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markgd

What choo doing man?

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I like these threads. Ive read them all and I really like them. The musings of humanity in these very pages ought to be published. I am sure a PhD student in Psychology would love these ramblings. So I thought I would join in.

I started a topic on planning a garden layout in New Zealand. The creative juices flowed. I made a video. I drew a track plan. I was shot down in flames by my wife. Trains in her garden. Pfffst!! The very thought of it. I calculated a budget. I hid that from my good lady for now.Then work beckoned and I had to leave my thoughts behind for three months. I live in new Zealand but work on ships and as an expat pom I still like to read all about the goings on in the UK. The weather features heavily in postings. As it should. Its a national pastime to talk about the weather. 

As I type I am sat in a hotel in Fort Lauderdale having flown from Christchurch to Sydney to LA to Miami. On the OZ to US flight I got the person who insisted on telling me it was his first time going to the US and all the places he was going to see. I am dead on my feet. LA airport is horrible. Nobody smiles. People all have a coffee in one hand and a mobile phone in the other.  Awake at three this morning. I am in the bridal suite.....on my own. Not sure what gives it the right to be a bridal suite other than there is a big bed and a huge spa bath at the foot of the bed. Never seen a bath in a bedroom before. One decent bounce on the bed followed by a back flip will have you in the bubbles in the blink of an eye. I am waiting for the day that that young fella Mr Musk can invent the star trek transporter. He seems to be pretty good at that sort of thing as long flights suck.

10 minutes walk from the hotel is the sprawling Sawgrass mills shopping mall. It is the size of the south island of New Zealand. I asked the hotel doorman for directions. He called me a taxi. I said its only 10 minutes walk. He said this is Florida. Nobody walks. I did. I should have listened. Pavements here (sidewalks) are for decoration only. To stop the grass growing out onto the road I reckon. A sign said do not feed the alligators. There was a big lake beside the pavement. It sort of becomes your main focus of attention having read the sign about reptilian dieting requirements. I tried to cross the road. 3 lanes in each direction. I pressed the button at the crossing. I waited. Trucks the size of apartment blocks whizzed by. The traffic stopped. I was invited to cross. I got to lane 2 out of 6 and the lights changed. I was honked at, swore at , "what choo doing man" ,and a hand gesture was given to me that I am still trying to figure out what it meant. I got the gist. Nobody walks here. I saw not a single soul other than myself on the pavements of Florida. One squirrel and one gecko was all. Why bother with pavements and pedestrian crossings at all. Save yourself money people and rip them all up!

Anyway. I survived. The mall was spectacular. No model shops. Not even a newspaper stall where I could get an American railroad magazine. There were shops selling everything else though. If I was fat, skinny, bald, 2 feet tall or 7 feet tall, white but wanted to be tanned, tanned but wanted to be white, had size 5 feet or size 16, waist size 20 up to 58  there was a shop for you.

I returned to my hotel empty handed. Salomon the door man asked me how I got on. I said I was still alive. Yes you are he said.

So I join my ship on tuesday. Each port we go too I am going to try and get off and see what rail goodies are nearby. a) its a reason to get off, b) i need to get a bit fitter so walking will help and c) having started this load of drivel I suppose I ought to continue it. Unless I am told to stop. We shall see. I hope to post photos. I like photos. I like looking at other peoples photos on the forums. 

In the hotel foyer is a large international coffee chain shop. I am going to avail myself of its services and see if there are any other idiots going for a walk. ta ta.

 

Edited by markgd
  • Haha 1

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I have been led to believe that when Brits talk about the weather, they are talking about everything but. It's like some coded word game about one's outlook on life today.

In Italy, everyone talks about Giro d'aria (cold air circulation causing one to feel low, or ill.) or, something to do with their kidneys being off today --  Mal' di fegato. :D 

Americans just talk about what's sitting right in front of them. It's very straight forward like a cowboy movie. ;) 

Florida is a strange place. I gather it is also high crime, so be careful out there. It is beautiful there. I would live there in a second for the wild life and ocean, but it's florida and full of weirdness. ha ha First time I saw pelicans drifting on a breeze about 15 feet from me I was in awe. 

The hand gesture was more than a middle finger upright?

Americans are obsessed with the gesture of having sidewalks, but most people drive everywhere. Seriously, people drive two blocks to the convenience store. This is M'urika! ha ha 

Search maps google on yer phone for hobby store. Maybe you can find one nearby before you are off on your boat.

 

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Dead right about the weather Griff. Having said that the humidity here is killing me. Its november for goodness sake.

Florida full of weirdness is right. Went to Fridays to have some dinner and the waiter was convinced I was from South Africa and there was no telling him otherwise.

The hand gesture was more 'go do this with various parts of your person' type of thing. Not the bird. It was not something I had seen before and thats ok. I live and learn. :shock:

I was looking for the Garden railway magazine. Have you seen it? is it any good?

