Monday, June 30, 2014

World Cup and Model Railroading

You can buy model trains decorated for teams in the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, and the National Football League.

But you can't find any decorated for the biggest sport on the planet: Soccer (or football, as it is known to most of the world).

At least one person in the world has a piece of rolling stock decorated for his home team--Mexico. Once again, my friend Edgar Romero Roldán has made a great-looking custom car.

"This car is a pure fantasy," he says, adding that he made it to "commemorate the participation of the Mexico football team during the 2014 world cup. I did this car for my own collection."

Edgar made the decals are custom made, using downloaded images from Internet, printing them on decal paper and cutting them size for the car.

Unfortunately for Edgar, Mexico did not make it through the round of 16. He can console himself, at least, by looking at his boxcar.

To see more of Edgar's great custom modelling, check out his Christmas boxcar and his weathering skills.

As an aside, there are no trains decorated for NBA teams--at least, none that I can find on the Web. I wonder what that says about the perceived relation between basketball and model railroading? (If anything, at all.)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

CP Rail M & M Sub. in Model Railroader

When I was a kid, I read both Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman. I told myself: One day I want to make a model railroad good enough to be in those magazines.

My dream has been fulfilled. So far, I've been in RMC twice (2005 and 2009), and now I am in Model Railroader--or the CP Rail Manitoba & Minnesota Subdivision is, at least.

The magazine has published an article about how I use tree bark for rocks in its August, 2014 issue. The article is even listed on the cover!

The article.

(Canadian Railway Modeller wasn't around back when I was a kid, or I would have wanted to be in that, too--and I have, several times.)

Even though magazines are losing their lustre today, and everything you could possibly want to know about the hobby is on the Web, there's still something about being published--about having someone else decide that, yes, your modelling, writing and photography is good enough to include in a periodical.

The article is on page 51 of the August issue.

Another shot of the scene in the August
issue of Model Railroader.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Siderodromophobia, or Who's Afraid of Trains?

Siderodromophobia—now there’s a word I’d never heard before.

Siderodromophobia is the fear of trains. It comes from the Greek sideros (iron) and dromos (race track or running). It is related to Hodophobia, the fear of travelling on a road.

Siderodromophobia can be caused by a traumatic event, or by heredity.

People with siderodromophobia can shake, sweat, develop gastrointestinal symptoms, or experience heart palpitations when they see or think of trains. 

They may also cry, freeze in place, or attempt to run away.

If the train phobia is severe, people who suffer from it may also be unable to visit railroad museums, theme park attractions that have miniature railroads, or places of historic interest that include railroad components.
At it’s worse, the phobia might make some people incapable of driving across railroad tracks or past a train station.
They might even become panicked if they hear a train horn in the distance.
Fortunately, train phobia is highly treatable. One of the most popular treatments is cognitive-behavioural therapy, where people are taught to stop and redirect their negative thoughts about trains.

For those of us who like trains, this seems very strange. If anything, our problem is siderodromomania—a love, fascination and passion for trains.

Yep—I think I have a bad case of that. And unlike siderdromophobia, apparently there’s no treatment or cure.

Note: Siderdromomania is not to be confused with siderodromophilia. (Look it up for yourself here for the short version, or here for the longer and more detailed version. Just don’t blame me for what you find.)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Great Train Journeys and Train Travel Writing

One of my favorite travel writers is Paul Theroux. I like his writing style. I like the way he views and interprets the world. I like how he focuses on the ordinary along with the unusual. 

But mostly I like him because he writes about travel by train.
Theroux is the author of four books about train travel. His first was The Great Railway Bazaar; it featured his trip from London to Tokyo. His only rule: Board every eastbound train that came into sight.


The second is The Old Patagonian Express, which found him boarding Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited in Boston and getting off at the bottom of South America, in Patagonia.
Next was Riding The Iron Rooster, where he vowed to reach the other side of the world without jet lag. Once again beginning in London, he traveled by train across Europe, Russia and China.
In Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Theroux re-traced the journey in his first book, writing about the changes along the way, in the world, and in himself.
Finally, there's The Last Train to Zona Verde, where he travels 2,500 miles across Africa.
(Find out more about these, and other travel books by Theroux, on his website.)

The Patagonian Express.


If you aren't as adventurous as Theroux, and have $36,500 to spare, you can take a 53-day trip by train around the world courtesy of Rail Journeys.
According to an article on CNN, passengers will spend 20 days crossing the U.S. by train, then spend the remaining time crossing China to Mongolia, and across Russia and Europe to London.
If 53 days seems a little long, Ffestiniog Travel in Wales offers a similar trip of 40 days, only in reverse (and with the North American portion across Canada). The cost? Only $32,765.

Buying one of Theroux's books is a lot cheaper--and maybe more informative in the end.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Another Video of the M & M Sub. Posted

It's been awhile since I made and posted a video of the CP Rail Manitoba & Minnesota Subdivision to YouTube. But it's a rainy weekend in Manitoba, and the evening was free, so I thought: Let's do it!

This short video starts on the upper level, with the reconstructed entrance to staging yard, and includes shots of the new section on the lower level.

If you're interested, click here to see it.

That makes 56 videos on my YouTube channel, most of them of my layout. Altogether, they've been watched over 300,000 times--amazing!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

When I Retire, I Want to Live Here!

Green Ridge Village & Big Spring RR.

I’m nowhere near needing to look for a retirement home, but when the time comes I might like to live at Green Ridge Village near Carlisle, Pa.

In addition to all of its other amenities, Green Ridge Village has a model railroad—the Green Ridge and Big Spring RR.

The HO scale layout is in a 44 by 36 foot room and features over 1,600 feet of track and 168 switches.

Click here to visit the Green Ridge layout.

Quincy Village.

If Green Ridge doesn’t have room, maybe I’ll try Quincy Village in Waynesboro, Pa.

Quincy Village’s model railroad club has three layouts—O, G and HO, with an N scale layout in the works in a 1,100 square foot room. The HO scale layout is in a 33 by 22 foot room.

Click here to visit the Quincy Village layout. 

Shell Point layout.

Or maybe I’ll retire to Florida and live at the Shell Point Retirement Community.

That’s where you’ll find the Gulf Coast Railroad, in a 40 by 40 foot room.

Originally built by a small group of residents, the layout today is maintained and operated by resident volunteers. It is open to the public three days a week from October to May.

Click here to visit the Shell Point layout.

Sun City West.

Arizona is pretty nice in wintertime, and Sun City West has a layout. You can watch a video of it here. 

Sun City Center.

Sun City Center in Florida (“America’s premiere 55 + community”) also has a layout. Wait a minute—I’m 55 plus! Maybe I can live there now. 

Nah . . . I’ll just visit their layout here. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Railfanning in Fargo, North Dakota (Again)

"You're not one of those 'railfans,' are you?"

That's what the BNSF employee asked me while I was watching trains one evening in May in Dillworth, Minnesota.

"No, I'm not one "those" railfans," I replied, assuming she meant someone who had let train-watching move from a hobby or interest to an obsession. "I just like trains."

What followed was a friendly conversation about trains and traffic on the line through Fargo, ND and Dillworth. Can you say "tank car trains?"

It wasn't so long ago that the most dominant trains on the line were those carrying coal, or returning to the coal fields. Today it is oil, and lots of it.

As I have said before, Fargo and Dillworth are great places to watch trains. The day I was there featured a steady parade; no sooner had one train passed by when headlights of the next one could be seen in the distance.

And because there's so much traffic, BNSF is borrowing lots of power from other railways, and from lessors--something that adds a bit more colour to the consists.

The other thing that makes train watching in Fargo and Dillworth so enjoyable is the access. The trains roar through the heart of Fargo, passing right by plenty of public places to watch trains.

Plus, BNSF employees are very accommodating--as long as you obey the rules and aren't, I assume, one of "those railfans."

I know that not many people will find their way to North Dakota--it's a long way from most anywhere. But if you do, you won't be disappointed by the great railway action.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Bacon and Trains

There’s bacon frosting, bacon toothpaste, bacon wrapping paper, bacon candy, bacon lip balm, bacon air freshener, bacon ice cream, bacon soap, bacon jam, bacon gum, bacon band aids, bacon soft drinks. There’s even a bacon coffin. 

Until recently, there were no bacon model trains. But that’s fixed now that a modeller named Rochelle has created bacon graffiti for an HO scale car.

Said Rochelle: “I noticed how hot bacon is, plus I love it, so I made an HO scale train car with bacon graffiti.”

The car is hand painted, but she says she can make more if people want to order one. Find out more by visiting her website. 

Of course, bacon cars are not completely unknown; in the early twentieth century you could find them on the prototype.
One has just been saved by the Indiana Transportation Museum: The 104 year-old Kingan Co.'s "Reliable Sliced Bacon” car.
According to a story in the Indianapolis Star,  the car has historical significance to the city and to Indiana; Kingan was the first company to sell sliced bacon, and it was the biggest meat-packing company in the city in the early 1900s.

The car will need repainting, couplers and trucks, but is otherwise in good shape, having been kept indoors for many years.

There were other cars promoting bacon back then, and some have been made into models, as seen below. But Rochelle may be the first person to put an actual slice of bacon on a piece of rolling stock.