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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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.

From the Desk: January 2015

The holidays have come and gone and we are now into a new year. has had a memorable year attending numerous train shows, some traditional and some less so.

The show circuit has picked up again after a rather dry spell. attended Union Station to begin last year and ended the year at Oneida County Historical Society with stops in Mohawk, Ilion, Schuyler, Little Falls, Fonda, Clayton, Syracuse, Fulton, Amsterdam, and Rochester along the way. This averages out to around one show per month and keeps club members on their toes. This year looks to be another busy one as the Union Station show again begins the show circuit for .

The various shows yet to come will fill ’s schedule and the trains will be running non-stop throughout the year. Hopefully, some of the newer innovations, such as the one-trak interface module, will be placed in commission to add to the excitement of train operations on the club’s layouts. This newer aspect of t-trak modules has added a new dimension to the shows as now there is a purpose for the trains other than running in the proverbial circle forever. John has been at the forefront of this new activity and has been displaying his skills at operations on the different layouts assembled at each show. Running a train from the main line out on to the one-trak extension, John brings freight to the industries, picks up returning cars, and delivers them back to the yard for further dispatching. All this activity keeps both John and the public busy and interested.

The automation of the new one-trak interface module will make these operations a little easier and more reliable. Other future plans call for some new throttles and other animated items to peak the interests of observers. Meanwhile, Greg has industriously increased the size and scope of the HO modules used in the club displays. His ambition and dedication have resulted in many new modules that add to the ever popular HO scale division of . Because of his perseverance and hard work, Greg was deservedly chosen as the recipient of the James A. Williams Service Person of the Year Award.

is always watching for new members who are interested in any scale to join in the fun and support the club’s endeavors at displaying trains for the public and providing educational opportunities for the public. Become a part of ’s ongoing activities and join us at the shows in your area.


From the Desk: December 2014

The holiday spirit is upon us! Activities for November were many, as usual, and was right in the middle of all the excitement.

The month started out in Syracuse where again joined up with the layout sponsor, the Genesee ‘N Ontario club and various other clubs and people to display another exquisite N scale t-trak layout. This year’s layout contained many new and different modules for the public’s enjoyment. Among them was John Fleming’s new double module, ”Abandoned Building” and the club’s ever popular “eyeglasses” double loop. Also included this year was the club’s reverse loop one-trak module. Unfortunately, the software to make this operate got corrupted and we were unable to operate the loop as designed at the show. In addition to the N scale t-trak modules, club member Greg Brockway, brought the HO scale t-trak layout to Syracuse. Here again, new modules were incorporated for everyone’s enjoyment. John showed off his talent here by putting his new HO module into the layout.

Following another successful weekend in Syracuse, FUNTRAK members trekked off to Fulton the next weekend for the Oswego Valley Railroad Association’s annual Holiday Express show. Once more, set up two layouts, one in N scale and one in HO scale. Included in the N scale layout again was the reverse loop one-trak section. This time, however, the software had been corrected and the loop operated perfectly! John had lots of fun with this section operating and switching out freight to service businesses and sidings on the main layout. After all, train shows aren’t supposed to be fun for only the public. This also shows the versatility of the modular concept, the layout diversity, and the operational possibilities for shows to keep both the public’s and the club member’s interest high. Greg showed up Saturday morning with the HO layout and everyone joined in to help get him up and running. Other contributors to the success of ’s layouts included Rich Petitto and Neal Schantz who both provided modules for the N scale layout.

Upcoming events for December include a trip to Rochester to support the RIT club’s show on the 13 and 14 of December. Then on to the Oneida County Historical Society for our annual Christmas display from December 24 to December 30. Next year will begin with the show at Union Station in January, provided we are invited to attend. Come on out and support the local train shows and enjoy the talents of the many model railroaders who work so hard to make life a little more enjoyable for everyone.


Annual FUNTRAK Dinner

The annual dinner was a huge success, as usual. The food was outstanding, the trains ran well, and new modules were introduced. All this, and a meal included. This annual event has become one of ’s favorite times where everyone can relax and have a good time with no pressure to ensure anything is necessary to entertain anyone but members. On another note, attended a show in Little Falls sponsored by the Little Falls Historical Society. This was ’s first show with this organization and everything went well. There are pictures inside from this fun occurrence. We are looking forward to attending many more shows with these fine people. This was also the first successful running of ’s one trak reverse loop where John was able to do some switching and freight maneuvering on the updated one trak tee and following loop. John was very pleased with the overall operations and had a great time sharing his experiences with other club members and the public. ’s other interface module is a work in progress, but should be completed soon.



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