Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Trolley Line

Now that Joe Mania is reproducing Carlisle and finch trolley poles I finally have the ability to put an overhead wire on my layout. I chose the elevated line on my layout which is easier to access than the lower line, which has a tunnel. Putting the poles up and stringing the wire was pretty straightforward. But the poles are only half the battle. The other half is getting a sprung trolley pole mounted on a streetcar. This requires drilling a hole in the roof. I wasn't about to do that with any of my original Carlisle and Finch streetcars (note: the trolley pole is what formally makes a streetcar a “trolley”. The streetcars which used underground conduits like in New York, Washington and London really can’t be called trolleys). Fortunately, I have a home made streetcar that was perfect for this purpose. The sprung base and pole came from a 1 gauge brass kit supplied by a company called Light Rail Products ( The kit went together very easily. The wheel, however, was scale and far too small for the large wire that I used. I was able to make a wheel and harp from some brass and a very small tackle pulley bought from a local hardware store. The pulley wheel had to be extensively reshaped with a moto tool to make a trolley wheel that tracked on the overhead wire. The pole was wired into the motor, and after a fair amount of adjustment, the thing runs very reliably around the layout.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ives Discussion

Summer is a slow time for toy trains for me. But there are a few things happening that keep trains on my agenda. On the 0 Gauge RR tinplate forum, there is a great discussion thread about Ives trains. As my friend Rob pointed out, many of of the participants in the discussion are younger collectors, a good thing for the hobby. I've picked up a few treasures over the Spring and Summer monthes including a great Marklin 0 gauge loco, a Voltamp stationary motor in wonderful condition, three AF Wide Gauge Pocohantas cars, and this rare Voltamp 2" gauge 8 wheel trolley, once owned and restored by the famous 2" gauge collector Dick Hopkins:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The inside of a SG Roundhouse

Mike Miller sent me this neat pic of what it looks like to be in a Lionel roundhouse with an idling 408e. It's a rare shot and one with some serious imagination.

I remember (when I was much younger) seeing a fully refurbished GE Electric Loco and cars in Grand Central. The funny thing is that this 408e in a roundhouse looks about the same! Very cool.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Clint's incredible bowling lane layout

Check out Clint Jefferies wonderful layout. This has a really neat story to it and is very unusual. Just click on the title of this post to go to Clint's website. I didn't check with him to see if I could post his pictures, thus I am going to leave all of the pics on his website and let everyone check them out for themselves.

Really nice layout Clint! You are on to something special!


LOTS Show in Cromwell, CT

Went to the Connecticut Yankee Trainshow in Cromwell, CT yesterday. There was a l ittle bit of prewar, a TON of postwar. Couple of neat layouts. I took a few Youtbues if you want to see them. All O gauge stuff. Made me want to see the SGMA layout all the much more. Interestingly, there was NO and I mean NO Lionel Corporation stuff on the tables. Go figure.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bungling Brothers

Yes, I know the picture quality is mediocre. I've been under the gun all week from my job and I had a camera in my hand and a train on the track. The camera wasn't good and neither was the light. And as you can tell, my train room is THRASHED. However I do like the Pride Lines Bungling Bros. train. Not sure of how many of these were produced. I've never seen another train like it.

The locomotive goes ridiculously fast at extremely low voltages. It really needs the cars behind it to slow it down. I tried running it without the cars (big mistake) and at 6 volts my tunnel acted like a big catchers mitt.

I bought the extra car with this (the last car). It's a pretty neat little train. I wonder if there are any variations of this?


Thursday, July 15, 2010

I guess I must be gettng noticed!

Folks, please remember, this is (as far as I know), the only Standard Gauge Blog. I recently was pelted with a couple of email notes for "automated updates" from the standard gauge blog (which the site already does). When I went out to check, someone had created a "ghost" of my website.

This was an attempt to get web traffic at my expense. Now for me, I don't do this for money, I do it because I like trains. However when I get redirected to a website that asks me about "Diabetic Nursing Supplies, Information on the Celtic Cross and Snorting Xanax" I have to believe that someone is attempting to use my name and blog as a money making resource.

I know times are tough but man, is that lame. This is about trains, a little bit about antiques and nostalgia and nothing to do with Xanax. So this is still the Standard Gauge Blog, this is not about the Celtic Cross (although I do watch stuff about it on the History Channel) and don't fall for any crap on the world wide web.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This is just a nice picture...

