Track

Six Points for Gryffindor

Hex Frog Juicer” sounds like something out of a Harry Potter novel, doesn’t it? I’d be lying if I said my purchase decision wasn’t influenced just a teeny bit by the name. But, colorful connotations aside, that name is actually quite descriptive: the Hex Frog Juicer is designed to provide electricity to six turnout frogs. Just what Susquehannock Industrial Park needs! (more…)

Yonder Gallops the Gift Horse

Shown: brass-railed Atlas code 100 flextrack, and code 175 rail.

The appearance, some fifty years ago, of nickel silver rail has been hailed as one of the hobby’s great milestones. Not only did it present a more realistic appearance than the brass rail of the day, but when it tarnishes, it still conducts electricity reasonably well. Aside from cost, there was no drawback to choosing nickel silver over brass. Because cost plays a bigger role in the hobby than anyone cares to admit, it took another decade or two for brass rail to vanish from the market, but vanish it eventually did. You can’t give the stuff away now.

Okay, I’m lying. You can. Somebody just did. (more…)

Summer Yard Work

Switch-Kat

Once upon a time, Dave built some T-Trak modules. He spread a pair of passing sidings across several of them, and called them “the yard modules.” Those modules proved incredibly useful, and were included in every show layout. When Dave took a break from the hobby, Dana got the yard modules, and they went to so many shows that their foam-over-flakeboard carcases got all beat up. I built new carcases from oak-veneer plywood, and Dana and I installed the old track on them. They continued to go to every show. When Dana stepped back from his train-show activities, I got the yard modules, and here our story begins. (more…)

Complex Interactions of Wheel and Rail

Broadway_closeup_906Another fall show season has come and gone so quickly! After spearheading the 12-table T-Trak layout at the Syracuse show, I helped with smaller layouts at Batavia, The TTCS Eagle show, and the Rochester Mini Maker Faire, before coordinating a 4-table T-Trak layout at the RIT show. No two layouts were alike; modular layouts never are. Each had its challenges to be met. The Syracuse layout, in particular, presented several situations where mechanical issues required finessing, in order to keep trains on track, together, and rolling.

(more…)