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About Railtunes

  • Birthday 10/20/1944

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Sunnyvale, California, USA [San Francisco Bay Area]
  • Interests
    N scale: Asian railways in Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, et al.; British, mainly Scotland, Canadian Pacific in British Columbia and Alberta, Australian NSW, VR QR, CR.
    Modular railway modeling concepts. Multiple prototypes using the same layout elements. Branchlines. Operations schemes for branchlines: token block operation.
    Coordinator for AsiaNRail modular group, San Francisco Bay Area, California. Member of Peninsula NTRAK, NMRA

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  1. Railtunes

    What did you do on your layout today?

    Following our last display of the AsiaNRail layout at the Hiller Museum in April, we decided that we were really tired of dealing with joiner tracks to connect the modules together. Encouraged by the success of a couple of test interfaces on Brad Myer's AsiaNRail modules, and taking a cue from our friends at Freemo-N, I'm now in the process of upgrading all my modules to flush-end interfaces. We use Peco code 55 track as our standard, and this track is pretty bullet proof. I just carefully measure the required additional track needed at each interface and then cut it from our old joiner tracks, which are already ballasted. The new interfaces require only a minimum touch up to the ballast. To help prevent any flange snags at the new interfaces, I carefully chamfer the inside corner of each railhead at the interface a couple of millimeters to help guide the wheels across the joints. This saves a lot of frustration, especially with wheelsets with a knife-edge flange profile. On the few 2-track interfaces we have, it's important to be get track centerline spacing precise. With the help of the Peco no. 336 6-foot way gauge, this is easy. The track centers are 26.5mm apart. I also made a brass gauge that is even sturdier and fits onto the top of the two tracks to hold them in place at the correct spacing while the glue dries. I'm also taking the opportunity to check all the turnout machines for mechanical and electrical function. We use Electrofrog Peco turnouts with the frogs wired to either the Tortoise machine contacts or one set of contacts on the 3PDT toggle switches we use to control the rotary motors or manual controls, as in our staging [Steijing] yard. I've also rebuilt a couple of the narrower module interfaces for better alignment when clamping. Having flush interfaces makes this more critical. So far, I've completed several of the smaller modules - 10 out of what will total about 35 modules - and will have them all ready by next month, in plenty of time for our next outing with the layout at the Train Days event in Los Gatos, California in September. Paul Ingraham, AsiaNRail Coordinator
  2. Railtunes

    The Introduction Thread...

    Hello, Kiran - and welcome to the forum! I'm an N scale modeler and coordinator of AsiaNRail, a modular N scale group on the San Francsco peninsula, focusing on diverse Asian railway modeling. I live just two blocks from the Sunnyvale, California, CalTrain station, the next stop south of you in Mountain View! Another of our members, Junior Flores [Serotta1972], mentioned your post and suggested I contact you. Like Junior, I also sometimes go to the Crockett model railway club to run trains on their club layout, and I could give you a ride there if you'd like to visit. You can contact me more directly at my personal email <pei@sonic.net>, and we can arrange to meet. Meanwhile, you can get a bit of an idea about my modeling interests in my reply to Graham (above) regarding his - and my - multi-prototype approach to modeling and in my profile. Looking forward to meeting you. - Paul Ingraham [railtunes]
  3. Railtunes

    The Introduction Thread...

    Hello, Graham - and welcome back! I'm coordinator for the AsiaNRail modular group here in the San Francisco Bay Area. A couple of our other members, Sam [Kiha66] and Junior [Serotta1972], have also posted replies to other nearby postings and elsewhere on this forum. I'm another modeller doing multiple prototypes with interchangeable scenery elements and structures. I have a modular N scale layout that depicts scenes from several different prototypes worldwide. My Asian prototype line is the Pingxi branchline in northeastern Taiwan, but also supports scenes from Japan, Korea and the Philippines. I also use those same modules to serve my British [Kyle of Lochalsh line in Scotland] and Canadian [Canadian Pacific Nakusp subdivision in southeastern B.C.] branchline interests. I'm now adding a fourth prototype to the mix with an Australian theme, though I haven't made a definitive choice for that prototype yet, pending further research into possible branch lines that fit into the overall schematic operational format of my railway. Any Aussies on the forum that would care to offer suggestions are strongly encouraged to do so!!! The key to making this work is that all the chosen lines are branchlines with the same basic configuration: a single track branchline starting from a mainline junction, running through mountainous terrain, and terminating at a port, using a bit of modeller's license where required to accomplish that general scenario. As "landmarks" for each line, I've chosen one iconic element and modeled its track layout fairly closely. The structures and other scenic details within each module are then made interchangeable among the four prototypes. I also have some European continental stock left from a previous Swiss layout, along with Spanish Talgo equipment. I'm finding this to be an interesting approach to the hobby that allows me to pursue international interests without being too outlandish in my mix of trains and their environment - unless I want to be, just to spite the "rivet counters"! Keep us posted on how you are pursuing this creative challenge! - Paul Ingraham [railtunes], Coordinator, AsiaNRail N scale modular group, San Francisco Bay Area, California
  4. Railtunes

