Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

One of the benefits I have over a static magazine is that I get to publish things as I see them. I see Memorial Day.

Stand up some of those Barclay soldiers on that standard gauge layout and remember some of the most important people in the world. The people that have perished so that we may live and have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

A favorite author of mine; Andy Rooney says it better than I can here.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

June 2006 Stout Auction is up....

The June 2006 Stout Auction is up. This is one of the nicest sets I could find in the auction. There's a ton of MTH standard gauge in the auction.

If you want to check out some mind-numbing standard gauge, go look at the upcoming Maurer Auctions. I just wish I had the time and money to get out to PA. The next two are probably two of the best standard gauge auctions of the year, bar none.

Our hobby isn't just about spending money on toys but it is kind of fun to formulate (in your mind or on paper) what kind of motive power and rolling stock you'd like to have on your pike...... The NETTE auction should also be something to see (check out their website for some preview pics). Any thoughts on the upcoming Cal-Stewart meet? I just was invited and I am seriously considering saving up a couple of shekles and going!


Monday, May 22, 2006

Hints of another GG1...

Somehow I doubt these are still in stock. Oh how I wish these would get offered again. This is so much more fun than a Lionel remake.

Is this a Forney GG1? It sure doesn't look like a Willard Forney, the trucks aren't right.

The interesting part is that the pantographs are functional or can be made functional.

I know diddly about Dayton Industrial Motors but I'm willing to learn.

So I know Willard Forney made a standard gauge GG1 and so did JAD. So what's this?


A GG1 Article From the Past....

I was perusing some old TTOS Newsletters and I saw this really interesting article on John Daniel's GG1 creations.

What's interesting is that ANOTHER GG1 from another manufacturer was produced around this time. I'll show the advertisement in the next post.

This article mentions a GG1 that John made I didn't know about. I know about the Tuscan and the Brunswick flavors but Blackjack Silver? That's a new one. I'd love to see what that looks like!

Check out the article, it is tremendously interesting and makes you wonder what else is out there? The article is well over 27 years old, so please don't bug John for a GG1!

Does anyone have a picture of their GG1 they'd like to contribute? I have 'em in O gauge and standard. Guess which one I like better!?!?


Friday, May 19, 2006

NETTE Auction - June 17, 2006

Here it comes: NETTE's next auction! I have a very high opinion of these folks, you all know that. I would urge the folks in the West to check out NETTE's online bidding at Proxibid. Give them a call, buy a paper catalog and then watch or bid via Proxibid. I know many of you would like to come out to the East Coast and bid or buy but cash, time and travel preclude many of us from getting on a plane. I would urge you to check out their auctions, the prices are typically reasonable and Mark's commentary is usually spot on.


The 600E by HK Creswell

On with the mid-day refresh -

I've always thought there should be a standard gauge Hudson. I guess H.K. Creswell thought so as well. This is yet another article from a 31 year old TTOS Newsletter.

This Hudson is gorgeous, still retains its' toy like charm and (from what I have heard) is one of the best pullers anywhere.

You all can read the article, it is very interesting and it makes me wish I knew about these trains when Mr. Creswell was producing them (I was 10 years old so my Dad would have probably understood why I would want to acquire such an item but most likely would used the cash to pay for food for a family that seemed to grow larger weekly).

What really intrigued me after reading this article was the fact that this was not some hacked up 400E. Many repro parts and pieces were figured into the production of these units and they were done in different colors. However all of these were hand done and with new parts, nothing rehashed or baked from old loco's. The color schemes also intrigued me: gunmetal, black, Blue Comet colors and two tone green. The two tone green one's must be downright amazing.

So who has one of these with some color pics so I can post it for everyone to see? The funny thing is that I have heard about this loco for some time but I never had a chance to see one. Now that I know it is real, it's only a matter of time! I wish I could have met Mr. Creswell, his writing is a hoot and he really knew his way around metal!


Mid-Day Refresh

A couple of my readers wrote me and said they were bored out of their skulls at work and asked me to do something mid-day. As my wife says "Try listening for once!". Ok, I did.

