Train Shows

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.


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: 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.


Fantastic Traintastic

returned to Fisher Elementary School in Mohawk over the weekend of 22 and 23 February to support the Fisher Parent Teacher Organization. The winter weather actually cooperated for this weekend show. Saturday was a pleasant day with unseasonably warm weather which fortunately carried over to Sunday. Attendance was up over the last show
did here. All the layouts were expanded from their last showing and all ran well, as expected. All the visitors were in awe of the size of the layouts and the fine details displayed. The variety of layouts in multiple scales added to the excitement for the spectators and the smallest of the observers were pleasantly surprised by the height of the layouts as this allowed them visual access which can be a problem at some shows. Everything ran wonderfully for the entire weekend. Another great show now in the books for . Hope to see you at ’s next outing.

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