 

cheers

Mark

 

ps Can I just say how much I hate this damn predictive text thing. It drives me insane!

 

Edited by markgd

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he he otto-korrect makes one say the most stupid things. I turned it off on my old phone. It's in the preferences. I'd rather just typo my way through and be closer to what I mean than fight how it won;t let you say what you want to say. Although if you put a capital letter on a word it leaves it alone.

Do you mean Garden railways by Kalmbach? Or, was kalmbach, maybe it isn't now. This one hre: http://grw.trains.com/

It's ok, except it is all large scale. And large scale is ok, except by going bigger on an order of perhaps 3 times, you've just shrunk your garden by a two thirds. My current plan is to stay in the shed all winter and have something running in there, but the mainline will have to expand out of the shed, and I need a lot of running space for my 8 foot long passenger trains. ;)

If you are still in Ft. Lauterdale I just used Bing.com to find a place called Discount Train and Hobby.

 

Discount Train & Hobby
  • Address: 1061 NE 45th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334
  • Phone: (954) 564-2440
  • Website: discount-train.com

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Thats the one Griff.

Are there any good garden railway magazines in the US suitable for HO?

Thanks for the heads up re discount trains. If I get time I will head over there. 8 foot passenger trains must be worth a photo or 3!

cheers

mark

 

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Here in the USA garden railway means one thing -- G scale.

Yeah, I am still in planning on my station area, but it will require long platforms. As to 8 car trains; just bought some more passenger cars and a loco from that web site, so yeah, it will be happening for sure. ;) 

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Good to hear from you Mark and pleased you've decided to keep in touch while on your your travels. Just to let you know that even though I haven't responded so far, I am aware of your posts so do keep on making them as and when you can.

I'm not so sure I could spend months upon end away from home, in fact I know I couldn't. I've always preferred being at or close to home - yes, I guess I get homesick. We have a holiday caravan so spend time both at home and at the van but fortunately for me it's only a realtively short drive away so I can make the return journey whenever I like. We tend to be away when the weather's fine (yes, the weather topic again) and at home when it's not so good, which doesn't help in my endeavours to build a garden railway.

What you could do with is somethihng like the 'Readly' app (I'm sure other apps are available) which allows you to read digital magazines on many different subjects - railways and model railways included. For me and my partner the monthly subscription works out a lot cheaper than if we were to subscribe to individual magazines and we get the chance to read some publications that we may never have looked at or known about otherwise. A bonus to that is you don't end up with a pile of printed copies that you never seem able to let go of. Still, the Internet is full of things to read so I doubt you'll go short providing you can access the net.

The upside to all that time away I suppose is ample time to work on your plans and ideas for a garden railway without the distraction of actually doing or running anything. We're all ready to be amazed when you return home!

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Thanks Mick. I do get Model Rail magazine digitally. However on an iPhone 5 its minuscule. I have a MacBook laptop as well. My digital version of the magazine for my iPhone does not work on a laptop. I have no idea. Their website confirms it. So I have ordered hard copies that will be sent to New Zealand and from there to anywhere in the world to meet the ship. Hopefully. They will be a few weeks old by the time I get them. So be it.

I have been doing this for 39 years. Its all I know. I get homesick even now. But I work 10 weeks on 10 weeks off and thats nice. The family get to travel with me too. I have no complaints. 10 weeks home should be enough to start a project I reckon. When home I do no travelling other than a motorbike ride around New Zealand now and then.

I have downloaded all the members railways videos I can get my hands on onto an external hard drive to inspire me when away and I keep an eye on the forum.

As for being all amazed and waiting for my return....no pressure there then.:grin: There are some really tough acts to follow. (Love your viaduct.)

No trains here in the Bahamas. Just sailed from Nassau heading for Egg island tomorrow for a beach BBQ. 28C here.:cool:

cheers

Mark

 

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Christmas is upon us again. I am sitting on my ship in Cape Canaveral Florida on Christmas morning. Most of the passengers are away at the kennedy Space centre which I can see about 4 miles away from us. The launch towers are huge.

Christmas at sea is a strange affair for the crew. We have to work as normal but it is what you make of it. Some of the crew get a little low being away from families and we organise secret santas and other events to make the best of it. We have Buzz Lightyear coming from one of the near by theme parks to give out presents. Each crew member gets something.

In my cabin I have a train running. Now it may not be the most accurate, weathered and realistic model on the planet but believe me, its better than nothing. Its not quite DCC but it has sound and lights and its enough to make you smile.

So, dear forum members, I wish you all a happy Christmas. Its coming up Boxing Day at my home in New Zealand and here in Florida its Christmas morning. So wherever you are have a great time. I hope that you have all been good and rolling stock galore has appeared under your trees. If so do post and let me see what you got. I will start the ball rolling with a picture of the White Christmas Express beneath my tree.

