2005 Toronto Model Railway Show

Category: Trains
Sun, 20 Mar 2005, 14:21

Every year, the Toronto and York Division of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association put on a model railway show. This years show was the 30th annual, and probably the last. To say this years show was a disappointment is to actually redefine the word "disappointment". In the future, dictionaries may well include a picture of this train show alongside the definition of the word "disappointment".

Without having taken any written notes, I can easily describe pretty much all of the show. At one end of the school were the video room and a room with no more than a dozen vendors. At the other end was a room with fewer than half a dozen model railroading clubs. Here is a complete list of the clubs with layouts: The Toronto "N" Scale club. That's it! No H0 layouts. No 00 layouts. No S, 0, or Z layouts!

Is this a reflection of lack of a diminishing interest in trains among the population? No, I don't think so. Other local shows are still well attended. The last Christmas Train Show (at the International Center) was very well attended. And other shows in much smaller nearby cities, like Whitby and Port Hope, are still popular.

Past years have seen superb Toronto Model Railway Shows. We can only hope that the show organizers can bring back at least some of the shows former glory in the future. But it's my guess that we won't see a 31st annual show.

Hans

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iron
 

Fleischmann 2005

Category: Trains
Tue, 08 Mar 2005, 19:06

I've never understood why Epoch I (1875-1920) isn't more popular among the modellers of German railroads. After all, who can resist the more colorful locomotives and rolling stock, especially Prussian passenger coaches with different colors for the four classes? But as it is, Epoch I fans have fewer choices than the modellers of later Epochs. I suppose one advantage is that the Epoch I fan can buy as much as he wants without getting broke.

Among the mainstream German model train manufacturers (Fleischmann, Trix/Märklin and Roco), Epoch I items are normally confined to limited editions. And so, purchases for the year generally have to be planned in advance, shortly after the new releases for the year are announced in time for the Nürnberg Toy Fair. For 2005, Roco and Trix/Märklin offerings lack luster. But Fleischmann can usually be counted on to offer some nice Epoch I items, and this year is no exception.

This years limited edition set is the "Goods Train with Passenger Accomodation of the Royal Prussian Railway Company". If that sounds familiar, it should. That was also the title of the 1998 limited edition set. Like the 1998 set, the 2005 set is also pulled by a Prussian T9. By the Fleischmann new items flyer, there are some nice pieces in the 2005 set. But I was really hoping for a pure freight set. There hasn't been a full Epoch I freight set in Fleischmann's lineup since 1996! Since Fleischmann is producing a new model of the T10 (in a DRG version), and since new locomotives are often featured in the following years limited edition set, and since the T10 was used for commuter service, we may not again see a pure freight set in Epoch I colors until 2007!

Anyways, I'm not disappointed with what Fleischmann is offering the Epoch I fan this year. Last year, Fleischmann sold new versions of DRG G02, VOI, and Ni wagons, and predictably, these are featured in KPEV colors this year. They're also offering a red and green post/baggage van, a three axle passenger coach (3rd and 4th class brown and grey), a tanker, a cradle truck, and a three axle reefer.

What will I be ordering? All items are tempting, except the cradle truck. Also, I'm not sure I really need another passenger coach. On the other hand, I really can't resist anything with three axles. The items I think I have to have are the G02 van, the reefer, and the tanker. Also, I really wouldn't mind another small tank locomotive on my layout.

Bottom line: If my 2005 model train buying were limited to pages 14 and 15 of the Fleischmann new items flyer, I would not be disappointed.

Hans

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iron
 

Of Lambs and Lions

Tue, 01 Mar 2005, 22:03

If the old adage is true, then this March must surely go out like a lamb. The snow storm was originally predicted to be much worse, but March this year still came in like a lion, with a dumping of fresh, soggy snow.

Since I already took two days off work this winter due to snow, I felt I had to go to work today in spite of the snow. Normally, my drive to work takes around 35 minutes, but today it took me twice as long. Much of the extra time was spent crawling along Lawrence Avenue east of McCowan. Although the grade is gentle along that stretch, and most cars could easily handle the conditions, a few drivers were spinning their wheels making things difficult for the rest of us.

Now then, for the benefit of those unfamiliar with winter driving in Canada, here's a pop quiz. When your wheels are spinning on a slippery road, do you: (a) step on the gas to make the wheels spin faster? or (b) ease up on the gas and let the wheels slow down until they can get some traction? Hopefully this morning, a few drivers on Lawrence Avenue learned a useful practical lesson about driving at this time of the year.

One more thing I witnessed this morning. Around 8AM while driving northbound on Birchmount, I had to stop for a school bus with its red lights flashing. But idiot drivers on the southbound lanes kept going in spite of the risk of getting a stiff fine and six demerit points. If that wasn't bad enough, one of the crazy drivers ignoring the flashing lights was driving another school bus. (sigh)

Hans

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