Emerald Night is Here!

I came home this afternoon (Wednesday April 22) to find a nice box on my back porch… just finished building it at about 2:30 AM and here it is!

I ordered K10194: Emerald Night Collection consisting of the engine, (10194, Emerald Night), power functions parts, and the new flex track. It works quite well with the IR remote control and the track is indeed flexible. But now, bedtime.

SavaTheAggie’s #2602 Angus 0-8-8-0 Locomotive

I rarely blog about other people’s models, but I wanted to talk a little about the latest work by Anthony Sava (“SavaTheAggie”). It’s the Erie Railroad’s #2602 L-1 Camelback Angus class 0-8-8-0 Steam Locomotive.

Erie 2602 Angus 0-8-8-0

This has got to be one of the ugliest pieces of machinery ever built in real life, but the LEGO model is so well done it’s almost beautiful. Well, almost. :-)

But what I wanted to highlight is the way he posted works in progress as a part of the project. People posted comments about the early versions, and he incorporated some of that feedback into the final design, making it feel much more interactive than most LEGO models that are posted online. I think Flickr is particularly good for this, since we can not only post comments on each photo, we can even draw a box on a particular area of a photo and write a comment (a “note”) for that area.

Personally I’ve never posted works in progress (WIP) pictures online. I think partly it makes me feel more pressure to complete the model. There are a lot of LEGO projects that I start but never carry to completion; if they were posted online I wouldn’t feel like I had the luxury of abandoning it if I hit a dead end or lost interest in it. I have worked on a few models collaboratively with others in person but never online. Who knows, maybe I’ll try it. If posting WIP pictures is at all responsible for the quality of this final model, then it’s probably worth a shot.

Oh, and happy new year everybody!

Gondola LDraw file now available

I like to make LDraw virtual models of all my MOCs, for a number of reasons: so I can re-create the model if it is ever taken apart, and so I can share the design with others.

Gondola LDraw render

However, I’m a little stuck as to what to do with these files. Should I post them online? If so where?

As an experiment I’m posting this one on Flickr. I posted the GIF file rendered by MLCAD for my recent Gondola train car, and as a comment under that GIF I put the entire LDraw .MPD file.

I’ve also uploaded it as an attachment to this post: gondola.mpd

What do you think is the best way to make the LDraw files available?

RoadRailer Trailer

This cargo trailer is both a railcar and a trailer for a truck. The rail wheelsets are removable, and the road wheels are then available to be towed down the road. I built this many years ago and it’s been on numerous BayLTC train layouts, but I never put pictures online until now.

Train car Road trailer

I first learned about these interesting hybrid vehicles on the PBS television show Tracks Ahead. They are a real thing made by Wabash National. Each trailer has permanently-attached road wheels, and can have railroad wheelsets attached for use in a train. The trailers are hitched to each other, with the wheelset mounted on the rear of the trailer, and a special wheelset is attached to the front one.

See the Flickr photoset for detailed pictures from various angles, or click for a slideshow.

By the way, when I posted my Gondola car, I said that was my first train car MOC. Technically I guess the RoadRailers are, but the Gondola is more of a “train car” in the traditional sense, whereas the RoadRailers are more road trailers that can be carried as a part of a train in my mind.


This is my first ever train car MOC, would you believe?Gondola I’d done locomotives before, but never a car, at least that I can think of…

This gondola car first appeared at the November 2008 Great Train Expo layout by the Bay Area LEGO Train Club. I made two of these cars with a cargo of coal.

One end has a brake wheel; the other does not. Originally I built it with brake wheels on both ends but was told that was not correct, so I removed it from one end.

Train Semaphore Signal

This has been a feature of many BayLTC train layouts over the past few years.

SemaphoreSemaphore, rear close-up

This is an old-fashioned train signal, or "semaphore," which uses lights for nighttime use and an arm at various angles for daytime use. Signals like these were widely used on railroads all over the world in the early days, but particularly in North America they have been phased out and replaced with light signals. Now you mostly see them on tourist railroads or in train museums. Here is an example (from the Wikipedia Railway semaphore signal article) of an Australian version of this:

Wikipedia semaphore image

Update: I make no claim of accuracy for any particular railroad. In my research online I found many different systems for semaphore signals, both “upper quadrant” (such as this model) and “lower quadrant.” Different colors and designs were used on different railroads, and across different countries. There was probably some railroad somewhere that used a signal like mine, but I couldn’t tell you which one. Here’s another article about early railroad signaling if you are interested in reading more.

Great Train Expo Pleasanton 2008, Day 1

The Bay Area LEGO Train Club is taking part in the Great Train Expo at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, CA, this weekend, November 29-30.BayLTC at Pleasanton Train Show

My contributions to the show include the “Blackburn Hotel” and the block that it’s on, a bunch of cars and other small scenic details, and a few train models.

We set up the exhibit all afternoon Friday, with some additional setup time Saturday morning before the show opened. If you missed it, you still have another chance to see it tomorrow; the show is open from 10am-4pm. Also, next weekend we’ll be setting up a somewhat smaller display at the Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto, which will be on exhibit until January 11.