N1GY- The simple Approach to Ham Radio

and My Model Railroad Hobby

Here are the latest additions to the railroad memorabilia. I filled a couple of shadow boxes up, one with buttons from a Boston and Maine Conductor's uniform and one with a collage of old rail road tickets from both regular and tourist railroads over a span of some 90 years

The picture above is of my mistake. I ordered this little jewel thinking it was HO scale, only to find out after I paid for it that it was N scale. My error! darn it!. After some reflection I decided that it would make a good counterpoint to the steam locomotive model on the top shelf of my memorabilia display. It really is kind of "cute" as one of my friends put it. Tomorrow I will pick up one piece of N gauge straight track on which to display it. On another note, the display case for my growing caboose collection is supposed to be delivered tomorrow, over a MONTH after the vendor made out the shipping label for the item. I will not deal with such fools again.

To the right is the beginnings of the latest collection, cabooses or cabin cars as some railroads referred to them. You will note that some are brass and others are plastic. Some of the plastic ones will be replaced in time as brass cars become available at a decent price. There are also seven more spaces available in the display case. Obviously the display case finally arrived and is very nice. I appologise for the slight tilt of the case, it is the fault of the photographer (me) it is actually properly mounted. Since that picture was taken, I have added one more brass caboose and replaced the home brewed transfer caboose in the lower right corner with a much better unit fron The Bluford Shops. Once I finish filling the display case I will take a new picture and revise the text herein. A quick update, after paying down my credit card I have ordered three more cabeese so once they arrive there will only be three spaces left in the display case.

Above is a photo of the new shelving created by Gabe and myself, Mostly Gabe to be truthful. I did do the painting of the shelves and it looks like a second coat will be applied tomorrow. The LED lights overhead have been rewired and are completely functional to highlight the memorabilia on the shelves. Now that  that is accomplished, There is some more collecting is in my future, although I will have to keep it within the bounds of space available. 

As you can see from the photo on the left, the caboose collection is now complete. The last one arrived yesterday. 

         I am now finished collecting brass locomotives. These were only for display and never intended to run on the layout. I collected them simply because they are, to me, beautiful examples of the modelmaker's art. They gleam like jewels and astound me with the minute details that the maker put into each of them. Now I will turn my attention to the similarly minute details on the layout and a return to amateur radio. I have already volunteered to do a once a month net control stint on the Tech Net while a friend is out of state for the summer. I am awaiting delivery on a new piece of Railroad Memorabilia which will provide a suitable entry to the train room. More on that later.  .

            The piece of Railroad style memorabilia has arrived. It is a 1/10 scale model of a standard railroad crossing warning sign. The kind that has the standard cross-bucks saying railroad crossing and also two red lights that when activated, flash alternately at a rate of about one second on and one second off. A friend of mine at the Real Rail Model Railroad Club is programming an Arduino to do that function and I have assembled almost everything else, power, on off switch and the lights themselves. I replaced the 110 VAC mini bulbs which it had originally with 10 mm White LEDs. THe rerd color is supplied by the lenses of the individual light buckets or housings. A small gotcha cropped up when I realised that the LEDs had a very narrow beam and thus were only visible when one wsas looking directly at them. A soluition was found with a couple of pieces of translucent plastic which will be placed between the LEDs and the red lenses to diffuse the beam and thus light up the entire red lens. When I have company over the signals will be activated until they get past the model railroad on the other side of the sliding glass door. Just a little gag to insert some levity into the visit. Pictures will follow once the signal is fully operational.

        The other day I got an offer on a brass caboose that I just could not pass up, so I now own one brass caboose along with nine plastic ones that I picked up at my club specifically for my caboose collection. I have nowhere to put them until my son in law makes another display shelf unit, maybe for Father's Day, Hope hope. Some of the plastic ones needed minor repairs. Two were missing their stovepipes and one of them was missing the ladders to the roof walks. The stovepipes have been replaced and the ladders are on order.

         The picture shown above is a print that came into the RealRail club as a donation. There were several copies, some of which were slightly water damaged. After receiving permission from the club I picked the one that did not have any water damage and brought it home. I ordered a frame for it (another nightmare story in itself) and yesterday I placed the print in the frame and hung it in the train room. As I am originally from Canada, although I have lived in the US since the early 60's and hold American Citizenship, it was still nice to have a print of a type of locomotive that I remember from my childhood. In fact I remember when one of these engines derailed and crashed in my home town back in the late 50s.

            Today, March 16th, I purchased my 13th and last brass model. This one is of an Interurban "Box Motor" which sort of looks like a baggage car with a spot for the engineer. These were electrically powered motors that took their power from an overhead catenary wire via the same kind of pole that one used to see on street cars. This item adds another facet of railroading to the brass collection. It also will be my last brass purchase as I will have 13 units in all, a significant number where my family is concerned. I have also just ordered a miniature railroad crossing signaL It stands about 14" tall and I will be rewiring it so that the lights flash alternately as they do in the real crossing signals. I am going to place it in my front porch area where visitors will come through the sliding glass doors and past the spot where a lift out bridge connects the Phase 2 section of the layout with Phase 3. The cross bucks that are out there now will be repositioned as wall are in the train room. I still intend to collect interesting items of rolling stock and locomotives to display either on the layout or in display shelves that I will add as necessary with the aid of my son-in-law Gabe who has built the last two display cases from scratch, for which I am very thankful.


