Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Moncton Visit

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Derwin and I decided to head to Moncton yesterday to bring a thank you gift to Ryan and Jodie for putting up with us when we stay there during train shows.  They are very good hosts (except for the locking us out of their house on a very rainy night incident during RailFest) and we wanted to show our appreciation.  After that incident we were wondering if they really wanted us staying there at all.  So we thought a little payment might be in order.

It was also very good timing because it turned out that Chuck at Don’s HO was having a customer appreciation corn boil and barbecue.  Now, if you don’t know Derwin you do not stand between him and food!  Once he heard there was free corn involved there was no stopping him.  As soon as we got in the door he shoved me to one side on his way to the kitchen.  (It was either the food or he was trying to find the Tide To Go to remove the coffee stains from his shirt and pants – both separate spillage incidents – ’nuff said).

thecrowdAnyway, the place was packed.  Ed was even there all the way from Yarmouth.  He and Dar were out the door heading for Moncton about 5:00 that morning and arrived a little before 10:00.  You just can’t beat dedicated customers!

Derwin even bought a few things just so it wouldn’t seem like he was only there for the food!  I spent a fair bit more because I felt had to at least cover the cost of the food he ate.

The photo at the left shows Ian waiting on Derwin while Ed, Dave, Dave’s wife, and a few other customers listen in awe as Derwin talks about the food he ate.

lies-all-liesMost of the time Derwin has to explain to people that everything we say about him is a lie.  He says that we never tell the truth and that our stories are complete fiction.  That’s what he’s trying to explain to Dave and Ed, but from the look on Ed’s face he doesn’t really believe him.

Truth be told, most of the things we say about Derwin are lies.  But he leaves himself open for most of them.  BTW – the bit about the coffe stains (above) is NOT a lie.  I almost got into a car accident I was laughing so hard!

decoderMost of us can relate to this picture.  Chuck is installing a drop in decoder for a customer.  He’s like me in that he needs a big magnifying lens on an adjustable arm!  My eyes just don’t work a s well as they used to.  I have no problem installing coupler springs.  I rarely loose them and usually get them positioned with one try.  However, I need my glasses on to find the box with the springs and get one on the end of a screwdriver.  Then I have to take my glasses off to install the tiny thing.

It was a very good trip.  We got to thank our wonderful hosts and got to spend time with great friends at Don’s HO.  If you’ve never been there before you should.  If you don’t live handy then you should visit on-line (he does mail order).  Visit his web site here…


Back from…

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

… where ever I was.

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on this site.  I hope to get back into regular posting again.  Perhaps not as frequently as I once did, but maybe once or twice a week.  It will be difficult over the summer with so many other things competing for time.  I’ll try.

Between my fledgling business and planning for the MFMR Annual Convention (read the wrap up post on Island Rails 2009) it’s been pretty busy around here.  With the Convention out of the way I hope things will return to some sort of normalcy.

Now for a quick catch-up on what has happened on the layout recently (photos will follow in subsequent posts).  I did not achieve my goal of having 90% of the basic scenery done before the convention.  I was working very well toward that goal and then I got a cold/flu that put me out for about a week.  I just couldn’t get the gumption back to work on the layout after that.  Then the Convention was looming closer and planning started taking more of my time.

I did manage to get Kenville finished, for the most part, as well as the stretch between Kenville and Chappellton.  I have a few more structures in Chappellton and have a good start on the train station and underground platforms there.  The new Rail-Tug is almost complete.

The other evening I installed a decoder in a Kato RS2 that I picked up at the Moncton show (could not resist!) and consisted it with the old one that’s been sitting in engine storage for a long time.  Even though my coal drags are small they require more than one loco to get them over “The Ridge”.  So these two units will be the new power for that train.

I picked up (won actually) a Proto 2000 SW9/1200 switcher in CP PacMan scheme that I tried installing an MRC EMD sound decoder into.  Darn speaker just will not fit!  So I guess it will get the TCS decoder that I have on hand.  I’m not sure where this loco will do its thing.  I would like to add a milk train to the operations and it could power that.  Until then it’ll likely just sit in storage for a while.

Anyway, I hope I’ll have some pictures to post in a few days.

Until next time!


Next Build

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

I’ve always envied modelers that have an endless supply of kits and supplies.  They always have something to work on.  Unfortunately some of them are just collectors of kits and never build anything.  Still, I’m in awe when I see stacks of unbuilt kits and drawers full of detail bits in someone’s work area.

I haven’t gotten to that point yet, but I do have a drawer or two in an old dresser that have several unbuilt items.   I’ve been looking through those drawers quite often lately in my exercise to have the layout “done” for the MFMR Convention in May.  I need structures! Chappellton hardly looks like a town and it’s supposed to be a city.  I need buildings – short and tall, fat and wide.  Brown buildings, red buildings, purple buildings – I don’t care!

Oh, and I need trees too.  Lots and lots of trees.  I doubt if I’ll get time to make any before Convention so I’ll have to make do.

post1So, what’s my next build?  Why, a tug boat of course!

I heard a while ago that Frenchman River Model Works had released a 92′ Railway Tug.  When I was asked to review it for Scratchbuilder’s Guild I nearly flipped.  The little 45′ Tug I reviewed for them last year just wasn’t cutting it in Chappellton.  The poor little thing was severely overworked!  So I jumped at the chance to build the “big brother”.

It arrived today and I hope to get started this evening.  I’ll make a post here when the review is complete and available at Scratchbuilder’s Guild.  After taking this photo I realize I have some barge building to do as well.

I haven’t opened the box yet.  I’ll leave that for this evening.


New Server – New Look

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

I’ve taken the plunge and moved this Blog from WordPress to my own server (well, not really my own, but one that I pay rent to use).  It was an experiment to see what was involved in moving a website from one location to another.  There were a few glitches, but it finally works.  The advantage is that I can customize to my hearts content.  There’s a lot of “stuff” available to WordPress Blogs that are not hosted at!

Anyway, please bear with me as I get a few of the bugs worked out.  The header is still not quite right and there are some other tweaks I’d like to make to the design.  Please let me know if you encounter any problems with things.



Note:  I think I have the design ok now.  At least the header looks better!


Operating at Clayton’s

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

After an almost 2 year vacation from model railroading Clayton decided it was time to come back.  We spent last Sunday evening there repairing some of the damage that mysteriously appeared since we last operated there.  The list of repairs included the “lift out” bridges, cleaning the track, and replacing the rolling stock on the layout.

We’ll be operating there this evening.  But first we have to put all the freight cars back to where they were, or at lest where the computer expects them to be.  It should be a fun evening – almost like operating on a new layout.

I’ll post some pictures later in the week.


Our doomed trip to Moncton

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

We were supposed to go to Moncton last Saturday for a day of operating, but it was postponed due to a death in the family of one of the guys we were going to visit.  We were supposed to go today, but this happened…

7am - November 22, 2008

7am - November 22, 2008

Needless to say we didn’t go to Moncton!  Amazing what a difference a day makes.  I could see green grass yesterday.  Now this is what I see when I look out my front door…

4pm - November 22, 2008

4pm - November 22, 2008

4pm - November 22, 2008

4pm - November 22, 2008

Going from green to that in one morning is too much!  I hope we get some warmer weather and rain to get rid of this soon.   It’s too early to have snow!

Hopefully we’ll get our Moncton trip in before “winter”!  Official winter at least.

No, I didn’t get to work on the layout today.  We were without power this morning so it was too dark in the basement to do anything.  I cooked breakfast on the camp stove and went out to blow out the driveway and walkways when the weather calmed down around noon.  The snow was so wet and heavy it took a good 2 hours to get it cleaned up.  The power came back on about 3:00 this afternoon.  Then i worked on our outside door that was damaged in some high winds we had last weekend.  Will the chores ever end!

Tomorrow is layout day.  I have to get it cleaned up and ready for operating tomorrow evening.


Playing With The Camera

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

My flash arrived the other day.  Surprise, it has a remote mode, and so does the camera!  The flash can be anywhere within a certain distance of the camera and it will trigger with the camera’s built-in flash.  So I had some time this afternoon to play with it in the train room.

For this first experiment I rested it, flash pointing down on a ledge behind the valance.  The results were interesting so I took a few shots around the layout just to see what the effect would be.  I was able to create some fairly realistic mid-day brightness and shadows.  standardelectric-2-20081109

The first test was in Derwin’s Drop at Standard Electric. The remote flash is almost directly overhead.  The angle brings out some details you can’t see in the other pictures of this building, like the two signs bulging out (ugh!).  I’ll have to get those attached more securely.

I’d say it’s about noon as Fred and Bill are winding up their conversation.  Small town gossip has a way of getting around, especially when Albert, the mail man, overhears something good.  I’ll bet he can’t wait to get to Bessie’s place to fill her in on what he’s heard!

freightshed-1-20081109The next stop on my photo experiment was the freight shed.  Again the flash is almost directly overhead.  Notice how close the shadows are to vertical.  It’s a very bright day!

Chet is just returning from lunch as Tom and George are enjoying the rest of their break.  They’ve emptied 5 box cars so far and they have a mess of creates to put away.  The afternoon’s going to be tough, but thankfully there are no more arrivals expected.  You never know though, the West Bound is due through at any time and you never know what Derwin’s going to drop off for them (neither does Derwin, usually)!

cabin-1-20081109The last photo in Derwin’s Drop is at the cabin.  I like how the flash highlights the leaves on the trees.  I had the flash pointed straight down on the scene judging from the shadows.

It’s hard to tell from this photo, but Bentnose Willy always wears a hoody with the hood up to cover his face.  He has to protect innocent bystanders from seeing his face.  It is not a pretty sight.  It’s not his fault, of course.  He’s lived so close to Chemical Hazards for so long God only knows what he’s ingested to cause his deformities.

backlot-1-20081109The back lots of Stevenville was the subject of the next couple pictures.  This photo reminded me that I have to finish weathering some of my buildings.  Either that or I have to put up a cleaning crew scrubbing the bricks.  The trees in this picture cast some interesting shadows.