I just liked this pic and had to post it (part of the Strasburg RailRoad).


Random Greatness

This just goes past random goodness and is well into the realm of random greatness.
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To quote Homer Simpson.... "MMMM, Marklin Wheel of Wonder...." I know it's a display, but these kinds of things are just amazing, especially to see up close.
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More Layout Random Goodness

You know you can click on these and blow them up, right? By the way, these shots were taken with a ridiculously expensive Nikon Digital SLR (one that I can't afford). They really get the detail nicely.

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Layout Random Goodness...

Best thing since sliced bread....
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Flyer Random Goodness

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More random goodness

How brilliant is this little train? Still looking for more pics in the 12 terabyte archive I have...

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Random Picture Goodness

Just sifting through the picture archives and came across this pic my father in law took at the museum. The little Voltamp mining train up top is what caught my attention. More random goodness coming up!
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Friday, July 09, 2010

Auctions this weekend and beyond....

Looks like we are up for the NETTE auction for July 24th! Some great Prewar (like the above Baby State)...

Stout is having an auction tomorrow (July 10th). Not much prewar though...


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Voltamp Pride Lines

Check out this wonderful little Voltamp set that the wonderful folks at Pride Lines put together. No doubt about it, losing Mr. Davanzo was a big loss to the train community and to all of us. This little set is something big. I just hope that all of his amazing talent was not (nor will ever be) lost...


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Shameless Plug - Garden Railways

I got bored and a little frustrated with Classic Toy Trains so I started looking at other magazines that Kalmbach owns and elsewhere.

O Gauge Model Railroader is an excellent magazine, no doubt, however I do prefer heavier and larger trains. This drew me to Garden Railways. I do have a few MTH and Bachmann G gauge items (Hudson, Big Boy, hand cars, etc). and I do enjoy garden railways when I see them.

Withouth blathering on too much, I am very glad I subscribed to this magazine. It's a vast departure from other Kalmbach magazines in that it doesn't adhere to a formula that essentially makes it look and feel the same way every time.

I really enjoyed Marc Horovitz's editorial this month, quite frankly it was beautifully written and actually got me to think about the topic Marc intended. It was a very well done piece that I had to read twice because I liked the message and the writing.

What does this have to do with standard gauge trains? Well, G gauge is a bit larger and different than standard gauge. From what I've seen from this magazine, G gaugers really love to modify and scratch build in all facets of the hobby. There are tons of great ideas in these pages and I do really enjoy the large trains offered up in gorgeous backyard and garden layouts.

One thing I also really like is that G gaugers are very international, they are really where ever there is enough real estate to merit a large backyard layout. I really enjoy seeing different trains from different manufacturers from around the globe. They all are reviewed and there is wonderful information about how they fit into the G Gauge ecosystem. There also seems to be many more means for command and control in G gauge and with different approaches depending on manufacturer and locale.

The running water, live plants and very wide curves really offer a different experience than standard gauge. All told, this is one magazine I am very glad to have found. It delivers on multiple levels. Check it out here.


Monday, July 05, 2010

A real Bascule Bridge

Just hanging around Mystic, CT. for the 4th of July weekend and I had a chance to grab a clip of the Bascule Bridge operating. Built in 1922, this thing is near silent and runs as smooth as glass. It's amazing from the inside as well as I walked across it several times. Trust me, when you see these things really up close they are marvels of engineering and steel.

By the way, Mystic is an awesome seaport town. If you want a solid destination for a weekend getaway or just a great place to hang, this is it.


PS The retards in the kayaks made it difficult for the bridge operator to actually start raising the bridge after the whistle blew. I guess hitting the bridge with your paddle is a sign of good luck for a challenged kayaking tourist...

SGMA Baltimore TCA 2010

Wow, check out this Youtube of the wonderful SGMA showing in Baltimore! I have got to get to some shows and do some volunteering for the SGMA! These guys really are the best of the best. I did enjoy the N&W J and the Big Boy. I am guessing they are probably from Arno's collection? It's one of the reasons we have to encourage the manufacturers to do some "out of box" thinking. Lionel Classics are great but these two engines are really a sight. Hopefully we'll hear where the next SGMA gathering will be soon....

Thanks again guys, great job as always.