The D&J Railroad -- From Scratch

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here) - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

I got some plaster laid down on top of the contoured foam board.
As I have an op session coming up on Saturday, 30 Dec, I have to start getting the layout in order. I placed all the containers and van back onto the container yard. I'll have to go back later and paint the yard concreat color then add the guide lines on the ground for the drivers.
I counted them as I pulled them out of the storage container. A little over 450 containers and vans on the trains and in the yard.


The Diablo Canyon bridge is still sitting on my kitchen table getting a little bit done ever days or so. it's a slow tedious process building the cat walks.
While doing some prep work on the bench support system to accommodate the Canyon Diablo bridge, some rail traffic was distracting my work.

Last edited:

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
While I was doing the measurements on the bridge area, I got ambitious and cut some foam board to fill in some more area where the benchwork was exposed.
The bridge area is up on the top left corner of the picture. The doorway goes into the storage area of the basement.
Foam filling.jpg

While I was doing this work, I had the two trains running that I had made a video of in post 868. One of the times the train came around, it was pushing some of the cars that had been on the end of the train. Closer inspection showed that a couple had broke on the front of the coil car. Yep, a McHenry non-coupler lives up to its specs.

Broken Coupler.jpg
I pull short trains (10 cars max) and I never had a McHenry coupler fail, but I also am slowly changing over to all KD couplers. My ore cars that are in service all have the draft bars replaced and KD installed. Cabooses will keep whatever couplers were original equipment since they are at the end of most trains.

Again great weathering.


Whiskey Merchant
When I started my HO scale layout, Kadee couplers were the only knuckle couplers available and they are pretty well the standard. When manufacturers such as McHenry, Accumate and others started having their couplers show up on rolling stock and locomotives, I still changed everything to Kadee. I only have one locomotive, a little GE 45 to switcher. It has a very short shank coupler and I just haven't taken the time to find the Kadee replacement for it. It can't pull more than three cars up the grades I have on the layout anyway.

Last year at the club there was an incident caused by plastic couplers. One guy was pulling a 52 car coal train up to the summit of the club layout when the plastic coupler gave out. 49 cars went screaming down the two and a half percent grade for about 70 feet before it ended up in a heap at the bottom. It became a club rule immediately that all equipment would be equipped with Kadee couplers.

I do what Ray mentioned and splash some rust colored paint on them and they end up in my scrap yard.


Loveably weird
I'm converting all my rolling stock to Kadee's as well. I may have to start saving the plastic 'couplers' and using them in a scrap load. That's about all they're good for anyway!


Active Member
I've busted a few plastic couplers over the years, which, when it happens, I replace them with Kadees. I don't need the realism of busted knuckles on my layout. I also haven't gone to DCC yet, so can't do real distributed power, which might make the issues of plastic coupler failure less of a problem. FWIW, I think I saw in an ad in print recently, that somebody was selling a complete version of the Diablo Canyon Bridge, but it might have been a compressed version, or in O-gauge. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to