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Everything here is my own workmanship, and evidence of what can happen when someone has too much time on his hands. Feel free to copy anything for your own use, as long as my name remains with it. Enjoy!

God's Model Railroad

I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. (Isaiah 6:1)
And he made the table; (Exodus 35:10)
twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof, (I Kings 6:3)
being in the form (Philippians 2:6)
of the island. (Isaiah 34:14)
But Peter said, "Not so, Lord; for (Acts 10:14)
every wise hearted man, (Exodus 36:2)
working with his hands the thing which is good, (Ephesians 4:28)
against the wall of the house he built." (I Kings 6:5)
But God said unto him, (Luke 12:20)
"I am the LORD, I change not." (Malachi 3:6)
The LORD hath made all things (Proverbs 16:4)
on the table, (Luke 22:21)
Unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, (Ezekiel 36:6)
and the towns thereof. (I Chronicles 7:28)
And make straight paths for your (Hebrews 12:13)
train. (Proverbs 22:6)
Them of old time (Matthew 5:21)
have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein, (Isaiah 59:8)
sudden destruction cometh upon them. (I Thessalonians 5:3)
The crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth. (Luke 3:5)
And God said, "Let there be (Genesis 1:6)
horses (II Kings 2:11)
of iron." (Deuteronomy 3:11)
And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, (II Chronicles 26:15)
of brass (Ex 27:2)
very precious; (Mk 14:3)
Mountains, with (Ezekiel 35:8)
four wheels (Eze 10:9)
and eight (Ex 36:9)
and two (Gen 7:9)
with the tender. (Song 2:13)
They shall run like (Joel 2:7)
a watch. (Matthew 27:65)
And he shall set engines of (Ezekiel 26:9)
good speed (Genesis 24:12)
in the way wherein they should go, (Nehemiah 9:12)
and to pull (Jeremiah 18:7)
very many chariots. (II Chronicles 16:8)

And Mary arose in those days, (Luke 1:39)
and she came to Jerusalem with a very great train. (I Kings 10:2)
And she said, "Oh my lord, (I Samuel 1:26)
verily it shall (Jeremiah 15:11)
stay upon (Isaiah 50:10)
the good way, (Jeremiah 6:16)
and that which should be set on thy table should (Job 36:16)
turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left." (Joshua 23:6)
And I heard the voice of many angels, (Revelation 5:11)
and they said one to another, "Behold, this dreamer cometh." (Genesis 37:19)
And he sighed deeply in his spirit, (Mark 8:12)
and he said, "Thou hast asked a hard thing: (II Kings 2:10)
according to your faith be it unto you." (Matthew 9:29)
And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, (Genesis 24:15)
the Mountain (Joshua 11:16)
turned aside out of the way, and went into the field, (Numbers 22:23)
and all the chariots (II Kings 8:21)
went backward, and fell to the ground. (John 18:6)
Then the LORD said unto (Jeremiah 11:6)
the Mountain, (Joshua 11:16)
"The frogs (Exodus 8:4)
be too narrow for thee." (Joshua 17:15)
And he repaired the (II Chronicles 33:16)
turn...out. (Hebrews 12:13)
And so it (II Samuel 1:2)
went another way (I Kings 13:10)
until it (Hosea 7:4)
began to be stopped. Then they were very wroth, (Nehemiah 4:7)
And the LORD said, (Job 1:8)
"Behold now, I perceive that this is (II Kings 4:9)
some uncleanness." (Deuteronomy 24:1)
And after he... cleansed (Ezekiel 44:26)
the wheels, (Ezekiel 10:12)
while he yet spake, behold, a Bright (Matthew 17:5)
Boy for (Joel 3:3)
cleansing (Leviticus 13:7)
rail, on (II Chronicles 32:17)
both the top of it, and the sides thereof. (Exodus 37:26)
What God hath cleansed, (Acts 10:15)
it shall be clean, (Leviticus 11:37)
round about thy table. (Psalm 128:3)
And, lo, I perceived that (Nehemiah 6:12)
it moveth itself, (Proverbs 23:31)
And ran through that whole region round about, and began to (Mark 6:55)
run continually. (Psalm 58:7)
The angels said, (Hebrews 1:13)
"Indeed a notable miracle hath been done." (Acts 4:16)
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)

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"You Might Be a Model Railroader If"

You might be a model railroader if:

