Layout Progress

Get to work!

It’s always great to enjoy the company of club members while being productive.





From the Desk: March 2015

March is again upon us and there is very little model railroad activity in the works. The end of the month brings RailRun, an annual activity in the Boston area where many club members have had the good fortune to be participants in the past. A large number of the local model railroad layouts are opened up to a select group of modelers for operating sessions over a weekend at the end of the month. This year, Brian, along with club members Lorenzo Franchi and John Fleming, as well as our Canadian neighbor David
King, have been invited to attend this happening. Participation in this annual event often leads to many ideas about other ways of operating model railroads, including club layouts.

When there is actually a purpose for the trains other than to just go in a circle, it makes for much more interesting train running. continues attempting to
incorporate this idea of operations into the T-trak displays. This has been a slow and ongoing task, but progress is being made and hopefully will be more successful in the future. The RailRun experience provides encouragement for club members to develop more operational ideas for use in our club layouts when the opportunity arises.

The idea of having a purpose has lead to the construction of specific modules that have particular industries on them to support railroad usage and encourage operations. With industry, schedules, and a purpose, it is easier to develop a plan for operations. The one-trak concept has been a work in progress for nearly two years now and lends itself greatly to supporting the operations concept with the t-trak modules. Although DCC adds to the enjoyment of operations because of the added features allowing trains to operate without having to accommodate conventional DC methods, ’s one-trak modules are being constructed with conventional DC power in mind. This allows anyone to use their own motive power regardless if it is DCC equipped or conventional. All DCC locomotives have a conventional feature while not all conventional locomotives can run on DCC. A great advantage of T-trak is that no two setups need ever be the same and the diversity of modules means operations will be ever changing to maintain more interest and challenge for operators. With all of these things in mind, has managed to keep ahead of the game by planning ahead in the design of many of the T-trak modules, anticipating the inclusion of the modules in a layout design to accommodate operations using the features mentioned. These considerations have made ‘s layouts both interesting and fun for both operators and viewers.

The annual “Valley Rail Sights” club show coming up in April should prove to be more fun than ever this year if many of these operational ideas are included when setting up the T-trak layout. Come onout and join the fun.


Family Fun Center Re-Visited!

One of our favorite locations to run trains, we always have a good turn out at the Family Fun Center in Mohawk.



From the Desk: February 2015

“You know what I like less than the cold?” asks Clint Eastwood in a radio commercial. “What?” is the retort. Clint’s answer, “Not much!”

So here we are in beautiful upstate New York awaiting yet another blizzard and the numbing freezing cold enjoying it about as much as Clint. Fortunately, our primary pastime, model railroading, rarely involves the great outdoors at this
time of year, so the cold isn’t too much of a hindrance to our hobby. Other than having to go from the mode of transportation to the great indoors to set up for a show, we do not have to deal with the frigid
weather to enjoy our trains. Such was the case for the annual Union Station show in Utica this past January. Once set up, the trains ran superbly, as expected, and everyone was cozy and warm inside the expanse of the station. We have again established our presence at the show and have been kindly invited to attend again next year. eagerly looks forward to this annual event and anticipates continued
participation over the coming years.

To assist in this participation, recently welcomed our newest club member, Matthew de
Jongh. Matthew moved to Oneonta from Maine and quickly joined our ranks. Currently he is in the process of constructing a double wide t-trak N scale module. Club members have stepped up to help him in his efforts to build this module and expect it will be ready for showing in the near future. Welcome aboard, Matthew! We are all looking forward to your
participation and support in club and community activities.

And activities are arriving more and more often. This month, is participating in a new activity at Mohawk Valley Community College in support of the Boy Scouts of America. This should prove to be a very fruitful undertaking as we hope to encourage the younger generation to learn, build, and run model trains in the years ahead.

is getting back on track to attending approximately one show per month
again. This seems to keep the interest up in the hobby without overloading the workers involved. The t-trak concept has made this much easier since the trains are less bulky and more convenient to assemble at the
shows. Progress on new modules makes the variety of available layout designs different and intriguing and allows for an infinite combination of modules to keep everyone pleased with the changing scenery. Watch for the newest and differing layouts at the upcoming shows. members are all looking forward to seeing you at the shows.


From the Desk: July 2014

Greetings fellow train modelers! I am happy to report that 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.

reverse-loop-success-01After 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, will utilize the current mechanically operated interface module.

reverse-loop-success-02This 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. will report on the progress of this project as we move along.

Speaking of moving along, set up a small layout at Dave’s Diner in the beginning of June at Dave’s weekly Cruise In. The small layout incorporated ’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 to use the small generator purchased for just this reason. The generator ran perfectly and amazingly quiet for the entire time was there. This makes it easy for 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 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. will report on this in the next issue.

Keep on training!

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