Honey, can I build a garden railway in the back yard ?

Greg Elmassian

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I agree, when you run into a situation like that, often they trip themselves up all on their own without any help. This guy did a 180 degree turn from "who are you" to asking a lot of questions and for my opinion on a number of things. He did not skip a beat. But we have a really weird phenomenon here (in the US at least), when someone that is very wealthy, apparently some people treat them like gods and look up to them as being wise, kind, knowledgable, etc. I simply look at them as wealthy. Of course there is another reaction from people feel disadvantaged. It's just a hobby.

On the layout, since some of the mapping software shows the layout and some does not, it must have been dismantled fairly recently. I'll contact my buddies in Arizona and see when it was removed... too bad as it was a colossal amount of work, and the only thing that can be salvaged would be the track I assume, all the custom grading and concrete work.

Greg
 

Paul M

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In NZ, we have saying/thing, called Tall Poppy Syndrome, somewhat akin to what you have described....... I've seen this in the model railway field.
I often relate the story from a time I was exhibiting at a show, and this Flash Harry wanders by, trying to impress these two Dolly Birds he had in tow......
'Oh, and these guys use Shinohara track, its a special fine scale one, but expensive. And that loco is an F7, they didn't have any of those in NZ. And, S scale is a lot bigger than that'
I was showing an NZR layout, in Sn3½, with hand laid track (correct sleeper size/space, and rail code). The loco was an English Electric cab unit, one of a series of 42 that we had. I think one of the sheilas saw me rolling my eyes. I stayed silent, as I don't want to dent his ego :angel:
Who are these Dolly Birds? A few more like that, interested in trains, and the world would be a happier place
 

Gavin Sowry

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Who are these Dolly Birds? A few more like that, interested in trains, and the world would be a happier place
I rather deduced that they had scant interest in trains, but, rather, the bulge in the bloke's jeans (the rear pocket bulge, ...what did you think I meant?)
 

Gavin Sowry

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But we have a really weird phenomenon here (in the US at least), when someone that is very wealthy, apparently some people treat them like gods and look up to them as being wise, kind, knowledgable, etc. I simply look at them as wealthy.
Must be contagious, we got 'em here, too. We call them chequebook modellers. Unfortunately, the popular media give them more credence than the true experts (actual ones, as opposed to self appointed ones). Mind you, we'll have to think of another name for them now, as of next week, the banking system in NZ now longer deals with cheques (checks), but will deal with Czechs (racial discrimination, and all that).
 

Gavin Sowry

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Must be contagious, we got 'em here, too. We call them chequebook modellers. Unfortunately, the popular media give them more credence than the true experts (actual ones, as opposed to self appointed ones). Mind you, we'll have to think of another name for them now, as of next week, the banking system in NZ now longer deals with cheques (checks), but will deal with Czechs (racial discrimination, and all that).
Actually, I've been giving some thought to the 'humanity' in the hobby, and variations thereof. In the interests of group harmony, I shall refrain from airing my tastes here, and join a group on Sociology, Psychology, Physiology (Dolly Birds, as mentioned), or Someotherology. :eek:
 

Paul M

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Must be contagious, we got 'em here, too. We call them chequebook modellers. Unfortunately, the popular media give them more credence than the true experts (actual ones, as opposed to self appointed ones). Mind you, we'll have to think of another name for them now, as of next week, the banking system in NZ now longer deals with cheques (checks), but will deal with Czechs (racial discrimination, and all that).
Well yes but Cheque Book Modellers are useful to us Shoestring Modellers, when they get bored, they sell of their expensive things cheaply. They also keep our favourite suppliers in business by buying expensive things they don't really need, and then paying someone to sort out the mess they've made
 
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Greg Elmassian

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It's true, but the "fad" of large scale in the USA sort of backfired, Aristo, Bachmann and USA Trains started making larger and larger manufacturing runs and got hit with a lot of excess inventory, and Aristo went bust, USAT stopped manufacturing new stuff, and Bachmann says it's out of large scale (other than the Big Hauler)...

Has taken a few years of drought before we have started seeing things. Dennis Sirrine alone helped impact the size of production runs.

Greg
 

Greg Elmassian

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jimmielx

45mm gauge track - approx 16mm scale (1:19)
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A documentary about this line just popped up in my YouTube Feed...
 

Greg Elmassian

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I'd never seen that video. Pretty funny now seeing the mistakes made. He blames someone for recommending soldering jumpers between sections, but look in the background... clearly the person soldering knows nothing about soldering.... you can see at least 30 seconds of the iron applied to the rail... This is what happens when you know nothing about soldering, heat on plastic, and employ someone who knows even less than you do. No wonder the track was damaged. But he blames some guy that told him it was a good idea... the guy should have said "provided you know something about soldering"..

Also, I believe dual rail benders were available then, rather than pull each rail from the ties. Again whoever was coaching him (if there was a person) was not much help.

Another thing that was weird, is that he used what we call "wire nuts" to connect the power wires, not really suited for an outdoor environment. Should have been a single jumper soldered AFTER the track was in place, not soldered to each section requiring another joint.

