must contain two Mine Mount Models structures of your choice.

Layouts submitted (JPEG or PDF) by Midnight March 31, 2021 (ie just before April 1st) to tom at modelrailradio dot com

First Prize: $200-worth Mine Mount Models Kits
A Sound Module from Creaky Chair Models LLC

Second Prize: $100-worth Mine Mount Models Kits

Special Mentions: $50-worth Mine Mount Models Kits


Model Rail Radio consistently provides the best model railroading content. It is a show without advertisers or sponsors where the listeners create the content. It is an open format where anyone can participate. The big names in model railroading call in to talk to regular folks and people who are quickly emerging as new greats in the hobby.

Support the show! Print out some copies of the Model Rail Radio brochure (in PDF) for your local hobby store, op session or meet (three per page).


Model railroading legend Dave Frary models the Model Rail Radio tshirt.

Go to the Model Rail Radio Cafepress Store and buy your merchandise at cost price!


Model Rail Radio #190: Hands-On Call [August 22, 2020]

Gordy Robinson calls in following the somewhat controversial NRMA Leadership Forum. Tom welcomes back on David Rees. David provides a series of updates about Blue Rail Trains. Lionel Strang returns to Model Rail Radio to talk about AML and the future of the hobby. Ted Roy has been building water-related structures for a harbor with some strong selective compression. Lawrence Eggering has been teaching a hands-on Arduino call for the NMRA.

   Gordy Robinson
   David Rees
   Lionel Strang
   Ted Roy
   Lawrence Eggering
   Tom Barbalet

   Please do not deep link this audio - its location may change. Use this link.

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:46:11

Model Rail Radio #189: A Layout Near the Ceiling [August 15, 2020]

Mike Kenefeck has raised his layout nearly to the ceiling. Simon Hill has been to Bredgar (and Wormshill Light Railway) and he has plans for the next few months. They discuss Show 200 and what it means to have longterm peer pressure to help you improve. Mike O'Dorney received some stuff from Tom and wants to use some of it for his NMRA Golden Spike. Mike talks about what he's working on during the new normal. Dave Barazza feels connected with Silicon Valley Lines in terms of their remote operating layout technology.

   Mike Kenefeck
   Simon Hill
   Mike O'Dorney
   Dave Barazza
   Tom Barbalet

   Please do not deep link this audio - its location may change. Use this link.

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:30:29

Model Rail Radio #188: Sounds Like Another New Normal Project [August 8, 2020]

Mike Deverell talks about scale of size and why arduinos are no the device of choice for his layout. Jamie Fenton is researching garden railroading while assembling a garden railroad and also will be returning to HO. Ron Klaiss and Tom discuss the upcoming Model Rail Radio/Mine Mount Models Layout Design Contest. John Garaty continues being a solitary modeler and has a designed cave-in on his layout - listen in to learn more. Tom offers an apology to Mike Slater who thankfully has called back in to MRR. Mike has been repainting some evilBay projects and playing with his 3d printer. Martyn Jenkins has made three tiny HO RC models. Tom wants to know what happens with twenty RC cars on a layout. Tom brings Clark Kooning in to talk with Martyn about the NMRA's skin in the game of NMRAx and the direction it should take.

   Mike Deverell
   Jamie Fenton
   Ron Klaiss
   John Garaty
   Mike Slater
   Martyn Jenkins
   Clark Kooning
   Tom Barbalet

   Please do not deep link this audio - its location may change. Use this link.

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:46:30

Model Rail Radio #187: Schooled! [August 1, 2020]

Joe Collins introduces his model railroading interests in south New Jersey. Dave Falkenburg is working on a new kind of camera car for remote layout operations. Jeff Shockley provides a Delmarva update - thankfully the club has good savings for the new normal. Roger Chrysler has been introducing the hobby to his grandson and has discovered specialist YouTube content relating to JMRI and signaling.

