Thursday, October 18, 2018

Digitrax Home Page in 1996!

Thanks to Larry Price of the Digitrax Users Group on

Digitrax on the web in 1996 when DCC was really getting started.

This is from the Internet History site (my term, not theirs). This will bring back some memories, I'm sure!

If you have an idea for a blog post here, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Digitrax Still Alive After Michael

From Digitrax's Facebook page:

Greetings from Digitrax!

We are so thankful that our team survived Hurricane Michael and for the support of our amazing community and first responders. It has been a humbling experience for all of us.

Unfortunately, due to the severity of the destruction caused by the storm, our main building has sustained substantial damages.

We will be moving to our secondary building, and as soon as power is restored we will be able to begin to re-establish normal operations. Thanks in advance for your patience.

Since we do not have phone service right now, please direct tech support questions to our help desk @

All repair items we have in house are secure and repairs will be completed as soon as humanly possible.

We would like to thank all our wonderful customers for their support during this time. We couldn't do this without you!

Digitrax will be back running trains, and better than ever!

- The Digitrax Team.

If you have an idea for a blog post here, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Where Goeth The Hobby - Updated 2018-10-04

This is my first rant on this blog. Sorry but something needs to be said and from the discussions I've heard and been part of I believe there is a lot of agreement on this. So here it is.

Model Railroaders need to get and keep kids interested in the hobby, whatever it takes. They are the future model railroaders that will keep the hobby alive. It's too bad we don't have a way to track the average age of model railroaders. It would tell us how we're doing.

For those of us who get upset when they see a Thomas related train circling a layout (and we know who we are, don't we) before you loudly complain about it, look at the eyes of the kids that also see it. Do they light up? You bet they do! They relate to that engine and everything associated with it. Adults relate more to the trains we normally run. Kids do not. Yes they do like to see them run and the sounds they make but the moment Thomas shows up all eyes are on him! To them he is a train and one they know about and if your wizzbang SD-XX muckity-muck goes by him and blows it's air horn their eyes will follow Thomas. My point here is that:

If you want to keep this hobby alive and thriving in the future, you need to get and keep kids interested in the hobby whatever it takes.

So if you made it this far I thank you for putting up with me. It's an important topic and needed to be mentioned. Please comment on this regardless of whether you agree/disagree or even have a idea on this. Maybe even rant a little.

Another way I thought of was to track subscriber count to Model Railroader Magazine. The last time I checked the current subscriber count to Model Railroader Magazine was about 140,000+. Sorry I do not have the exact count but the Model Railroader web site is currently down. WHAT!?!? (25 SEP 2018 11:20AM)

<Author's Note> - not necessarily the author's view, just what I was able to find
Here are some interesting numbers I was able to dig up concerning Model Railroader Magazine:
Model Railroader Magazine's circulation figures for 2017 were out in the January 2018 issue and indicate that MR took perhaps the most dramatic hit in readership numbers, percentage-wise, during 2017 in quite some years. Average readership dropped to 100,313 (it peaked at 224,000 twenty years back), a nearly 15,000 drop from 2016! At the same time, the year's final issue garnered a reported circulation figure that fell below 100,000 for the first time in perhaps 35 or 40 years! Similarly, during 2017 the magazine's Video Plus arm's saw subscription numbers show only weak growth. After nearly 15 years of what many think is very weak content MR has attempted to turn itself around and return to the sort of superior modeling material that kept it the hobby's premier publication decade after decade. However, after two decades drifting that saw a steadily declining readership, is this effort, initiated back in 2015-16, too little coming too late?

If you have an idea for a blog post here, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.

Explanation Of Atlas Locomotive Lines

Although this information is available from Atlas not everyone knows where to find it.

Master Series: The top model of Atlas' lines. It is broken down into two categories:
  • Gold – includes sound and a dual mode DCC decoder (will run on DC or DCC)
  • Silver – no sound or DCC decoder, most will have an 8 pin DCC plug included
Classic Line: This line consists of older tooling that has been upgraded with features such as separate grab irons and other minor retooled pieces. These are generally only offered without sound and usually have an 8 pin DCC plug, space permitting.

Trainman: This is Atlas' “budget” line. These use the same drive train as the other lines, but the shells have less separate detail added, and are generally only offered in one or two variations or phases for each model.

If you have an idea for a blog post here, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Soundtraxx Decoder Announcement at National Train Show

On the first day of the National Train Show Soundtraxx announced new Tsunami2 Sound Decoders specific to EMD Diesels and steam locomotives.

