New Directions, New Adventures …

Frustrations …

I’m going to lead off with a bit of griping. You’ve probably noticed that it’s been pretty darned quiet around here lately. In fact, I even deleted a lot of the more recent posts, and so there’s not been anything relevant left after March of 2017! Aside from the occasional grumbly post about the cost of postage and privacy notices, not much (read “nothing”) has been happening.

DelTang continues to sell well when I can get it. Shipping of late has been really slow, and I suspect that will continue to be the case for a while. I have gotten a “flow” for throttle builds settled down, so once I do get parts, I’ll be able to turn them around really quickly. Heck, might even be able to have them in stock!

The LITco debacle continues. There was a fair amount of miscommunication during the transfer of the company (nobody’s fault, really), and we didn’t get some key hardware we thought we were getting. And, since we’ve been neck-deep in other projects, we’ve really not been able to get up and running effectively. We do talk about it a lot, and we do work on the processes as we can. LITco will be back … eventually.

The boxcars were, apparently, a complete waste of time. No one seems to be interested in them. So, I’ll make a few more for myself, and call that a day. It’s too bad, as they’re were a really nice kit.

The bottom line is that, frankly, for the past couple of years, I’ve just not been having any model railroad related fun. I’ve been playing trains for other people, but not for me. And that’s gotta change.

Getting Adventuresome …

It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about having some fun. In fact, while I was busy being very sick for the last week of January and into February, I thought a lot about it. In conversations, and in some old posts here, I’ve mentioned that the first layout I ever “finished” was a small N-scale layout (unfortunately, there are no pictures). And, that it was HOn30 modeling that really got me interested in model trains. I’ve even had some fits and starts at doing something in HOn30. So … hmmm ….

Over the past couple of years (five years, to be exact!), I’ve been having some conversations with the local group who have been making “T-Trak” modules, and thought that might be a way to play with N-scale or HOn30. And, I’ve been wanting to recreate that layout of my youth, or, at least something similar. My first thought was to do it on a hollow-core door panel, but very recently, a company came out with kits for T-Trak modules. You see where this is going …

T-Trak modules from CMR Products and Kato track will be used to approximate a layout from my childhood.

At the train show this past weekend, I purchased a handful of modules, a big bag of Kato track, and a train. (I’ll talk about each part in separate posts over the coming days and weeks). The basic layout is roughed out in the picture above, and I hope to have it “complete” in time for the Midwest show in March.

What’s This? DCC?

New Zephyr Express from Digitrax

I thought long and hard about this next part. In the interest of “playing well with others” and “maintaining my sanity”, I decided that for the T-Trak stuff, I’ll be going with DCC and track power. First, there’s just not enough space for batteries in the N-scale models. And, again, there’s already a standard involved. So, I also purchased a new DCC system, Digitrax’s newest Zephyr Express all-in-one DCC system. This newest version was just announced a few weeks ago, and I was lucky enough to be able to pick one up this past weekend. I’ve always liked the Zephyr series, and this new version really is a sweet package. Again more on this later.

Kevin has started playing with some HOn30 using the same types of module frames, although he’s not sure his stuff will be to any “standard”. I’ll be following suit at some point, but mine will be built to meet local standards.

Speaking of standards … (yeah, I know. We don’t need no steenking standards!), there’s a long-standing N-scale standard for T-Trak, but not for HOn30. So, we finally decided on what the local HOn30 T-Trak standard is going to be, which is something that has been hemming and hawing about for a couple of years now. Two of us literally stood over some T-Trak modules, pointed, and said “this” and so it is. So much more refreshing than the On30 module standard war that occurred back in the late nineties ….

So, that’s it for now. The On30 layout remains. And, I’ll get some work done on it as time permits. I have most of the supplies needed to “complete” it. It’ll just be a matter of inclination.

WW&F #9 Is Running!

Boy, was I ever in the wrong place yesterday!

Yesterday, at 2:45PM, WW&F #9 made her first moves under steam since June of 1933 at the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum in Alna, Maine. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there, but a couple of other fans were, and shared some video. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Thanks to YouTube user bunky41058 for those clips!

Eric Schade put together this nice video. It’s about 20 minutes long, and is a good look at yesterday’s festivities.

Eric posted the following on his YouTube page, along with the video:

She was built in 1891 by the Portland Company in Portland Maine. She served the Sandy River Railway as #5 then Sandy River and Rangely Lakes RR as #6 until 1924 when she was purchased by the Kennebec Central wearing the number 4. when that line closed in January 1933 she was purchased by the Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington RR and served for a few months before that line closed in June. She was rescued from the cutting torch by Frank Ramsdell and William Monepenny and spent the next 60 some years in a shed on the Ramsdell farm in Connecticut before heading back to Maine and the WW&F Railway Museum. Restoration work started in 2006 and is largely the result of volunteer labor.

This is very exciting, and Donna and I are thrilled to have been able to participate in the project to, as donors whenever possible. If you’re at all interested in the Maine 2-Footers, we encourage you to join the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum.

Now There’s a Prototype for Hi-Rail!

There's a prototype for everything -- including 3-rail!
There’s a prototype for everything — including 3-rail! Photo by Treve Kneebone

So, are you an O-gauger running on three-rail track? Are your buddies giving you grief because of it? Well, just show them this picture. It’s Gar-Graves in 1:1 scale!

Sad Day in Portland

The FRA certification on Monson #4 expired at the end of March, and the Maine Narrow Gauge Museum doesn’t know when she’ll be back in service — #4 needs a new boiler before the FRA will re-certify the loco.

You can read the whole story here…

On30 Guy™ Shop Now Open!

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed a new tab in the site menu — the On30 Guy Shop is now open for business!

Initial product offerings are related to Dead Rail, and I’m featuring the DelTang radio system I’ve been talking so much about lately. There are also a number of related items available — batteries, chargers, supplies, etc.

Product is on the way from across the country and around the world, and I’ve established regular dialog with several suppliers. So, even items that are currently on back-order can be purchased with confidence that I’ll be able to fill your order quickly.

There are a number of other products in the works, too, including On30 rolling stock kits and a variety of textures that will be unique to the On30 Guy Shop.

Now, before you ask, the answer’s still “no” on my earlier products. It’s still prohibitively expensive to product the pickup wipers for the On30 Shay and for the On30 Mogul tender. I’ve not given up completely, though. I’m still on the lookout for a vendor who can supply those parts at a reasonable cost.

Eagles Mere Museum Layout Featured on Scranton/Wilkes-Barre TV

Channel 16 in Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA put together a really nice package featuring the Eagles Mere Museum and the model railroad Kevin Hunter of Berrett Hill Trains built for them.

The museum, and the railroad, will be open after the Lycoming On30 Meet in July. Or, you can find out more about the Eagles Mere Museum here.

World’s Largest Model Railroad

Okay, so the guy’s a little corny and over the top, but this is a pretty cool look at Miniature Wonderland, the world’s largest model railroad. I think the chick who makes the little people’s got the hots for the “tv star.”

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If I ever get to Germany, I’ve got to check this place out!