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How a semi-retired n scaler spends his time.

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Hi again everybody! I am not to be counted on! Here I go 6 years without blogging and then have two entries in just a couple of weeks. That said, just because I haven't blogged doesn't mean I haven't been active. My lighthouse scene is coming along, albeit slowly. I am still working at making a living even though I am well past 70, so you may be able to imagine that I get tired easily. While I'm relaxing I like to watch "How-To" videos on YouTube. There are several people doing this and all of them are pretty good. There's Tom, and Ron and a guy who likes to do things "his way", and about a hundred shows from England that all seem to be modeling in OOn3 or something I don't understand, but I'm pretty sure the biggest YouTube page for model railroading belongs to DJ's Trains.

I first became a fan of DJ about 10-12 years ago. At that time he may have been the only guy giving n-scale tutorials on the net. Now there are a dozen or more. DJ has over 200 videos which cover a wide range of this hobby of ours, only his vids have a twist: He is a real-life engineer for CSX! I find his stories interesting for several reasons, not the least of which is that my dad was also a railroad man. He was a carpenter for the New Haven. which became Penn Central and eventually Amtrak.

DJ's personal experiences, coupled with his knowledge of the day-to-day operations of a major railroad make his stories interesting and if one pays attention, they give insider tips on what to include of your layout that we civilians may not even consider. For example: Yard offices always have a road leading to them from the street, and they are almost always dirty, neglected buildings. When my dad was still working he used to talk about how the guys would grow window boxes with beautiful flowers in them, on almost every available window sill. DJ's videos show none of that. In fact, I'll bet you he doesn't even know about it. Corporate life being what it is, I can't imagine them being allowed to take time away from their work to cultivate a garden on the side of their yard offices. They don't even seem to care enough to throw a coat of paint on them very often. The yard offices used to be lovingly cared for by a crew who's job it was to lovingly care for them.

DJ also went out and got himself a drone, which he uses to show both railroad scenes as well as town and industry scenes. Think about that, he can show you the real thing from exactly the same perspective as you and your guests will be seeing your layout. What an advantage! Compare your roofs to the real thing. Mine were all gray or black while in reality, many are white, or more commonly, a mash up of blotchy areas with as many colors as the company had leftover paint and said, "Paint that section of the roof", to some guy who didn't have much to do one day.

On top of all that, DJ is a heck of a guy! I emailed him a number of years ago and asked him to do a skype interview with me for my TV show. He couldn't have said "YES" any faster. We had a pleasant, informative chat which got a good response from my local audience.

So there you go. If you like to learn, if picking up pointers about n-scaling interests you, or if maybe you're curious about some of those bizarre signs you see along the tracks, or maybe you just need a refresher course in ballasting, well DJ is your guy.
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  1. DJSTRAINS's Avatar
    Appreciated, my friend. And yes, railroads have no desire to make the yard office attractive. One of our offices was so over run by spiders and flies, it gave me arachnophobia, lol.
  2. Albey25's Avatar
    ---And yes, railroads have no desire to make the yard office attractive.

    It's all part of the current corporate mentality. Back in my Dad's time, guys were proud of their company. They went out of their way to make the place pleasant. Companies made the effort to improve conditions for their workers too. The unions and management worked out their differences and both sides worked to make things better and those companies did well. Today, it's all too often "us against them" and more often than not, the big companies get gobbled up by the bigger companies, and the bottom line becomes the only real consideration. It's no wonder that customers cast a jaundiced eye on the big, service oriented, companies.