M&K Junction Railroad

M&K Junction Railroad
Another train of eastbound coal crosses the Cheat River

Monday, February 8, 2010

Video of the Q4b

Here's a video of Sunset's Q4b. I changed the white balance of the camera between the two clips.

Laying Track on the Cheat River Grade

In the blog entry "To The West" (Nov. 2009) I showed the construction of the benchwork for the beginning of the Cheat River Grade. From Oct. 2009 to Feb. 2010 I laid the track on this section of benchwork. Why did it take so long to accomplish this task? Between October and February you have: Hunting Season (It comes but once a year!); Thanksgiving (and a field trip to Rowlesburg, WV to study the real railroad); Christmas (my order for flex track arrived towards the end of the vacation period) and, finally, the Springfield Train Show.

In addition, as I started this bit of work I got the bright idea to record my progress as a video tutorial on track laying. That meant that instead of being able to just go downstairs and do one or two operations on the next section of track, I had to wait until I had time to video my progress in more or less logical order. I did complete the outer track of the two-track grade during Christmas shutdown; but I was making the video of the inner track in the foreground and progress on that was paced by the recording.

Be that as it may, here is the result for you to see. Because it was recorded over five months, there are some continuity errors, mostly in the form of some repetition and one segment that had to be repositioned to show the proper sequence of operations.

For best results, click on the "Play" icon then click the "Pause" icon that replaces it and let the video buffer somewhat before returning to "Play". Yes, I know that it's a pain; but this is a 50+ minute tutorial that you didn't have to buy on DVD.

I started this video using my point-and-shoot still camera and had to finish the shooting using it. I now have an HD camcorder that I used at Springfield and I will use it for future documentaries of my railroad.

'O' Scale at the Springfield Show

The Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show, known throughout the Northeast as the "Springfield Show" was held Jan. 30-31, 2010 at the Eastern States Exposition (The Big 'E') in Springfield, Mass. Traditionally the show has been held in 3 large buildings and, over the last couple of years, has been expanded into a fourth large building. If you have never been to this show, you're missing a real treat. I know of no larger train show anywhere.

This is not an O Scale, 2-rail show; it's dominated by HO, Lionel, N and "G" in approximately that order; but everything from wooden push trains to live steam, historical societies and real railroads are represented. I still find it worthwhile to attend even after I moved from Connecticut to Virginia. There are scenery items, tools, books, videos, DCC and miscellany aplenty to browse through. I took me over five hours - non stop - the first day to walk through the entire show.

This year I brought along a brand-spanking new video camera to record the O Scale at the show. Unfortunately, a couple of the O Scale layouts that have traditionally been there were missing. Here are my results for you to enjoy. Please excuse some awkward panning and zooming, I'm still getting used to this, my first real camcorder (all of the other videos on this site were taken with a point-and-shoot still camera).

This first video is standard definition (reduced from the high-definition master copy) and should be able to be played by everyone. For all of the videos, click the play icon, then immedaitely click the pause icon. Let the video buffer fully before resuming play for the best playback. Try full screen mode with these videos, use the icon that appears in the lower right when your cursor hovers over the screen. With this standard definition video, click the scaling button (upper right) to make the picture fill your screen when in full screen mode.

The next pair of videos is the same material recorded in high definition, compressed to 6000 bps and then split into two parts to meet the maximum file size requirements of my video hosting service. Try as I might, I could not get hi-def video to play smoothly in Internet Explorer 7, even when I compressed it so much that it looked worse than the standard definition video. However, this video played well in the Firefox browser, version 3.0.17, with the Adobe Flash Player 10 plug-in. My recommendation for playing any of the hi-def videos is to get Firefox (it's free). It should play well with Firefox 3.6 which is the current version; if not, you can get 3.0.17 from download sites like filehippo.com.

The final pair of videos is compressed to 8000 bps and that bit rate is well above the recommendation of my video hosting service for displaying smooth video. This one will not play well with IE 7 either. If your computer did not play the other hi-def videos well, it will not play this one any better. However it plays OK on my laptop which has a dual core processor and an NVIDIA graphics card - again I used Firefox 3.0.17/Flash Player 10. If your computer and monitor is up to the task of displaying this video, you will be rewarded with the extra video quality.