         Recently I obtained a box of assorted railroad memorabilia of uncertain provenance. Among the items were several pictures of steam locomotives. I framed and mounted them around the Regulator Clock in my living room/train room/man cave. I think they look good and I am happy with the results.

The two pictures above show, on the left, a small collection of pins of various railroads and on the right, an incomplete display of railroad police badges. Two more badges are on their way here and then the display will be full. 

             Here are some of the cabooses I have collected already. I am trying to find different roads, different styles of caboose or cabin car as some railroads called them. So far I have only one brass example but two more are on their way with more to come once I get the credit card paid down some more. The display case for the cabooses will come eventually but the builder is plenty busy with other projects so I try not to put any pressure on him. In the paragraph above the photo, I mentioned that I had the needed ladders on order. After a screw-up by the postie (delivered to the wrong address) I finally got my HO scale ladders thanks to one of my neighbors. BTW I have often delivered her mail to her when her mail came to my address. The needed ladders have been installed and secured so my current collection of ten cabooses is now sitting in the museum yard on the layout awaiting the delivery of my next display shelving from my son in law, Gabe. I know he is busy so I try not to put any pressure on him.

       I should point out that I replaced the picture that was in this spot with the same photo but after I did a bit of editing and improved the contrast and coloring so that the cabooses in the back row would be more visible.

       On Saturday, I added a miniature level crossing signal to the entry way into the train room. I took video of it working with my phone but I am unable to download it to the site as yet. If anyone can fill me in on the correct way to add a short (less than 20 seconds) video onto this page, please let me know. The signal works very well each side of the two red lights is on for about 1 second and off for the same period. THey of course alternate and all in all the effect is quite realistic. It is all controlled by an Arduino that one of the members of the model railroad club programmed for me. A switch on the back of the filing cabinet turns the power on and off as necessary. If you wish to see the video it is on my Facebnook page.

        Today, Wednesday, I had friends over in the late morning to view the model railroad and my humble collections of brass locomotives and other railroadiana. After they left, I think suitably impressed with my meager talents, I took a quick ride over to Grainger Supply to get a new interior for an Atlantic Coast Line Hard Hat that I purchased at the model railroad club. The guys at Grainger even installed the gear into the hard hat for me. It now sits in a prominent location in my Train Room/Man Cave/Living Room. Not bad for less than $11 for everything including the hard hat.  My visitors seemed most impressed with the layout even though my attempts to demonstrate it in operation were less than outstanding. I did get a couple of locomotives to make all the proper noises and run back and forth a few times. I feel a track cleaning session coming up very soon.

             On Thursday (today) I did a bit of cleanup on the site. Specifically, this page. I decided I really did not need to post every change to the collections so I have eliminated all of the intermediate pictures of the brass collection leaving the final one only. At some point I will go back through the other pages and try to clean them up as well. But for now one page is a start at least. 

              Today is Monday the 19th of April 2021, and I have come to a major decision about my model railroad. It is going top get somewhat smaller. I have already removed the buildings from Phase 3 and Phase 4 and removed some of the tracks around the roundhouse. The roundhouse had to be scrapped as therfe was no way to remove it intact. THe three sets of tracks that resided within the roundhouse have been removed and discarded. When I can get some assistance the benchwork will be removed from the West wall and the South Wall and the extension will be going as well. The reason for all this destruction is quite simple; my advancing age and infirmities have made it necessary to scale back the layout to a size that I can manage. Currently, the tracks on the entire layout are dirty with little electrical conductivity. My many locomotives have not been run for months and so they too are getting uncooperative. A smaller layout hopefully will allow me to maintain the tracks and locomotives so that when company comes over, trains will run as they should. THe area freed up will return to a bookcase, in part and the holes in hte walls that were necessary to hold the benchwork will be spackled and repainted. My collecting of various brass and other models will continue albeit at a slower pace than before.

             Today, on Saturday May 1, my son in law Gabe came over and removed both Phase 3 and Phase 4 of the layout at my direction. He then accompanied me to Home Depot where I purchased 3 1" x 12" x 6' pine boards which he assembled very skillfully into three shelves running from the front door to the now repositioned recliner chair next to the day-bed. We used the same concrete decorative blocks that were used on the previous shelving before they were replaced by Phase 3 of the layout. I have already rewired the lamps on that wall so that they illuminate the shelves which will be used to display some of my growing collection of railroad memorabilia. All that is left to do is paint the shelves the same dark brown that I used on the fascia for the layout and a small bit of spackling of the screw holes (very few in number) that were left in the walls. The end result is a layout that will be easier to maintain and a increased capacity for guests in the man cave/living room. I am trying hard to keep the room presentable for company even though I get very few people visiting. That is something I am working to change. Gabe is going to make a shadow box to display my badge collection and also a wooden backer on which to display my collection of "Date Nails". For those who are unfamiliar with that term, the railroads used to hammer a nail with a two digit number representing the current year into each tie they installed under the tracks. This allowed them to keep track of when that tie was due for replacement in the future. Now, of course all that info is computerized so "date nails" have become memorabilia of an earlier time. 

The picture on the right shows one of my prized items in the collection, an authentic railroad pocket watch with chain. Soon to be added will be a proper fob from the New Haven Railroad of years gone by. .

​My Model Railroad Page 22