Friday, October 27, 2006

Ross Custom Switches

Looks like Ross is working on some new switches. My experience with them in O gauge has been extremely positive. I have to believe stanard gauge would be similar. Here are the questions from RCS:

Hi Guys,

Today we have started work on our new standard gauge line of switches. WE NEED INPUT! I do have some standard gauge myself, noteably an MTH state set and a few others. But since

I am not a standard gauge guy, I am hoping for some input here as these switches (turnouts) are designed. I have a Rydin switch in hand at the moment and some MTH track.

I have determined the following;

1. The gauge between the rails is 2.1" Is this correct?

2. The height of the rail is .350"

3. The narrowest part of the frog, where the lead rails converge is .2"

4. I read somewhere that some engines have the large diameter gears (like some Marx O gauge) on the back of the wheels that can interfere with the wheels passing thru the frog. Is this true?

5. What about pickups? We want Pre-war and modern equipment to run thru them right?
Does pre-war have sliding center rail pickup shoes and what has pick up rollers?

6. What is the widest width of the wheel flanges that you have seen? What is the narrowest?

7. What is the widest wheel tread known? What is the narrowest?

8. What problems have you encountered with standard gauge switches? Such as stalling, derailing, etc.

9. The base will be plastic with plastic ties milled in. What scale shall we make the ties....I mean should we make them closer to scale width and spacing or more like the Rydin switch?

10. What scale is most standard gauge closest to...I.E. 1/32 or 1/29?

Today I am working on a prototype for a #4 switch. If all goes well we will make any number of different turnouts, YES, INCLUDING A 4-WAY!!

The faster I can get as much info as possible the sooner these will become reality.


Happy Railroading!
President/CEORoss Custom Switches

Monday, October 23, 2006

A couple of tidbits...

The November 4th NETTE auction is up here. Looks like some nice standard gauge. Mostly classic era stuff.

The new MTH catalog is up here. The site is slow as molasses. Can't imagine why...

Been a ton of debate and discussion on pictures at York.

I actually enjoy the discussion even if it doesn't yield any huge change. I won't babble anymore opinions about it on the blog.

Next time I get that voting card in the mail from the TCA, I am going to be looking for leaders that want to make a difference and a change. I'll be looking for leaders that tell me about their positions and not just what they are doing pre or post retirement....


Sunday, October 22, 2006

SGMA Kickin some serious standard gauge butt!

Just follow the link up top to the Tinplate Times. The one thing about this hobby that I love is seeing happy people! And these were about to see some serious standard gauge metal running around the tracks in York, PA.

I just wish we had pics of the full layout and YouTube movies of the action (in lieu of me actually being there and helping out). Seeing thier happy faces really did make me wish I could have been there and offered up a couple of my trains.

Funny, I never thought there would be a part of any toy train hobby that told me I couldn't do something (like take pictures). Wierd :(


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Rail Inspection Car

A little article from a 32 year old TTOS bulletin....

I'll post a few more pics of neat rail inspection cars. This is one scratchbuilt flavor.

It's really nice and Larry Archer does a great job of giving us a blueprint of how to make these.

MTH can't make everything. It might just be up to us.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sorry for the strange rendering...

Hi All,

I have to apologize, the blog seems to be rendering itself a bit strangely depending on your browswer, screen real estate and so on. Or maybe it's just York and the Blog wants to go?

Whatever the reason, I'll figure it out and fix it. IE7 (the new Microsoft Browser) does do some caching and strange rendering that's different than IE6. At any rate, if you are seeing the blog incorrectly spaced do not adjust your monitor; it's my HTML.


A few new MTH Pics

The Prewar Times has a few new MTH Standard Gauge Tinplate pics. If Blogger behaves today the rest might get posted!

Go check them out and go check out O Gauge Watch's York report.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

JAD Hiawatha

I've seen quite a few speculations about JAD in the Tinplate forums. Here is the TTOS Bulletin where the first JAD Loco (the Hiawatha) was introduced.

May 1974 was a good year for standard gauge. Actually 2006 and 2007 isn't too bad for standard gauge either.

Check out John Daniel's (it's Daniel by the way) introduction to JAD. This is a small part of the story of Daniel and the various toy train hobbyists in California. I've heard some good stories. They were a very, very creative bunch (think Dick Mayer, Ward Kimball, John Daniel and on and on).

Check out John's write up below.


