The Best Fifty Years of My Life

For the record, the caboose in the photo is not the American Flyer 806 I received as part of my first train set, fifty years ago today. I still have that one, but after a series of accidents, crude repairs, and ill-considered modifications, it’s not something I care to show to people. I picked up this one at a show some years ago, and it’s identical to what the original one looked like back then.

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My Inexplicable 44-Year Fascination with One Particular Freight Car


Harold put his O scale layout on the tour for an NMRA division meet a few years ago, so of course I went. I didn’t know him very well, but I was familiar with his work. If you’ve ever picked up an issue of Model Railroader, you’ve seen it, too. He’s written how-to articles, and profiles of prototype short lines, but he’s best known for his drawings. He’s had hundreds of them published over the years. He’s been a fixture in the local NMRA scene for a very long time. (more…)

The Essence of the Season

Don’t get me a present. Don’t even bother with a gift certificate. Skip the tree. Forget the decorations. A turkey sandwich and a beer will suffice for dinner. Please don’t make me listen to that Mariah Carey song. There’s only one thing I really, truly want at Christmas time: a few hours spent watching a train do laps in a dimly-lit room.

Well, okay…some cookies might be nice, too. (more…)

This is Gonna be Lit

Kato, bless their hearts, makes it easy to add lighting to their N scale passenger cars. Let me rephrase that slightly: mostly easy. Their lighting kits aren’t quite the no-brainer drop-ins they’re intended to be, but I’ve installed enough of them now to know their quirks. (more…)