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Live Radio Devoted to Model Railroading

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Show recording times...

Show 200 is done and in the feed. Nearly twelve hours of recordings total! Note: Tom will be moving from California following Show 200. Show times will be added around the move. Please be patient!


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 #192: Aiming for Comfy Slippers [September 12, 2020]

Mike O'Dorney wants to talk about a favorite magazine (not included in a recent parcel from Tom) and something about an abbey. Gordy Robinson is on the ballot for NMRA President. Simon Hill and Martin Coombs have some ideas about moving what they do onto YouTube and maybe an NMRAx in the future too. Gordy describes his layout space. Tom wraps up with Mike O'Dorney covering a number of additional topics mostly around module layouts and transporting them.

   Mike O'Dorney
   Gordy Robinson
   Simon Hill
   Martin Coombs
   Tom Barbalet

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

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:24:28

Model Rail Radio #191: The Track Design Feud of the Late 2000s [September 5, 2020]

Mike O'Dorney is the perfect guest as Tom has a lot of points to discuss with Mike. David Karkoski has been taking the lockdown seriously and has been using JMRI to create operation sessions (which he details through the recording). Lawrence Eggering occasionally sees European trains in his area but he has a bunch of work ahead thanks to some friendly clients. John Abatecola is recording remotely through the new normal. Clark Kooning is planning for some fall hobby time. Tom wants to conclude his chat with Mike O'Dorney about European modules.

   Mike O'Dorney
   David Karkoski
   Lawrence Eggering
   John Abatecola
   Clark Kooning
   Tom Barbalet

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

   [ MP3 ] Length: 1:45:08

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