    AsiaNRail in Los Altos

    Hi, Junior, Sorry you won't be able to actually run with us. And, of course, you also don't get the free dinner Friday and breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Awww...... You will get to pay admission instead of getting in free, like the rest of us, but it should still be a great show. See you this weekend. - Paul
  5. Railtunes

    Brooklyn Locomotive Works

    Yes, this is nostalgia. I've bought stuff from Pete Postel, like, "forever". When I was manufacturing the Interail double stack cars back in the 1980s, Pete was one of my best dealers. He will be missed, but I hope his brother will continue his legacy. - Paul Ingraham
  6. Railtunes

    AsiaNRail in Los Altos

    Great news, Sam! Love to have you with us again this year! I'll get you more details as Train Days approaches. I'm off to Denver next week for the National Narrow Gauge convention. I'm going to put my Thai locomotive on display to add some color to the drab Rio Grande stuff that will no doubt dominate the model contest room. Don't run into any navy ships on the way up here, sailor! - Paul
  7. Railtunes

    What did you order or the post deliver?

    I just received the Tomytec Kumamoto Railway Kumamon 2-car set, along with the TM-08R power chassis and the pantographs. I've been focusing my Japanese interests on Kyushu for a while now. I have a friend with family in Kyushu (Nagasaki) and my city of Sunnyvale, California, has an home stay exchange arrangement (sort of a long weekend B-n-B program) with our sister city Iizuka in Kyushu, so this seemed like an appropriate model to add to my collection. And the Kumamon bear is kinda cute anyway! My aforementioned friend also just gifted me with a copy of Early Japanese Railways: 1853-1914, a well-researched chronicle of the historical and social background to the Meiji Era development of Japan's railways. This is a great resource for understanding the impact of railways in the modernization of Japan during that period. Paul Ingraham, AsiaNRail.
  8. Railtunes

    AsiaNRail in Los Altos

    AsiaNRail will have an N scale modular layout at the annual Train Days event at the Los Altos History Museum, Los Altos, California (San Francisco Peninsula area), on Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17, 2017, 10 am to 4 pm both days. Layout setup will be late afternoon and evening on Friday, September 15. Besides our layout, there will also be an NTRAK layout and a new N scale European modular layout, as well as layouts and displays in larger scales. Come join us - and bring your Asian trains to run. The AsiaNRail layout is a single track branch line style layout, but, since we're also associated with the NTRAK folks, who will be set up right beside us, you can run your Shinkansen and other mainline trains there. There is even a Japanese corner module in the NTRAK layout! Also, for participants, we get home-cooked dinner Friday night and breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday, courtesy of the museum. How often do you get that at a train show! So, come join us! If you plan to participate, please let me know so I can make a badge for you! - Paul Ingraham, Coordinator, AsiaNRail
  9. Railtunes

    What did you do on your layout today?

    Reply to message 564 from marknewton: Thanks for the note. So, what was your association with the 44 class: driver for NSWR, railfan, modeller? For me it was the "internationalism" of the model and, of course, it was an ALCO! I'm currently working on another kitbash of the "World" Alco. Indian railways had the second most number of these - 99, compared to Australia's 100 - and they did a kitbash of one unit by putting a second full cab (probably from a retired loco) on the flat end. I've got a couple extra old Ibertren shells around and figured out that the kitbash will fit on a Kato SD-40 chassis, so this should be something unique on several counts! See the attached photo of the prototype. Still no sign yet of the new 44 class from Phil Badger. I've had my order in for some time now, so I guess I'll have to drop him a note to see how things are coming along. - Paul Ingraham, AsiaNRail
  10. Railtunes

    What did you do on your layout today?

