The Rip Track Podcast is an audio show that includes segments on railroad history, news, model railroad tips, reviews and almost anything else that has to do with prototype and/or model railroading. The first episode was uploaded on May 2, 2009. To subscribe to this podcast, point your podcatcher at the RSS feed. The podcast is also listed in the iTunes Store. Check back here or on the Rip Track home page for the newest episodes as they are uploaded. How you can help: Producing a podcast takes a lot of time and resources. While I had originally planned to work on this as a primarily solo venture, I realize that I just don't have the time or money to add everything that I want to add. If you'd like to help with the production (you'd get full credit for the parts I use in the show that you helped on), here are some things that you can do to add value and get your name out:
Create music snippets that can be used between or beneath segments of the podcast.
Record segments or parts of segments (i.e. convention reports, interviews, reviews, etc.) for inclusion in the podcast. Or, if you're lucky enough to afford it, sponsor me to work on the segment with you.
Suggest topics or Modeler's Moments for inclusion in future episodes - send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
Record a promo for the podcast that can be used by other podcasters.
Record a shoutout or podcast station ID that can be included in this podcast. Say something like "You're listening to The Rip Track Podcast at riptrack.net."
Podcast: Episode 1
Here it is, the first episode of The Rip Track Podcast. In this show I discuss NTSB recommendations R-09-1 through -5 that have to do with uniform railroad signaling, I list a number of significant events in railroad history that occurred in May throughout the years, offer an excerpt from the Conversations About Photography conference sponsored by the Center for Rail Photography and Art, and I close with a Modeler's Moment describing one way to save some money on your model railroad purchases.
Don Sims begins his lecture. Mark Hemphill points out a location discussed in his lecture.
Both photos by Hank Koshollek.
We continue the show with episode 2. In this episode, we take a look at some interesting railroad junctions, some small rail-served industries and their modeling potential, and we hear a story about a newly hired switchman on his first trip to a distant yard for an assignment.
Bob Wundrock describes a call working on the Soo Line in 1971, a story he calls "Lucky 711"
An excerpt from a clinic presented by Randy Garnhart at the joint RRVD/SCWD NMRA meeting in Rockford. His clinic described interesting junctions on the prototype. Maps of the two junctions described in this excerpt, Earlville and West Chicago, Illinois, are shown to the right.
An excerpt from a clinic presented by Jerry Pfeiffer also at the joint RRVD/SCWD NMRA meeting in Rockford. His clinic was titled "Industries you can model and the freight cars that go with them." This excerpt includes discussion of log loading operations at Kings, Lanark and Dakota, Illinois, and delivering plastic pellets to a film products industry in Ladd, Illinois.
We close with a Modeler's Moment to get you thinking about the different kinds of industries that are around you that would work well on an operations-based model railroad.
With this episode, things are falling into place and the show is officially fully established. First we hear an excerpt from the Conversations About Photography Conference where Stuart Klipper tells us about some of his inspirations for railroad photography. Then we go over a checklist to ensure that railfanning trips go well. In our Modeler's Moment, we discuss how to use railfanning as a model railroading tool, and finally, there's a little shameless self-promotion to finish off the episode.
When you go out railfanning, there are things you will need to bring with you as much as possible. These include (but are not limited to):
Maps and directions to get to the railfanning location and to get back from it.
Money for highway tolls, gasoline and overnight accommodations (especially for long distance trips, which also means that you should bring your medications and toiletries).
Timetables and prototype data.
A scanner loaded with the appropriate railroad radio frequencies.
Food and drink or money to buy it on the road.
Some reading material and activities to work on while you wait for trains.
A cell phone. Also, check with your cell provider to ensure that you will have coverage at the railfanning location.
A camera and the requisite accoutrements such as batteries, film or memory cards, lenses, filters, cleaning cloths, tripods and a convenient way to carry it all.
A coat or sweater and an umbrella.
A first-aid kit, including insect repellent and sunscreen.
A railfanning buddy.
In the Modeler's Moment for this episode, we discuss some of the ways to use railfanning as a model railroading tool.
Finally, we end with bit of shameless self-promotion...
Recent updates to The Rip Track website since episode 2 were a new poll and more steam locomotive names of North America including the initial release of the page listing names beginning with N. If you tried to create a login to leave comments, you need to watch for and reply to the "antispammer human validation" question at the email address you supplied with your login information.