PS Join TTOS and be part of a whole bunch of people that are also nuts for standard gauge stuff (and tend to take matters into their own hands!)

Check this out....

Here's a neat little trolley from George Templin. The ad was done in the 1970's. The train reminds me of a 2 7/8 gauge trolley. You can blow it up by clicking on it.

I always wonder how these low run items perform, especially over the decades? The train itself is unusual and has some real charisma.

Does anyone have one they can contribute pics of? 25 units and 30 plus years old. Sounds "rare" to me!


Holy Schnikey's!

I got a look at this catalog today. Wow! If there is one thing MTH definitely likes, it's our niche market.

I don't know about you but I am going to vote with my dollars. This catalog is fantastic. It is one heck of alot of tinplate.

I like trains. If I had to stop collecting tomorrow I'd still be happy with my collection. When catalogs like this come along, it makes me want to double the size of the pike and collecton. I should be medicated.


PS Holy Schnikey's is from one of my favorite flicks, Tommy Boy. It's a silly movie and I miss Chris Farley every time I watch it. A few of my others : Trading Places, Ghostbusters, The Blues Brothers, Dr. Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia and almost any World War II movie (Battle of the Bulge and Bridge at Remagen are two of my favorites).

I saw this in a 1974 TTOS bulletin. It fascinated me for a couple of reasons; the scratchbuilt standard gauge Bi-Polar being one of them.

The little note from the builder Bill Crippen was also interested me; especially his last comment. This was over 33 years ago and yet the commentary is still very similar as it is today on our standard gauge groups and forums.

Still, in dark green, this whole set must really be something. It's another one of those "Where are they today?" discussions. I hope an amazing set like this wasn't broken up (as I've discovered even I have done without knowing all the facts).


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dorfan - What could have been?

There's no denying it, Dorfan Trains are some of the most unique trains ever developed. If only the castings had been better developed.

I often wonder what an innovative company like this could have done with some venture capital and a little better marketing with some less lethal rivals (like Lionel).

It's signficant that we have MTH and some smaller manufacturers building standard gauge but it must have been really exciting to have multiple manufacturers developing these toys in the early part of the 20th century.

I wonder what would have happened if companies like Dorfan had been allowed to develop their products unfettered by the economics of the times?

The Dorfan lithography was really amazing, especially on the freights. Maybe some standard gauge with less rivet detail and more litho?

Any thoughts?


Amazing 1 Truck Set

Check out this amazing standard gauge set. I was perusing some old TTOS bulletins and I saw this little set. How cool is this?

These one truck cars are really cool. I bet they don't need 072 curves either. I could have a layout that's practically z-scale up in my office and still have a standard gauge pike! I wonder where this amazing little set is now. Talk about a "one of a kind" masterpiece! So when everyone is waxing on about what they'd love to see a manufacturer make, this would be my addition!


PS The TTOS Bulletin this came from was May, 1974.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Something I'd like to see....

These were just some whistful trucks lying around here in CT. I thought they made a poetic picture. Useful, purposeful and un-used. Seems like a familiar refrain in the world of railroading.

I liked the little PA Weight car. I think I have seen something similar in standard gauge by Rich Art. I'll have to dig around and see what I can find. I also found some interesting stuff by John Daniel in a 1974 TTOS bulletin on JAD. I'll post it later.


Buffalo Terminal

Central Terminal Restoration Corporation 2006 Slide Show

Hi All - I was just goofing around on YouTube and I found a neat slide show on the revitalization of Buffalo's Central Terminal. This is the right thing to do with old relics like this. The World's Fair station (1933) has a very strong resemblance to this particular departure area....


PS The music wasn't the right choice, I'd shut off the sound.

Buffalo Central Terminal

A real turntable (that works!)

Danbury, CT Turntable

Was goofing around today at the Danbury Railway Museum. We went on one of the few working turntables in New England (or anywhere for that matter).

I posted a YouTube video of it rolling. The roundhouse is gone but the wonderful turntable remains, even through the 1955 flood in Danbury that put almost 5 feet of water over the turntable (hard to believe).

It was really fun riding it and seeing some idle motive power hanging out around New England in fall. The foliage is what drew us to Southern New England. I also got a look at some mint refinished gear like the Budd Cars and some incredible rolling stock. Damn, they'd be nice in standard gauge....

Real Turntable in Danbury, CT

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Julia Nov. 11 2006 Auction

We're heading into that part of the year again. The part of the year I still haven't paid off from last year.

