Valley Rail Sights

Click for a link to our April Valley Rail Sights Show Flyer:


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Operators Desk

On July 16, Funtrak joined Jim Heidt at his home in Clockville NY for a model railroad operating session. Jim’s railroad follows a freelanced route from Pennsylvania through New York State to the St. Lawrence area. Jim’s railroad is dictated by a timetable that helps maintain a smooth operation around the layout. Aiding is a dispatch station and several station agents at key locations around the layout. While passenger trains bring its patrons around to various highly detailed locations around the layout, coal, ore, mixed freight and interchange traffic bring commodities to and from several key cities and towns. Jim’s layout featured finely crafted scenes, well maintained track, smooth operating engines and rolling stock and a well crafted plan for operation. Additionally, Jim and his operators were hospitable to the many guests that joined them for the operating sessions. The priveldge to operation on a fine layout provides not only enjoyment to the operators but also helps provide ideas and insights for their own modeling and operating schemes. Photos from Jims layout are below.


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Operator’s Desk

On Tuesday May 12, Funtrak made the journey to operate Bernie Messenger’s HO layout. Brian, John, Matthew, Greg and Rick made the trip to Sauquiot. John operated the yard and Brian ran some locals, while Matthew, Greg and Rick ran main line trains. Operations provide a challenge whether you are new to operating or a seasoned veteran. The key to good operations are smooth running track and equiptment, a good routing system and a visually stimulating layout, all of which Bernie provided. The layout spanned Buffalo to Albany, or Boston following a freelanced route across New York State. Car cards featuring eight locations on laminated card stock and marked with wet erase markers made picking up and delivering commodities easy. Also, a unique feature on the layout was the construction of the staging yards. Eight track yards on drawer sliders made entering and leaving the yards easy without extended switches or yard ladders. Check out some photos of our session below.


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From the Desk: April 2016

he Easter bunny came early this year so Easter is now over. While the holiday has come and gone, FUNTRAK’s construction phase carries on. As mention on
page one, two projects for the n scale t-trak portion of
FUNTRAK’s modular railroad
systems are in the works, John’s
triple mine module and the
mountain tunnel double. These
two projects have lead to much
discussion within the FUNTRAK
ranks about some new concepts.
In Australia, Mark Bean is
actively working on implementing
some of these newer ideas in his
module construction plans.
FUNTRAK would need to build some
new mountain modules to
accommodate these fresh ideas,
but that is a very good
possibility for the future.
FUNTRAK has notably been in the
forefront of incorporating new
ideas into the t-trak concept.
Some of the ideas proposed
include developing an interface
that goes under the mountain
line to the inside of the layout
from the yellow line and
eventually works its way up to
the mountain line via a two
percent incline. All this is
being designed to be inside the
traditional loop. One of the
drawbacks is that the mountain
corners would need to be
separate so modules could be
inserted between them to make
room for the track work inside
the layout. This might mean
using banquet tables side by
side as well as lengthwise, but
this still only makes a layout
five feet wide. The advantage to
this is that this would provide
a means of servicing industries
in the mountain region of the
layout and provide more reasons
for operations on the layout.

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Mine Your Own Business

Construction season continues for FUNTRAK as the above photograph indicates. This is John Fleming’s latest
endeavor and is something new for FUNTRAK, a triple! As is quite obvious, this is in the very early stages of building
but the layout and planning provide some idea of the scope and size of the eventual finished project. More pictures of the
beginnings of this module are inside so its progress can be observed. This module has additional bracing due to its longer
length. This was necessary to prevent sagging in the middle of the module and to provide a more stable and robust
framework. More FUNTRAK modules are also under construction. A new mountain module with a tunnel at the front is
underway. Pictures of the progress of this module are also inside. This module is unique in that the front is hinged to allow
access to the main tracks inside the tunnel if necessary. The tunnel construction idea allows for more scenery to be placed
on top of the module providing more depth of field..Meanwhile, our southern counterpart in Australia, Mark Bean, is
merrily designing and building a set of mountain modules for t-trak in Australia. Mark and Brian have been conversing
regularly and developing some new ideas to try with the t-trak mountain modules. These have not caught on as much as
the regular modules yet, but time will tell how this goes. Discussion on some of the Internet forums has been in the direction
of a second level of modules but no mention of the mountain line has come up. This may provide an alternative to trying
to figure a way to put up a second level independent of the modules on a lower level. Mark and Brian are also looking into
the possibility of having the mountain and main lines interconnect via an interface junction that would allow the trains to
go from the main line to the mountain line utilizing a gradient inside the layout. All this is in the very early planning and
research stages but standby for more in the near future.

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