Lights! Camera! Action!


There are these things called cameras.  They can be installed on or in locomotives, flat bed cars, or whatever you want!  Lately, I have made a project of installing a long-distance capable drone camera into the cab of an HO Amtrak diesel and the boiler faceplate of a G Lionel Rail Scope steamer.  So far, I am very pleased with my work.


I initially considered installing the camera in my Chessapeke and Ohio BL2 diesel, but there was not enough room.IMG_3158IMG_3157

The camera fit very well in the front of my Amtrak diesel.  It looks weird, as if the engine has a big nose, but it works very well.  I may paint over part of the camera lense encasing to make it blend and match the color scheme.IMG_3160Not in the photo is a makeshift wooden sprung bumper that I installed for the camera’s safety.  If this were to fall any distance and land face first, the camera would surely be ruined.  The bumper extends about an inch from the frontmost point of the engine shell.  I dismantled a couple of mechanical pensils and used their lead casings, springs, and a piece of basla wood as buffers.


IMG_3156It just happened that the propogating antenna was the perfect size to fit in the steam locomotive’s dome.  I was going to run wiring through the cab, but this saves on wiring going every which way.



I was super pleased with how similarly sized the old and new cameras were.  The new one took some form fitting to fit the frame of the faceplate, but it came together very nicely.  I am still working on extending the camera power supply wiring back to the cab.  I am also toying with varius LED bulbs in and around the locomotive.  Who knows?  I may even install a smoke unit and sound decoder.  The more I think about it, the more I realize that I am going to have one souped up little tank engine.

Don’t mind my hairy stomach.  It’s Texas.  It’s hot, and a singular window air conditioning unit doesn’t always cut it when the room is attached to an oven of a garage.



One very new development in my train goings-on is my parting of ways from HobbyTown USA.  I am now my own boss and run my own model train repair business!  It is appropriately named “Livingston Lines” to match this blog.  I am very excited to start this new endeavor, and I look forward to serving my model railroading community!  My Facebook business page is searchable via @livingstonlines, and my business e-mail address is

Good change is afoot!!!

The Things We Do for Our Craft

There is nothing quite like walking through a doorway to a trainset running far above your head, where your dreams ever fly.

I was called to repair an LGB G scale trainset that is elevated nearly twelve feet from the floor in a dentist’s office.  It is a beautiful set.  The little 0-4-0 is small but mighty, and it has a powered tender that is just as strong.  It has only five cars including a lighted caboose, but it could probably pull four or five times as many.  The engine and tender each are plenty heavy and have a traction tire, so they have plenty of tractive power for a long consist.

On my first trip, I cleaned and lubricated the engine units and rolling stock.  I did not have enough time to clean the track.  The set has been up there for three or four years, and it has all of those years’ worth of dust and dirt built up.  I took one swipe of the rails with my hand, and it looked as it did at the end of the Christmas rush.  Black and grey.  ’tis no wonder things squeaked and grated.  I pulled everything down for cleaning, and that worked pretty well.  However, the newly cleaned rails packed on the old dirt and grit, and the electrical contact was lessened.  The track was no less a problem than the condition of the engine.

I had to do some climbing and clambering to reach parts of the track that twelve-foot ladder could not.  It took me three hours to clean the damned thing, but I got it done.  I could have fallen and died at any time, but my trains needed me!

One of my previous jobs had me throwing forty-pound weights on and off theatre stage pulley systems sixty-four feed above the stage floor.fullsizeoutput_275b

Not bad for someone who is afraid of heights, eh?fullsizeoutput_275c

A nice view from one of the upper windows of the dentist office lobby windows.  Looks like a baseball stadium.IMG_2561IMG_2559IMG_2556IMG_2555IMG_2554IMG_2553IMG_2552fullsizeoutput_275aIMG_2549