Welcome to SouthwestTrakers blog. We are dedicated to sharing N-Scale model railroading through the use of T-Trak modules. We are in Lubbock, Texas, USA and currently number 7 modelers, well over 50 presentable modules, with over 24 modules cut out and in some stage of becoming presentable.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

National Train Day

May 7, 2011 is National Train Day in America.  

The North Texas T-Trak is creating an astonishing 30 MILE T-Trak layout in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex.  Hear about how they're doing it and the reaction by the rest of the world at the t-trak Yahoo group, starting with message #5356:




Saturday, April 16, 2011

Arts Festival 2011 Show Setup

Here's the diagram and module list of the recent layout at the Lubbock Arts Festival. No attempt is made to show any sidings, etc.

We had to reduce the size of the layout "on-the-fly" since the room was smaller than the one used in years past. As it turned out, the "Colt-45" modules bought us quite a bit of space by folding the upper and lower 'wings' allowing the layout to move against a wall. The top and left corners were against walls.

The layout was open and receptive to visitors, allowing a large number of people to file through rather smoothly. Now, for a goos way to allow close looking by visitors, but minimize the earthquakes that occur, level 5 on the 'finger' scale.

There are videos on You Tube under my posting name, wasunka. Search for the southWestTrakers, TTrak, or N Scale tags.

This makes three shows in 2011, four going back to October 2010 in which we have added at least one new module and used a different layout arrangement, yielding a very different look each time.

I think we are learning just a little out here in West Texas,

S/W Joe

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 2 of the Lubbock Arts Festival

We had another great day of running trains.   The visitors today were nearly all families with children.  Although we didn't count visitors, I would estimate we had nearly a thousand folks come through.  It was busy all day but never crowded to the point of being uncontrollable.  I spent most of the day at the entrance of the room greeting everyone with, "Welcome to our little  empire!  Please don't touch anything!"  

Mostly it worked.  We had a couple  of major 5-finger earthquakes, and 10 or so minor ones. I also got to see my very first Coca-Cola tsunami when Joe tried  to open his coke and it  spewed all over his industrial  module.  It shut down the mainline for about 10 minutes as the cleanup crew moved in to contain and remove the caustic spill.  

We also got to show off our work to lots of family, friends, and co-workers who came to see what at times consumes our energy and attention.  And we got to visit with several prospective new modelers and a couple of old-time modelers who need to get back into the hobby (you know who you are!)

Joe took some video of Rattlesnake Junction, the series of modules between the yard and the passenger terminal, through many curves in a short space.  When viewed down the  length of the track, a train really does look just like a snake.

I'll get the  video or a link to it as soon as Joe gets it ready.

Sunday is a short day for us.  We'll just be running for a couple  of hours after lunch before we  begin to tear down and head home.

That's all for now.  We're not done having fun!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lubbock Arts Festival Day 1 Report

The big news:  we all survived Friday.  I say survived because that's the day the school brings classes to the Arts Festival by the bus load.  This year it was 2nd graders I think.  A conservative estimate is that probably 500 kiddos came through the train room during about a three hour period.  It was quite hectic, very crowded, and the children were surprisingly well behaved.   We only had three known "five finger earthquakes" and resulting derails.  Considering that we do not use ropes to keep the crowds at bay, and the instability of many of the tables, we felt fortunate.

We didn't quite achieve our layout design goal.  The room just wasn't large enough.  So we added 45-degree modules on two sides of the wye, which turned it into more of a tee shape.  The resulting layout was almost the shape of  a big ''M".  It worked  out  perfectly for crowd flow.

Our newest member, Jay, spent the entire day with us.  He brought his trains and ran for a bit early in the day.  We have a probably new member, Ron, as a result of the show.  He is a member of a singing group performing at the Arts Festival, so he could not spend much time  with us, but he came through two or three  times, got to know all of us briefly, and seems like he will probably join us.  

I never got  my camera out yesterday, so no photos of day one.  Today, we will have  more families coming to view  the layout, so it  will be more  peaceful and less busy.  So I will get some photos taken, and  will post  them here and on our yahoo group, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SouthWestTrakers/


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Getting ready for the Lubbock Arts Festival show

Here it is the night before setup and I (and I suspect the rest of the fellows) am frantically trying to get everything ready.  The new module, the Wye, has scenery glue drying.  Sure hope it holds the bushes I glued down a while ago.  Here's a diagram of what we hope to be able to set up, using the Wye module for the first time

Printing up business cards while I write this.  We hope to attract new members and possibly new modelers as well.

I've got my tool box loaded.  I'll find out in about 12 hours what I forgot.  The level, wrench and cordless driver ar ethe essentials for setup, and I have those for sure.

I have two new engines that just arrived yesterday.  Bachmann Spectrums, both of them.  One 40-ton switcher and one 70-ton switcher.  Both are DCC equipped, so I can wait to get them broken in, even if it is under DC power.

Joe and I are SO CLOSE to getting our new Digitrax equipment ready to go.  The power supplies are on backorder, and we are using that as our excuse. The Wye module is actually an integral part of our DCC plans.  Joe has mounted a Digitrax Panel into an electrical box and mounted it on top of 7 feet of PVC which will extend up through a hole in the middle of the Wye.  This will be the receiving station for our radion controlled DCC.

I'll post a picture in the next day or two of it in action.

We (Darrell, Joe and Myself) are going to meet for breakfast bright and early in the morning, and then head to the Civic Center for setup.  

That's all for tonight.