It was a dark and dreary morning. You fool, it’s
always dark and dreary at 4:00 am in the morning!
So this is the beginning of Whirlwind III. David and
Brian started out in Cooperstown and headed out to
pick up the remaining individuals going along on
this journey. John was picked up in Herkimer and
then onto Saint Johnsville where Lorenzo met the
group to continue to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam the
remainder of the troupe was collected with Mike
and Al. Finally, when everyone was gathered, we
were off to Boston. First stop, George Sellios’
Franklin and South Manchester. We hooked up
with Ernie in Peabody and proceeded to George’s.
We were warmly welcomed by George and kindly
allowed to take pictures of this treasure of a layout.
The level of detail is indescribable! This is truly a
wonder of the model railroad world. If the
opportunity presents itself, do not miss this layout.
After a while, the group gathered together again and
moved on down the street to a local hobby shop.
The N scale selection was minimal, but Lionel, HO,
and plastic models were abundant. On to lunch.
Ernie led us to a local establishment where we were
treated to excellent cuisine. Following this it was
off to Ernie’s wonderful N scale layout where we
were afforded the opportunity to operate a great
fleet of finely tuned locomotives. Our schedule
called for our meeting Pete Laier next around 3:00
pm, so we left Ernie’s on our trek to Pete’s. After a
small mixup in directions we finally arrived at
Pete’s place. Here we were warmly greeted by Pete
and his wife who welcomed us with open arms.
Pete’s Arcadia Terminal is a compact, highly
operable, around the wall, shelf style layout.
It was a dark and dreary morning. You fool, it’s
Greetings fellow train modelers! I am happy to report that FUNTRAK members Mark Bean, Brian King, and Canadian friend David King have finally been able to culminate their efforts on the automatic
reverse loop project that has been in progress for over a year.
After much consternation and brain racking, all the pieces came together when Mark arrived at Brian’s and was able to actually handle the hardware. There is a lot to be said for presence. Long distance communication is nice, but nowhere as nearly effective as actually being present. After Mark arrived it was only a matter of hours
overall until the software, hardware, and operation all came together to make the reverse loop automation a
success. Of course, this leads to more projects in the future. However, these may be a little easier to accomplish now that the experience of developing the original reverse loop has been successfully completed. We are considering building and automating a new one-trak interface tee sized module. This will take some time, so in the meantime, FUNTRAK will utilize the current mechanically operated interface module.
This module works but has some limitations. The curves are really small, thus limiting the trains that can be sent to the reverse loop. It is also rather difficult to understand how to operate electrically when using it. The goal of the newer replacement module will be not only to automate things as much as possible, but to simplify the operation to make it much less difficult to use. FUNTRAK will report on the progress of this project as we move along.
Speaking of moving along, FUNTRAKset up a small layout at Dave’s Diner in the beginning of June at Dave’s weekly Cruise In. The small layout incorporated FUNTRAK’s “eyeglasses” loop to make it interesting. This loop limits the length of the trains possible to run without running into itself and keeps the public’s attention on the trains. Everyone expects the train to collide with itself, but careful prior planning prevents this from happening. The layout provided the first opportunity for FUNTRAK to use the small generator purchased for just this reason. The generator ran perfectly and amazingly quiet for the entire time FUNTRAK was there. This makes it easy for FUNTRAK to take a layout nearly anywhere since we can now provide our own source of power to operate the trains. The next test will be next month when FUNTRAK anticipates running a small HO layout, provided by club member Greg Brockway, at Dave’s again. Meanwhile, other club activities for July include the Whirlwind III tour. This will be a day trip to the Boston area to visit some of the renowned layouts in that area. FUNTRAK will report on this in the next issue.
Keep on training!
FUNTRAK‘s automatic reverse loop is finally finished and operational, thanks to our Australian club member, Mark Bean. Mark’s diligence and John’s scenic abilities make great additions to FUNTRAK’s arsenal of t-trak modules. After over a year of research and development, it was gratifying to finally succeed in reaching the desired goal.
FUNTRAK set up a smal layout at Dave’s Diner in the beginning of June at Dave’s weekly Cruise In.
Welcome back to the “Hobo”! Mark and his family are scheduled to visit us at the end of June from “down under” in Australia. We are anxiously awaiting his arrival and looking forward to all the excitement, camaraderie, and fresh new ideas Mark always brings with him. It is refreshing to get a different perspective on things, especially model railroading things, and Mark certainly is noted for his different perspective.
