Friday, December 10, 2010

Standard Gauge "J"

Just two great pics of the Standard Gauge "J". 

SGMA at Family Train Day (with the "other" Large Scale Train Guys)

The local Chapter of the SGMA, Inc. was involved in the Central New York Large Scale Railroaders' "Fmaily Day" on November 27, 2010 at Driver's Village in Cicero, New York (right outside north of Syracuse)

If you are ever in the area, check out the Large scale layout in the main concourse of the Driver's Village Main building.  It is really well constructed and so very interesting.  They run trains most Saturday mornings and the size of the gauge one stuff is proportionately very similar to the Standard Gauge Trains.  Worth the price of admission (which is nothing) 

If only those Gauge one trains were all made of heavy metal. . . . .you can't beat the detailing you can get with plastics.


These are a real treat.  Where else in the world would you ever be able to see the only two scale Standard Gauge McKeen cars made by Robert Thon and a friend of his in California, Sergio.  These two were on display at the Syracuse SGMA show.  My understanding is that the show only drew between 10 to 12,000 people, a smaller show.  You'll never know what you'll see when you see an SGMA layout. 

This is a funny story. . . . I saw Bob Thon's McKeen car during its construction at his house up here in upstate New York.  He told me that he was constructing two with a friend in California, who was building the roofs, the motor units and the front brushes. 

After Bob's McKeen had been completed, I saw that the one in California had been put up for sale on ebay.  Knowing the rare nature of this particular item, I contacted Bob's friend and asked if he would be willing to sell it to me "Buy it Now".  We couldn't agree upon a price and the listing ended prematurely.  Unfortunately, I thought that this other engine would never surface again, as happens with some items.

Prior to the Syracuse show, my friend Jim Kelly told everyone that he had a "surprise" to show us.  Little did we know that Jim was bringing the other McKeen car that he somehow lured away from all of us active bidders on ebay.  Congrats Jim.  You have a truly wonderful piece which should bring you years of service.

The Best SGMA picture. . . . . .

As an active member of the SGMA, I constructed these mountain modules several years back to add some vertical interest to our modular layout.  If you have ever seen these in person, they are painted somewhat like the mountains on the Carail layout.  They were painted by my father, a well known local artist.  They have a center slot but out of their bottoms for maintenance.

This year in Syracuse, my sons had their own table, but took some time out to play in the SGMA layout.  Let's just say that they enjoyed watching these trains from INSIDE the mountains, a view most children will never see. 

Far and away the best reason to be interested in trains. . . .the future.

p.s.  the smaller one is Alex (4), the medium one is Thomas (6) and the largest one is Charlie, a very good friend. 

Updated Zephyr pics

I have finally achieved a running Standard Gauge Zephyr. . . . .

I started in the summer and after a ton of different attempts, I was able to convert my gauge one Roberts' Lines Zephyr body to a running standard gauge engine.  Just an FYI. . . I DID NOT mess with a perfectly good Robert's Line Zephyr, this has always been a power car body and observation car body. 

I power this engine using a McCoy under the floor motor, with traction tires from a Williams "J" engine.  The power truck is a Roberts Line 100 series truck.  The middle and trailing truck are from a Lionel pre war standard gauge 35 car body.  I have yet to attach any detailing hiding the trucks, so its a little raw. 

I ran this engine for about an hour last night at 18.5 volts and it was extremely fast, but in true zephyr form it hugs my 84 inch loop.

Thanks for looking,


p.s.  This engine can be seen at the SGMA's February show on February 26 and 27th, 2011 in Edison, New Jersey.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


This engine is an F-something diesel created by Roberts Lines (Bob Thon) some years back.  I refer to it as an F-3 Diesel engine because I had an F-3 diesel engine as a kid in HO scale from my first train set, so this engine holds a place in my heart.

I just wanted to post this F-3 diesel engine so that anyone interested in some of the "non-Lionel" and "non MTH" engines can see what some of the smaller toy train manufacturers are producnig, or have produced in the past. 

I know that some standard gauge enthusiasts will reject this engine as being scale but I don't care. 

The second photo is a photo of the motor which drives this beast, which I think Bob must have pulled off of his son's dirtbike.  If I could only solve the engine's gear slipping, I could probably move my refrigerator with this engine.    

Standard Gauge Zephyr

This is my most recent experiment. . . . .

I took a Roberts Lines Gauge one Zephyr. . . .which was graciously given to me at an extremely discounted price from a good friend, Bob Thon.  I purchased a number 9 trolley, which was produced by MTH in 2004 or 2005, pulled both under the floor motors and mounted them in the trucks of the Zephyr. 

I am hoping to post some videos of the Zephyr running.

As far as I know, this may be the only operating standard Gauge Zephyr.