Check the guy to the left out! This is from a 31 year old TTOS Newsletter. How cool is this?

He kitbashed, hashed and put together a couple of different loco's and parts to make one really cool American Flyer 4688. There is no 4688 officially cataloged by Flyer, yet there it is in his hands.

This guy's name was Ralph Pauly. He received parts for an AF #4000 frame and miscellaneous pilots. The effect is stunning and that's just in black and white.

This whole thing has to go into the "Where are they now????" discussion. All the charisma of American Flyer paint and color schemes, plus a reliable Flyer motor plus the "architecture" of an Ives 3245.

I gotta build something like this! Join TTOS, if for no other reason because it attracted a brilliant guy like Ralph Pauly!


Chief Jeremy on eBay

Been reading the O Gauge forums. The usual speculation about MTH making too much standard gauge, prices are falling, yada yada yada.

I work in the computer world where every price is scrutinized, argued over and then dropped anyway. Customers don't expect to give up one iota of quality and service eventhough they are paying less than the manufacturing cost of the product. If you look at trains, price vs. value doesn't seem to have the same impact, especially on items no longer available from key suppliers like McCoy.

Here's a current sale running on eBay. I'll be honest, I am not a nut for circus trains. I don't hate them or anything, matter of fact I would like to have at least one or maybe two in my collection. I just don't seek them out.

There are two right now out on eBay, both for well over $1500. Both McCoy, both recent. I know eBay is not indicitive of an entire market but it isn't a bad indicator. I can think of two different books on standard gauge that are in the works and friend's tell me of several more that I don't know about ;)

I hope our economy continues despite the seemingly never ending parade of variables designed to rock it or throw it off completely. Current standard gauge (well after WWII from the late 60's on) seems very hot, every bit as hot as a mint 392E or 400E. What's going on?


PS My own take that I will discuss later is that we need more suppliers.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Standard Gauge Inspection Car (Scratch Built)

I was browsing through some TTOS newsletters from 1975 and I came across this article on a really interesting track inspection car.

This gentleman, Larry Archer put together something unusual with readily available parts, even today!

You can blow the article and read it yourself. Purist standard collectors probably won't go for something like this but these kinds of trains are getting more and more interesting to me.

Remember that article I had on a huge standard gauge collection in the 1960's (E. Carl Pieper)? I saw a video of his collection called "C&E Lines". He had one really amazing collection, it was wild to see it in action. But what really caught my eye was the scratch built stuff this guy had on his layout. An interuban, a really interesting Cascade with custom cars and inpsection car and custom made track! I'll see if I can get some of this onto the blog. The quality is pretty bad but the collection is unreal.

PS I highly recommend joining TTOS. Yes, this is 31 years old but there are plenty of folks in TTOS that are every bit as innovative as the spirit shown here. Join the TTOS (the link above takes you to TTOS, it will be listed on the blog shortly).


The New TCA Directory

Not much to say here, I just liked the new TCA Directory.

Sorry, ya aint getting a look inside unless you are a TCA member! Join the TCA!

But I did really like the cover, it is one of the best I have ever seen.

It's funny, when I received this, it reminded me of the old movie "The Jerk" when Steve Martin raves "the new phonebook is here, the new phonebook is here". And when I saw the celebrating of standard gauge, I felt a little validation and I'm glad clubs like the TCA are around.

Standard gauge is alive and very well, even at 100.


PS I don't endorse selling these or parting with them, when you are done with them, destroy them. It re-enforces the privacy of the club.

A Toonerville Club!

You just gotta join this club. I got a hold of a couple of newsletters and they are awesome! Only twice a year but they are full color and they have rare offers of Toonerville toys. The focus of the club is not to sell toys, it's to trade info and act as an exchange for Toonerville information. It's a great clearinghouse for Toonerville info. After all these years, you'll be shocked at the following these wonderful comics have.

