An N scale customer told me about a railroading club in Irving, TX, and I just had to check it out!  The North Texas Ntrak Dallas club has a two-part layout.  One loop is designed to run DC locomotives, and the other is designed to run DCC locomotives.  I brought a U.S. Army hospital steam set with a 4-6-2 (Prairie?), a Santa Fe 2-8-8-2 Y6B Mallet, and an Alco PA/PB diesel set.  I remembered the Army engine had problems and wasn’t sure if it would run, so I brought my Y6B as a backup.  I am glad I did.  The Mallet took a little nudging and encouraging, but it slowly woke up and took to the rails beautifully!  Even though the Army engine did not run, I still enjoyed coupling its cars behind the Mallet.  I didn’t get my Alcos out because I was limited on time.

I like how the NTNDC’s control system works.  It uses radio controls for each line or set of two lines of track for speed and direction control.  The layout is continually being built and redesigned.  There is a whole section of tunnel that is still undecorated, bare plaster.

My taste for the different scales is still changing and growing, but visiting the NTNDC layout has certainly bolstered my enjoyment of N scale.  While I am still less tolerant of the three-rail set-up, I whole-heartedly LOVE the Lionel Big Boy locomotive that came to the store for appraisal.  It has synchronized double whistles, lights, operating sounds, and it is in beautiful condition!  I am very tempted to make an offer for it if the customer declines the store’s offer.  Three-rail or not, I have a very soft spot in my heart for articulated steam.  As of today, I see decision between the Big Boy and a contrabass bugle that I want for marching performances.  I am a tubist, and I have my local LGBTI Pride celebration parade coming up in a month.

Below is a video of the Mallet.


Below is a myriad of photos.  Most are from the store, but the last few are of the NTNDC layout.

The next two photos are of an S scale diesel engine that ran across the workbench.  I learned early on that it is always a good idea to take photos of wiring if I think I might have to undo more than a few at once.  It is also nice to have photos of how everything goes back into place.  Of all the scales of engines and cars on which I have worked, S scale engines–be they steam or diesel–have the most wiring and removable parts.  They sometimes have lots of gears, rods, and shafts.

In one steam locomotive, the gear set operated the driving wheels and the puffing mechanism for the smoke unit.  The engine had been in storage, presumably exposed to atmospheric and temperature change, and many of the parts were badly corroded.  The main drive shaft was basically rusted to it pinion and frame.  It took much hammer tapping, but I finally knocked and wiggled things loose.  I soaked the old parts in a mixture of electronics cleaner spray and tile floor cleaner to get rid of as much corrosion as possible before taking my rotary tool and a wire brush to everything.  After everything was cleaned, oiled, and greased, the engine ran magnificently.  I cleaned every other aspect of the engine before finding the corroded gear, and it turned out that that singular gear was the only thing that kept the engine from moving.  It was a very trying job, but it was very rewarding when I saw how smoothly the engine ran in normal condition.IMG_2921


I took this when I rewarded myself for climbing about twelve feet in the air, servicing an elevated G scale set.  I was too lazy to walk to my Pathfinder and deposit the car, so I just took it to Subway with me.IMG_2919


These next few photos are of a special project I took on for one of my coworkers whose grandson is very enamored with model trains.  I took the trucks out of an old engine to use in a boxcar.  I removed the boxcar chassis and weight plate to make maneuvering room for the rotary cutting bit.  I had to cut away part of the inside of the car to make the weight plate fit in the top.IMG_2894IMG_2893IMG_2892IMG_2891

These last photos are of the North Texas Ntrak Dallas Club’s layout.  The final photos is of my Milwaukee Road GG-1 electric locomotive.  I meant to show it to a friend, and I happened to have it in the car with me.  I thought it was worth a photo.  It is heavy, strong, and smooth.  IMG_3020IMG_3018IMG_3017IMG_3016fullsizeoutput_2775


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