“How many years have we been coming here?”
I had to look it up myself. The answer? Seven! Each year gets better. This year FUNTRAK provided four scales for the public’s enjoyment: N scale, HO scale, Z scale, and the ever popular tinplate Lionel. The layouts all ran wonderfully, as expected, and everything cooperated fairly well.
John was able to get the one-trak portion of the layout to operate acceptably but not quite as perfectly as we would like. Hopefully, the new interface module that is under construction will overcome some of the shortcomings of the manual corner interface currently being used in the FUNTRAK setups. There are some issues with the new construction as well. These are being worked on by Brian in conjunction with our supporting friends David King in Canada and Mark Bean in Australia. Who says international cooperation isn’t possible? The only problem is the amount of time required to communicate solutions between people in these far off locations. The time issue aside, progress is being made and the new interface module is well on its way to completion.
In support of the new module, two more supporting modules will be constructed. These modules, which Mark likes to call “flip modules”, will allow the red line to bypass the interface module, thus allowing the red line to be run on DCC without interfering with the operation of the yellow line. These two modules will be set up to automatically operate to stop any trains necessary to avoid collisions. They will also have radio communications between them to ensure the placement of the two modules is able to accommodate any length of train. Currently there are some programming issues, but these should be straightened out promptly. Innovation is one area where FUNTRAK has been a leader in the model railroading field, especially t-trak. The club’s automated reverse loop module has made the one trak concept a reality and adds significantly to the operational abilities of any layout. The ability to change the direction of a train consist without having to do it manually “by hand” adds much to the realistic operation of the layout. The addition of a more automated interface module and the supporting flip modules will further enhance the FUNTRAK layouts in the future.
Speaking of the future, our old friend Jeff Sorenson pleasantly surprised everyone when he showed up at the show on Sunday. Jeff has been busy with many things and taking time to visit us was greatly appreciated. We are all looking forward to seeing more of Jeff in the future.
“In the future” includes a display for FUNTRAK at Hotel Utica in conjunction with the New York Central System Historical Society the first Sunday this month. FUNTRAK will set up in the morning and stay until the show ends at 3:00 o’clock. This will be a small display dedicated to the New York Central and local sights from our area. Jim Domser’s Rome module will be there for the crowds to appreciate along with other highly detailed FUNTRAK modules. Later in the month we will be meeting at Greg’s to discuss upcoming events, shows, meetings, and construction plans. FUNTRAK was also fortunate enough to enlist a new member, Tom Mayer, at the show. Welcome aboard, Tom!
Until next time, keep on training!