Are you going to the Hartford National 2009 National Model Railroad Association Convention in July? Do you have a digital voice recorder? It might be closer than you think; my MP3 player, for example, has a built-in microphone and can record voice segments. Can you record (and request rebroadcast permission for) a clinic or two or a few quick "What's new" segments with some of the manufacturers?
Visit our Facebook page and become a fan to get updates on podcast production. You can also make comments there and suggest the page to your Facebook contacts.
Your podcast host listens to a lot of other podcasts and replied to one in an email to Lisa Louise Cooke of the Genealogy Gems podcast. She was kind enough to mention The Rip Track and put in an unexpected plug for this podcast when she read the email in the Family History podcast, episode 30, and she linked to The Rip Track in the show notes for that episode. So, to return the favor, please visit and listen to her podcasts too. Thanks, Lisa!
This podcast is now listed in the iTunes store. Please take a moment to leave a <subliminal_message>5-star positive</subliminal_message> review for others to read.
In this episode, we take a look through history for the bulk of the content. We start with a "biography" of one named steam locomotive that operated in the United States during the early days of railroading, and that you can still go see today. We follow that with a 1904 Edison recording called "Interrupted Courtship on the Elevated Railway", and then another excerpt from Randy Garnhardt's clinic "Interesting Junctions." In the Modeler's Moment, we review a few techniques to keep your model railroad locomotives operating well.
John Bull was built June 18, 1831, by Robert Stephenson and Company; it first operated in the US in September 1831. It was sold to the Smithsonian in 1885. The Pennsylvania Railroad restored it to operating condition and it ran under steam from Washington, DC, to Chicago and return in 1893. A replica was built in 1939 for operation at the New York World's Fair. John Bull's 100th birthday was celebrated on September 15, 1931; the celebration was broadcast on CBS Radio. The locomotive was restored and became the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world when it ran under its own power on September 15, 1981.
Podcast: Episode 5 - running trains and delivering coal
Model railroaders at an operating session.
Okay, so this is a day and a half later than the schedule that the first four episodes have followed. Well, here it is anyways. First we hear a narration from a model railroad operating session, then we hear an 1899 musical recording describing one sad passenger train ride. We continue with an excerpt from Jerry Pfeiffer's industry and freight cars clinic where he discusses coal deliveries in the Midwest. Finally, in the Modeler's Moment, we look at some model railroad uses for items that you might otherwise throw away.
Please Mr. Conductor, Don't Put Me Off This Train sung by Byron G. Harlan, 1899. Edison wax cylinder recording number 7219.
Former C&NW coal hoppers, cars now owned by Indiana Railroad, delivered to the municipal power plant in Madison, WI, in 2008.
Modern coal operations in the American midwest - an extract from the clinic Industries You Can Model and the Freight Cars that Go With Them by Jerry Pfeiffer, presented at the joint SCWD/RRVD NMRA meeting May 3, 2009 in Rockford, Illinois.
Modeler's Moment: model railroad uses for stuff you might throw away.
Reuse empty pasta sauce jars to hold scenery materials.
Empty 5-quart ice cream tubs can be used as buckets for mixing plaster.
Save an old toothbrush for spreading ballast.
Cut up and reassemble empty light cardboard boxes to make structure mockups.
Spent CO2 cartridges can simulate parts of heavy duty HVAC equipment on model industries.
Used dryer sheets can make handy wheel cleaning cloths.
Reuse empty prescription bottles or film cans for small parts storage.
Whatever you save, be sure to use it. Don't waste your storage space with empty containers.
For this episode, we'll take a look at the progression of speed records set by steam locomotives for various railways around the world. In the Modeler's Moment, we discuss a quick and easy way to improve the appearance of the track on our layouts. We close with a quick recap of updates to The Rip Track website.
First authenticated 100 mile per hour run on November 30, 1934, Flying Scotsman.
Current fastest authenticated steam locomotive run was July 3, 1938, with Mallard.
Modeler's Moment: improving track appearance
Spray paint in black, dark brown, dark red and one can that is close to the color of the dirt in the area that you're modeling.
Water based paints will avoid odors and chemical reactions with your scenery materials.
Spray the track from about the average viewing angle at a distance of about 1-2 feet away.
