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Posts Tagged ‘Railroading’

Model Railroading Improves Your Life


Does life suck? Get a train.

23 comments - What do you think?  Posted by - February 25, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Categories: Vintage Steam Engines   Tags: , , ,

Memories of Steam at Horseshoe Curve – 1950’s HIstoric American Railroading


1950’s HIstoric American Railroading “Memories of Steam at Horseshoe Curve” by Carl Dudley / Blackhawk Films. Background From Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org Horseshoe Curve is a famous railroad horseshoe curve in central Pennsylvania, near Altoona in the United States. Called an “engineering marvel”, it was completed in 1854 by the Pennsylvania Railroad. It was later used by the Penn Central, then Conrail, and is currently owned and operated by the Norfolk Southern Railway. The Curve is located in Kittanning Gap at the summit of the Allegheny Front, approximately 5 miles (8 km) west of Altoona. The bend is a tight arc of approximately 220 degrees. It comprises two separate curves; on the north side, the radius measures 637 ft (194 m), tightening to 609 ft (186 m) on the south side.

8 comments - What do you think?  Posted by - May 9, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Categories: Vintage Steam Trains   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Pennsylvania Steam Locomotives – 1950’s Historic American Trains & Railroading


Various scenes from the 1950’s filmed on the lines of the Pennysylvannia Railroad (PRR). A variety of freight, coal, and passenger services are seen.

9 comments - What do you think?  Posted by - March 26, 2012 at 3:40 am

Categories: Vintage Steam Locomotives   Tags: , , , , , , ,

History Of Model Trains – How Model Railroading Got Started And Became Widespread

Modern rail transportation (not including those pulled by horses or oxen) can be traced back to about 1820 when the first steam locomotives appeared in the United Kingdom.  These trains were the first practical way to move goods and people across the country quickly and efficiently.  They remained so for over a century.  So there is no surprise that model trains became popular very early on and remain so today.

Early model trains were often used as promotional or marketing tools to show people who had never had the opportunity to see a train to do so. In the early 1890’s, German toy manufacturer Marklin manufactured clockwork model trains that used wound springs as the locomotion mechanism.  These trains were originally sold as expensive toys, but it wasn’t long before someone had the idea to market them to adults and added accessories so that hobbyists could personalize their trains and layouts.  These early sets were expensive and beyond the reach of most people.

Many of the early model train sets were made in Germany and at the outbreak of World War one, shipments to the US stopped.  This provided the opportunity for US companies like Ives and Lionel to be started and make inroads into the market with little competition.  These companies also decided to make more inexpensive sets and sell them as toys that many families could afford.  During the Victorian period in the 1920’s many models were available in various price ranges from tin and lead “penny toys” up to more expensive fully operable scale models with working steam locomotives.  From the original model trains that were operated by winding a spring, just like a watch, trains progressed to electrical operation where the current is supplied through the track. As track layouts got bigger, there was a need to control individual parts of the track and complex wiring patterns became part of the challenge.  Today, the track is often controlled digitally through a handheld controller or via computer software.

From the 1930’s through today, various scales sprung up and competing companies around the world started to make their model train sets more detailed and offered more variety in their accessories.  As the hobby grew, scale standards were needed so that hobbyists could buy different pieces from different manufacturers and have them all work together.  Although the scales are often known under different names in different countries (like H0 which is pronounced “ach zero” in Australia and the UK, but “ach oh” in the US), for the most part, these standards have been accomplished.  There are slight differences in these standards which can sometimes make model railroading a challenge, but the N scale or H scale from one manufacturer can usually be made to work with the N scale or H scale from another manufacturer.

This brief space can only start to relate the history of this rewarding hobby. Learning the history of railroading is part of the hobby and will also help make your layouts, locomotives, scenery and rolling stock look more realistic.  So keep researching model train information and keep learning!

