15 years ago
You know how train show layouts normally are, right?
Big or small, they're often multiple nested loops with
dingy ground-foam scenery and dust covers everything
except for a strip by the tracks over which the trains
grind, around, and around, and around, and around...
Now, I know that's not quite fair, and just watching the
little trains run *did* get me into model railroading, and
still can be fun, especially when the scenery and
buildings aren't dust-covered (please, folks, clean your
display layouts). Still, though I know why they don't
(too much derailing, too much work), I do sometimes
wish we saw some real operation, even just a bit of
switching on isolated tracks.
But what did I see at this show? To my amazement,
somebody had brought in a largish switching-yard
module, and was actually making up trains,
and doing quite well, without any derailment.
Furthermore, despite what you hear about the
public and switching, they had about five "civilians"
watching the little engine shuttle back and forth.
I'm sure they'd never have thought model trains
could work that way.
I talked with the proprieter of this setup, and he
explained that he was trying to sell DCC, and I
hope he made some sales. I do think that he
ought to have had more than one loco running at
a time, as was going on when I was there...having
three switchers crisscrossing back and forth,
sharing the work, that would have been a spectacle!
I also think that a bit more speed would have been
in order. He was switching at realistic speeds,
but I note that, though the 1:1 Conrail crews used
to operate this way, CSX sometimes tends to go
juuuuust a bit closer to Lionel territory. :) I think
just slow enough not to irritate the serious
modelers, but just fast enough to give the public
a bit more action, would have been good. After
all, there is a "showmanship" angle here.
Anyway, I thought it was a great idea, and I
hope to see more of it.
President, a box of track and some plans.