Spray a somewhat random pattern over the track, coloring both the ties and the rails with paint, but don't try to apply even coats. Use a spotty method to spray the paint onto the track, making sure to leave small areas of each color that aren't applied, but overlapping these spots so that no section of track is left completely unpainted.
Work generally from the darkest to the lightest colors, applying the surrounding dirt color last and as the lightest coat.
More heavily used track should have more blacks and browns while less traveled sidings should have more rusty colors and more of the surrounding dirt color.
Clean just the tops of the rails with your track eraser and use a small piece of fine-grit sandpaper to clean the areas in your switches where the point rails meet the stock rails.
Podcast: Episode 7 - The "Father of Railways", two junctions and selective compression
A model of the Compressed Manufacturing Company in HO scale.
Never more than a day late, here's the next episode of the Rip Track Podast. In this episode, we take a look at the life of George Stephenson, "The Father of Railways." Then we hear the final installment of Randy Garnhardt's discussion of interesting juctions with a look at Clinton, Iowa, and Nelson, Illinois. Finally, the Modeler's Moment describes the princile of selective compression as it is applied to model railroads.
Podcast: Episode 8 - Daylights, porters and passenger train consists
Southern Pacific 4449 running past the former Sturtevant, Wisconsin, depot on August 2, 2009.
Today on the podcast, we're going to take a look at the history of Southern Pacific 4449 and some of the trains it has pulled. We'll also hear a song about some "difficult" passengers that porters have to deal with. After that, we'll talk a little bit more about passenger trains and how you can model them. So, all aboard!
Daylight locomotive and train history
Coast Daylight inaugurated on March 1, 1937
Noon Daylight inaugurated in 1940
San Joaquin Daylight inaugurated on July 4, 1941
Shasta Daylight inaugurated in 1949
4449 donated to Portland on April 24, 1958, remained on static display until 1974
The Denver Zephyr consist was listed in the book Burlington's Zephyrs by Karl Zimmerman (Andover Junction Publications, 2004, ISBN 0-7603-1856-5), on pages 61 and 64. (note that The Rip Track will receive a small percentage if you purchase this book using the link on this page; thank you for your support)
Podcast: Episode 10 - Model railroad tips from show exhibitors
Some people installed on an HO scale module.
For this episode of the podcast, we're going to focus on model railroading and save the prototype history and data for a later show. It's October, and now that the days are getting colder and the nights longer, that means that model railroad season is well under way in North America. Model railroaders are home from summer vacations and are getting together to build, operate and just talk about their layouts with each other. Also, model railroad shows are increasing in frequency as we head toward the end of the calendar year. Last week I spent some time asking exhibitors at the Green County Model Railroad Club's annual model railroad show here in Wisconsin for their favorite model railroading tips.
Tips from exhibiting model railroaders:
If you see an item that you like, buy it because you never know when you'll see it for sale again.
Clean the track - you could use track erasers, Brite Boys, lighter fluid or transmission fluid (but be especially careful with dangerous and flammable liquids like these!!!).
Know the technical support contact info for the DCC system you're using.
Start simple. Build a module that does not include any track switches and concentrate on the scenery to get started.
Plan and build your layout or module on paper first and rebuild it on paper before you begin to build the layout.
You can change the trees on a layout or module to match a season if the trees are simply resting in a hole on the module.
Duct tape can be useful for quick repairs, but when you have time, fix the repair properly and permanently without the tape.
Always be aware of your train's location on a layout, especially if the layout uses DCC.
A little bit of extra weight can help smooth the operation on lightweight freight and passenger cars.
Look in your junk drawer for inspiration and miscellaneous parts for your layout.
The flower and stem structures of some real plants such as sedum or goldenrod can be used to make model railroad tree armatures.
Empty tubular containers (like mailing tubes, salt cartons or empty toilet paper rolls) can be used to make silos or water towers.
Squeeze bottle caps can be used to make air conditioning units on structures.
Look at objects that were originally designed for use in scales other than the scale in which you're modeling. Is there a way you can use those objects on your layout even though it was built to a different scale?
Model railroading doesn't necessarily have to be an expensive hobby.
Clean the wheels on every locomotive that you plan to operate.
Check and recheck the wiring on any modules that you bring to shows for exhibition.
White glue can be used on couplers that don't match up properly to hold the train together during operations.
Use reliable parts and equipment on your trains.
Add more feeders to power the tracks.
Keep your benchwork construction squared up.
Keep the communication lines open between yourself and your fellow modelers.