Tsunami EMD-2 Decoder

This decoder includes eight new diesel engine sounds:
  • 567 12 cylinder no transition
  • 567C 16 cylinder non-turbo
  • 645E 12 cylinder non-turbo
  • 645E 12 cylinder turbo
  • 645F 16 cylinder turbo
  • 645E 20 cylinder turbo
  • 710G 12 cylinder
  • 710G 16 cylinder
[Author's Note]
A very good reference on these different engines is discussed here including which locomotive models had which engine. Notice that the 567D (turbo) and the dual 567 (E units) are not included with this decoder. For those engine sounds you'll have to get the original Tsunami2 for EMD engines. Isn't this what got Soundtraxx in a bind before? This decoder for this engine, that decoder for that engine. Hope it doesn't get much worse.

The EMD-2 decoder includes more than 50 sound effects, including engine startup, 14 bells, and more than 40 air horns. Also contains Reactive Diesel Dynamic Digital Exhaust. TSU-1100, $129.95; TSU-2200, $124.95; TSU-21PNEM, $109.95; TSU-PNP, $109.95; and TSU-4400, $179.95.

Tsunami Steam-2 Decoder

This new decoder contains an expanded sound library with 28 new whistles, 12 bells, 10 air pumps, 8 dynamos, 10 exhaust chuffs, snifter valve, injectors, Johnson Bar, power reverse, firebox blower, side rod clank, and brake squeal.
This decoder replaces part# 884001 TSU-1100 Steam (Discontinued 08/2018).
TSU-1100, $129.95; TSU-2200, $124.95; TSU-21PNEM, $109.95; and TSU-4400, $179.95.

SoundTraxx - 970-259-0690 -

If you have an idea for a blog post here, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Model Railroad Factory Closing Update

From Model Railroader:

Affa Technology Ltd.'s sudden shutdown has some model train companies looking for other options

In late July Affa Technology Ltd., a Hong Kong-based manufacturer of model trains, radio-controlled toys, scale cars, and other items, announced it had closed. Some of the model railroad manufacturers impacted by this news include American Z Line, Atlas Model Railroad Co., Bowser, ExactRail, Fox Valley Models, InterMountain Railway Co., Trainworx, and Wheels of Time. Several firms shared the news through e-mail, websites, and social media.

“Yes, we have projects at this factory and Trainworx production will be affected,” said Pat Sanders via e-mail. “We are researching our options at this time and hope to get rolling again soon.”

In a blog post, Atlas Model Railroad Co. noted the factory was one of its locomotive and rolling stock suppliers, but the company’s track and accessories were not impacted by the closure. “Atlas is currently working with our network of suppliers to transfer the projects to others for completion,” the blog post continued. “This will cause a delay in some previously ordered products.”

In addition to adjusting production schedules, some firms have finished projects waiting to be shipped. Chris Brimley, vice president of product for ExactRail, wrote in a blog on the firm’s website, “The N scale AutoFlood II hopper is on hold as we move that project to a new factory. We have been told that the HO scale GSI bulkhead flatcar production was actually finished last week but is still sitting at the now-closed factory. We expect these to be on our way to us soon.”

Frank Angstead of InterMountain noted that though there will be a delay in new product releases, the company is already looking for new manufacturing options. “Our expectation is that we will begin shipping a selection of new product within four months,” wrote Angstead in a letter posted online. “Purchase orders with alternate vendors are already being arranged so we anticipate production to resume very soon.”

One theme shared by the manufacturers impacted by Affa’s sudden closing is this will take time to sort out. On the Fox Valley Models Facebook page, company president Matt Gaudynski wrote, “If projects can be moved, it will take a number of months to do so, and then get a new factory up to speed on our projects will take even more time…[We] greatly appreciate your patience and understanding as we move forward through this unexpected interruption.”

If you have an idea for a blog post here, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Shinohara Ceasing Track Production

This has been announced on the Walther's web site.

Dear Walthers customers,

We have some updated information regarding Walthers Code 83 Track to share with you. First, Shinohara is currently working to fulfill a large track order for us, and we expect that shipment of track to arrive later this summer. We will fill as many back orders as possible from that order, and then we will make the remaining track available for purchase. After fulfilling that order, Shinohara will cease track production.

We would like to thank Shinohara for their many years of partnership with Walthers and service to the model train hobby. In addition (and with cooperation from Shinohara), we are already working with a new track supplier and will bring the Walthers code 83 track line back onto the market as soon as possible. We will share more details on this exciting new development in the future. Until then, thank you for your understanding and your support.


Your friends at Walthers

If you have an idea for a blog post here, let me know. If I can comment on it, I will or I'll see if someone else can and post it.