Yesterday’s NMRA picnic at Dave’s was a modest affair. All told, maybe two dozen people showed up, both from the NMRA division, and my N scale modular club, which was also invited. We filled Dave’s two-car garage with a modest T-Trak layout, my Inglenook puzzle, and a few tables of member for-sale items. People brought their own sandwiches and camp chairs, and ate in a big circle under a pair of canopies erected in his back yard. Everyone had masks, of course. (Don, in fact, had a hundred of them, sewn by his wife in a variety of colorful interest-themed fabrics. I purchased two.) For most of us, it was our first train-related gathering in six months. (more…)
It’s been a weird summer. Society has been gradually opening back up, but large gatherings are still taboo, we’re all wearing masks when we’re out in public, and train-club meetings remain on Zoom. I’m starting to miss those things we used to call “events.” Because the recession came knocking at our shop, and slashed our workload, I now have four-day weekends to fill. The COVID-19 Emergency Railroad has been coming out a lot lately. (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…)
In the first chapter of the Pandemic Atlantic saga, I addressed the loose drivers and bent side rod that I hadn’t noticed when purchasing the engine. The next thing I wanted to deal with was the jack panel at the rear of the cab, which was cracked. This is a common problem with these engines. Sure, repro panels are available if you know where to look, but there’s a pandemic going on, and I had time on my hands. (more…)
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…)
The spring train shows have been swept off the calendar. So have the club’s routine get-togethers. My non-train-related social activities are also gone. My workplace was deemed non-essential by the state, and is shut down until further notice as a public-health measure.
I’ve got nothing but time on my hands. Perfect time to catch up on some hobby projects, right?