    G-day, Khaul! Yes, the NSW 44 class is a complete redetailing, repainting and repowering of the Ibertren RENFE ALCO 1600. When I built the model in 1981 I was fortunate to have Aussie friends who supplied the photos, plans and decals for the project - no internet back then! I also wrote up the project for the Australian Model Railway Magazine who published it in issue 111, Vol. 10, No. 6, December 1981. You may have that issue or can access it fairly easily, since it's your local publication. If not, I have a scan of the article I can send you if you contact me directly: < pei @ sonic.net > [minus the spaces, of course]. I am currently anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new 44 class model from Phil Badger (Gopher Models) - along with the 36 class 4-6-0 and some other bits. Last week I got a parcel of freight stock from Aust-N-Rail and, a few months ago, I found some other Aussie N scale bits in a local NMRA auction, so I'm finally making good on the stated intention that I made in the 1981 article to do some Aussie modelling. Paul Ingraham, AsiaNRail
  11. I just got several eclectic orders: From Aust-N-Rail: a bunch of NSW and Victorian Australian freight rolling stock. And I'm expecting the new New South Wales 44 Class ALCO Diesel along with a Class 36 4-6-0 and some additional stock from Gopher Models momentarily. From Gung-Ho Miniatures: Some new Taiwan N scale structures and scenic details to add to my Taiwan modules. And there's more stuff on the way: buses and structures. Wei is really making Taiwan modeling easy with some very fine quality models! From "Train Friend" in Moscow, on ebay: a replacement refrigerator car roof to convert the old Piko Easter Bloc cars to Russian prototype. I also previously got a resin kit from him for a Russian postal car to go with the Piko coaches. It can also pass for a Chinese car. From Model Power: The new, updated 4-4-0 which will become Yosemite Valley number 23. And there's more on the way from Canada and Japan and Hong Kong. Paul Ingraham, AsiaNRail
  12. Railtunes

    What did you do on your layout today?

    Yesterday and this morning I did some retrofitting and upgrading of models I made in the 1970s and 80s. All of these models have since been superseded by more modern offerings, but I wanted to get these running again as momentos of what we early N scalers had to do "back in the day" to get decent running models. The models are Lone Star rubber band drive and Ibertren 3-rail models that I repowered with Minitrix mechanisms, which were some of the best running and pulling locos of the day. However, over time, the bushings on the motor shafts began to slip, so I removed these and squared off the shafts. I fitted square brass tubing over these to seat into the drive shaft connector to the trucks. This prohibits any slippage and the locos all run great again. In the process, I also replaced some of the worn motor brushes, cleaned up all the electrical contacts, relubricated everything and touched up some paint. Attached are photos of the locos involved: First: two British Lone Star models: Type 2 D5100 Class 24 Bo-Bo and Type 2 D5900 Class Bo-Bo. Second: Ibertren RENFE (Spanish) 2100 Class ALCO and Ibertren New South Wales (Australian) 44 Class ALCO "World". Finally, my A-B-A Canadian Pacific set. All three units are powered, drawbarred and interwired for reliability. Canadian modelers: I now know about the roof stripe - which I didn't back in the 1970s - so no "rivet counting", please! - Paul Ingraham, AsiaN (and other) Rail
  13. Railtunes

    Looking for fellow Bay Area modelers

    Looks like I'll be able to join you all in Crockett on Saturday. I like maple donuts. I can bring some snacks as well. - Paul
  14. Railtunes

    Looking for fellow Bay Area modelers

    My Taiwan HST Shinkansen and some new Chinese stuff need an outing. Let me know if you folks are going to Crockett this coming Saturday, February 18, and what time. I may be able to join you. I used to know some of the members in the Crockett club W-A-A-A-Y many years ago, so this could also be a chance for me to to renew acquaintances. - Paul
  15. Railtunes

    Looking for fellow Bay Area modelers

    This is great! I'll have to make a trip up to Crockett and join you guys, so keep me posted when you're planning to be there! Also a reminder that we have an AsiaNRail layout setup coming up in April, 2017. We will be at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos for their annual Spring "Planes and Trains" show for the ENTIRE WEEK beginning with setup on Friday, April 7 and running from Saturday, April 8 through Saturday, April 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m every day. We'll probably have a connection to the Peninsula NTRAK layout through Brad Myer's Japanese hot springs module, and possibly an additional loop from one of the Freemo-N guys who models Japanese. I'm still working out the layout configuration details, but, with a WHOLE WEEK to have the layout set up, we can definitely use some people to run trains whenever they are available, especially on weekdays. As I mentioned, Peninsula NTRAK will be there, as will Silicon Valley Freemo-N, so N scale will be well represented, along with G scale and Lionel. This is always a great show, focused on modeling (no sellers there) in a clean, well-lighted and secure place. And you get to see airplanes too! Any Asian prototype N scalers are totally invited and welcome to join us and bring trains to run on the NTRAK layout for big, long and fast mainline trains and the AsiaNRail layout for those cuddly little branchline ones. Please let me know if you can join us for all or part of the show run so I can plan things better. Also consider an after-show break down "Meet and Greet" dinner together at a Japanese (or other) restaurant nearby on Saturday evening, Aprll 16. - Paul Ingraham, coordinator, AsiaNRail