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…)
Last Sunday, I touched the power leads to the wheels of a Kato E-8, but nothing moved. All that happened was an ominous dimming of the power pack’s pilot lamp. Uh-oh. (more…)
I do nearly all my operating at train shows. There have been no train shows since February. There won’t be any train shows until November. There might not be any then, either. How to satisfy my burning desire to watch a train travel around in circles for an extended period of time? (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.
The drama’s over. The locomotive I’ve wanted for over 30 years is here.
Another 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.
The trouble began a few years ago, at the Syracuse show. I had just dropped a sizeable chunk of pocket change on a new NCE PowerCab, thus hurtling myself headlong into the world of Digital Command Control. With only two decoder-equipped locomotives in my entire fleet at that point, I had some tough choices to make. In order to get more decoders, I had to swear off buying any more locomotives for a while. It was easy at first, but then the GG-1 on the table winked at me. (more…)