When I joined the club in 2003, we had space in one of the local malls, which we filled with an Ntrak modular layout, and opened up for public display at least once a week. The space had started out as a bookstore when the mall first opened, later was used by an athletic-shoe retailer, and was given to us when the mall found itself with an excess of unrented space. This particular mall had always had trouble attracting business, and it just got worse over time. For a while, there were more community groups than retailers. This was obviously unsustainable, so in 2009, mall management evicted what few tenants remained, and locked the place up. We haven’t been in a mall since, until last month. (more…)
The blog is called “Furniture Railroads,” so…where’s the furniture? To make a long story short, my attention has been elsewhere. I still build furniture for a living, but my current employer has a stricter policy on personal projects than my past employers have. No personal work during lunch or breaks. I can take maybe fifteen minutes at the end of the workday before the lights go out. (His shop, his rules.) By quitting time, I’ve usually had enough of noise and sawdust, so I’ve been barely able to muster the enthusiasm for essential honey-do jobs, let alone hobby projects. (more…)
I know people who devote time and effort to railroad history. They’re out at the museum doing unglamorous tasks, like scraping and repainting the rolling stock, or cataloging old paperwork. I am not one of those people. I like to leaf through old books on winter evenings, and read online stories of railroading’s past, and take bike rides along abandoned rights-of-way on sunny autumn afternoons. Last weekend, I spent time with people who actually work at historical things. (more…)
Over the winter, I made the leap into laser-cut structure kits. I’ve had The N Scale Architect’s Greendel Tower kit for years, thinking that it would look good on my Susquehannock Industrial Park module, if ever it reached the structure stage. The kit contains parts to build two towers, and the new crossover module I’ve been building needs a tower. It was time to bust into the kit.
You want to start a flame war on an online N scale discussion group? It’s easy. Just complain about Bachmann trains. You’re bound to attract a large group of people with strong opinions. It happens so often that I made up a meme for the situation.
These days, I’m known amongst most of my fellow hobbyists as an N scale guy, although there are a few who still remember my S scale past. I’m not one of those people who switch scales every couple of years. I have never, ever dabbled in HO scale, even though it’s the most popular scale. So when I picked up some used HO scale boxcars at the spring shows, my friends naturally started freaking out.
“You’re not getting out of N, are you?” they asked, perhaps anxious that I’d no longer be able to help them with their Micro-Trains coupler problems. (more…)
I remember my first trip to the big show in Springfield, nearly ten years ago. I carpooled with some clubmates, and we spent a weekend operating on a very large Ntrak modular layout, with members of several clubs participating. On Sunday afternoon, there was a competition known as the “Parade of Trains.” The idea was simple: put a train on the track, and run it for three laps around the layout, past a panel of judges. My entry was a mix of mid-Sixties freight cars, weathered, pulled by three diesels in two different paint schemes. A lot of the other entries were passenger sets, matched cars taken straight of of the box and dropped onto the railroad. “That’s pretty lame,” I said to myself, “I’d never do something like that.”
Actually, that’s exactly what I do with my Kato Broadway Limited passenger-train set. I have to eat my words now.