From the Desk: May 2015


“How many years have we been coming here?”

I had to look it up myself. The answer? Seven! Each year gets better. This year 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 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 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 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 at Hotel Utica in conjunction with the New York Central System Historical Society the first Sunday this month. 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 modules. Later in the month we will be meeting at Greg’s to discuss upcoming events, shows, meetings, and construction plans. was also fortunate enough to enlist a new member, Tom Mayer, at the show. Welcome aboard, Tom!

Until next time, keep on training!

Valley Rail Sight 2015

Another Successful Valley Rail Sights!


‘s 2015 “Valley Rail Sights” show came off again this year without any problems. Layouts in N scale, HO scale, Z scale, and Lionel mesmerized the visitors to this highly anticipated train show. Everyone has a great time at this show because of the laid back nature and ease of access to seeing everything. The “little folks” in the most formative years from a few months to teenagers are the most
delighted. Finally, trains at a level they can actually see! This makes parents happy too, since they don’t have to pick up the little one and can better keep an eye on their actions. All the layouts were in one room this year which made it nicer for exhibitors and attendees alike. New modules and different designs held the public’s interest at this show thanks to the versatility of the T-trak concept which allows for such
diversity. Make sure to check the calendar and come out for s next show where a different and newer layout will be presented.

See you there!

Having fun at 2015 Valley Rail Sights

The Magic Doughnut

club member Tim Brien chows down as other club members set up the t-trak layout for the show.

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.


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