That's right, auction season! When train shows and auctions stretch an already negative bank balance even further!

The picture here is a rare C&F Interurban. It's part of an enormous and amazing collection of trains and antiques being sold by Julia Auctions. My experience with them has been positive. I've bought some items from them and they were exactly as described, well packed and expeditiously sent. I can't make that claim for every transaction every person has had with them but mine was extremely positive.

Go out to their website and check out the preliminary pics from this auction. Looks like a doosey!


NETTE Auction Oct. 11 2006

I stopped by the NETTE auction last night. It was fun and it was relatively empty.

It was at a Holiday Inn and I think there was a party next door because the music was LOUD!

I really enjoyed watching Mark Tobias in action. It was also kind of cool to see how the eBay live auctions work. I always wondered what it looked like on the other end of the auction. They have a big screen flat TV that shows all of the items up for sale and on the Internet.

This seemed like a big auction but one of Mark's colleagues told me the upcoming auctions are going to be bigger.

The prices were totally reasonable, especially for the standard gauge. The prewar O gauge was really doing well. All told the prices were completely decent and so were the toys. It was a great auction for one of their "quick" auctions.
I hope I can get to more of them.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pride Lines Interurban

Jim Kelly put up a great YouTube Video of the new Pridelines Interurban. This new train is just artwork. Plain and simple. I can't wait to see more of these riding the rails!


Friday, October 06, 2006

The 1910 in Sheet Metal

Here's two pics of the 1910 (O gauge) in sheet metal. If I do anything with this blog, I hope it is to start a new age of tinplate maniacs like myself building this stuff and not just buying it. These are Joe's great creations. Wait until you see some of the scratchbuilt standard gauge I have found. And when you see the not at all sophisticated parts that when into it, your first words will be the same as mine "I can do that!"

By the way, here is a note from Joe on getting started:

"Have your bloggers check to see if they have any local "Metal Clubs" in their areas. I just joined the "Home Metal Shop Club" in Houston. It is full of people who enjoy working with metal (dentists, professtionals and most importantly retired metal shop workers). They are a wealth of information and can assist anyone in obtaining used metal equipment."

Thanks Joe and keep 'em coming. All you tinplate nuts out there - are you listening? What have you built lately?


Joe's O Gauge 1910


This is way cool. It's really neat to see a brand new 1910 (even if it is in O Gauge). I always wondered what these things looked like new. Whenever I see them they are heavily scratched, even at train shows (which is admittedly rare).

So it's encouraging to see new 1910's. I think this also shows how nice a simple engine can truly be.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Standard Gauge Colors (in Real Life)

Was just in lower Manhattan yesterday and I saw this building right next to the Staten Island Ferry. It's been undergoing some serious refurbishing in the last year and looks awesome.

I kind of see where old JLC got his colors from. The colors in real life are just as nice as the colors on the trains and accessories....


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Joe's Scratchbuilt SteepleCab and Mining Buckets

This is Joe F's scratch built SteepleCab and mining buckets. Man, these are cool.

It looks like he's really refining his art.

So Joe; when can we get a little tutorial (or big tutorial) on how you make these? Can you take some pics through the process?

There are quite a few people that would like to know all that goes into making these. I know it is mostly trial and error. Your errors and trials have made some pretty nice stuff!


Monday, October 02, 2006


I was goofing around with Google last night and I found this site. Very cool. I know everyone here in the standard gauge world likes more than just toy trains. You have to!

Buddy L trucks, Mr. McGregor Battery Ops, Ives Boats; we all like toys besides those amazing trains. My desk has one of those little Marx Frankenstein's on it. You know, the one that has his pants fall down and face turn red!

But enough about my desk. A&E wants to have some archaeologists come and find out if there are Knights Templar buried underneath the piles of bills on my desk.

This site links to auctions, advertisements for collectors, a news area. It's kind of a cool bookmark. I can't put it on my page because it really doesn't have enough to do with our little slice of heaven. But still, for a toy nut...


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Joe's Scratchbuilt 1910 Set

Joe F. Scratchbuilt this 1910 and set of cars. This is the kind of amazing little set that will pull more folks into our hobby.

He also used some imagination and built a 1910 in O gauge. I'll post it later along with some pics of his completed C&F Mining set.

Really cool stuff Joe. Keep up the great work.

Any thoughts on grabbing some video of some of these trains running on your layout? I'll do the heavy lifting and get them out onto YouTube and published.