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Topics - Len

General Discussion / Hurricane Florence Train Impacts
September 12, 2018, 07:41:58 AM
Amtrak trains in the South are undergoing cancellations or schedule modifications beginning Wednesday and lasting through Sunday. Amtrak will waive additional charges for those looking to change their reservation due to inconveniences caused by Hurricane Florence. The changes affect routes along the coastal corridor. Northeast Corridor trains won't operate south of Washington, while trains on some other routes that run through Philadelphia en route to or from the South are canceled entirely. A full list of impacted trains can be found on Amtrak's website. The pending arrival of Florence also has prompted CSX and Norfolk Southern to curtail their service.

NS will temporarily close its Norfolk, Virginia, headquarters due to an evacuation order being issued by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.
NS told its shippers that its intermodal customer service team will unavailable by phone during the evacuation. The railroad has ceased accepting intermodal shipments destined for Norfolk area terminals. Although other intermodal facilities were scheduled to maintain normal hours, gate and terminal closures may occur as Florence nears landfall.

CSX put into place its Hurricane Action Plan, which includes protecting equipment in the storm's projected path and preparing areas that could be affected. It advised customers to expect delays for any shipments traveling through the Interstate 95 corridor and that it has halted rail service to and from Portsmouth, Virginia. A terminal in Charleston, South Carolina, will also close and remain closed throughout the storm.

And if you live anywhere in the red area shown on the map, and you have not evacuated yet, you need to get moving NOW!
Even if you've ridden hurricanes out before, please don't try it with this one. The predicted flooding is going to make what Floyd did look like a rain puddle. Stay safe, stay alive, and get out now.

The shopping center train display 'Sodor' area I'm working on will include a narrow guage line. I plan to use Rhenaes and Skarloey on it, alternating them weekly.

Having no experience with them, can someone who operates them on a regular basis give me an idea how often they will need to be serviced? E.g., wheels cleaned, and gears lubricated??

Keep in mind, with kids out of school for the summer, their button will get pushed a lot. So figure 4 - 6 hours a day of stop and go running. The good news is the curves will be 315mm radius, so there won't be a lot of side strain on the mechanisms.

Thomas & Friends / Small Sodor Display
January 02, 2018, 09:05:43 AM
A local shopping center has a multiscale train display I maintain. By popular request, some time in the next month or two I'll be replacing the simple HO loop in the corner with a small 'Island of Sodor' display. There are four timer controlled buttons available for making things operate in this area. Space constraints limit what I can do, but I want to at least include a "Bredam docks" area, and a turntable/sheds area. So far this is what I've come up with:

The "Brendam docks" spur will be set up to have a loco shuttling a couple of cars back and forth between the two spurs when a button is pressed. I plan to build another T030 ship to take on cargo at the docs. Two buttons will control trains on each of the loops. And the last button will make the turntable, with a loco on it, rotate.

Those same space constraints mean I'll be using Trix C-Track, with R2 curves on the inner loop, and R3 curves, and curved turnouts, on the outer loop. The dock turnout is a 12.1deg turnout. The turntable is a motorized Atlas unit I already have. It's only function will be to make whatever loco is on it rotate around. So far I have a couple of Thomas and Percy locos, allowing them to be swapped out for maintenance.

Any suggestions on what else I can include in the limited space, or locos that can handle the curves, would be appreciated. Keep in mind, for safety reasons, I cannot block aisle & access hatch at the top. This display operates, with buttons being pushed quite often, from 8:30am - 6:00pm.

General Discussion / Merry Christmas!
December 25, 2017, 11:21:34 AM
and trains to all!

Thomas & Friends / Ships for Brendam Docks
December 17, 2017, 11:36:06 AM
If anyone needs a ship or two for 'Brendam Docks', these are some really nice cardstock kits:

I built the T030 cargo ship for my nephews layout, and the detail for a cardstock model are amazing. I added a few details from my RC ship 'recycle box', but it's really nice even without the extras.


Note: I have no financial interest in these guys, other than giving them my money for their kits. I just like cardstock models, and these are really good.
Thomas & Friends / Gordon Minimum Curve Question
December 17, 2017, 11:25:28 AM
The 'On Line Store' says Gordan, "Performs best on 18" radius curves or greater."

Does anyone know if he can handle Trix R2 (17-1/4"/437.5mm) curves?

One of my nephews has a 'Sodor' layout using Trix C-Track, and his largest loop uses R2 curves. He has the smaller Thomas locos, and they run fine on the R1 and R2 curves. He's been wanting Gordan for a while now, and I thought I might get it for him for Christmas. But I don't want to do that if he can't handle the curves.

Thomas & Friends / UK Style Cardstock Buildings (Free)
December 11, 2017, 12:39:28 PM
I came across this site recently, that has some very nice OO scale cardstock buildings for filling out a Sodor village. And, while donations are requested, downloading the buildings is free. While they look similar, they do have different footprints and heights.

These are some of the shops available:
I'm partial to the 'Fish & Chips' shop myself.

There are links at the top of the page for other building types, e.g., houses, pubs, etc.