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - March 13, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Categories: Vintage Steam Locomotives   Tags: , , , , , ,

An Introduction To N Scale Model Railroading

One of the smaller scales of model train, the N in N scale model train stands for the number nine; the space between the rails used for these trains is nine millimeters. This scale is significantly smaller than the other popular scales of model train: O and HO, making this ideal for those model train hobbyists who don’t necessarily have a lot of room to devote to their hobby but want to maximize their use of space. N scale is also a good choice for those who want to run longer trains in their layouts. These trains have the advantage of being smaller and lighter and as such, they need less power than do the larger model railroad scales. Even with their smaller size, these trains generally have a lot of detail and realism, often more than O and HO scale trains. N scale trains allow hobbyists to create complex layouts which have a lot of realism in far less space than a larger scale train may take. This makes this scale of model trains a great choice for transporting layouts to expositions and other public exhibits. These trains are used enough that hobbyists have access to a wide variety of scenery elements and accessories for their N scale model railroads. You can find scenery for these trains which are just as detailed and realistic as those available for larger scales. There are also N scale steam locomotives which make real steam due to their use of boilers. Another advantage of these smaller trains is that you can use batteries or an ordinary power supply to run your model railroad. N scale model trains are small enough that you can set up your layout even if you live in a smaller apartment or have only half of a room to dedicate to your hobby. You can make even large and elaborate N scale model railroad layouts on one relatively small plywood sheet which can be transported with ease – you can look at examples of these layouts online, including videos. You can also find instructional videos and books which can help you to get started building your own layouts. Many people are of the opinion that a less popular scale such as N scale doesn’t offer a lot of choices to hobbyists in terms of accessories and scenery items – but as it happens, there is plenty available to N scale enthusiasts. While you might not see everything you’re looking for in a local hobby shop, you can easily find all of the N scale accessories you need on the web. There are websites which specialize in sets and accessories for this scale of model train. Those who are newer to the hobby or to this scale will find a lot to like about Bachman’s N scale model railroad sets such as the White Christmas Express. This set includes enough track for a 34″ by 24″ oval, a steam locomotive, a tender car, two cars and caboose as well as a power pack, a working headlight and speed controller. There are also plenty of other choices – Bachman offers a wide variety of other sets and accessories which anyone who loves N scale model trains is sure to love.

One of the smaller scales of model train, the N in N scale model train stands for the number nine; the space between the rails used for these trains is nine millimeters. This scale is significantly smaller than the other popular scales of model train: O and HO, making this ideal for those model train hobbyists who don’t necessarily have a lot of room to devote to their hobby but want to maximize their use of space. N scale is also a good choice for those who want to run longer trains in their layouts. These trains have the advantage of being smaller and lighter and as such, they need less power than do the larger model railroad scales.

Even with their smaller size, these trains generally have a lot of detail and realism, often more than O and HO scale trains. N scale trains allow hobbyists to create complex layouts which have a lot of realism in far less space than a larger scale train may take. This makes this scale of model trains a great choice for transporting layouts to expositions and other public exhibits.

You can create just about any sort of layout you’d like for your N scale model trains even if you happen to have just part of a room available for your model railroading – even an elaborate layout can be built on just one sheet of plywood while being small enough that it can be taken anywhere you like. There are videos and photos both offline and online as well as books which can help you to get started creating your own N scale model train layouts.

Some people believe that the lower popularity of these small trains means that there just aren’t enough products on the market, but this isn’t really the case. While local stores don’t always offer the best selection, a simple search online will help you turn up a number of specialty retailers. There are sites that specialize in just N scale!

Those who are newer to the hobby or to this scale will find a lot to like about Bachman’s N scale model railroad sets such as the White Christmas Express. This set includes enough track for a 34″ by 24″ oval, a steam locomotive, a tender car, two cars and caboose as well as a power pack, a working headlight and speed controller. There are also plenty of other choices – Bachman offers a wide variety of other sets and accessories which anyone who loves N scale model trains is sure to love.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by - March 12, 2010 at 10:13 am

Categories: Vintage Steam Locomotives   Tags: , , ,