 

Happy Christmas.

Mark

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Merry Christmas Mark

I used to work in hotel and catering so know what its like to be away from home and working (to make others Christmas special) away from home. Now if I work at Christmas, it is if I want to and is well rewarded - normally just to move half a dozen engineers trains or so - I worked 6 hours last night and routed 5 trains!!

The future Mrs ba14eagle bought me some Woodland Scenics trees, to help kick start my work on my indoor, micro layout - "Baker Wood Bunker". Work stopped on it around March and I need some motivation to get back on it :$ For the garden railway, there was a new camcorder too, to capture some better footage of train running, once the weather improves. (Trowbridge today is very windy and wet :sad:

Iain

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Merry Christmas Iain,

The future mrs ba14eagle sounds a real keeper to me! Any partner who buys such materials is OK in my book.

I saw some of the photos of your micro layout. I remember years ago when I lived in Shaftesbury there was a series of tracks akin to your Baker Wood bunker on the waterloo line just after Tisbury I think it was. I would take the train from Gillingham into salisbury and see those tracks disappearing into the brambles and buddleia bushes near the army camps.

Motivation comes in all shapes and sizes. A well placed tree may be just what you need. Also, knowing what you do also pushes others like me along may help. So get to it!! I would love to see some photos of the finished trees in situ.

I look forward to more scenes from the garden railway. The photos and videos are what keep me inspired when I cant do much here onboard with my own plans.

Here is a picture of a somebody famous. The other looks like a spaceman :grin:

cheers

Mark

 

 

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Hi Mark

The internal railway at Dinton was the inspiration for Baker Wood Bunker!

Im afraid to say Ive invested a lot of £'s in rolling stock of late, so a running session on the railway is in order, as soon as the weather dries up.

Bad news :-( - The Gas Cupboard, in Trowbridge, closed on Christmas Eve. The owner isnt fully fit, so is restricting the business to online and exhibitions. A real blow, meaning ive now got to go 10 miles at least to find a shop that is going to stock some of those little bits and bobs that we modellers often need 

Great photo. :-D

Iain

 

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Dinton! Thats the place.

I look forward to the new rolling stock show.

I remember David at Gas Cupboard in Trowbridge. That was a little gold mine. We all know things can be bought cheaper on the internet but I still support my local model shop in Christchurch. Bruce at Iron Horse hobbies is a wealth of knowledge and if that costs me a little more on my supplies then so be it. I would be sad to see him go the same way as I have no other decent railway store near me. There is acorn models but he sells all sorts such as RC planes and so on and OO is a small part of the shop.

You simply cannot beat going into a shop and looking at the loco, rolling stock or anything else. Bruce even runs all his stock on a test track at time of purchase before you leave the shop. Cant do that on ebay!

Now dont be tardy! waiting for a video of new stuff!!

cheers

Mark

 

 

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Where have all the railways gone?

They have all but disappeared at home in New Zealand.

Since my last post we have come down through Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and now I am in Cartagena, Colombia. Not a railway in sight. Zero, zilch, nyetski! In Puerto Limon, Costa Rica a derelict shed with a piece of rail is all that is left of a large yard I remember from my last visit 30 years previously. Here boxcars full of banana boxes were brought from surrounding plantations to be loaded on to ships like mine was back then, for transport to the supermarkets of Europe. Now its all gone. Bananas are packed into cooled containers back at the plantation and shipped by road to the port.

Here in Cartagena in Colombia there is not even a central station for a city the size of Leeds to go and look at. It's all roads. Coffee comes and goes in containers by road to the ships loading beside us. I was hoping to get some interesting photos of local rail architecture and machinery. But there is none. We head next to the Dutch Antilles and then Barbados where for sure there is nothing I know of. Even the odd sugar plantation railways have gone.

Oh well. No inspiration to be had. Hopefully the weather is improving in the UK and you will all start posting New Year videos to keep my withdrawal pangs at bay!

TTFN

Mark

 

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Hi Mark, how othern do you have to wear your uniform, at least you can run a train in your cabin, is it battery powered,  Yeah same is happening here as well, I have one  Hobby shop I Ipswich,go to him and buy a few lengths of track at a time,if the owner retires not sure if his niece will keep the shop going, two brothers ran the shop one passed away years back, lucky for them they own the shop being in the family for years. The closest  two hobby shops that sells trains is in Brisbane South one is only open a couple of days a week and other one 6 days a week, both in the same suburb.

Online shopping is killing it for the smaller hobby shops .

I am getting back into my layout only it starts getting hot, yet again big changes, explained on my post.

A week of January left be heading home soon.