Mark has been in Australia for over ten years now and is firmly established as a citizen and resident there but his roots are back here in the good ‘ol USA. Hopefully, he can get to see many of the things that make this country so interesting and great and show his family the better side of America. There is much to offer for visitors and residents alike in nearly every nook and cranny of this great country. In our little nook we have a rich history of baseball with numerous teams which originated in New York to the Hall of Fame here in Cooperstown. To support this great sport over the years the railroad transported many of the fans from upstate areas to the city where the games were played. This continues even today with Amtrak being one of the best means of travel for convenience to the games in New York City. More often than not the close proximity of the train stations to desirable landmarks makes them the logical choice for getting to your destination. Besides the tourism industry, trains are also a mainstay of transportation for goods. It is one of the least expensive ways of shipping large quantities of goods over long distances available to industry today. This real life diversity makes modeling the railroad industry both challenging and exciting. It maintains a keen interest in the details of recreating a miniature world of travel and adventure for those involved in the hobby. This is where Mark’s outlook shines.
He finds the details many overlook and shines his own light on the obvious to the amazement of others. This introspection makes Mark’s models stand out over similar models where the details he incorporates are not found elsewhere. Mark’s willingness to share his observations and ideas with others makes him one of model railroading’s true giants. Mark is always ready to help in any way he can if you have a problem or idea that needs to be expanded. He often shares some of his ideas with FUNTRAK when he occasionally writes a column for Hobos Fire. FUNTRAK wishes Mark well and hopes he not only has a great time during his visit, but also gains some valuable insight to develop new ideas to incorporate into his own model railroading and further share some of these ideas with us in the future.
FUNTRAK‘s annual PicNik is just around the proverbial corner, so with this in mind, preparations for the big event are underway. FUNTRAK club members Doug Davis, John Fleming, and Brian King gathered
together over the course of Saturday, May 10 to move the N-Trak layout out of storage and into Brian’s basement. This only made sense since having the layout reside outside in storage and not be used was a waste of space and usefulness. After much grunting and groaning, the modules were all moved to the basement and assembly began. Of course, more preliminary preparations were required as Brian was able to obtain some carpet to put under the eventual layout. Finishing up this minor task, the final setup of the layout began in earnest. All went well until it came time to put the legs on the last module. Where were those legs? Finally, a different set of legs ended up being used so the layout could be completed. We still don’t know where the missing legs are located. Next came placing all the connecting tracks in the layout. This is a rather tedious job with only a few people, but success was accomplished after a relatively short time. Now the moment of truth, would everything run? The red line had some problems because the yard was not properly lined up for trains to pass through from one end to the other. The line ran alright, just not through the yard. The yellow and blue lines were properly aligned and ran well. There were some issues with the yellow line, but those were figured out and dealt with appropriately. Minor adjustments were made later and the N-Trak layout is back!
||The photos at left illustrate the before and after of the t-trak modules FUNTRAK has built over the past few years. These modules are a testament to the remarkable talent available from FUNTRAK members in recreating a visual spectacle everyone can appreciate. Lorenzo comes up with some new and exciting ideas, John assists in scenicking the modules with his creative talents, and FUNTRAK members reap the benefits of the public’s admiration for these terrific displays. The combination of innovation, creativity, and talent is a winning situation for FUNTRAK and those fortunate enough to see these fabulous works of art.|
Here it is April already! FUNTRAK’s annual Valley Rail Sights show is just around the corner. Activities leading up to this show have been hectic, to say the least. New modules in both HO and N scale have been under construction and most have been completed. Many of these new modules will be in the show at the Masonic Temple in Ilion. This is where FUNTRAK club members efforts really shine. The ingenuity, craftsmanship, and creativity all come out in the new modules. What is not so apparent is the effort behind getting all these items to the show. The setup before and the tear down after the show are not noticed by anyone except the club members. There are many hours spent doing the preparations for this show and the time and work involved is extensive. All this work is rewarded by the attendance of the public at the show. The smiles and discussions generated by the displays are the “pay” for most of the FUNTRAK members. The many questions about how this or that was made, the ideas behind many of the unique modules, and the general theme of model railroading all tend to bring out the best in everyone.
Every show brings new visitors as well as old to the displays. It is always refreshing to meet new people and reminisce with the old friends. The children always bring smiles with their excited looks and amazement at the trains. Parents are always happy to see the trains because they know there is nothing offensive about Thomas the Tank and his friends. With so many different facets to model railroading, there is bound to be some point of interest for nearly everyone. One point of interest has been watching a train go around and come back on itself in a reversing loop.
FUNTRAK has been working on an automatic reversing loop system for over a year now without any complete success. It seems the simplest problems have the most complicated solutions. This has turned into an international issue with help coming from all parts of the world. Eventually an acceptable solution may pop up, but it surely is taking a long time to arrive. Whenever the problem is solved, FUNTRAK will be there with the module for everyone to see. Hopefully, this will happen in the very near future! Meanwhile, the show must go on and FUNTRAK is preparing for exactly that at the end of this month. Come on out to the annual Valley Rail Sights show and enjoy the fun. See you there!