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Winchester Paston & Portsmouth

The WP&P is a fictional railroad, as modeled by Michael R. Rountree.  Begun in 1896 as the Paston Valley Lines and dependent on its mainline connection to the Baltimore & Ohio, the line eventually grew across the West Virginia / VA border to reach the town of Winchester and then a connection with the Norfolk & Western beyond.  Ultimately, following reorganization under the new WP&P name, it reached Portsmouth, VA.  The line met its "demise" in 1967, when at long last the major shareholder N&W finally completed its takeover.  The north-south line between Winchester and Portsmouth was abandoned, but the coal-productive line west from Winchester was preserved as a branch and as a bridge route to the B&O.  The route is modeled as it would be in 1971, with a heavy N&W influence but with the remnants of WP&P equipment in evidence.

In the real world, there are two shortline railroads in the area where my model railroad is fabled to run.  Thus, the WP&P can be said to be a combination of the Winchester & Western and the South Branch Valley; my prototype research tends to orbit around these two, at least when I'm not absorbing all things Norfolk & Western.  On the SBV one can ride a famed scenic excursion, the Potomac Eagle, so named because as it runs alongside the south branch of the Potomac, it passes by the eyries of bald eagles, which can be seen from the train. The SBV started just as a B&O branchline, but the WP&P imagine what might have been if this line had run not north to the B&O main but rather east and over the mountains; the Winchester & Western is, in this scenario, imagined as the descending route down into Winchester.


A Star Wars Saga Version

What follows are my ideas for an overall story concept that could have been made for episodes 7, 8, and 9. The overall war arc would be the rising of the First Order as a threat. The point is that the heroic Rebellion now has to recognize the resurgence of an evil they fought before, and not be complacent enough to allow history to repeat.


The Real Story of the F-106 “509 Accident”

What follows is the story written – and lived – by my father, describing a harrowing incident that nearly took his life and the lives of his fellow fighter pilots. The crash of 509 has apparently been widely reported; lesser well-known is the account of 509’s wingman, my dad. Enjoy: The Real Story of the […]

Four Dollars and Some Time

This was a little weekend project that started life as a $4.00 purchase at the recent train show, at Lakota West High School. It was obviously a cheap car even when it was first made, and most would turn aside from this train-set level of quality. But I figured that with a new paint job, replaced wheels, and other attention, I could have a new wood sheathed caboose to add to my roster.

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How an Interdictor Could Have Fixed The Last Jedi

The whole “Rebels On The Run” theme kind of falls apart on reflection. The chase, as presented, feels absurd. What is needed is a plot device that prevents a fleet of starships from escaping, something that makes sense within the Star Wars universe…


My Fix For The Last Jedi

Visually, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is a sumptuous feast. There are scenes that will make any long-time Star Wars fan salivate. However, there are a number of flaws with the movie, so many missed opportunities (one thing about the Jedi is that they do not miss opportunities), tonal incongruities, and plot weaknesses. I won’t […]

Model Railroading is Fun!

It's the World's Greatest Hobby. If you're a model railroader, too, you might be interested in exchanging Rail Passes with me. The Rail Pass is really just like a token or collectible card, though in the real world such passes were issued to V.I.P.'s to enable them to travel for free. Owning one meant that you were someone special, and I have created a Rail Pass for the WP&P that I can give out to persons special to me. If interested, read all about it and contact me to work out the particulars.

Layout Design

One of my favorite aspects of the hobby is layout design. In fact, it's the reason why I went into my chosen profession, architecture! Ever since my teenage years I have been filling up pads of graph paper with sketched dreams. Every now and then, I will add some featured plans as articles here, to show some of my work. Most of the time, these are revisions to plans posted by others, as I frequent various model railroading forums and love to help out. Of course, you can view my own layout plan, as well as the design of my N-Trak module, both of which exhibit some good design features.