Wednesday, December 10, 2014

First Model Railroading Clinic

It's funny how small, seemingly innocuous things can open up whole new experiences.  You never know what's around the corner.

Barry Silverthorn, producer of, reached out via one of the Yahoo groups I belong to looking for someone willing to give a clinic or two on short notice, as he'd had a cancellation.  Despite never having given a model railroading clinic before, it took me about half a second to decide that I should respond to him and offer my services.

I've had so much fun, and learnt such a great deal, in creating the Pine Street Spur modules as well as implementing Dead Rail, that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share it with others.

Barry was gracious enough to take a flier on me, so I had three days to prepare my modules and models for the Quinte train show.  Walking through the genesis of the Pine Street Spur would be easy, and I quickly cut some wood to be able to demonstrate the various stages of building the lightweight, "waffle"-type benchwork that I had used.

The second clinic was to be an introduction to battery-operated, wireless control of my locomotives, also known as Dead Rail.  Being the perfectionist that I am, I decided to improve my battery car, but as things always seem to go, I also managed to short out my receiver.  It just stopped working.  Naturally, there was not enough time to get a replacement from Litchfield Station.  Nothing like a little stress test before the big day.

In the end, despite Duncan McCree's best long-distance troubleshooting efforts (thank you, Duncan!), we could not get trains moving before the clinic, so we ended up just having an audience discussion, with plans to go back to the Trainmasters studio once I've installed the replacement receiver.  I'm very much looking forward to it!

The show itself was everything I had hoped it would be.  It was an eye-opening experience to watch Barry orchestrate the taping, and a true pleasure to meet some of the folks in the hobby that I've admired, learnt from, and enjoyed listening to.  It was just plain fun to talk about what I'd created, how it had come to take it's present form, and to answer questions based on the experiences I've had building the Pine Street Spur.

If you ever have the opportunity, I would whole-heartedly recommend sharing your particular skills or accomplishments with others.  In fact, make sure you seek out the opportunities.  Getting out there amongst your friends and peers is the best way to improve your own modelling, help others, and experience that wonderful feeling that sharing with others gives.  You know it from when you help someone in need, or give a present to a child, and it's really not that different when you stand in front of other model railroaders and talk about how to weather, build, detail, or conceptualize a portion of this great hobby that you are comfortable with.  You don't have to be the best, because the simple fact of sharing raises everybody's game.  So get out there!

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