I print them on 9"x12" cardstock I get off Amazon. To print them on letter size stock invovles shrinking them closer to HO size than OO.

"Aleene's Clear Gel Tacky Glue", available at most craft shops, works great for putting them together. I use spring clamps from Micro-Mark to hold things while the glue drys, but in a pinch paper-clips would work.

I just 'inherited' a Hornby R9045 Thomas & Percy set, with some kind of "Radio Control" box. A couple of questions for anyone that might be familiar with this set before I decide whether to unpack it or pass it on:

1.  Will the Thomas & Percy from this set operate on a regular DC layout, without the RC box?

2.  Are the couplers compatible with Bachmann's Thomas & Friends rolling stock?

Just a stray thought...

It would be nice if someone at Bachmann got with the SCARM, AnyRail, and RR-Track software folks to build "libraries" of the Plasticville, Thomas & Friends, and other buildings available. Similar to what other manufacturers have done.

Right now you have to dig up the dimensions and "build" each building individually, which is a real pain if all you want to do is find one that will fit in a given location. Having a readily available building library would make that task much simpler. It would also probably help sales, by making what's available more widely known.

Like I said, just a stray thought.

Thomas & Friends / Brendam Docks Warehouse Dimensions
November 12, 2017, 10:31:45 AM
Does anyone have the 'footprint' dimensions for the Brendam Docks Warehouse? I'm building Christmas display layout in a limited space, and would like to include a 'Brendam Docks' area. But I'm a bit concerned about the overall length of the warehouse.

NCDOT loco #1871 has been named "Town of Cary", where I live, and will be put into passenger service on the 'Piedmont' and 'Carolinian' trains between Raleigh and Charlotte NC. 1871 is the year Cary was founded.

The outside, with the Town Council and Town Council with Gov's wife:

The inside:

On30 / DC 2-6-0 Motor Holder
May 31, 2017, 07:45:18 AM
I'm trying to replace a worn out motor on a shopping center's 2-6-0, and having a little trouble getting the motor holder bronze contacts in place without bending them all over. Is there a simple trick to this I'm overlooking??

Thomas & Friends / Thomas Stock Status?
May 21, 2017, 11:32:10 AM
Mr. B.,

Any idea when Thomas the Tank Engine (58741) will be back in stock?

Everybody seems to be sold out, and I need a couple of replacements for a display layout.

HO / Bowser Parts for Bachmann Locos & Tenders
July 10, 2016, 06:29:09 PM
I've seen several posts where people talked about using Bowser bits & pieces to customize their Bachmann HO locos & tenders. Bowser found a bunch of old parts in a warehouse, and their having a "Fire Sale" to get rid of it. So if your looking for things to customize your Bachmann HO steamers, check out:

Could the webmaster please add a "Top of Page" or "Back to Top" button at the bottom of the page? Some discussions get rather long, and having to do the [Ctrl][Page UP] or scroll all the way back is a bit of a pain. Being able to just click a "Top of Page" button or link would be much handier.

HO / Scored an EM-1, but...
November 08, 2015, 02:08:14 AM
Went by the annual train show being held at the Fair Grounds this weekend and picked up a "non-functional" EM-1 for $40.00. The guy selling it got it "As Is" off The Bay for a price he should have realized was too good to be true. I popped the top on the tender and found the PC board and speaker were missing, just wires hanging. A quick check with the 9V battery I always bring along to check things showed the mechanism worked fine, so I scarfed it up.

Now I have to decide, do I order a replacedment speaker, DC board, and sound module? Or should I just drop in a Tsunami TSU-1000 Heavy Steam Digital Sound Decoder and speaker I've already got? Recommendations or suggestions??

Over on the O-Gauge Railroading magazine forum a gentleman named Lee Willis has come up with a new use for the power trucks from WBB 44-tonners. He uses them to power "bashed" tractor trailers for the EZ-Streets portion of his layout.

Description of what he's doing can be seen at:

Since he's using 'Streets and WBB parts for this, I though you might be interested. There are several other threads over there on what he's been doing with EZ-Streets on his layout.

This comes up so often, a quick tutorial is in order. This is for Windows users, but it should be similar for Mac & Linux folks.

First, if you don't have one already, create a Photobucket account at, then upload your pictures. You can create albums to keep pictures of different things sorted out.

Open a new tab, and go to the Bachmann forum and start your post.

Go back to the Photobuck tab, and click on the picture you want to include your post. You should get something like this:

Click on the "Direct" link,  circled in red in the picture above for clarity. This copies the link to the picture to your computers 'clipboard'.

Go to the tab with your Bachmann forum post.

Click on 'insert image' icon, just below the 'I' for italics, to insert 'img' tags. The cursor will be blinking between the start and end tags.

Do a [Ctrl]-V, or use the browser 'Edit'/'Paste' function, to insert the Photobucket link in your post.

Click on the post "Preview" button to verify the picture shows up okay.

You should get just the picture, similar to this:

Add whatever text is desired before or after the picture.

Multiple pictures can be added to a post the same way. It's best to include at least one blank line between images though.