Funny thing that he underestimated the height of the container cars and had to raise the tunnel....

I see he did find the issue with the Aristo Wide Radius switches as I did (he calls them #4 which is the correct frog number).

There's easier ways to modify the turnout frog, funny, instead of sanding down the frog top and scratching up the rails, you can use a router with a 1/2" or 3/4" flat bottom cutter, and make it level with the bottom of the router, do that and you only cut down what is higher than the rails, i.e. the frog.

Deepening the frog was done with several hack saw blades ganged together the width of the flangeway.

To be fair, in those years we were all learning how to fix Aristo switches.

Notice at 21:31 he indicates the layout is on under 1 acre of land, not 4... the entire property is 4 acres, the layout is less than 1 acre. We had some argument about that, but the overhead maps and finally Dennis himself confirms the actual layout size.

Funny, when he talks about the lack of quality locos, and he said eventually they became available, and most of his stuff is brass or die cast locos, it's a set of plastic USA Trains F3's or NW2 or S4 switchers.

The question I always had about why he was half battery was answered, he "heard" that track power had issues with polarity, and he could not control his trains independently. Unbelievable that he did not research track powered remote control, like DCC, with all the infinite funds he had, but clearly he did not do much research on his options himself and did not surround himself with experts, most of the work on the layout was clearly unskilled labor.

He did figure out to go pneumatic switch motors, but how he controlled them was a mess.

All the trains are squished sideways in the video up to 43 minutes, notice how short the cars are. Then it magically shifts to better quality and a proper aspect ratio. I mention this because spotting the manufacture of the trains in the beginning is a bit tougher, but once you see the Aristo heavyweights you can then see that all the trains are squished.

93 cars on one train. After he cut out the sections of rail they damaged by incompetent soldering, that shows he finally got it running nicely. When I visited at the convention in Phoenix, the track was dead straight and beautiful. He still complained that the experts steered him wrong, but it was people who knew nothing about soldering that he chose. Like I mentioned in previous posts, you could not tell him anything about trains, he knew it all, but when things went wrong he blamed others.

Funny he went to a large expense to change to lithium batteries because they are "smaller, better, faster", but none of his locos were small and battery size should not have been an issue.

At around 56:11 you see him with an AirWire controller in one hand, and the walkie talkie he used to call the guy at the house to activate turnouts.

All in all, a beautiful layout, that eventually got to smooth operation, but never was modernized to reliable multi train control or remote control of turnouts, which was too bad. Now it's gone but it and Dennis will be remembered.

Another video to watch is Dan from Eaglewings, also in arizona... his display layout has a lot of bridges...


At about 16:40 dennis comes on the video, and you can see the staging track extensions in the garage that Dennis used to set up long trains.

at 57:25 you can see Dan's display layout, bet you cannot count how many bridges there are!

Finally a video that shows the massive amount of rolling stock Dennis amassed (he owned restaurants, which is where the bakers cooling racks come from):

Anyway it was an interesting time, basically a lot of people learning how to overcome issues in larger layouts.

Greg
 

Paul M

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Useful man to to watch then. As the saying goes WE learn by HIS mistakes. But it does show that running before you can walk is not recommended
 

Greg Elmassian

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Notice that his layout is gone, these videos are showing up now, most made quite a few years ago. Post #28 shows the satellite view confirming the layout has been removed.

What I learned is if you establish yourself as an expert, and only listen to a couple of people, and think because you have unlimited funds, you do NOT always make the right decisions. I don't know if he was ever able to use a more advanced remote control system, or ever have remote control of his turnouts, for all the money he invested.

Greg
 

dunnyrail

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I know most people can only dream of having such a layout, but when it comes down to it, would any actually enjoy having it? It must take hours of maintenance, even battery powered, and having to employ people to run it with you creates its own problems.
Funny I must be one of the ones that do not dream of such a layout. Yes I would like more than I have but only space for my Stations to be perhaps more to scale and more like the real thing. Possibly more scenic with concreted and connifered hills. Perhaps a little but not much more run between stations. And certainly a natural backdrop beyond the yard rather than a wooden fence. Oh and yes to manage to get my Harz 2-10-2’s battryficated.
 

Greg Elmassian

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I could see it would be fun to have, but really you would need several people with you to enjoy it in my opinion. Besides being underutilized with one small train, the maintenance would just be huge, and running trains all by yourself on such a massive layout would seem to be a bit lonely, if that makes sense.

It would be a great club layout, but still it would need someone with deep pockets to keep maintained, as while as a group, we are great guys ( :giggle: ), when it comes to having club dues like $200 per year, you would find few volunteers. Like many hobbies for older people, there may be some expensive purchases, but money is tight!

Greg
 

GAP

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"Like many hobbies for older people, there may be some expensive purchases, but money is tight!"

In addition I would add that not everyone has access to the resources needed and have to make do.
Postage/Freight is a killer for me it almost doubles the price of thing I would like to buy. :cry::cry:
That's why you get dodgy fixes and work-arounds on my line. :rolleyes::rolleyes: