bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

A town in Norway is considering a proposal to build rolling hotel rooms that travel on the town's rail system to take tourists out to see the fjords.





An artist's conception above.

A link to the article.

that looks pretty neat
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

A town in Norway is considering a proposal to build rolling hotel rooms that travel on the town's rail system to take tourists out to see the fjords.





An artist's conception above.

A link to the article.

that looks pretty neat
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hi,

more noodling )

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hi,

more noodling )

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So yesterday I went to the North Shore Model Railroad Club's Train Show and Open House in Wakefield MA. It was fun. A few small layouts and lots of stuff for sale. While trains and tracks and buildings are what you'd expect, it's the ephemera that always interests me.

There are huge binders full of photographs of trains and buildings along rail lines from the past 20-40 years that modelers can use for inspiration as they build their own track sides models. There are also timetables and route maps and books that focus on the rail operations of various railways. Sadly, of all the actual railroads, I'm mostly interested in the Burlington Northern, but it's not as popular out here as Northeastern roads (which is cool).

There are also stock and bond certificates from railroads past and present and those are always fun. I love the engraved art of stocks and bonds. It'd be fun to play a rail game (like Chicago Rails or one of the 18xx rail games) using actual stock certificates from the companies in the game. Although most of those companies haven't been in business for nearly a century so finding enough certificates would be a challenge.

The single best thing I saw, however, was the technical manuals. In particular, I got to thumb through the operator's manual to a GE Diesel engine. It's more than a throttle, there's a fairly detailed instrument panel. I read up on the procedure to apply sand to the wheels of the engine for additional traction.

The train show was in the local civic hall so I walked up the street a couple of blocks to check out the NSMRC's clubhouse, layout. They've got a location in the basement of a restaurant. The club layout is about 30% finished although all the track appears to be in place. Sadly, the ceiling only just clears my head and the numerous fire extinguisher outlets were a concussion hazard for me. Still, I got to see them run the trains for a bit.

In the evening I helped make a tasty chicken curry dish which we ate while watching Duck Soup. I'm interested in seeing it because Roy Blount Jr. has a new book out about it and I'd never really watched a Marx Brothers film all the way through. Groucho plays Rufus T. Firefly who is advanced to the position of dictator of Freedonia thanks to the largess of Mrs. Teasdale. Chico and Harpo play...well, they're spies for the rival nation of Sylvania, but frankly they just agree to do any job offered to them and then proceed to do it badly.

I wish I had a better understanding of the context for Marx Borther films. In particular, it's odd how everyone does their best to act normally in the face of Groucho's wild provocations. I'm not sure if their efforts to maintain a polite facade is the humor or Groucho's outrageous behavior is. The funniest moments are usually when the brothers are interacting with one another since they play off each other in delightful ways.

I think the movie could've used a prequel. I wanted to see the movie where Groucho inadvertently saves Freedonia from Sylvanian subversion and thus wins the country's gratitude and Mrs. Teasdale's unflagging support. It would make Duck Soup fall into place with some explanation of why Firefly is given so much leeway.

Oh, and to tie movies and trains together, there's apparently a movie called Unstoppable coming out in November all about a runaway train loaded down with deadly chemicals and the two brave engineers who have to figure out a way to stop it.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So yesterday I went to the North Shore Model Railroad Club's Train Show and Open House in Wakefield MA. It was fun. A few small layouts and lots of stuff for sale. While trains and tracks and buildings are what you'd expect, it's the ephemera that always interests me.

There are huge binders full of photographs of trains and buildings along rail lines from the past 20-40 years that modelers can use for inspiration as they build their own track sides models. There are also timetables and route maps and books that focus on the rail operations of various railways. Sadly, of all the actual railroads, I'm mostly interested in the Burlington Northern, but it's not as popular out here as Northeastern roads (which is cool).

There are also stock and bond certificates from railroads past and present and those are always fun. I love the engraved art of stocks and bonds. It'd be fun to play a rail game (like Chicago Rails or one of the 18xx rail games) using actual stock certificates from the companies in the game. Although most of those companies haven't been in business for nearly a century so finding enough certificates would be a challenge.

The single best thing I saw, however, was the technical manuals. In particular, I got to thumb through the operator's manual to a GE Diesel engine. It's more than a throttle, there's a fairly detailed instrument panel. I read up on the procedure to apply sand to the wheels of the engine for additional traction.

The train show was in the local civic hall so I walked up the street a couple of blocks to check out the NSMRC's clubhouse, layout. They've got a location in the basement of a restaurant. The club layout is about 30% finished although all the track appears to be in place. Sadly, the ceiling only just clears my head and the numerous fire extinguisher outlets were a concussion hazard for me. Still, I got to see them run the trains for a bit.

In the evening I helped make a tasty chicken curry dish which we ate while watching Duck Soup. I'm interested in seeing it because Roy Blount Jr. has a new book out about it and I'd never really watched a Marx Brothers film all the way through. Groucho plays Rufus T. Firefly who is advanced to the position of dictator of Freedonia thanks to the largess of Mrs. Teasdale. Chico and Harpo play...well, they're spies for the rival nation of Sylvania, but frankly they just agree to do any job offered to them and then proceed to do it badly.