Hi ba14eagle, I can send you some heat to dry it up a lo quicker and you can send some snow,   very dry here hasn't rained for a couple of weeks, they say rain coming in the weekend the  yard needs a good soaking., grass is going brown.

Tony from down under keeping on moving ahead

 

 

 

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So, I am back at sea, swinging around the anchor at Portofino for the day before heading for Livorno for three days.

Before joining my ship I managed to spend a week in the UK catching up with family and friends. Some friends, my wife and I took a train to Chester. I like Chester. Its a stunning city with an equally stunning station. As we pulled in, sat on the other side of the station was Royal Scot in her dazzling green BR paint waiting for a green up signal. Behind her was a class 47, 7 coaches and another class 47. Both 47s were gleaming. Well you have never seen such a sight as friends and wife left behind as I leapt from the train, whizzed across the over bridge to the platform at which Royal Scot waited. Other than me there could not have more than 10 people enjoying the spectacle. I grabbed my phone and started videoing. She pulled away in clouds of steam. And ohhhh that whistle.. mmmmm. After she had left I reviewed my video. I had recorded my feet and the platform. Unbelievable. The sun was shining on my screen and I thought I had pressed record but alas no. When I pressed the stopped record button I had actually started recording. So if anybody needs a close up of the tarmac on Chester platform I'm your man. 

The day was not lost however. For in Bridge Street can be found the Chester Model centre. My wife said 'ooo look' and pointed at the shop. The magnetic pull of the said emporium was too great for a weak minded railway modeller as I. In I went. 30 minutes later after chatting to Paul out I came with a bag containing this. Paul ran it up and down his test track knowing it was going to new Zealand. All the sounds were checked. He gave it a good test before boxing it up for me. "You will need some coaches for it" he said. "No he does not" said my wife. Cut your losses and leave thought I.

So I now have three boxes of Peco track and a Hornby TTS Black Five to carry home to New Zealand with me in July. This model of loco was the first large engine my parents bought me when I was a lad. That loco is long gone. But this one will remind me forever of it.

What is it about a model shop thats does this to a grown person? Its impossible to walk past without just a peek in the window. A box of something so inviting, a picture is immediately painted in my head of it running around my track.(which is yet to be built and laid). 

Roll on July!!

ta ta.

 

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One thing you notice about local trains in Italy is the graffiti on them. Honestly I have never seen so many "tagged" coaches anywhere as this place. They must hide the intercity TGV like trains away at night or they constantly go too fast to be sprayed because they appear immaculate. There is a ferry company here called Moby. They are festooned in images of Looney Toons characters. Warner Bros must pay them a fortune. The trains however appear to be covered in total crap. Must cost a fortune to repaint. Thats if they bother. 

If anybody models Italian trains then they had better be good graffiti artists in the relevant scale. Weathering Italian stock must consists of graffiti and grime

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Edited by markgd

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Hi Mark, I wont have any graffiti decals on my trains, sends the wrong message to younger kids, I said that to a mother at the old clubs train show when she was cracking off,, Marklin have the Tin, Tin TGV I wouldn't mind getting if the set came in DC 

One good thing is once the wall has art on it, gets left alone, we cop it here in our Brisbane EMU set a lot very sad, they go to great lengths to push their art.

Slightly warmer here today, nothing planned, sun coming in under the pergola now, trouble with too many trees in the back yard.

Where are you cruising now Mark.

Tony from sunny down under.

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Currently around Corsica. Not a train in sight on the island.

Its still cool for the time of the year here.

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I have just spent a week in Turku in Finland doing an ice navigation course. In a nutshell its to avoid another Titanic. 

Anyhoo Turku is quite a big shipbuilding and ferry town. It is also small boat heaven for this is archipelago country and a boat is essential. I am not a huge small boat fan even though I drive a very big one for a living but there were some very nice clinker built wooden boats that were beautiful to the eye. As for Turku itself, thats about all I can say about it. I shan't be rushing back for a holiday. However, the train station was a 15 minute walk from my hotel and so I spent around an hour reliving my transporting days as you do. Not a lot was going on. The national rail system is VR and on show were a few electric locos and a triple headed oil tanker train waiting for the green to proceed.

He are a few photos I took of the place. Architecturally the station its an out and out horror. Best described as functional.A set of wheels at the entrance gives you a clue that the non descript building is actually the central station.

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The above train links the ferry docks from where the ferries from Sweden arrive to Helsinki.

 

There was also a car transporter loading dock which was interesting to see.

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Across from the station was a large carriage and loco maintenance depot. The local graffiti artists had been busy.

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However in the town is an old warehouse which is now the maritime museum. I did take some photos of that as I think it would make an ideal suggestion for an engine shed model for the future with some modification. It had quite a few appealing features. I have yet to learn scratch building in styrene techniques. We shall see.

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