Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Our area is about to set a record for Christmas Eve of 76-78 degrees. Fortunately I model the PRSL in the early 1950s so I can get away with the following picture of my N scale folks trying to get home for Christmas in my Philadelphia 30th Street Station module during a snow shower.

Just remember the Reason for the season!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Gateway Model Railroad Club – Open House December 19, 2015

My September 12, 2011 blog detailed my involvement with the Gateway Model Railroad club in its formative years and I recently saw an open house notice for them while picking up some glue at a local hobby shop. So I figured I would stop by and see how they have progressed in the last few decades. It appears they have totally redone the layout since my last visit. It is now multiple decks and pretty much fills the first story of their building.

When you enter you see a picture of Ed Evans, their founder and my favorite Sunday School teacher. My 2011 blog details the impact he had on his often out of control Sunday School class. It is men like him that left their mark for good on the generation that followed them. I will always be grateful for having had the opportunity to know him and be molded by him.

The club has some excellent builders who have populated the layout with magnificent structures, many with detailed interiors. I don’t understand why they kept the room so dark, as I would like to have seen the buildings in better light. (It was also strange to see an elderly operator controlling the trains with a medical facemask.) As I highlighted in previous open house blogs, I think when you have an open house you need some roving ambassadors to engage the public in the joys of model railroading.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Small Projects

Lost in the November Open House were a string of small projects.

First I lengthened the sky backdrop behind the roundhouse so I don’t have to look at mauve wall paint framing the turntable.
A second Reading I10 consol joins the Pennsy K4 & B6

Lighting projects in downtown Camden, North Woodbury and Woodbury.

Bricked the upper track support behind the tower at the yard leads.

South Woodbury Yard

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Inspiration Month 2015 - November 14th part III

I saved my commentary on model railroad open houses for last. I hope you have enjoyed the previous pictures as much as I did. Now for the critical part: What is the purpose of the Model Railroad November Open House program? I thought it was to introduce the hobby and inspire new modelers. That is what I felt for most of the visits, but 2 of the 8 tours left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I'll use my last 2 stops to show the contrast. Stop #7 was to a first time open houser, Jack Moore and his son Richard. His layout seemed about 50% completed. That usually doesn't put a layout in my "worth the time" category but the difference was in the open welcome and enthusiasm for the hobby that Jack and Richard oozed. We had a very pleasant time talking the hobby, his equipment, and his backdrops. I left feeling good about the hobby and model railroaders.

Jack Moore - the backdrop on the far right is a panoramic shot he took under one of the local Delaware River bridges.
I should have quit there but I had plenty of time left and figured I would travel about a half hour (actually ended up taking 80 minutes [mall Christmas shopping this early in November? #$%]). The travel was exasperated by getting behind a 270Z determined to go 10 mph under the speed limit on a single lane, no passing road for 15 miles. (Oh my! What a waste to give a car like that to a pokey woman!!!) (Ladies, please forgive my outburst.)

I had been to this layout 2 years before and had left with a bad taste in my mouth and the situation was repeated. It was a very nice layout but you couldn't get to see anything without crawling over the 5-6 operators who were bunched up together jabbering with each other and blocking the aisles. I was the only visitor and no one ever said a word to me. Is the purpose just to show off your work or to inspire potentially new model railroaders. I guess I should just be happy that 5 of the 8 visits were enjoyable (plus 1 neutral).

Bottom line is: it is a great hobby because of the great people you meet. I thank the good Lord for my operating crew and hobby friends. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Inspiration Month 2015 - November 14th part II

For the next sets of pictures I hope I got the right names on the right pictures. My second stop was to the double decker layout of Chris Conaway. It looks like it would be a great layout to operate on but building it must have been challenging with all the obstacles.

Bob Hubbard's layout was beautiful but a nightmare of pipes to duck under and squeeze into (I have got to lose some weight).

I took no photos at the fourth stop which was a club open house with a modest size oval and kids all around. The fifth stop was frustrating. It was a layout previously on the NMRA tour. It was nice but not as spectacular as I would expect from a tour layout. There were only 2 other guests there and after waiting with a camera in hand and unable to get to a section blocked by the other guests for 5 minutes I gave up and left.

Sixth stop Dick Kitz:

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Inspiration Month 2015 - November 14th part I

You gotta love Model Railroad Open Houses (or do you?)! I got to visit 8 open houses on November 14th in the Southern New Jersey area. For the next 3 blogs, I'll document my travels and experiences (and in the 3rd part I'll give you my opinion on what is wrong with some [too many] sites. Hint: it's not the modeling). 

On this trip I decided to mostly go to the ones I had not seen before.

I am amazed at the basement challenges most model railroaders have conquered. (Some basements were not fit for someone over 5' 6"!) Yet they persevered and usually filled every available inch of real estate with some outstanding modeling. This blog will cover my first stop at the layout of William Rose. Building is his thing and he does it extremely well! (It was also a joy to hear his wife, who does not model, gush over his work.)

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Operations! Operations! Operations! Operations! Operations!

That just means we completed our 5th Ops Session. Had my 3 smiling regulars: Tim (Model Railcast Show), Bob (Ntrainz1), and Gene (epumph). And this time our guest operator was Mario (mrodtoo).

Things didn't always go the way they were planned (i.e. trains didn't always run in the direction they were supposed to go) but we had a good time. (Good people make a good hobby!).

I managed to get the Model Power burning building working with 6 volts of batteries. But it takes almost 2 minutes to warm up to flickering so I've order some additional inexpensive battery holders and will move it up to 9 volts. I'll use the 6 volts on the haunted house.

I added a 4th Miller Engineering animated sign (Jesus Saves). I'm a little disappointed in this one since none of the 46 animation combinations highlight the middle S until the "saved" portion kicks in. I think their research failed them. This sign also has a soft high pitched whine when it is on (fortunately the sign is 3+ feet from the layouts edge). It also gave me a jolt (capacitor) when I picked up the control unit on while it was on. 

Finally I added a track to the coal supply portion of the coaling tower (which is on a slight incline and wants to dump the hopper car back into the turntable pit when jostled).