I wish I had a better understanding of the context for Marx Borther films. In particular, it's odd how everyone does their best to act normally in the face of Groucho's wild provocations. I'm not sure if their efforts to maintain a polite facade is the humor or Groucho's outrageous behavior is. The funniest moments are usually when the brothers are interacting with one another since they play off each other in delightful ways.

I think the movie could've used a prequel. I wanted to see the movie where Groucho inadvertently saves Freedonia from Sylvanian subversion and thus wins the country's gratitude and Mrs. Teasdale's unflagging support. It would make Duck Soup fall into place with some explanation of why Firefly is given so much leeway.

Oh, and to tie movies and trains together, there's apparently a movie called Unstoppable coming out in November all about a runaway train loaded down with deadly chemicals and the two brave engineers who have to figure out a way to stop it.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hi,

So my grandfather worked as a railroad man on the Burlington Railroad between Alliance and Lincoln in Nebraska. Mostly he worked out of the caboose as the lines switched over from passenger service to mostly freight.

When I was three, he got me a Lionel train set for Christmas. I was three, it was the most amazing thing in the world to sit there on the floor of his living room and send the train racing around the track. My mom thought I was a little too young for it and she might have been right, but it was a favored toy.

We took it home and my dad laid out the track on a sheet of 4x6 plywood and put it down on top of the ping pong table in the basement. It was a figure-8 inside of an oval. He built up a simple barn and grain silo and depot. I could send the train around and put fisher-price people (pot people) into the gondola and send them round and round. On a later Christmas, he got me a searchlight car, so we'd turn off the lights and watch the lit train go around.

Eventually we moved to the country to a small house with no room in the basement. The track went up against a wall and was soon forgotten about.

I mention all this because the siren call or setting up another model railroad layout is running through me. I even went to a train show in Wakefield. It sort of settled in my mind, that the last thing I should do is get involved in building a model railroad layout. I'm mostly interested in running trains, not all the work to get a setup built. These days you can buy a lot of stuff ready-made and I suppose I could just set up "iconic" structures as I did when I was a kid, but I know I'd want more and I'd want to run the trains. But I also feel like I'd eventually lose focus. I'd get tired of the layout or just stop running the trains and then it'd just be taking up space.

But still...it itches at me.

So this weekend I swung by the model railroad store in Malden. It's a pretty big place, but the shop has quite a bit of O-gauge stuff (like the Lionel trains I had as a kid) along with G-scale. G-scale is short for Garden Scale. It's twice the size of O-guage trains so the engines are about 2.5 feet long and loaded with detail.

They are gorgeous. Just a huge detailed hefty piece of train. The engines were massive and the boxcars were bright and colorful. Of course, G-scale trains don't normally run indoors, you set it up outdoors and thread the track through flower beds -- it's garden school for a reason.

And again, I was seized with an unreasonable desire to set up one of these monsters. It's impractical for so many reasons. My yardwork mostly consists of trying to mow as little as possible. I've got a black thumb. The trains could only run for a small portion of the year and would be an attractive nuisance to children, animals and vandals in the neighborhood. Too much trouble.

But man, are those trains beautiful.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hi,

So my grandfather worked as a railroad man on the Burlington Railroad between Alliance and Lincoln in Nebraska. Mostly he worked out of the caboose as the lines switched over from passenger service to mostly freight.

When I was three, he got me a Lionel train set for Christmas. I was three, it was the most amazing thing in the world to sit there on the floor of his living room and send the train racing around the track. My mom thought I was a little too young for it and she might have been right, but it was a favored toy.

We took it home and my dad laid out the track on a sheet of 4x6 plywood and put it down on top of the ping pong table in the basement. It was a figure-8 inside of an oval. He built up a simple barn and grain silo and depot. I could send the train around and put fisher-price people (pot people) into the gondola and send them round and round. On a later Christmas, he got me a searchlight car, so we'd turn off the lights and watch the lit train go around.

Eventually we moved to the country to a small house with no room in the basement. The track went up against a wall and was soon forgotten about.

I mention all this because the siren call or setting up another model railroad layout is running through me. I even went to a train show in Wakefield. It sort of settled in my mind, that the last thing I should do is get involved in building a model railroad layout. I'm mostly interested in running trains, not all the work to get a setup built. These days you can buy a lot of stuff ready-made and I suppose I could just set up "iconic" structures as I did when I was a kid, but I know I'd want more and I'd want to run the trains. But I also feel like I'd eventually lose focus. I'd get tired of the layout or just stop running the trains and then it'd just be taking up space.

But still...it itches at me.

So this weekend I swung by the model railroad store in Malden. It's a pretty big place, but the shop has quite a bit of O-gauge stuff (like the Lionel trains I had as a kid) along with G-scale. G-scale is short for Garden Scale. It's twice the size of O-guage trains so the engines are about 2.5 feet long and loaded with detail.

They are gorgeous. Just a huge detailed hefty piece of train. The engines were massive and the boxcars were bright and colorful. Of course, G-scale trains don't normally run indoors, you set it up outdoors and thread the track through flower beds -- it's garden school for a reason.

And again, I was seized with an unreasonable desire to set up one of these monsters. It's impractical for so many reasons. My yardwork mostly consists of trying to mow as little as possible. I've got a black thumb. The trains could only run for a small portion of the year and would be an attractive nuisance to children, animals and vandals in the neighborhood. Too much trouble.

But man, are those trains beautiful.

later
Tom

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