Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It was inevitable....

I thought TMCC and DCS were the fusion of technology and trains.  Not even close.

Check out this article here (click here).

And this Youtube:

In a nutshell, it is a full computer inside of a running steam train.  Ok, it was bound to happen.  No, it isn't standard gauge but at least it is affirmation.  A computer that looks like an early 20th Century toy is just a hoot. Come on, you know you want one!  And if you want to upgrade all you need to do a push up the ZW and your PC will go even faster!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Lionel Study Group Open Invitation

Four examples of Lionel 10s. Top: Department store special 10E in peacock with green frame, orange stripe, red lettering and Bild-A-Loco motor at left. The “E” indicated a two position reverse unit controlled from the transformer. Peacock painted 10 with black frame, Ives plates, and a regular motor at right. This locomotive has a manual reverse. Lionel owned Ives in 1931 and 1932 and took some regular production Lionel items and replaced the Lionel plates with Ives plates. Bottom: Red 10 and Macy's 10E in State Brown. Lionel finished some items for Macy’s in special colors. R. Sullens and T. Riley Collections.
Clem Clement and Bruce Greenberg welcome you to join our study of these locomotives and learn more about them. Date: June 2, 2012: 10 am to 2 pm. Place: 5233 Bessley Place, Alexandria, VA 22304 Please call Bruce Greenberg to RSVP at 703-461-6991. For previous study reports, please write Bruce at brucecgreenberg1@gmail.com

Monday, May 07, 2012

More Trolleys

I do love these things.  I never tire of seeing them.  I can see the romance that is connected with these vehicles. Some interesting lore I found out about these vehicles...

Guess how much they cost after they were decommissioned?   The wood one's were $300, metal was $500!  Can you imagine?  A whole trolley for $300?  It took quite a few years (about 40) to refinish the single truck trolley however I think it was worth it.

Below is the front of a wonderful interurban.  They have a couple.  Wish someone could make these in standard gauge.  Interurbans are unique vehicles, they go up to 70 MPH and can still roam around a city somewhat like a trolley.  Blow up the pic!

Why did the chicken cross the tracks?

Click on this one to blow it up... I took it yesterday.  I've always seen huge train layouts with chickens and roosters.  Here's a few of both next to the trolley tracks.  Guess there is a prototype for everything!  They don't cross the tracks, at least not while my son and I were there.  They do give dirty looks though!


More Shoreline

I know, a little artsy.  I just see pics online and I always want to go closer and can't.  These pictures are off an interurban they have in the car barn.  Blow them up (although these interurbans are just way cooler in person).


The Wonderful Shore Line Trolley Museum

For those of you that have not spent much time in the Northeast, the Shoreline Trolley Museum is a highly recommended destination.  I've gone many times and I plan to go many more.  I went yesterday for a couple of reasons.  I had an extremely bad week at work (it probably can't or won't get much worse than last week) and I needed a break.  I also went to commemorate a friend of mine.  The Shoreline museum was one of Jim Cohen's favorite spots in Connecticut.  He really wanted to go and work on the real trolley's not just the toys.  Unfortunately he never got to. 

I would very much like to do the same however it is a bit far from where I live.  I know for a fact that once I pass a certain age and my kids are well on their way to independence, they will be able to count on me as a volunteer.

This place is interesting for train people for a variety of reasons.  Next year will be the 100th year of operations for the line and that will make it the oldest continuous running trolley line in the United States.  No small feat.

The Shoreline also has some of the MOST beautiful cars and rolling stock in the world.  I'll post some additional pics after this post, this is just the initial post to get the topic rolling.  The museum is important for a number of reasons.  It is highly relevant today, probably more so then ever. 

Trolley's are low maintenance, comfortable, cheap and probably one of the best over land forms of transportation there is.  America drank the automaker/oil producer kool-aid long ago.  Cars are a part of our culture, no doubt.  However it only takes 5 minutes on one trolley ride to understand the immense value these vehicles offer.  They are gorgeous inside, reliable and are vastly more comfortable than any bus or car mass transit vehicle is today.

Sorry, I can't help myself with public service announcements.  The civic minded guy in me loves these things and wishes they were still available in every city.  We've just got so used to driving around.  Pay $4 plus per gallon of gas is making these look very attractive.

Let's move away from the civics lesson and talk about why they are important to train nuts.  The colors on prewar toy trains from Flyer, Lionel, Ives and so on were and are glorious.  Even 100 years later.  What you discover very quickly  is that these colors really did have prototypes.  The colors on real trolleys are every bit as engaging as are the trucks, the beautiful woodwork and the wonderful signage and controls throughout the vehicle.  The prototypes are as or more gorgeous than the toys. 

This isn't typically obvious in many areas of model railroading.  I've seen a Dash 8 in person and I've seen the toy.  Both are pretty neat but you don't walk away with any kind of awe and wonder.  A 90 to 100 year old trolley that still works and has the same wonderful colors as any classic car will have you trying to pull your jaw off the floor.  It is just that amazing.

And I did see some some rolling stock while I was there.  Why care about rolling stock?  Well because it looked distinctly like some of the Voltamp models I've seen out there as well.  Prototypes can be as interesting (if not more) than the toys.  And the ideas for layouts can really spring forth...

Try blowing up some of the pics (click on them).  I used a Panasonic Micro 4/3rds camera to shoot these with some pretty high definition.  I down sampled them to 1200 DPI for download speeds for everyone.  They should blow up quite well.  More coming...


The exhibit part of the museum has a neat area with some original Fontaine Fox trolley drawings and lore.  Check out the below.

This car is the same as the cars running in New Orleans now.  It actually did run on "Desire" street.  Hence the name "Streetcar Named Desire".  The inside is gorgeous and the ride was really fun. Some of the line is closed due to some destruction from Hurricane Irene (still).  However the ride on this trolley is wonderful and shouldn' be missed.

A prototype trolley truck.  They have a nice green patina.  Never have seen it on a model.

Love these chairs.  Solid wood and still comfortable.  Plus they flip around when the trolley reverses direction.  A bit more comfortable than the ripped plastic junk on mass transit today.