Get started on your scenery because even just a coat of grass looks better than the plywood plains.
Add a few curves in the track as it goes around more prominent scenic features to add visual interest to the layout.
You can always add more people to your model railroad scenes.
Help support the podcast by starting online shopping through the Amazon links on this website
What did you like or didn't like about the show? Email suggestions for future shows to podcast(at)riptrack.net
Podcast: Episode 11.1 - Announcements from Trainfest, part 1
There are three major model railroad shows in North America that have become known in the hobby as shows where many manufacturers announce and debut new products: the National Train Show held in conjunction with the NMRA's national convention, the International Hobby Expo held every October in Chicago, and Trainfest held every November in Milwaukee. Last weekend, I went to Trainfest and recorded quick interviews with as many manufacturers as I could to find out what we can expect from them this model railroad year. I was able to talk to so many different companies that each had so much to say that Episode 11 is the first mulitpart episode of The Rip Track Podcast. We'll hear from several manufacturers in each part of this episode, and each part will have photos and links in the show notes that relate to the announcements that were mentioned therein.
Podcast: Episode 11.2 - More announcements from Trainfest
In part 1 of this episode we heard from a few manufacturers who were showing new products at Trainfest 2009. It's time to pick up where we left off, so let's jump right in and hear from some more manufacturers.
Podcast: Episode 11.3 - Finishing off the announcements from Trainfest
This took a little longer than expected to get online (previous posts on The Rip Track home page have all the details), but here it is. In this part, we'll finish hearing from the manufacturers that were showing their products at Trainfest 2009. So, without further ado, let's get back to the show floor.
Podcast: Episode 12 - Snow Train, Chicago Railroad Fair and building a freight car fleet
We start this episode with a look at the preparations for the Snow Train at Mid-Continent Railway Museum. Then, we review the legacy of the "last great railroad fair" which occurred in 1948 and 1949. Finally, in the Modeler's Moment, we discuss tips and strategies for building a prototypical freight car fleet on a model railroad.
Podcast: Episode 13 - 2010 National Train Show announcements
The National Train Show was held in July 2010 in conjunction with the National Model Railroad Association's 75th annual convention. This year I was able to talk to many of the manufacturers at the show and got some audio for everyone to hear with their new announcements. Unlike the Trainfest episode last year, this episode has all of the audio in one long chunk. This episode is about 5 times longer than usual, but here it is.
NOTE: The show notes are not yet complete. I will be updating this page with links and photos as I am able, but this way you get to hear all of the announcements while they are still fresh.
2010 National Train Show announcements (companies are listed in alphabetical order):
Podcast: Episode 14 - Announcements from Trainfest 2011
Yes, it has been a while, but it's time to get this podcast back on the mainline. So here it is, the next podcast episode full of model railroad announcements from Trainfest 2011!
The manufacturers are listed below and presented in the podcast episode in the order that I talked to them. Their order in the podcast is not meant to indicate any preference for one manufacturer over another. While I was collecting the audio for this podcast episode, I was given a sample of the PanPastel product for review; I will work on writing a more complete review for posting at a later date.
pastel weathering colors; cake of pastel pigment in a pan; instant-use pigments; can blend colors; color does not disappear under clear coat; can be erased before the clear coat if it needs to be changed
applied with dense sponge tools; several shapes and sizes available; washes with soap and water; can use stiff-bristled sable brush
Podcast: Episode 15 - Barstow, Waupaca and Railsplitter 2012
In this episode, we visit the Barstow Harvey House, the preserved Waupaca Depot, and do a quick recap of the 2012 MWR NMRA convention.
Barstow, California, Harvey House
I talked with Joseph Hisquierdo, Director of Public Relations of the Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce in November 2011. The Chamber maintains its offices within the restored Harvey House building, and the Chamber's website has information on visiting and using the space for private events.
In this podcast episode, I give a quick itinerary of my trip across the Western half of the United States from last November. Here are a few photos from the trip.
The steam locomotive we found on static dipslay was in Kinsey, Kansas. I didn't mention it in the episode, but we did get to have lunch at another restored Harvey House, the El Tovar Hotel at the Grand Canyon (above and behind the station in the photo above).
Music for this episode, used with permission, was performed by Harmonious Wail. The specific track used was "I Found a New Baby" from their 2010 album "The Vegan Zombie's Lament."