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Friday, August 5, 2016

Another Kind of Railroad Yard

Don Pearce and I had an interesting Friday morning visit chatting with and watching member Mike Lafond run his vintage 4-4-2
Black Rock RR passenger train around his yard at 23 Peers Place. Mike's yard is a figure 8 track running around his front yard. The track was built of 1/8 x 3/8" metal rails welded to laser cut metal plates or laid on hand cut ties. The trestles are either on pipe risers as shown or supported by conventional wood bents, all scratchbuilt to fit the topography.

Mike's engine that Don and I saw running started out as a Bachman product of "many years ago" and only the two domes and stack have not been redone. He located a chap making an updated
running gear which Mike has further improved, changing the whole power train for more power and reliability and adding detailing on all sides. The engine contains a large decoder controlled by a CVP radio control handset and powered by a battery system located in the tender; no cleaning of track needed here.
Mike scratchbuilds all his cars from polystyrene to a very high detail level. He brought a 3D printed truck frame to our recent
meeting at the layout that he will likely be using for additional
cars. Inside the pictured baggage car open door is baggage and the car also contains a railway worker sitting down on a bench having a rest. Couplers are vintage link and pin which do stay well con-nected but can pull the whole train off if a car derails, not appealing with trestles!! Needless to say, track levels are carefully maintained.
Passenger cars are fully detailed as well including full interiors with passengers in place. When asked about their weighting, Mike suggested lifting one and they are certainly not light weight. He also has constructed box cars so that freights can use the rails, too. While he thinks his neighbours might feel his yard is a bit weird, Mike and Laura enjoy sitting on their front porch while running trains.  Well done, Mike!!

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