Tag: contributions

From the Desk: June 2013

Welcome to Spring, replete with eighty degree weather one day and snow the next. At least this gives members a reason to try and keep warm and build new modules. That’s exactly what members John Fleming, Jim Domser, Lorenzo Franchi, and Brian King did on Sunday, May 19th. After a highly successful meeting on May 7th, which included new members Bill Whittaker and Bill McComb, plans were finalized to construct the new reverse end loop for the N scale one trak t-trak layouts. Future plans for building more HO scale t-trak modules were decided and construction on those will begin in the near future. A general consensus found that most people favored the double length modules for HO since the single modules were more difficult to scenic. Sometimes, more is better. Construction of the N scale loop modules went well and track was laid on the three corner modules. The specialty module could not have track laid yet because all the sensors and electrical devices were not finalized at this time. This project has entailed getting help and advice from Canada, Australia, Syracuse, and Rochester. There is a lot more to automating a conventional reverse loop than at first meets the eye.

will be using an Arduino micro controller to control all the necessary electrical and electronic actions involved in this endeavor. Brian has been tasked with coordinating all the programming and installation of the required devices to make this project work. Without the assistance of Mark Bean in Australia, the programming would not have progressed as far as it has. David King from Canada lent his expertise in overcoming some of the electrical anomalies while Jeff Faust in Rochester has contribute his knowledge to help out with the project. Of course, our friend Rich Pettito in Syracuse contributed to the beginning of all this when he donated a beautifully scenicked diorama that has the single track of one trak on it. This is what got most of this started. Thanks Rich!

As the pictures show, the construction went very well. The modules were cut, assembled, and the track laid down in relatively short order. Some minor adjustments and everything was ready to be tested. The small locomotives designed to be operated on the tight radius loop were tested and a few cars were run around the loop to make sure the track work was satisfactory. All seemed to work properly for the tests. Now we will see how everything goes when all the other equipment is installed. The critical part will be getting the software to do the right things in the right order. Time will tell. It seems is not the only club with that ever had lenient “rules”. Club member John Quinn provided some insight into the “rules” of one of the former clubs he was a member of a few years back.

“Ties and Rail” Railroad Club Rules were as follows:

1) Anyone who loves trains, and agrees to these rules, is immediately created a vice-president.

2) Meetings are held whenever two members are sober enough to recognize each other.

3) Any member who tries to create any more rules or hold a business meeting is automatically expelled.

Seems reasonable to me. A little tongue in cheek is always nice to keep things on the light-hearted side. Thanks for sharing these rules with us, John. Maybe can incorporate some of them into our constitution.

Upcoming events include a small HO setup at Dave’s Diner on June 25th. This is always a fun show for since it is held outdoors and there are lots of other activities going on at the same time. The old cars, the DJ and music, the food, as well as the trains and camaraderie all contribute to a great evening of fun. Come on down and enjoy all the fun with us. See you there!


From the Desk: January 2013

2012 to 2013So as I sit here contemplating what to write for the new year, everyone is anxiously awaiting what is going to happen in the coming year financially and politically. Will these events affect ’s future and if so, how? Let me review what has transpired for over the past twelve months and see how it relates to what we can expect over the next twelve months.

Up first is the website. This has been ADDRESSED AND UPDATED OVER THE PAST YEAR. The website has been fairly well maintained and updated on a regular basis to keep folks apprised of what is happening with and the model railroading hobby. Thanks to our webmaster, Anna K.Amendolare, who shamelessly gives herself credit for these accomplishments. So much for the website.

Successes and failures over the last year have also been a part of ’s ongoing endeavors. Unfortunately, not every venue continues to be a success as was the case with the Chocolate Train Wreck show in Hamilton and the Christmas display at Preswick Glen. However, along with less than desirable results, we also had some successes in our involvement with other shows. Of particular interest this past year was Fisher Elementary School where displayed layouts on various occasions throughout the year and ’s involvement with the Genesee ‘N Ontario group and others at a giant T-trak display in Syracuse. These activities prove the viability of both and the T-trak concept. These shows also point to the decline in the presentation of full sized N-trak layouts as they become less popular and T-trak rises in popularity, mostly because of transportation issues. The compromise between available space for scenery and the ability to transport the modules is being won by the smaller T-trak modules. N-trak advantages are longer trains and more scenery, while T-trak has the advantage of easier setup and transportation. There is certainly room for both concepts, but currently, T-trak appears to be ahead in the popularity arena. To support this claim, recently finished a mountain division of the T-trak concept and is continuing to expand with more mountain modules on the way. Additionally, is now fully engaged in HO T-trak with our newer members carrying the responsibilities for this expansion.

Other ideas for the N scale T-trak are utilizing current modules in new and innovative ways to create such fascinating layouts as the double bubble and triple bubble concepts and modules being constructed to support the one-trak concept. In the HO realm, an inside corner is in the works as well as many new double modules. Most of these ideas were displayed at ’s most recent show at the Oneida County Historical Society with both HO and N scale layouts being displayed for the public. This was ’s largest HO layout so far and was well received by the community. Supplementing the HO, the N scale T-trak layout was the longest club only layout at over two and three quarters scale miles long on the red line. Not bad for a small club!

Finally, FUNTRAK wishes to welcome our newest member, Paul Boehlert into our midst. Hopefully, FUNTRAK can contribute to Paul’s interests and he in turn can help FUNTRAK move forward in its endeavors to promote the hobby. It should also be noted that our other new member this year, Greg Brockway, has contributed significantly to the club, especially with the HO T-trak modules. Greg’s efforts have greatly enhanced ’s image as well as its abilities to attract new members by increasing the field of scales being presented to the general public. FUNTRAK really does appreciate your efforts, Greg. Keep up the good work! Looking forward to a great new year, keep on training.


FUNTRAK Celebrates Golden Spike Day

Funtrak members

John and Lorenzo dress for the occasion, as they celebrate Golden Spike Day at Fisher Elementary School

members John Fleming and Lorenzo Franchi dressed for the occasion as provided the trains for the students at Fisher Elementary School to enjoy and celebrate Golden Spike Day. The display saw over four hundred students come to view the setup and enjoy the operation of numerous trains. Tim Brien, another of ’s members, provided a gorgeous Lionel layout in addition to the T-trak layout at the school. Everything finished up on Saturday with the PTA’s fair being conducted throughout the school and the trains remaining until the fair closed. thanks all involved!

Next Club Meeting

has a scheduled meeting at Brian’s on March 18th. This meeting is in preparation for our upcoming annual show in April. Hopefully the weather will be a little warmer. We will be discussing the layouts, manning requirements, and necessary equipment for conducting the show. If you have any questions or suggestions, this is the time to bring them up. See you there.

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