My first experience with model railroads was as a child. My brother had a small H/O scale railroad that he played with. I then started building a N guage railroad. I played with the Kaydee magnetic decouplers and the electronic switches and had a grand old time. Unfortunately, they were just too small for the likes of me. I yearned for something I could ride on. If I could not have something I could ride on, at least something that was big enough to handle. A N guage railroad car just did not compare to a control-line model airplane.
Twenty five years later I get bit by the bug again. This time, they are larger trains. No, I still can not ride on them, but we are getting closer. I started my large guage model railroading experience with a Lehman's starter set. Rusty the little engine, a small box car and a gondala car with a four foot circle of track formed my first layout. Rusty ran around in circles for a few hours before everyone decided that we needed more track. Several trips to the local store and many calls to mail order houses later I have a modest layout that I can run around the house, or a tiny layout for the back yard. The same layout that fills the living room of our house is dwarfed in the back yard. At first I thought that all it meant was we need more track. Then we moved. While Rusty was mildly dwarfed by the 5 foot grape vine covered fense at our old house with its 6000 sq ft lot, using every bit of track and every car I have makes an insiginficant dot in the front yard of our new house. Clearly something bigger is needed for a one acre (or bigger) lot.
I am currently buying track as I can aford it to construct an L shaped loop in the back yard and have been studying the available 22.5:1 buildings to give the layout a little spice. I still use exclusively LGB sectional track although I have recently purchased my first non-LGB train. I bought a USA Trains 20 tonner christmas engine a few weeks ago. It is a nice little engine and far more cost effective than the LGB christmas engine I purchased six months before.
I made a short video of Rusty touring my layout. I had them posted here to compare the quality of Microsoft NetShow verses REAL video formats. I eventually gave up as neither of them produced what I would consider good quality even from a T.1 connected site. The quality of the video was unacceptable and the speed was disapointing. Finally, both of the packages provided sample HTML to interface to their streaming video plugins. None of this code was worth using. Maybe the technology will inprove in a few more years, but until then, no video publishing for me.
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Last updated on 02 October 2001.
Copyright © 1998-2001 by Michael Spann.