The toys are not inexpensive but they are done right. The articles are excellent and they have some writing you wouldn't expect to see. There's one article from Fontaine Fox on being in Pre WWII Europe (and some of his adventures with drawings included).

For a donation of $10 a year, this is just plain old worth it.


PS My apologies if your browser/computer renders some of these articles strangely. I can't figure out why but sometimes it just throws a curveball and the pages are rendered strangely. Please don't email me, I quit my IT job long ago....

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Great Steam Company

You have got to check out this website. The focus is live steam but they have some amazing train gear on there as well.

I always liked all those cool train stations they sold at the Ward Kimball auction but there was no way I could afford the $10k plus prices. Yes, I know they are predominantly inspired from European cities. Who cares?

They are tin, they are bright, shiny and they look great and they aren't expensive. Variety is the spice of life. Why shouldn't we have some interesting and different items on the layout besides the usual Ives and Lionel stuff?

Go check out the website, I am going to get some live steam going as well!


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Rare Books on eBay

I'm putting up some rare books on eBay. Tons of Lucius Beebe photo books. This isn't me trying to pump up any of my eBay sales. If you all know anyone that is interested in this stuff, let me know. I'd rather see a train person get it.


Just an update: I have decided to donate the books to the TCA. I know they'll probably get sold in some TCA booksale. I figure they'll end up in good hands and benefit an organization I care about. Cheers!

I like Copper Too...

Ok, I like Copper as well. Does anyone know of any other trains in Copper besides this one? I haven't seen much standard gauge in Copper. Any thoughts?


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Joe's Coal Train II

Joe F. made this really cool coal train. This is one heck of a nice train! Joe, I know it isn't prototypical Carlisle and Finch but it looks amazing.

How much work was that paintjob? The colors are excellent. Perhaps once the SGMA gets their modules up we get some mining done on their modular mine.

Seriously Joe, you should send these pics to MTH or Lionel. I would imagine that this isn't expensive to produce en masse and it looks way cool. Are those wheels from a 33?


Joe's At It Again....

Joe F. is making some more mining cars. So Joe, when can I go to my train store and get a couple of these? I like your ideas! Who says the Lonestar State doesn't have some great trains?!?!


Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I saw this picture; it's titled "Oh Yeah!" It reminds me of some of the spirited discussion I have seen in the Yahoo Groups and in some of the emails I have seen lately.

I've seen some animated wrangling about taking pictures at York, design and build of standard gauge modules and on and on....

It's good to see the discussion. Let me weigh in and then I'll be quiet.

I think cameras and the like should be allowed at York. Check this out:

Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Being that I write a blog, as do a whole bunch of other people, not being able to take pictures of amazing toys and trains inhibits my 4th ammendment right to freedom of the press. There's also this nagging First Ammendment, something about "freedom of expression" and the fact that our congress can not stop or inhibit freedom of expression. If the Congress of the United States can't stop me from freedom of expression, who is anyone else to tell me different?

One more thing; whenever I have shown pictures of train shows on my blog, the hits go up substantially. Not everyone has the funds, time or physical health to always travel. Some people just enjoy seeing the trains (hence my blog). Maybe it's the reason everyone in our hobby NOT taking pictures at York is over 50 years old.

By the way, I understand the rationale for the no-fly zone for digital cams and the like; pictures can be taken out of context and I'd rather not have yet another fight with my wife with photographic evidence to back it up.

However, First and Fourth ammendments notwithstanding, we lose part of our history by not having a reasonable photographic journal of what we love and why we love it. Just some food for thought; losing history is far worse than a few short term hassles. We should be capturing our history before eBay and time takes a dump on the camraderie and insight our hobby offers.

The mild skirmish going on in the SGMA reminds me of the above picture. I'll bet these guys grew up to be better men because they stood their ground or at least had the chance to get in each others faces. Sometimes friends and colleagues should be able to yell, stomp and still express themselves and be respected for it. Eventually the organization grows up, has important meetings and has nice carpeting on big layouts with lots of trains.

Choo choo.