Sunday, November 15, 2009


Not much modeling to report.  Plenty of model railroading, just not on our layout.  Our friday night operating sessions are something we look forward too, especially Jimmy, after a week of school and work.  We also volunteered to help out at a few of the open houses this past weekend - Jimmy was at the Kade RR and I helped out at the Camden and South Jersey.  It's great to see all the kids that are in awe of what they see, but sadly, most of them probably will never take up the hobby.  I guess there are many reasons for this, but I feel that one of primary ones can be found at home - parents over-scheduling their children's free-time.  When I was young I would say at least 90% of my free time was mine to do as I wanted - play in the woods, ride mini bikes, fish, model railroading, model rockets, building plastic models, painting miniatures, playing games,...etc.    Now society has programed parents into thinking that if their children are idle they will some how miss out on the financially successful life they should be striving for.   Many teachers contribute to this mess - if your child isn't getting A's it's because you are a bad parent and aren't spending 4 hours a night working on their homework with them - of course it couldn't be bad teaching (which there is way too much of) or  politically correct lesson plans from outer space.  What happened to educators educating my child?    Think of all the skills and creative thinking that a 12 year old would get out of a model railroad, unfortunately none of them I guess will help get him into Harvard.   Well I guess we can hope that a few went home and their dads or moms went out and bought some supplies to help them start putting a layout together.   At the open house I was at, only one parent, and believe it or not it was a single mom,  spent around 15 minutes talking about what she needed to do to get started - fortunately the owner of the layout was giving away some old issues of Model Railroader - hopefully those help her.    At 43, the one thing that is wearing thin on me is that way too many people, upon identifying me with this great hobby - (1) tell me about all the Lionel crap they have in some box somewhere and then (2) ask me to affirm their belief that it is worth somewhere between $500,000 and a million dollars .  I wish for once someone would ask me how they would get started with putting it together and getting it running.  
Enough ranting -  
I've been working on the melt shop some more, adding structural elements to the existing model.   A few more things were added to the rolling stand.   I'm excited about my finishing mill - I just need to pick up the additional rolling stand kits.  I was planing on using my hobby allowance this week (I get it every other week)  to order these kits, but I ended up buying the Morning Sun Steel Mill Railroad book  that just came out.  I liked it but I'm not sure it met my expectations totally, especially for the hefty prices on these books.  The coverage was spotty and I got the sense that the author doesn't understand the steel industry as good as he should to write about the railroads that serve it.    I also bought a little paperback on the Pennsy waterfront operations in Jersey City that was actually very interesting.  The author didn't have a vast railroad knowledge, actually I felt he probably wasn't actually a railroad historian either as he identifies the locations well but is very sparse on background info and he doesn't give you the bigger picture of the overall operations.  In one picture he even mistakes the end of a baggage or passenger car for a boxcar.  The pictures are mostly from the Jersey City public library collection and they are very good and for $15 well worth it.  The intention seems to put one of these books together on each railroad in Jersey City.

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