Saturday, November 24, 2018

Update on Digitrax's Recovery Efforts After the Hurricane

The following information was posted on the Digitrax Users Forum on

Nov 18. 2018

Got a call from Digitrax this past week with info regarding their latest status and projections. Thought I'd share with my railroad friends with their permission.

Digitrax has been devastated by the recent storm damage, - worse than first thought, but they are back working from their secondary facility with limited resources. They got their first (and ONLY) phone line on Tues. My Dealer Rep was calling all of his dealers to help in passing along the impact of the damages, and their recovery efforts to our customer base. The damage far exceeded the impact to the building, which we saw in earlier pictures, as their on-hand inventory was totally destroyed, or damaged to the point that it may have caused customer problems if they tried to recover it, - so a total loss! (This also included some long awaited parts shipments which had been delivered the week preceding the storm.) They elected to reorder EVERYTHING in order to ensure the quality of their products delivered to customers would not be impacted by any latent damage issues. This process is well underway with parts arriving weekly. They cannot disseminate the info broadly since they still do NOT have any Internet access in the area.

Current projections are to prioritize efforts on the most sensitive products (Command Stations, and other high impact hardware, etc.), with items such as decoders & supplies following. Current expectations are for them to be up and running shortly (in their alternate facility), with the first projected shipments to dealers in mid December. They hope to resume normal deliveries beginning sometime after the first of the year (possibly mid to late January).

The insurance claims have been processed, and efforts are proceeding as best they can. As was explained to me, many of the component parts are delivered to them with a cardboard like backing for use in their production equipment, and were therefore heavily water damaged. They elected not to tempt fate by trying to use them, as more significant long term damage could occur to their machinery in the process, so ALL NEW components/supplies will be used, and are already arriving. Their hope is to resume shipping on a normal schedule in mid to late January 2019.

Stay tuned for additional updates as we receive them.

UPDATE Sat., Nov 24, 2018

Received a call from one of my friends and customers who resides in southern Florida, and was not impacted by the recent storm. He informed me that he had just reported a problem with his older Zephyr (DCS50) yesterday to Digitrax via their Digitrax Website Help Desk. (Evidently they either have internet back.) He received a prompt reply, with problem resolved. Based on this conversation (less than an hour ago), I would assume that they are monitoring their Website Help Desk, and are responding, indicating possibly additional phone service, and/or internet at this time. Since it is the weekend, it will be early this coming week before I can potentially get additional info which I will pass on through this thread, with appropriate date identification.

Let's hope for the best for their efforts, and try to not inundate them during this sensitive recovery period.

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, November 13, 2018

Never, Never, Ever Do Anything Like This!!!

I recently purchased a used HO scale 89' coach passenger car and an interior for it. When I finally got around to opening it to put the interior in, this is what I found:

What you are looking at is a threaded rod running the entire length of the car used as a weight literally buried in some kind of goop used as glue to hold it in place. The goop also runs the entire length of the car!. It is virtually impossible to remove (I tried to cut into the goop).

Never, Never, Ever Do Anything Like This!!!

Model Railroad hobbyists know that locomotives and rolling stock have a way of circulating through the hobby for many years after they are made. Be it through estate sales, auctions, sales on sites such as Ebay (in this case) and many other ways. Please don't make it impossible for another hobbyist to modify a car or restore it to its original state (which I like to do). This car should have had some 1/4 oz. weights inserted at both ends of the car (and not buried in goop). These could easily have been removed by anyone needing to modify the car

From the point of view of an interior and passengers this car is a total loss.

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, November 8, 2018

Thinking About Getting Into Model Railroad Operations?

Maybe this article should be titled What Is/Are Model Railroad Operations?

I know a lot of people that won't even turn on a model railroad layout unless they are doing some kind of operation on it. I also know quite a few people that are just as happy doing nothing more than round-and-round. During the Christmas season our Modular Railroad Club (The Hostlers, Ogden Utah) has been lucky enough to be invited to setup our layout at a local mall and run for customers during the entire month of December. This is a round-and-round session because we are promoting the hobby as much as we can. However, when I run my trains on the layout I will do some small operations in one of the small yards we have. This really is nothing more than building a small train of five or six cars and switching out a locomotive or two but you would be amazed at the people that watch this intently. I've finally figured out that the average individual has only seen model railroads under the Christmas tree or during a display such as ours (round-and-round, get it???). They are fascinated watching trains do work!

So if you're thinking about operations and getting into that or maybe wondering what, exactly, operations are, take a look at the links below. They are downloadable Microsoft Office PowerPoint slide shows (you will have to have PowerPoint or PowerPoint Viewer to view these). They include JMRI Operations in the discussion but you'll see that it's not absolutely necessary for operations. One additional reference you may want to take a look at is Designing Model Railroad Operations.

Whatever you decide JUST HAVE FUN!!

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.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Polyscale and Floquil Paint Stash Getting Low?? Read On

Since Testors discontinued both the Polyscale and Floquil paint lines in 2013, railroad modelers' stashes of these paints are starting to get low or may be gone completely by now. Fortunately, Model Railroad Hobbyist has provided the Guide To Acrylic Painting that makes up for this disaster (may sound extreme to the lay person but not to a model railroad hobbyist).

Here is just a minor example of the information available in the guide.

Erie Lackawanna (EL) gray

EL Gray is just slightly darker than Concrete gray. VMA 71.045 looks like it's a very close match. In the MRH chart 71.045 is listed as a stand-in for concrete, but it's a bit too dark, so the Vallejo concrete gray formula in the book makes a slightly lighter, warmer gray.

Vallejo Model Air 71.045 - US Light Grey / Cement Gray is what I'd select for EL Gray.

Color chip facsimile

Vallejo Model Air 71.045 - US Light Grey / Cement Gray

You can get Vallejo Model Air and Game Air for $2.39 per bottle (28% off) at Scale Hobbyist online. Of course, it's best to buy more than one bottle of paint to save on shipping - unless you are near Nashua, NH.

For the other paint brands...

Model Master ... 2 parts MM 4633 (Grau RLM / Gray Hue), 1 part MM 4609 (Light Ghost Gray).

MODELflex has this exact color in their line: 16-51 (Erie Lack Gray).

I want to emphasize that this is just a very small sample of the information available in this guide. The guide is available for download HERE.

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.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Making Realistic Flatcar Lumber Loads

Here is a link to a great blog on making realistic lumber loads and they are not that much more work. The article includes PDFs for printing the wrappers and the really neat thing is commenters have left links to additional wrappers. So for those of you that have lumber trains (or even just one or two cars) here is a great weekend project. And they look good!

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, 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.