From the Desk: April 2015

Spring is in the air and it seems it is time for “construction”. Out in the real world things have been slowed down somewhat by the rather lengthy winter that has hung on for what seems an eternity. However, this has not dampened ’s progress in the construction business.

Club members John Fleming and Brian King recently visited Matthew to assist him in the construction of his home layout. Discussions at the work session lead to another building decision and the three agreed to meet at Brian’s to help John assemble his new mountain “back track” modules. This pair of modules work together to bring the mountain line to the back of the module and back to the front when connected to each other. Future modules may be designed to utilize the rear location of the mountain line to allow more scenery toward the front of the module.

It is now getting very close to the club’s annual “Valley Rail Sights” show but, hopefully, John will have these modules ready in time to display them at the show. This years show is scheduled for April 18 and April 19. Preparations are already underway and progressing nicely. One of the items that was not ready for last years show was the reversing loop module and the one-trak tee. After much work both domestically and abroad, these modules should be set up and operating properly at this years show. Some minor details are still in the works, but these should not affect the workability of the modules. As has been noted before, the simplest of projects often turn out to be much more involved than at first thought.

Such was the case with the reversing loop module. With lots of perseverance and more perspiration, Mark and Brian working closely together finally got the module to operate as designed. What takes much of the time is the lag in communications from Australia to America. However, Mark and Brian overcame this drawback and made the reversing loop do what it was made to do, allow the train to enter in one direction and exit in the opposite direction with minimum operator involvement. The next step involves disconnecting the local throttle automatically so as to avoid conflicts with the main line throttle. That is another matter entirely and currently will not affect the proper operation of the reverse loop as currently configured. When this is completed there are new ideas being bandied about and designed to keep on the cutting edge of technology and operations. Watch for the new items at the shows and check back here.

Brian


Get to work!

It’s always great to enjoy the company of club members while being productive.

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Matt’s Empire

Model railroading is nothing if not a group effort! Our newest club member, Matthew de Jongh, has been diligently working on a t-trak module that can be brought along and set up at train shows as well as continuing the construction of his home layout. Club members John Fleming and Brian King recently visited Matthew to assist him in his endeavors. Together they were able to build some of the framework for Matthew’s future empire and have a good time while getting this work accomplished.

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From the Desk: March 2015

March is again upon us and there is very little model railroad activity in the works. The end of the month brings RailRun, an annual activity in the Boston area where many club members have had the good fortune to be participants in the past. A large number of the local model railroad layouts are opened up to a select group of modelers for operating sessions over a weekend at the end of the month. This year, Brian, along with club members Lorenzo Franchi and John Fleming, as well as our Canadian neighbor David
King, have been invited to attend this happening. Participation in this annual event often leads to many ideas about other ways of operating model railroads, including club layouts.

When there is actually a purpose for the trains other than to just go in a circle, it makes for much more interesting train running. continues attempting to
incorporate this idea of operations into the T-trak displays. This has been a slow and ongoing task, but progress is being made and hopefully will be more successful in the future. The RailRun experience provides encouragement for club members to develop more operational ideas for use in our club layouts when the opportunity arises.

The idea of having a purpose has lead to the construction of specific modules that have particular industries on them to support railroad usage and encourage operations. With industry, schedules, and a purpose, it is easier to develop a plan for operations. The one-trak concept has been a work in progress for nearly two years now and lends itself greatly to supporting the operations concept with the t-trak modules. Although DCC adds to the enjoyment of operations because of the added features allowing trains to operate without having to accommodate conventional DC methods, ’s one-trak modules are being constructed with conventional DC power in mind. This allows anyone to use their own motive power regardless if it is DCC equipped or conventional. All DCC locomotives have a conventional feature while not all conventional locomotives can run on DCC. A great advantage of T-trak is that no two setups need ever be the same and the diversity of modules means operations will be ever changing to maintain more interest and challenge for operators. With all of these things in mind, has managed to keep ahead of the game by planning ahead in the design of many of the T-trak modules, anticipating the inclusion of the modules in a layout design to accommodate operations using the features mentioned. These considerations have made ‘s layouts both interesting and fun for both operators and viewers.

The annual “Valley Rail Sights” club show coming up in April should prove to be more fun than ever this year if many of these operational ideas are included when setting up the T-trak layout. Come onout and join the fun.

Brian


Cabin Fever!

The local Utica Boy Scouts troop held a Cabin Fever community event with vendors and entertainment to provide families a fun escape from being cooped up in the house all winter. Funtrak was delighted to be asked to participate. Kids and families really love trains and we enjoy sharing our passion with others. Win-win!

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