COVID-19

Windlenook Live Stream This Week

I have to admit, the pandemic does have its upsides. There’s been much less wear and tear on the car than usual. Disruptions from door-to-door ESCO sales reps are just a fading bad memory. Begging off holiday gatherings with annoying in-laws is delightfully easy to do now. Best of all, conventions have gone virtual, which means we can participate without regard to travel expenses or advance reservations, and nobody asks to see your membership card.

The Northeastern Region, NMRA had originally intended to hold its annual convention in October, but Covid-19 has moved it online, and it’s happening this week. I’ll be giving a clinic about Inglenooks (and Windlenook in particular) on Thursday evening. Click on over to the NMRA’s YouTube channel, and tune in!

A Season Without Train Shows

In a normal year, this would be the first day of the fall train-show season. I’d be in the car right now, with a load of T-Trak modules and gear, on the way to the fairgrounds in Syracuse. I’d spend the afternoon dragging folding tables into position, shimming them up into some semblance of levelness, spreading tablecloths, laying out modules and cables, and building a railroad to run in public all weekend. I’d be doing the same thing next weekend, and several weekends after that, right into mid-December.

But this is 2020. None of that is going to happen. Everything is cancelled. (more…)

Our Lives Now

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…)

Running Trains at Twilight, in My Driveway, During a Pandemic, With Neighbors Watching

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…)

Handcrafting a Jack Panel for the Pandemic Atlantic

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…)