   Joe Collins
   Dave Falkenburg
   Jeff Shockley
   Roger Chrysler
   Tom Barbalet

   Please do not deep link this audio - its location may change. Use this link.

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:07:23

Model Rail Radio #186: Rapid Digression [July 25, 2020]

Martin Coombs provides the new normal in England. Tom asks about the scale of a structure that Martin is building and Tom knows. Gordy Robinson talks very candidly about some of the problems he's encountered with NMRAx and sadly this is mainly non-technical in nature. What's in the future for Gordy? Lawrence Eggering has picked up a couple of new clients and has been working on weathering projects. Mike O'Dorney is being buzzed which digresses into a discussion of WW2 aircraft and YouTube channels Tom and Mike both enjoy.

   Martin Coombs
   Gordy Robinson
   Lawrence Eggering
   Mike O'Dorney
   Tom Barbalet

   Please do not deep link this audio - its location may change. Use this link.

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:50:06

Model Rail Radio #185: Larry is Still in the Building [July 18, 2020]

Ralph DeBlasi's new normal is distinctly different due to an extension of tax season. Ralph's Horizon Modules have fixed his workspace. Lawrence Eggering is still very much alive and he's been working on some new installations. Tom enjoyed seeing Neil Erickson's hobby space through NMRAx. Philip Taylor is essential so his new normal hasn't changed however he's now exploring what can be done for his NRMA region. Philip and Tom talk about NMRAx. Jim Gifford has returned home after six month exclusion. He outlines what can be recovered. Seth Gartner has been working outside but has missed out on the basement recently. Tom asks what features make a memorable scene for Seth and they discuss the many modeling forms of corn.

   Ralph DeBlasi
   Lawrence Eggering
   Neil Erickson
   Jim Gifford
   Seth Gartner
   Tom Barbalet

   Please do not deep link this audio - its location may change. Use this link.

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:30:04

Model Rail Radio #184: Top Brass [July 11, 2020]

Mike Slater has been working on old projects that he's been finally fixing for friends. Mike talks brass in his collection. Tom wants to know more about virtual Trainfest. What will change in Clark Kooning's presentation through the new normal video clinics. Tom asks about how to provide more joy in the virtual experience in the hobby. Chris Adams was part of the 24-hour NRMAx. What would a layout tour in a box look like? What technical equipment is needed for a layout tour to be filmed? They discuss the social aspect of the hobby and how to maintain it through the new normal. Chris identifies what the new normal has meant for him.

   Mike Slater
   Clark Kooning
   Chris Adams
   Tom Barbalet

   Please do not deep link this audio - its location may change. Use this link.

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:26:26

Model Rail Radio #183: In Support of Soldering [June 27, 2020]

Hunter Hughson introduces his interests in the Penn Central and his paper manufacturing modeling. He talks about the movement into a high quality home layout. Simon Hill has been working on a gantry crane and talks about exploring painting and weathering with the assistance of Martin Coombs. Simon and Tom explore soldering as a must-have skill. Martin seconds the discussion on soldering. What's been going on with Martin's garden layout? Ralph Watson has retired, moved and joined some local clubs including a model train club based in a mall. Roger Chrysler has some feedback on virtual clinics.

   Hunter Hughson
   Simon Hill
   Martin Coombs
   Ralph Watson
   Roger Chrysler
   Tom Barbalet

   Please do not deep link this audio - its location may change. Use this link.

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:29:08

Model Rail Radio #182: Virtual Joy [June 13, 2020]

Lawrence Eggering has been working on a grade crossing with Arduino sensors. Tom asks Lawrence about working on the same layout for twenty four years. Lawrence provides some new information about the origin of his layout. Tom talks about his experience observing a quilting event of his wife's in contrast to the model rail remote events. Mike Slater announces the reposition of Trainfest to a virtual event for this year at least. Clark Kooning has some thoughts on the future of clinics.

   Lawrence Eggering
   Mike Slater
   Clark Kooning
   Tom Barbalet

   Please do not deep link this audio - its location may change. Use this link.

