The home of The Rip Track podcast, disseminating information about model railroading and worldwide railroad history.

I'm working on an update to the site; check out the public beta at http://riptrack.net/dev.

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UP not so evil after all

Union Pacific Railroad and MTH Electric Trains have settled a dispute over licensing fees that will have a big impact on the entire model railroad industry. UP put up a press release yesterday that includes this juicy tidbit:

Union Pacific has also decided to change its trademark-licensing program so that model railroad manufacturers will no longer have to pay a royalty, and will enjoy a perpetual license to use Union Pacific trademarks and paint designs on model railroad products.

UP might still work on prosecuting manufacturers who purposely display UP marks in a bad way, but the rest of the industry can breathe a little easier now. So strike up the band because "ding, dong, the witch is dead!" If only I could be sure that this would reduce the prices that I pay for my hobby....

Modeler's Moment - Happy Golden Spike Day, Canada!

Driving the last spike in Canada

Today is the 121st anniversary of driving the last spike on the Canadian Pacific Railway creating a transcontinental system across Canada. That's Donald Alexander Smith, a CP director, wielding the spike hammer, with William Cornelius Van Horne, CP's general manager, standing behind and to the left of him (with the black beard and moustache). The last spike was driven at Craigellachie, British Columbia, on November 7, 1885.

(photo courtesy of the National Library and Archives of Canada)

George Stephenson; on Hungary 2697 (Scott)

George Stephenson on a stamp from HungaryGeorge Stephenson (June 9, 1781 - August 12, 1848) is sometimes considered to be the "Father of Railways" for his pioneering work on British railway lines in the early 19th century. On this 2 forint stamp from Hungary (Scott catalog number 2697), issued on June 12, 1981, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his birth, Stephenson is pictured with a plan drawing of a locomotive of his design. The locomotive is similar in appearance to Rocket, which he designed in 1829 to participate in the Rainhill Trials. The Scott catalog says that the locomotive pictured is Nonpareil, but it also bears a strong resemblance to Stourbridge Lion, built by Foster, Rastrick and Company in 1828. Stourbridge Lion should be familiar to US rail historians as it is cited as not only the first locomotive to operate in the United States but the first locomotive to operate anywhere outside of England. Although Stephenson didn't work on Stourbridge Lion, John Rastrick (the Rastrick part of the company name) was a judge at the Rainhill Trials, where Stephenson displayed Rocket. Stephenson's first locomotive, Blücher, built in 1814, also looks very similar to the locomotive pictured here. After building his first locomotives, Stephenson met with the owner of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

Modeler's Moment - Model railroading is fun!

We're getting ready for Trainfest around here. Although I won't have any of my own modules at the show, I will be running trains again for the weekend. Last year we received a blessing from these guys.

I got religion!

Try not to take yourself too seriously. After all, we're really just playing with trains. Keep smiling and keep it fun.

NMRA membership?

No way!
43% (3 votes)
Only when the convention is nearby.
0% (0 votes)
Yes, definitely.
57% (4 votes)
I'm a lifer!
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 7

Modeler's Moment - Reporting marks and graffiti

ABOX 51823 detail

Sometimes when a graffitist sprays a freight car, he will paint the reporting marks in a location that doesn't interfere with the main part of the tag. On this car, it looks like the same white paint was used to reposition the car number as was used in the tag. From the patches of blue bubble shapes above the tag, it also looks like the black and white colored tag is covering up a more colorful tag in the same location.

LBF sold

Hot on the heels of Deluxe's move is news that LBF Company has been sold to Hubert's Model Railroad Corporation. A quick check of LBF's website returns a directory listing showing the site logs directory (password protected) and nothing else. Hubert's site, although plain looking and not including anything about the transaction, lists all of the rolling stock and new releases expected soon, with the mention that the products should be available in local hobby shops. I wonder if they'll be at Trainfest this yesr? We'll know in two weeks (and I expect to put up a show report on the 13th).

BOO!!! ... and a little news

Okay, I know it's been almost a month, but that should make the rise from the dead for postings here all the more appropriate. It's All Hallow's Eve around here. We did a little pre-Halloween trick-or-treating at one of the local events last week, and it struck me how few cosutmes there were that had anything to do with railroading. In an entire weekend, there were plenty of pirates, vampires, Power Rangers, Spidermen, ghouls and goblins, but I only saw one Thomas the Tank Engine costume. Oh well.

Now on to the news item... There is a notice on Deluxe Innovations's website that the company is moving, but there's no further indication there as to where they're moving or what's happening. The rumors have started as this item on Trainboard today mentions they're moving to Illinois. I wonder if they'll be in the Chicago area or somewhere in what the rest of the world thinks of as Illinois.

Modeler's Moment - Paint simple backdrops

a simple backdrop

When you start your backdrop painting, remember that you don't always need photo realism for rural or mountainous scenery. Often just a rough shape of the mountain in an appropriate color palette will be sufficient. Closer mountains will have colors that appear similar to your layout's scenery. However, keep in mind that distant mountains on the prototype appear in progressively bluer shades until the mountain is just a "purple mountain majesty" in the distance, so you don't necessarily want to use the same colors as your foreground scenery.

Modeler's Moment - Provide clearance for your trains

Clearance

When you're planning and building benchwork, be sure to leave enough clearance around your track for your largest trains to pass through unobstructed. Cut away sections of wood and place turnouts and turnout motors so they won't block your trains. Run your tallest, longest and widest trains through narrow sections until they will pass through without problems then leave a little extra room for future acquisitions. If there isn't enough clearance before you add scenery, then you'll never have enough clearance.

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