Campbell Scale Models Kits
Are Favourite Structures
On My Utopia Northern 

Campbell Scale Models 'Express' freight station at South Point.
HO express freighthouse kit

I've had a Campbell Scale Models HO Freight Station kit (#447) sitting on a shelf for I don't remember how many years.


I've always enjoyed building wooden kits and the Campbell Scale Models kits have excellent, easy-to-follow instructions and drawings.

These kits pre-date laser methods so more cutting to size is required. I use a lot of X-Acto #11 blades and single edge razor blades and a Northwest Shortline cutting jig.

I prefer to build these kits with yellow carpenter's glue for the wood to wood parts and Walthers Goo for window assemblies. I pre-painted and stained all the wood before starting because paint doesn't adhere well to glued surfaces.

I apply the glue with toothpicks from a puddle of glue on a sheet of waxed paper. The other common tools were an NMRA metal ruler, a regular 18" metal ruler, machinists squares, weights, clamps and sanding blocks.

Everything went together pretty much as planned except for the roof. I had planned a removeable roof, but even though I was extra careful in staining the shingles, I still had some warpage and had to glue down the roof to keep the edge from lifting.

For now there is no interior lighting. The only way I can add lights would be to drill a hole from underneath the main floor. Too bad, because I had installed a floor and stained the interior walls. Oh, well, best laid plans!

In future, I think I might replace the cardboard subroof in these kits with styrene to avoid this warpage issue. I had used alcohol stains, coated both sides, and kept them pressed under heavy weights until they dried but the warping still happened.

I had a place to install the Campbell Scale Models freight house kit at South Point. Passenger trains do run up to South Point and the city didn't have an Express Office. 

Seeing as the kit included a sign for such an office I decided that would be a good destination for LCL (less-than-carload) and other express mail and packages that could be delivered during operations sessions. Until then most operations involved freight trains. Passenger trains had no operations other than turning observation cars on the South Point and Underhill North turntables.

Crossing added to trackwork for Express Office spur.
spur crossing

I had to change the track arrangement to fit the structure at the edge of the layout. Although not ideal, the only way was to add a crossing from the track in front of the Utopia Northern scratchbuilt headquarters building near the turntable. This actually works better than expected because an arriving train can cut off a head-end car and back it into the siding. This should add an interesting wrinkle to operations. The spur will accept a maximum of two 40-foot cars or one  60 or 80-foot baggage car.The maintenance storage and rip (repair-in-place) track is now limited to three 40-foot cars. The kit has a rail side freight dock on one side and truck loading doors on the opposite side. Unfortunately, due to the space limitations and track arrangement the more interesting rail side platform can't face the aisle.

(After dismantling this model railroad the building has moved to the new Utopia on the UNRR.)

The truck loading doors had to face the aisle.
HO truck loading freight doors
The freight dock side facing the South Point yard.
HO rail side freight dock

At this time I had put some scenery in place. I added some pavement (black styrene painted Polly Scale E/L Gray), a sidewalk from the office, some people, a truck and a car. I also added some ground foam turf and a few bushes along the layout's upper edge. I ballasted the spur and used alcohol and matte medium to hold the scenery in place. I didn't want to use water because the piece of track I had was an old piece with nicel silver rails on fiber ties. These ties have a tendency to warp.

Newer prefab track has plastic ties. I took the time to paint the sides of the rails with Floquil Rail Brown and the ties with Floquil Tie Brown. The ballast is a mixture of brown and black cinders blended together where the siding crosses into the main track. There was some minor wiring to fix after cutting in the new Code 100 turnout.


Don't be afraid to change your layout to accommodate a new structure or scene. A model railroad is never completely finished. That's the beauty of the hobby. As it turned out this Campbell Scale Models kit has been "replanted" on the new layout.


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