Tracks-007, Issue #007 -- Model Railroading Newsletter
April 1, 2020
Articles in This Issue:
WELCOME to the April, 2020 issue of Tracks - a monthly newsletter published by Building Your Model Railroad, devoted to providing breaking news and tips to model railroaders of all ages and all scales in a quick and easy-to-read format. Resources are always credited where appropriate.
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A lot has been happening in this country and the rest of the world since our last issue of Tracks. Many of you have been seriously affected by this ongoing tragedy in one way or another, and I suspect many more will be affected before it's over. As a physician, whose job it is to try to protect and save people's lives, it is particularly heart-rendering to watch so much suffering in the world, about which there is little we can do at the moment other than staying away from each other.
Nevertheless, we can still communicate with each other, thanks to modern technology, so, in a way, we can still come together, even as we stay apart physically. It is somewhat encouraging to see the country and the rest of the world becoming just a little less divided as we all battle against a common threat. It's unfortunate that it requires such a threat to unify humanity. But the good news is that we can still do that as we always have been able to do - during the great flu epidemic of 1917, the polio and tuberculosis epidemics, the HIV crisis, Swine flu, SARS, and others throughout our history.
I am glad to be a member of an elite group of people throughout the country and the world who stay somewhat unified, congenial and helpful to each other even when we're not threatened. I'm talking about model railroaders here. We do seem to be connected in some way - perhaps related to the common science, art and goals that we all share, but mostly due to a sense of camaraderie and friendship - even with people we've never met.
At any rate, since I have a small venue in which I can communicate with others via this newsletter, I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to families who have lost loved ones, to those who are struggling and suffering, and my heartfelt gratitude to all those who are putting their own lives at risk to help others who are afflicted. And I pray along with all of you that this great tragedy will end soon.
Despite the current state of the world, I was happy to see my favorite locomotive, the N&W J-Class 611, on the cover of the April, 2020 issue of Model Railroader recently. The story is that Gary Hoover, a frequent contributor to MR, was inspired by the photography of O. Winston Link in the book "The Last Steam Railroad in America" to build his third major layout in his basement in Florissant, Missouri - which, by the way, just happens to be close to St. Louis, where the Gateway 2020 NMRA Convention is to be held in July (assuming, hoping it won't have to be cancelled). I want to be the first to sign up for one of the fan trips that he is offering to visit this magnificent, 1950s era, late fall, early winter 24x49 foot HO layout during the convention. Gary has incorporated many of the scenes that Link depicted in his famous photographs, which will be awesome to see in a three dimensional rendering! The layout map by itself is magnanimous. If the scenic pictures displayed in the article are anywhere near what the rest of the layout looks like, it will truly be a work of art and will be a thrill to visit in person.
These are tip-gems from past issues of BYMR-Zine and Tracks that I thought might be still helpful even now. Some techniques have changed, but some probably never will. Remember, the Search button at the top of every page will give you access to all these old issues. Also feel free to go to the "Newsletter" and click on the link to "Back Issues" for a world of information about model railroading collected over 12 years...
The first issue of BYMRR-Zine, June 1, 2009: https://www.building-your-model-railroad.com/BYMRZine-bymr-zine.html
Hand laying your own track sounds intimidating to most model railroaders, but it's really not all that bad. It's much cheaper than buying your own track, although much more time consuming. It's best to start with straight track, then curves and then you can try turnouts. The tools available from Micromark are very helpful as you can see in the following video. Be sure to watch the next video as well which shows how to scratchbuild the ties.
Also, Fast Tracks is a great resource for materials needed for hand-laying track.
If you love diesels, you will love this video, even if you've seen it before. It records a gathering of 27 historic streamliners all in one place at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, NC in May, 1914. Clear, beautiful presentations of some of the most majestic, powerful transportation machines ever built...
There's a new kid on the block!
Introducing a new online store associated with our BYMRR site, called The Building Your Model Railroad Hobby Central Train Station (The BYMRR Hobby Center, for short). This store caters to the serious model railroader (from beginner to advanced) and offers...
The store is young and the inventory is limited, but new items are added every day. I hope you will give us a try.
**Don't forget to register for Gateway 2020: the NMRA National Convention in St. Louis. Missouri, July 12-18 !!!
(It's still on the calendar)
Also, I have to put in a plug here for the Carolina Special, the 2020 Mid-Eastern Region Convention to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, October 15-18, 2020. The Mid-East Region (MER) of the NMRA comprises model railroaders from Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, D.C., and parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North and South Carolina. This will be a great way to "pick up the pieces" and enjoy getting together to share our crafts. It may be the first actual opportunity that we will have to do so. If you don't live in MER territory, be sure to watch out for regional conventions in your area. Many have already been cancelled for this year, but like they say in baseball, "There's always next year!" The ones that have been scheduled for later this year may still happen, so it's best to check the NMRA.org site and look at the section on "Region Conventions" before making plans.
Most local train shows will be cancelled for the foreseeable future, at least until July or later, so for the safety for all of us, we will just have to "hunker down" and work on our own model railroad projects at home. This would be a good time to work on getting a few of those AP (Achievement Program) certificates you've been wanting to get to but never had the time for. I'm, of course, referring to working toward getting that Holy Grail of model railroading - The MMR (Master Model Railroader). (Click on the links in the text for more information.)
Hope you enjoyed this issue of Tracks. Feel free to pass it on to your friends, family and other model railroaders. If you have a great tip or article that you would like to publish on the website, please let me know - The more, the better. Any comments or suggestions are always welcome. You can either go to the Comments/Contact Page and enter your suggestions there or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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