Ramblings of a frustrated armchair Railway Modeller

Everyone is entitled to my opinion, so I've decided to enter the blog-o-sphere in order to share them with you.
My focus is the rationale and development of my model railway, but I am likely to wander off topic from time to time.

Friday, March 10, 2017

On30 Modules? You'll be sorry you asked...

I'm a Canadian On30 Module Pioneer.

My experience with On30 goes back to ~2000 through the Ask the Bachmann forum and the On30 Conspiracy.

Realizing that I didn't have the time or space for a home layout, it was suggested that I build modules.

The Bachmann forum also got me interested in On30 so I joined the On30 Conspiracy.

A few people asked about Module Standards for On30 and were shouted down with:

St@nd@rds? We don't need no stinkin' St@nd@rds!

So a new Yahoo! Group was spun off to develop On30 Module Standards. Through lots of debate we developed OCUMS (On30Conspiracy Universal Module Standards) which Bobber Gibbs arbitrarily mid-stream changed to OCMODS (On30Conspiracy Module Standards).

But in the end; the OCMODS did not receive an On30Conspiracy endorsement.

A few of us who had worked to develop the Standards re-branded them the On30 Coalition Module Standards (OCMODS) and I put together the website to preserve them. 

In 2003 I presented my first (Still under construction) On30 modules at the Maple Leaf Train Show which was part of the NMRA Convention that birthed the Canadian Association of Railway Modellers (CAoRM).

I even wrote a couple of articles about building On30 Modules for Light Iron Digest, but my best work on the subject are these two articles:
Free-MOn30: Interface Plate Scenic Profile:
Interface Plate White Paper:

However, without the endorsement of the On30Conspiracy combined with the lack of interest locally I was ready to dump On30 and Modules.

Then Chris Abbott pulled me back in. He, along with Lynn Caron, Don Hamilton and Rob Hupfield were going to build a bunch of On30 Modules with narrow (12" wide) scenic profile interface plates and 4% grades on the mainline.

We presented our work-in-progress Upper Canada & Algonquin Railway (UC&A) at the Ontario Narrow Gauge Show in Schomberg Ontario.

I was also one of the original organizers of the Ontario Narrow Gauge Show in Schomberg Ontario, along with Chris Creighton, Brian Fayle, Chris Abbott and a few others for the first six years. But that's another story...

Then it seemed that On30 Modules became a dead end. I got fed up with the shrinking group and the failure to attract new members. Combine that with my own frustrations with my own lack of progress on my own modules and I found it difficult to proceed.  

My own interests in model railroading were leading in a different direction.

Chris Abbott dropped out of the Module Group to pursue S-Scale Standard Gauge with the S Scale Workshop.
Don Hamilton supported the group in spirit but did not build any modules.
Work and other interests pulled Rob Hupfield away from the group so that he was absent from some showings and work sessions.
Lynn Caron continues to muddle along, I suppose.

I left my big balloon loop module set with Lynn Caron, who was able to find it a new home...

Modular Persuits

On the subject of Modules, I've written plenty...

Several connected webpages and documents starting here on the On30 Coalition Module St@nd@rds (OCMODS)

I don't want to duplicate what Bob has written on Railway Bob's Module Building Tips except to add a bit to his T-Nuts For Alignment Pins/Bolts 

Using blind T-nuts to help align Module Interface Plates is a great idea. 

From experience, it can be a PITA to get the bolts to start threading into nuts. Cross threading is a real hobgoblin. So, I suggest using longer bolts with the threads filed off the first 3/4" of the end. Then you can slip the bolt into the nut nice and straight and then start turning without having any crossed threads.

This will give you alignment AND make it easy to thread the nuts and bolts together...

Use an even longer bolt and you can add a wingnut for easy finger tightening...

Having the Blind T-nuts on one end of the module and the "sighted" T-nuts on the other will work for N-Track style modules with a front and rear.

For Free-Mo style modules that can be turned end-for-end you have to put a Blind and Sighted T-nut at each Interface Plate as shown in the diagram.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Frivilous Passtime Part D'oh!

Model Railroading and I have had a life long love/hate relationship.
That light you see at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train...
That light you see at the end of the tunnel...

Space/Time/Money are finite as is the amount of energy I can generate.

I started with an HO trainset and then dabbled in On30 and fell in love with Narrow Gauge. However, On30 doesn't fit.

I really got my heart set on HOn42 but that only lead to agony and grief.

I'm stuck in a very deep rut.

If you observe the publication dates on the blog you can see it's been a while.

I've been stuck in neutral, going nowhere fast. If only I could finish one little project it would be a real breakthrough.

I've recently come to a realization that I've got too much junk and it is like carrying around some sort of anchor holding me in the past.

I've accumulated a bunch of HO stuff over the years and almost none of it fits the era/theme/gestalt of what I want to do in model railroading and the effort and expense of bashing and converting everything is overwhelming.

I need to purge as much stuff as possible so that I don't feel so beholden to it and maybe restart with a clean slate.

I started going through my Model Railway stuff and a lot of it I haven't touched in nearly a decade. A lot of it is cast offs from other people from when they decluttered.

There's some stuff that I want to keep for sentimental reasons.

There's some stuff that will hopefully be useful in the future.

However, there's a bunch of stuff that I just need to get rid of.

Some of it I want to give back, other things that I can pay forward and maybe a little that will pay off.

Hopefully, not too much will go to landfill.

May the gods of evilbay smile upon me.