Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Odds and Ends...

I'll be doing a few new posts next week. But here is something to keep everyone busy:

I was in Dublin, Ireland yesterday and I went to a "Model Railway Museum". I got kind of a kick out of it because in Europe, as in the gold old USA, some folks don't relate to our collections as playthings. The proprietors of this musuem actually look at these as miniature functional railroads. I was prevented from taking actual pictures of the operation layout (a massive HO one). But I did take some shots of the exhibit outside of the layout.

I did get a kick out of the guy running the main layout. He'd never heard of Lionel Standard Gauge. He asked me if it was kind of like S gauge. I told him it was except it was roughly three to four times larger and required a middle third rail. He shook his head and I could tell he couldn't care less.
PS The museum is a two minute walk from Malahide Castle in Howth, Ireland. Malahide is very, very nice and worth the 20 minute tour. The train museum cost me and my son 8 Euro's each to go into (about $10 each). $10 was a little high but I guess they need the cash.... I like all trains so even seeing this non-standard gauge European gear was interesting. By the way, I did see some Mallard's and the like for sale in some Euro toy stores. About 400 Euro for the sets (HO Hornby). It was good to see trains in toy stores.

Here's some pics -

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Dad's Day!

Most of the day was spent with my kids listening to them make outrageous demands and me rejecting them as ludicrous.

Here's a nice video of the METCA show. I bet I know who's table this is (Joe Mania). I am very thankful someone posted some Youtube of this. With my trainroom in pieces, I need all the running visuals I can get.

We need some posters! Any ideas for articles?


PS with all of these nice trains around, someone has to have some pics of their layouts!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Track - how not to do it

In Greenberg's book on Carlisle and Finch, Graham Claytor wrote that one of the main reasons they failed as a train company was because they never developed sufficient track for the masses. I have written in previous blogs about the craptacular nature of their track. You choice was either strip rails set into individual ties, or prefab stuff made out of wood wood ties with rails nailed in with carpet tacks. The former was only for permanent set ups and was a painful thing to put together, the latter was fragile, flimsey and frequently got out of gauge. This was a far cry from Lionel's 120 lb track that would withstand a car running over it and could be set up in minutes.

But if that wasn't bad enough, try this:

This is Beggs live steam track. Each curve is composed of three wood blocks with rails embedded into slots cut into the blocks by some unknown and magical process. Rail connections are simply made with overhanging rail on one end fitting into the slots into the next piece where the rail comes up short. Since Beggs engines were live steam, there was no need for electrical conductivity. Sounds kinda limited? well, there's more (or less, depending upon your point of view): Beggs designed it so that 7 sections made a circle. How are you supposed to make an oval when 7 sections make a circle? You aren't because most Beggs engines were made with the pilot wheels fixed to run in a predetermined radius. The engines couldn't go straight. The cars even had different diameter wheels, larger on one side than the other, to give them less rolling resistance going around the circle. The more delux Beggs engines did in fact have real pivoting pilots and were made run on ovals, however Beggs straight track is very rare and most went in circles. You would think this was very limiting and would result in a quick fold-up of the company, but in fact Beggs and its sucessor McNair produced trains from about 1875-1910; a good long run. I guess in the late 1800's getting a live steam toy to run around in circles was probably the highlight of your week....Here's what a complete set looked like:

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Toy E-Magazine

O Gauge Watch definitely got the scoop on this one! As you know, I am a pretty harsh critic of much of the current antique toy publications. This E-Magazine is absoutely terrific. I just took a look at it and my jaw is still on the floor.

I'm not going to overstate the obvious; click on the title above to make the jump and let me know what you think after you download and peruse the magazine.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Tinplate Youtube

Pulled this little gem off of Youtube. I have the DVD and it's wonderful. Remember I didn't post this on Youtube (thus I don't control the content or quality).

It's nice if you're at the office and need a toy train fix....