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Great Model Railroads By Allen Keller Vol. # 30


Volume 30 - Monroe Stewart's Hooch Junction Railroad
Monroe Stewart's Hooch Junction is an Appalachian coal hauler with a special emphasis on water scenes. The N scale layout features CSX and Norfolk Southern trains paralleling each other from east coast harbors to the coal fields. Even though the layout has about 2,000 feet of track, the fabulous scenery is not crowded. The layout is never static, more water scenes seem to pop up in the aisles and even structures are updated with urban renewal.

Monroe continually redesigns the layout to maximize his enjoyment of trains and boats. Numerous scratchbuilt ships "float" in the ever expanding harbors. His training as an architect and engineer helps Monroe keep changing the layout. He even designed his house to fit this dream railroad. Yet he rarely does any research before building a structure.

He builds what he sees in his mind by breaking down complex, massive structures into geometric shapes. While this approach may not work for everyone, it works for Monroe. He says we don't need building instructions for what we can see.

Monroe will show you about painting and ballasting track, using common household items for details, planning structures, and painting realistic brick buildings. Monroe believes anybody can build a large dream layout like the Hooch Junction if they take the time to learn from others.

The Hooch Junction is a Great Model Railroad because Monroe has developed a way of both having fun and accomplishing a lot.


By George Ardwin
The HOOCH JUNCTION railroad by MONROE STEWART is an outstanding layout in N scale. It was built with a rather unusual concept, as you will see. As I have mentioned before in one of my reviews, each of us has a different way of doing things. That is the case here.

Monroe looks at the overall job at hand, and figures out how to do it without going overboard with details. The layout is 20' X 40', and the house was designed to fit it. The location of HOOCH JUNCTION is from the West Virginia mountains, to the Atlantic Ocean. The railroads represented are the CSX, NORFOLK SOUTHERN, and NORFOLK & WESTERN. The time period is from the Sixties to the Present.

This layout has EVERYTHING. There are large cities, small towns, farmland, mountains, tunnels, bridges, large industries, seaports, you name it, and it's there. The backgrounds are both painted AND photographic. There is about TWO THOUSAND feet of track, and operation uses DCC control. You would think that with that much track it would look like a "spaghetti bowl", but that is not the outcome. The structures are mostly scratchbuilt, but a few kits can be seen too.

The motive power is all diesel, and the type of service includes long coal trains, plus regular freight and passenger trains. THIS is the unusual aspect of the layout. Monroe does not like to work on rolling stock. EVERYTHING is "out of the box", and in pristine condition, NO weathering.

As I said before, this is one OUTSTANDING layout. You will enjoy the ideas that Monroe has about layout construction, because THEY WORK.

Here are the Demos offered:

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