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In the beginning …

HJR was browsing ads on a popular website and a listing caught his eye. The listing was for the sale of an N scale layout complete with locomotives, cars, controller, buildings and accessories. HJR responded to the ad and made arrangements to drive the distance to take a look at the items that were for sale. Upon meeting Mr Lonsway, a deal was struck and HJR acquired the majority of Lonsway’s N scale collection.

These photos are from the ad listing:

HJR packed his vehicle with everything he could carry filling it to the top. Mr Lonsway was kind enough to deliver the layout. Initially, HJR was mostly interested in everything except the layout simply because he didn’t really have a place to put it plus he already had 3 existing N scale layouts (MoTrack, HJR DeskTrain, and Dell Box Tester). So HJR decided to put the layout itself in its received state without any buildings, controller or accessories. He first offered it to fellow members of the Metrolina Model Railroader club. Shortly after that, HJR launched this website and the Atlas Code 55 Lonsway layout was among the first items to be offered on the site. HJR set a time frame as to when he would offer the original layout at a price close to what he acquired it for. The following pictures are those taken by HJR and placed on a sales flyer for promoting the sale of the layout:

Several months passed without anyone choosing to buy the layout. HJR decided to invest some time and money into making the layout more functional and attractive to other modelers. He told club members that if they waited until after he put his time and resources into the layout, the sales price of the layout would go up drastically to reflect the value added and the costs of the materials that makeup the layout. Thus begins the HJR Lonsway Pike layout project.

In the published articles related to the HJR Lonsway Pike layout on this website, pictures, videos and storytelling will lead you on the journey from where HJR acquired the layout through its eventual completion. This journey will take years to unfold. The story and snapshots you experience here will compress that time and hopefully give you an enjoyable and entertaining insight into a few aspects of the World’s Greatest Hobby of Model Railroading and a front seat to the remodeling, enhancing and playing of the HJR Lonsway Pike. This publications will also be used towards applicable NMRA Achievement Awards to which HJR will be applying. Because of the desired format that the NMRA Evaluators prefer to see, page comments on this project and other sections of this website are not allowed. Eventually an area where comments can be left may be provided. For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the presentation. Return periodically to view updated content. In September 2019, HJR will launch a crowd funding campaign towards finding a permanent facility to house the HJR Lonsway Pike and other model railroading projects that the public can visit, view first hand and even operate. Your support and donations are greatly appreciated.

HJR feels that Mr Lonsway did a great job on the layout and therefore honors Mr Lonsway by bestowing his name as part of the official name of the N scale model railroad known as the HJR Lonsway Pike. HJR is extremely grateful for the original building and contributions that Mr Lonsway made to the layout.

HJR points out some of the wonderful features of the original layout that Lonsway contributed:

  • Construction of a light-weight Luan 7-foot x 3.5-foot layout table for the bench-work.
  • Applying a 1 inch thick Styrofoam base on top of the bench-work.
  • Building a mountainous scene using rock molds.
  • Building a mountain with very realistic scenery details.
  • Using Atlas Code 55 track and matching colored brown ballast.
  • Creating a very realistic looking lake with creek bed.

HJR thanks Mr Lonsway for selling him the layout and the majority of the rest of his N scale collection which included many buildings already assembled, scenery materials, paints, Union Pacific locomotives and passenger cars as well as freight cars. Mr Lonsway also provided extra track, the original rock molds, turnout switch machines, and a Digitrax Zephyr DCC controller. As of August 22nd, 2019 when this article was written, all of the items in the Lonsway purchase have not yet been cataloged. When they have been, that list will be made available.

The issues that HJR had with the original layout are as follows:

  • The layout contained 2 disconnected loops.
  • The combination of using Atlas Code 55 and Atlas Code 80 tracks did not account for the rail height differences causing less than acceptable train running performances.
  • Although a town was being added to the layout it wasn’t yet complete which may have dissuaded interested parties from purchasing it.

The next post will explore how HJR dealt with the issues that confronted him on the layout.

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HJR SOFTWARE (HJRS) is a small computer-business in Belmont, North Carolina. The HO 50′ CSD Boxcar will be an advertising piece for that business. In the real world, HJRS doesn’t have any need to have a real locomotive or any other real train car. As a model railroader, I create layouts that represent fictitious locations. As a hobbyist, I operate model trains. I’m a member of a the Metrolina Model Railroader’s club. Since I spend a good bit of my non-working hours operating model trains, I feel it would be a good way to continue promoting my computer business by placing the company’s name, phone number, contact information, etc. on a complete set of trains. When I joined the train club, I mentioned it might be a good way to help supplement the train club by allowing local businesses to advertise on the club’s layout like sponsors. For many reasons, the club doesn’t like this idea and so it hasn’t been implemented. However, for my own layouts, I choose to incorporate the names of things that are dear to me and HJRS is just one of those things. On one layout I have streets named after family members, business buildings with my own family name on them, etc. In 2018, I decided to make an entire HO scale train set consisting of a locomotive and 7+ cars. The Plus is growing. Some of the train cars were already made cars that were not in the best of shape representing whatever road names were originally on them or they needed a lot of repair. I decided to paint those cars a unique way. Other train cars I built from kits and painted them to be part of the HJR SOFTWARE Train Set. When the CSD offered a box car, I decided to dedicate that car as one of the HJRS train cars and the first one to actually receive the HJRS logo and other signage.

The CSD Boxcar project started the 3rd week of June, 2019 when I attended the CSD meeting where incidentally, I also received the NMRA Golden Spike certificate (I will blog about this eventually). Participating CSD members received the undecorated 50-foot boxcar shell as we were taught how to use a airbrush. For many, this was just additional information to a skill they were already quite familiar with. Although I have several airbrushes, as of late, I haven’t been able to put my hands on them (I’ve misplaced them). I only attempted to use them twice and not with very much success. I did however have some success with buying a Testor’s aerosol airbrushing kit and painted a custom-built covered Hopper for the HJRS Train Set several months earlier. The airbrushing sessions was a real treat for me and I learned quite a bit. Now if I can just find my airbrushes I might be able to use them better henceforth.

I didn’t take any photos of the unpainted boxcar shell when the CSD handed them out to us. I did take some photos after the airbrushing session and then again almost a month after the decal session. Those photos are in the gallery listed below:

On or shortly after the last CSD session in this series, I will post additional photos and comments on the finished boxcar. Now that I have the first set of HJRS decals printed out, I will also be applying the decals to the other train cars in the set and creating posts for those projects as well.