November 2023

Published by Thomas Austin on

Well, I might have finally turned the corner with a variety of things in life. After a brief visit to my brother and sister in California in the early part of the month, I have again realized that life is indeed too short. Over the past year I have dealt with tremendous losses with siblings and dear friends from my past. I have been through some really tough patches this past summer and fall. Hopefully, those things are in the rear view mirror for a while. And with the approach of the Holidays I remember my departed family and friends…the list seems to get longer each year. Lots of empty places at the table now.

As I continue to build locomotives; I am constantly impressed with the Soundtraxx Tsunami and Blunami decoders. These things have brought me back to where I would like to be regarding operations and programming; as I really like the versatility of the Blunami interface with programming…and who knows…maybe we’ll see a Digitrax Style Blunami throttle? At any rate; it’s really fast and easy to program the decoders versus putting them on a service track for 30-45 minutes; and the addition of reverb and the graphic equalizer adjustments give the Soundtraxx decoders the edge, IMO. Plus, they are made in the USA.

I have some 3209 quad hoppers coming very soon; with the three prototypes I have on hand; new decals from precision design (Bill Brillinger); as well as a possibilty of having the Sedalia caboose come to life in HO scale. Things are good on that front, for sure. Coal hoppers…and more coal hoppers…what’s not to like? Lots of things happening for the HO scale modeler as usual. Well, it IS train season; after all!

I picked up some Tangent Scale Models C&EI 4427 hoppers from a friend this past month; and plan to order some Cat Mountain and Santa Fe cars from Home Shops for the railroad; to compliment the Copperstate Railway PS 4750s. The new Athearn PS 2970s are great cars too; as they nailed the MP paint scheme and have crisp lettering…Athearn has really stepped up their game with QC. I look forward to the new GP15-1s coming soon ( hopefully); with the new MP features specifically for them. Prototype-specific and REAL road specific details on these three units. I hope there’s more to come.

Trying to get the last bike rides in for a bit with the cooler and wet weather coming next week. This week will be pretty (Nov 13-17) and I’ll take advantage of the weather to get a couple of rides in; and to finish the lawn work for the season.

As I stated earlier, I visited my brother in California earlier in the month; and all I can say is do what you can while you can. The trip out and back via the Interstate Highways was BEAUTIFUL. Cajon Pass; San Bernadino Yard; Colton; Tehachapi were all in their glory. I now understand why the younger guys in the hobby are gravitating towards the modern engines and why the manufacturers are following suit with release-after-release; the UP looked great on Cajon…with the vantage point I had along the freeway; the engines looked very similar to some great models I have seen over the past year as well…so who knows…I might have to get at least ONE modern Joppa Sub (Marion Sub) train…C44-9’s and Rapido Autoflood III’s….Hmmmm….DPU power with Digitrax throttles? You bet.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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Thomas Austin

I am a Southern Illinois Native. I am a fan of nostalgia, and the history of Southern Illinois. Model Railroading has been a large part of my life; and it helps serve that interest. Through this interest I have learned much about the region; the people; and the industries that gave us all hope of building a life beyond our formal education. Small Towns in the Midwest built this nation...and this site aims to share that fact with the world.