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:14:00

Model Rail Radio #181: Mastering Super Trees [June 6, 2020]

Mike Slater has been building super trees for his module. Tom has watched the show Hoarders recently and wonders how Mike Slater and Mike O'Dorney avoid the hoarding aspect of the hobby. Clark Kooning and Tom talks about direction at the end of life. Clark and Tom also explore the hoarding issues in the hobby.

   Mike Slater
   Mike O'Dorney
   Clark Kooning
   Tom Barbalet

   Please do not deep link this audio - its location may change. Use this link.

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:37:57

Model Rail Radio #180: Swinging Bridge Geometries [May 30, 2020]

Simon Hill has some thoughts about how the hobby will learn from the new normal. Tom raises Hornby as a model railroading company close to Simon. Simon has been adding a sound chip to a critter. Martin Coombs continues the discussion about Kent Garden Railways. Martin has been trying to fit the hobby into his lockdown. Martin and Simon talk about the speculative future of the Bredgar and Wormshill Light Railway (this is also revisited in a future recording with a full update). Paul Best also has a light railway that he's actively involve with and has some insights to the experiences there. What has Paul Best been up to? Martin is planning a lifting/swinging bridge. Roger Chrysler is going to be presenting a clinic at a virtual RPM meet.

   Simon Hill
   Martin Coombs
   Roger Chrysler
   Tom Barbalet

   Please do not deep link this audio - its location may change. Use this link.

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:32:02

Model Rail Radio #179: Leave Written Notes [May 23, 2020]

Tom asks Mike Slater about how he thinks the hobby will change through this period. Tom asks Mike about the bridge he is building in module form. Tom asks after James Rindt. (Please note we will be discussing the change with Trainfest 2020 in an upcoming recording with Mike Slater. The old audio is left in for coherency.) Clark Kooning offers a problem with deceased estates and the current time. In terms of modeling, Clark has finished his mountains and some grass but has been exploring micro-lighting on his layout. Will Merrell has been building modules for operations. Will would like to learn from the folks in the UK.

   Mike O'Dorney
   Mike Slater
   Clark Kooning
   Will Merrell
   Tom Barbalet

   Please do not deep link this audio - its location may change. Use this link.

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:18:41

Model Rail Radio #178: Catalog Inspiration [May 16, 2020]

Roger Chrysler has put down some benchwork amongst putting up drywall. Richard Kowalski is getting back into his 1900s shelf layout and going through a Sears catalog to provide inspiration. Mike O'Dorney talks about how his modular layout is very similar to Richard's layout and continues the discussion on the Sears catalog. The discussion of the hobby and technology demographics gets so esoteric only Clark Kooning can be called upon to give analysis. Tom talks with Mike Slater about his hopes for the future of the hobby and continues to provide an update on the bridge module he's building. Nigel Gartshore is nearly done with his shed sealing and has been planning his layout space with a no-lix.

   Roger Chrysler
   Richard Kowalski
   Mike O'Dorney
   Clark Kooning
   Mike Slater
   Nigel Gartshore
   Tom Barbalet

   Please do not deep link this audio - its location may change. Use this link.

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:27:41

Model Rail Radio #177: Virtual Socializing [May 9, 2020]

Mike O'Dorney has been thinking about social capital through the current times and what can be done for the future with these ideas. Martin Coombs has been thinking about model rail shows with the current crisis and they talk about Neale's 3D printing. Simon Hill has used Zoom quite successfully to keep in contact with his crew. Mike Slater has been thinking about Trainfest with the new normal and more practically he's been working on a prototype bridge. What does Clark Kooning think will happen to train shows? Lawrence Eggering has some thoughts about what he'd like to see continuing train shows.

   Mike O'Dorney
   Martin Coombs
   Simon Hill
   Mike Slater
   Clark Kooning
   Lawrence Eggering
   Tom Barbalet

   Please do not deep link this audio - its location may change. Use this link.

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:25:27