Observation

So…where was I?

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I could, I suppose, claim that the tsunami of workplace overtime hours since late March left me with no time for hobby activities, but that’s not quite true. My evenings did become shorter, and so did my Saturdays. I had a choice: spend my remaining, precious free time working with trains, or writing blog entries.

Well, which would you have chosen?

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Give It Up For the Lackawanna and Erie Express Band!

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Nearly two years ago, I made a video of the Z scale railroad I built for Lynn, and posted it to YouTube. It has just over 20,000 hits on it now—by far, my most popular video. I strongly suspect that the popular appeal of this video stems not from the railroad, or its electronics, or even the notorious “disco light.”

It’s gotta be the soundtrack, I swear.

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I’ll miss you, Radio Shack. Kinda. Sorta.

My Radio Shack Free Battery Club card, circa 1982.

My Radio Shack Free Battery Club card, circa 1982.

Electronics retailer Radio Shack, which has been circling the drain for quite a while now, finally did what everyone expected it to do, and declared bankruptcy this week. If you’ve been in the hobby of model railroading for a while, you’ve almost certainly purchased something there that you needed for your railroad—some solder, a spool of wire, Cinch-Jones connectors. How will we survive in a post-Radio Shack retail landscape?

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Remembering Bill

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My elementary school was housed in a 1903 building with a 1933 addition, by far the most prominent building in a town just large enough to warrant a solitary blinking-yellow traffic light. By the 1970s, when I was enrolled, the school had been merged with an adjacent district, and the building downgraded from K-12 to a K-6 elementary. There was no elevator to the second floor, the third floor had been deemed hazardous and was off-limits entirely, and there was considerable doubt about the building’s compliance with new fire codes. Another addition was constructed to the larger school while I attended 7th grade there, and the old school closed for good the following fall. It still stands today, but abandoned, and in an advanced state of decay.

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I love modular railroading. I hate it, too.

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This week I’m recuperating from the Syracuse Train Fair, which is the biggest show in our end of New York State. Our club always participates in a large, modular N scale layout. For the past four years, we’ve built T-Trak layouts with two other clubs. The intensity of this event serves to reminds me of everything I love, and hate, about modular railroading.

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