The maple sap is running here in Gatineau, Quebec...sign that there is new energy about to emerge in our gardens... which has probably motivated me to post a message to VECRR.
I have done quite a lot of work on the Gardenville Shortline over the last year and now that the snow has almost melted off the landscaping (the ponds are still frozen solid) I am getting excited about the prospects for further improvements to the garden part of the layout. The trackage of the GSLRR has been upgraded to large radius LGB motorized turnouts and all of the joints are firmly secured with brass clamp joiners.
The first train of 2013 ran a full loop around the layout last March 27. As far as I can tell, there is only one tiny electrical issue requiring my attention on a turnout I installed last Fall.
Once the ponds thaw, I will be able to clean out the dead leaves and install the pumps and filter to get the water effects running. I am happy to support a large population of young songbird families with my feeders and the ponds and streams. At the moment, despite the early Spring cold, I have observed Black-capped Chicakees, Cardinals, Gold Finches and woodpeckers of several species scoping out nesting spots in the back yard.
The next projects on the garden railway are to complete my planting design with 3 more dwarf Alberta Spruces and to improve the ground cover vegetation. Buildings and accessories for the railway are pretty much complete although I still have two structures that could use a solar lighting upgrade.
My HOe layout has progressed to the point where I have look hard for inspiration for further projects. I have installed 3rd generation DCC decoders in the entire motive power fleet (DCC Concepts small decoders all equiped with a Stay Alive feature). I have found a recycling project for the last generation of decoders that are now suprlus. I will install them in my fleet of 6 2-axle passenger cars. They are already equiped with interior lighting but the DCC decoders will allow me to turn the cars on as a rack and to control the brightness from my control station.
I have been taking photos of the work in progress just in case I decide to post something to my web site.
Speaking of the web site, it had been practically offline for the last 8 months due to a phasing out of the server that it was hosted on. I only discovered that the server was no longer being maintained when I tried to upload some files and could not log on the my FTP site.
I finally figured out how to transfer my domain to a new hosting site and have made the move. I am using the content move to the new host to rewrite some texts, add photos and streamline and organize the site. There is still a lot of work to be done, especially regarding the Library section. It should be available in about two weeks time.
My efforts to restart the web site have been slowed by an outdated FTP client. I have an old Windows XP computer which has given me great service over the years but I have discovered that software upgrades etc. have pushed its CPU and memory to the limit. I have found a good mobile computing FTP clinet that I will install and test on my Nexus 7 tablet. I'm all for portable computing environments.
If I can get the Nexus 7 to fulfill the role of single entertainment and web maintenance platform, I will most likely become more active in my posts and, who knows, maybe reconnect with the model railroading community.
I feel as though I have reached the point of no return in my efforts to complete the Master Model Railroader requirements. I have 5 of 7 AP certificates and I am in the process (I kid you not) of printing out and collating my paperwork for AP #6 Chief Dispatcher. If I don't get this done this summer, I will never finish!
I hope that anyone reading this is enjoying a great Spring and I hpe to share more thoughts with you shortly.
- Keep it going Jeffrey! You are an inspiration to us all. I may
even get the new house done and get to my railroad empire some
time soon. :-)
- Hello Dom
Good to hear from you. I promise to get in touch before my next trip to Europe (which is planned for 2014 if things go as planned).
Any Z projects?
Nothing in terms of a layout but I still hope to finish the NMRA Master Railroader requirements for scratch-built rolling stock. Some of the models are and will be in Z. I also have the materials to complete some hand-laid trackage in Z for the Civil Engineering certificate.
My current childish pursuits are piloting a quadcopter drone and learning to fly using First Person View telemetry. I consider myself to be an accomplished "line of sight" drone pilot but it is a whole other ball game when flying from a virtual pilot's seat. My drone is large enough to carry a GoPro Hero 3 video camera with about 15 minutes worth of flight time on a 5000 mAh lipo battery.
As far as model railroading is concerned, I have a very enjoyable Austian alpine themed HOe mini-layout (two connected Delsey hardshell suitcases like the VECRR) which is fully scenicked, lighted, detailed and DCC-powered. I always have some small projects for the layout but it is basically 100% complete. Since the layout is in my study, I tend to enjoy it more as a work of art than as a model railroad.
My locomotives and rolling stock are Liliput and Roco (all short wheelbase and able to negociate the layout's ultratight 6 inch radius curves. From the start I decided to use Peco N flextrack and electrofrog turnouts. Although not prototypical tie spacing, once ballasted and weatherd the track looks great to me. Besides, who is there to criticize?
Hope all is well with you.
- Hi Jeff! Looking fwd to seeing you when you come here! Indeed I'm still involved with Z scale, still (very) slowly working on a small layout depicting SW of USA, somewhere around CA, NV, AZ, CO, UT and WY.
Otherwise I have a further project, not anymore the Tehachapi Pass (I think running 80-car trains in DC, without remote helpers, on a 2% grade is a difficult challenge). Indeed my future layout will depict a remote branchline in Mexico, actually joining Merida to Valladolid, Yucatan. More thrilling visually, and more funny to operate, as more I think about modelrailroading, more I consider what I prefer is switching.
Best to Marthe and yourself,
- Hello Jeffrey,
It's nice to read that you're still alive and kicking. I suspect that, by now, the ponds are melted and you've had time to make more progress on your garden railroad. I'm still active in Z scale and have come up with some table-top modules of my own design.
I plan to take my Z-Bend Track modules to the NTS in Atlanta and hope to have space to display my T-rail-Z modules as well. I've also discovered a railroad that uses my initials, the TP&W, and I'm painting and applying decals to Z scale locomotives and rolling stock. The boxcar and old-time passenger car I decorated for the VECRR still make trips on my modules.
Keep up the good work and I hope to see you soon.....somewhere.
- Greetings Thom,
Yes, I am very much alive and kicking. The garden is blooming and the trains have been running since the end of March. I had two track joiner issues that were quickly resolved with the addition of jaw clamps and conductive paste to restore the connections.
I have gone to DCC on my indoor layout and have already replaced the first generation decoders in my loco fleet with 3rd gen DCC Concepts "Stay Alive" units. I plan to recycle the 1st gen decoders to power the constant lighting circuits in my passenger cars.
Congrats on your T-rail-Z modules. The hobby needs new ideas and innovators like yourself. I'm sure that you will be a smash hit in Atlanta.
As far as crossing paths, the most likely opportunity would be at NTS 2014 in Cleveland. It is a 9-hour drive from my home and would make a nice stopover on a vacation trip to Chicago (high on my "places to visit" list).
Hope you have a great time at NTS and a wonderful summer.
--- In VECRR@yahoogroups.com, "rvn20012000" <rvn20012000@...> wrote:
> Hello Jeffrey,
> I plan to take my Z-Bend Track modules to the NTS in Atlanta and hope to have space to display my T-rail-Z modules as well. I've also discovered a railroad that uses my initials, the TP&W, and I'm painting and applying decals to Z scale locomotives and rolling stock. The boxcar and old-time passenger car I decorated for the VECRR still make trips on my modules.