Edwin arrives home for lunch.  He lives in the upstairs apartment of this old building.  The basement used to be the warehouse for a long abandoned business.  Now its loading door is bricked up and it’s just used to store junk.

fromtheplatform-20081109This photo was taken looking across the Stevenville Station platform.  Because the flash was overhead it lit up the scene across the tracks but left the platform in shadows.

Big John yells over to Jake to come help unload his new bathtub.  Even though it’s hot Jake doesn’t mind helping.  John’s tub has been broken for almost a month and Jake can’t stand working beside him any longer!

parkinglot-20081109The last test was taken at the parking lot beside the department store.  The whole area is quite evenly lit but I see I have to clean up some loose grass.

Even though it’s a hot day the boys can’t resist a smoke and a bit of conversation.  I’m sure there’s more than one lie being told!

Well, that’s it for my photo experiments.  I hope you enjoyed the post!



Model Railroader & Business Owner

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

I spent a month or so living the life of the unemployed.  Now I’m living the life of a person about to start a business.  Business plans, cash flow analysis, market research, municipal permits, insurance, accountants, bookkeepers, business registration, 2 tax registrations …. there’s a lot to consider!  I should have taken more time when I was “unemployed Scott” to work on the BS&T!

I am “working on the railroad” but at a slower pace than when I was “employed Scott”.  As an employee there are a lot of things that do not get in the way of a hobby. But, when I do get to work on something hobby related I certainly appreciate it more.

I’ll share some of the things I’ve been working on as stress relievers soon.

There short and sweet.  Must get back to work.  Lets see…. should I work on market surveys or cash flow?


Your Digital Coach

(oops, that’s a different blog!  Sorry)

Time for an update!

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

It has been a while since I’ve posted here and a lot of you have noticed… and commented.  As you’ll read I have been a little distracted.  I guess it’s time to post an update.

A lot has been happening lately.  To start with, for the first time in 26 years I am unemployed.  The company I worked for was sold.  To make a long story short I am starting a technology consulting and support business.  I’m looking forward to the new challenge and independence (hopefully financial as well as personal).  Stay tuned for the launch of the web site.

This has been our busiest summers for model railroad visitors.  To begin the summer we had an operating day with a gang from Moncton (James Whatley – living in Ontario, Milne Hall, Jim McMahon, and Dave Wood) on July 27th.  Ed Cooke, a new friend from Ontario, joined us that day as well.  Ed has a family home not far from Summerside and comes to the Island quite often, so he’ll be operating with us a few times a year.  On August 10 we hosted Stanley Conley from Ottawa who was vacationing on the Island and Wayne Woodland from Halifax (a former Islander).  Another group from Moncton (Jim McMahon, Dave Wood, Allan Bishop and his son) came on August 31 for another full day of operating.  Ron Day from Yarmouth joined us for a special operating session on September 2. 

This is the operating group from July 27th.  A fairly rag-tag lot, don’t you think?

We also had the pleasure of hosting Shawn Naylor for a few operating sessions.  Shawn is a summertime regular when he is home from work for the summer months.

Ed getting the prelim on the train orders (July 27th op session)

It was fun meeting the new folks and sharing time with old friends.  Bringing people together is one of the great things about model railroading.  You can be a loaner, if you want, but you can have a great time with a group if you want to do that too.

Shawn and Milne working in Stevenville (July 27).

As for the garden layout, the MTR didn’t progress much beyond the last photos I posted.  I guess I got a little sidetracked and couldn’t get my mind back on the project.

Look at the evil grins!  You just know these are the bad boys of the op session! (July 27)

Now we are busy getting ready for the Truro train show.  Brian and I have a little over a week to get some scenery done on our new 5th Street modules.  I’ve also been busy making trees that I will have available for sale at the show.



An Update

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

I thought it was time to post a short update on what’s been going on lately.  Some of you are aware of the little accident I had with my table saw.  If you aren’t – I darn near cut my left thumb off about a month ago.  It is healing well, although it is still a little numb and tingly and, because of that, I try not to use it too much.  Hopefully the feeling will come back.  In the meantime I’ve been able to get a few things done the last couple weeks.

I’m on the last stages of finishing the fence in our back yard that I was working on when I decided to mangle my thumb.  It’s about 1/3 stained.  When that is done my last few chores are to stain the deck and steps before I can start my garden railway.  I’ve decided to call it the MTR, or Mucked (up) Thumb Railway.

About a month ago I ordered an MRC G-scale sound decoder to put in my S4 loco. It was about the same price as a non-sound equipped decoder so I thought I’d risk it.  I installed it this past weekend and was quite disappointed with it.  There doesn’t seem to be any volume or speed adjustment other than acceleration and deceleration.  It is a VERY basic decoder.  I think I’ll be able to add a manual volume control and will live with the lack of speed adjustment.  It’ll do.

I’ve started clearing the right-of-way for the MTR.  So far I’ve trimmed some of the lower branches of the pine trees on the border of my property where some of the line will run.  Depending on the weather (if it’s to nice I’ll be staining something) I should get that finished by the end of next weekend and will start placing track to see where I can get things to fit.  Then there will probably be some more tree and shrub trimming required.

I’ll get some pictures this week to show where the MTR will run.  Stay tuned!