Friday, February 19, 2010

Cheux cheux part deux

For you non French speakers, that's Choo Choo part Two.
As you can see from the photo below, N scale is tiny (that is a quarter inside the rail on the locomotive) but not as tiny as Z scale. Obviously, I picked up an engine (loco for you model train enthusiasts) and a couple of pieces of rolling stock (train cars for you non model train enthusiasts).
My two new pieces of "rolling stock", a 75 ton coal hauler and a caboose. Both fall within the era of the middle 1950's or earlier which is the era that I have chosen for my layout.
I also picked up some pier supports for my bridges. Yep, that's a switch under the bridge. Not real convenient to get at but it works for the layout. It is a combo manual/electric switch and can be controlled by a remote switch controller box.
Duh, switch controller boxes as you might expect. There are eight of them shown here because I have eight switches in my layout. The blue thing in the middle is the activator switch/button. It is a switch that can be pushed left or right (corresponding to the switch direction) and a button because to activate the switch, you must push down on the blue switch like a button to activate it, but only for 1 second.
This photo hopefully will give you a little perspective and a little scale. That is a standard screwdriver lying on the table between the two little cars. The power/speed controller is to the right of them just going out of the photo.
That is where I am at present on my new found enjoyable hobby. Getting ready to do some elevation supports where you see cardboard etc. Hoping to make gradual elevation changes and then to start doing some landscaping and making scale buildings.
Stay tuned for continued progress! I am getting excited about the whole thing. I actually can run the little train around the layout and work the switches and put cars on the sidings etc. Soon, I will be getting the bumpers for the ends of the sidings and picking up more "rolling stock".
Have a little fun when you can and if you don't have one, start a new hobby today!

Friday, February 12, 2010

All Aboard?

When I moved to NW Pa. this is what the area around my house looked like.
And below is what it looks like now.
I really am trying NOT to complain, but after all, I am a Florida boy. Seems like it has snowed everyday since Thanksgiving. Here it is the 12th of February and it is snowing still.
One could get cabin fever. I think that is why hobbies were invented. However, whittling duck figurines or tying dry fishing lures are not for me. No offense to those who find the whittling and tying fascinating and rewarding. Just not my cup of tea that's all.Notice that the deer are almost up to their bellies in snow.
All aboard! Got off of my behind and started doing what I was talking about. Model Railroading 101. Thought that I knew something about model trains etc. Wow was I on the short end of the information on that subject. Since I last touched a model train (of any kind-except the one that ran under the Christmas Tree this last Christmas, O gauge with 3 rails) preferably HO scale (at least that is what I was thinking, how dumb!) the industry, the hobby, and the technology has changed dramatically! And did I mention that it has changed a lot too?
Well, after getting over the shock of it all, I actually started making inquiries at a place called "@ The Bank" where it turns out is the location of Tom's Train Terminal. Cute huh? So I got hooked again but this time on N scale trains. There are many different scales. The 3 most common are: O , HO and N. I chose N scale over HO, mainly because I can't locate my HO set. I know I packed it back in the mid 90's for one of 6 subsequent household moves. It disappeared somewhere in the middle of all those moves.
The great thing about N scale is that you can have a fairly impressive layout in a small (relatively speaking of course) area. I happen to have an "office" which I have claimed for myself [thanks Jude! =8-) ]Above, token photos of my present layout in progress. It is about 38 inches deep and 74 inches long. It has 8 switches, 3 re-railers, and two bridge sections and lots of track! ( the cardboard pieces under the track just before the bridge will be replaced with a hill and landscaping.)
So, to sum it up, O scale cars are about a foot long, HO cars are about 6 inches long, and N cars are about 3 inches long. That means you can get the same type of layout in N scale in about 1/4th the area as O scale.
More later.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A New Day Dawns, and another and ...

For those of you (two, or maybe even three or four) that keep trying to find new stuff here on the old blog, I present the following musings, writings and opinions.
Many things have transpired in the past 8 or 9 months of my life (if you did not know) that I thought that it is about time that I updated some. If you don't already follow Jude's blog at ( then perhaps this is a good time to mention it again. She is the blog maven in this house, not I. However, I suppose that you are here to hear from me not Jude.
In order to put things in perspective, Jude and I have moved (yes, lock, stock and barrel) from the high semi arrid foothills of the continental divide (Rocky Mountains-Manzano Mountain group East slope) to the extreme NW "chimney" of Pennsylvania just South of Lake Erie to a city named Cambridge Springs. George Washington actually traveled through this part of the state before during and after the revolutionary war period.
After getting used to being homeless for a period of about 4 months, Jude and I found our home. It is a 3 story house fully finished with a 2 1/2 car detached garaged situated in the woods on 6.5 acres of beautiful rolling land with a creek running through it. The property is about 7.5 miles from downtown Cambridge Springs, Pa. and about 16 miles from Judes' mothers house.
Thank goodness the deer let us live here. We bribe them with dried corn and fresh vegetable leavings. It seems to work for everyone involved. The deer family (5 of them) seem to be fairly happy with the arrangement and every once in a while let us look at them close up. They are a skittish lot though. It's okay though, we live within their territory and abide by their rules.
I am developing a love/hate relationship with snow. We were the recipients of 46 inches or so of the lovely white in about a week. Snowed just before Christmas and then many days following.
I was lucky enough to have to travel the 30 odd miles to the Erie airport in a full blown snow storm/blizzard at 4:30 a.m. and then back home. There was at least 10 inches of snow on Interstate 79 and the snowplows had not been out yet. Near white out conditions confronted this Florida born driver and I almost drove completely off the Interstate two times following tire tracks onto the exit ramps. Luckily I realized what was happening before we got completely off and was able to steer back onto the Interstate without mishap. I was never so happy to get back home in my life. Even our 365 foot curving uphill driveway didn't present much of a challenge.

Stan (our 4 wheel drive van) motored right through it all with grace and assurance. Way to go Stan!
Photo of our dependable 4 wheeled steed.

I must say that a trip from St. Petersburg, Fl. to the airport in Tampa, Fl. and back, does not even come close in comparison. (Perhaps during a hurricane the tension may be there, but then, why in the world would you be going to the airport during a hurricane?)

Some of the remnants of the fluffy white stuff on the parking pad in front of the garage.
So far, not really a bad time even though the long time local residents say that this was the worst single snowfall event in memory (50 years according to the National Weather Bureau) and that it is highly unusual. Just what we needed for our first North West Pennsylvania winter.

Well, so much for the update portion. There are of course many other things that have happened but are not to be noted at present. Perhaps in future postings.
Should be a token poem inserted here. Mabye even a modern American Haiku.

invoking pictures of trees
log cabin warm hearth

Thanks for tuning in. Have a little fun when you can.