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

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To make the leap or not...

There's something that's been bugging me lately as I read more model railroad and railroad history publications: apostrophe abuse. I see it (almost) everywhere. At Kalmbach and Carstens, it seems to be official policy, but other magazines, notably many of the British magazines that I get, don't practice this abuse. I see it all over "teh intarweb" on railfan and rail discussion sites. It's almost enough to make me take some of my own railroad writing and start publishing my own magazine just to have one US publication that doesn't practice it. "But," I hear you asking, "just what is 'apostrophe abuse'?" Well...

Modeler's Moment - Micromodules

T-Trak modules

Want to operate in a modular layout but don't have the space to work on an NTrak module? Take a look at T-Trak; the typical module size is as small as 8¼ by 12⅛ inches. Such a small module size should easily fit into the 2 square foot space we each have on our workbenches for current projects. These T-Trak modules were displayed at the 2005 National Train Show in Cincinnati.

Modeler's Moment - Well, why not?

do not flush

If you've got track passing through a closet or small room, try to minimize the number of rail joints, and thus the number of potential derailment locations, through the small room. Derailments will always happen at the most inopportune time, especially when this small room is in use.

Modeler's Moment - Another source of N scale vehicles

N scale Mustang

Here's another source of N scale vehicles that you may be able to find at your local grocery. The "Bonus Game Token" scales out close enough to N scale to work, even in the foreground (after they're painted, of course). There are 30 models available of different US prototypes from the 1950s to the present, but they're a limited production, so get them when you see them.

Modeler's Moment - A rainy day for a celebration

4025 in the rain
Sometimes, inclement weather can work to your advantage when you're out railfanning. For one thing, you won't need your "other railfan filter" as much since there'll be fewer railfans out in the weather with you. Also, you'll be able to get those really dramatic shots that just don't happen on what I call "Kodak clouds" days. This photo of Wisconsin & Southern 4025 was taken during a rainstorm in 2005.

Is UP's licensing program better than we originally thought?

There has been a large number of articles and opinion pieces in the model railroad press in the last few years about UP's licensing program. While the majority of the articles that I've read by modelers and manufacturers are decidedly against the program, a recent UP press release may change some of that. Rather than sending that licensing money directly into the pockets of the executive committee (or into those of their lawyers), UP is pledging that money to fund its preservation efforts.

Modeler's Moment - Not just Southern ran long-hood-forward

WSOR backwards

It's not just Southern Railway that ran their locomotives long hood forward. Just because the control stand on the majority of locomotives is positioned for short hood forward operation doesn't mean that a locomotive can't be operated long hood forward. This Wisconsin and Southern train is taking loads westward from Madison through Middleton toward Prairie du Chien.

Modeler's Moment - Run the mainline through the straight part

Ntrak mainline

When you're laying track, try to keep the mainline through the straight sections of your turnouts. Trains are less likely to derail on the straight sections, so the more frequent direction of travel through a turnout should be through the straight section. On this set of NTrak modules, the passing siding is between the two outer mainline tracks, while another siding veers off the blue mainline toward the backdrop.

Modeler's Moment - A convenient flat surface...

A convenient flat surface

When you're planning your layout, think about more than the layout itself. Think about where you're going to store all the tools and equipment in your "basement hobby shop." Think about getting one of those rolling tool carts like they've got at the auto shop. If you put your tools back into the cart when you set them down, you'll be able to find your tools right away when you need them, and your layout won't turn into the convenient flat surface like this one has.

"Brother, can you spare a dime?"

Okay, I know you probably hate me for writing this, and yes, the title of this post is a bit trite, but I'm looking for feedback on ways to help support this site financially. As this site is still small with relatively low traffic, I've been able to fully support its operation. Like I wrote in the FAQ, I don't do this for a living. There are a couple of different ways I can see that you can, if you want, help to support the site; here's a brain dump of my current thoughts on the subject...

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