  1. you walk into your favorite hobby shop, and the employees immediately say, "Hi, [your name], we'll get the boss for you."
  2. you've ever plunked down half your paycheck for equipment in your favorite scale, and then wondered what it would be like to model in a different scale.
  3. you've ever sold a perfectly good freight or passenger car, only because the new superdetailed one you just bought makes the old one look bland.
  4. you really agonize over decisions like, "Should I buy flowers for my wife or a pair of turnouts for my new staging yard?"
  5. you talk about your favorite scale with the zeal and fervor of an evangelist promoting his religion.
  6. you see a piece of plywood, and your first thought is to imagine what kind of layout could be built on it.
  7. you haven't let your son play with "his" trains since last Christmas.
  8. you honestly feel that, if your wife buys a new video tape, that entitles you to buy a freight car, and a new outfit for her means an engine for you. Fair is fair.
  9. you've ever gotten into a debate over whether Kato is pronounced "kay-to" or "kah-to."
  10. you name the places on your railroad after your wife and children, mostly out of guilt for spending so much time on the layout instead of with them.
  11. you've ever traced the route of a wire under your layout by pulling on it.
  12. brass isn't something you polish, it's something you paint and weather.
  13. you spend more on your model trains in a year than most Third-World nations spend on the real thing.
  14. the latest issue of Model Railroader arrives on the same day as your federal tax refund check, and you open the magazine first.
  15. the latest issue of Model Railroader arrives on the same day as your state tax refund check, and the only reason you open the check first is so you'll know how much you can afford to spend as you read the ads in the magazine.
  16. you've ever bought a freight car you had no use for, just because it looked so nice, and then bought more just like it, so it wouldn't look out of place.
  17. you've ever been tempted to send flame e-mail to someone whose only wrongdoing was outbidding you for that special engine on eBay.
  18. your wife buys you a bag of ground foam and a box of Hydrocal for your birthday, and you're speechless with joy.
  19. you hate watching The Addams Family because of what Gomez does to those gorgeous, rare tinplate trains.
  20. you've ever suggested that your wife's ceramic Christmas village needs a train running through it.
  21. someone says he's finished his model railroad, and you sadly shake your head and say he's missed the point of the entire hobby.
  22. your model trains run closer to schedule than CSX's do in real life.
  23. you have a manila folder (or a subdirectory on your computer) full of home-drawn trackplans that you know you'll never build, but they're too good to get rid of.
  24. you look forward to the latest announcements from your favorite engine maker with more enthusiasm than a six-year-old looks forward to Christmas.
  25. you think that three hours forming and mounting wire grab-irons on a caboose is time well spent.
  26. you never miss a chance to try and interest your children in your hobby, even your teen-age son who's in the "cars" stage.
  27. you've ever poured your heart into showing off your layout for friends, and their only questions are, "How much did all this cost?" and, "How fast can the engine go?"
  28. you sincerely believe that the concept of limited-run engines and cars was dreamed up by the Devil himself.
  29. you're setting up a simple Lionel train set to run around the Christmas tree, and you're mentally planning the scenery and structures you'll need "to make it look right."
  30. you hate collectors, because they drive up the prices of the equipment you're trying to collect. (But you're going to run yours, and that's different.)
  31. your wife assumes you can fix toasters, radios, and vacuum cleaners because "you know all about that wiring stuff from working on your trains, right?"
  32. you've ever told yourself, "Never again will I try to mount tiny coupler springs while working over a shag rug!"
  33. you've ever felt smug because you found an inaccuracy in a published photo of somebody else's gorgeous layout. Not that you'd ever say anything about it, of course.
  34. you've ever refused to buy a model freight car because the stencilled build date (which you had to squint to read) is a year off from the era you're modeling.
  35. you've visited a hobby shop on a busy day, and wound up answering detailed questions for the customers.
  36. you justify the money you spent at a train show as "just doing my part to improve the nation's economy."
  37. your wife gives you something expensive but inappropriate, like an articulated stack car when you model the 50's, and you run it to avoid hurting her feelings, but the whole time, you're squirming inside.
  38. you can recite the plot line from at least five Thomas the Tank Engine episodes.
  39. you grumble through the entire family vacation trip because there wasn't time to stop at Northlandz.
  40. you refuse to buy an inexpensive, beautifully-detailed boxcar lettered for your favorite railroad, because the real thing had fourteen ribs and the model has sixteen.
  41. you feel compelled to browse in the local mall's hobby shop every time you go near it, even though you know they charge list price and have nothing you need.
  42. you've ever run two or more identical cars in a train, and hoped no one else noticed that the road numbers were the same.
  43. you've ever tried to justify bringing home a new freight car on the grounds that it's your wife's favorite color.
  44. you talk about the merits of DCC versus cab control at parties.
  45. hardly a day goes by without you making progress on planning the layout you're going to build someday.
  46. your family has ever eaten in the den because the kitchen table was buried in decals, tools, and detail parts for your latest project.
  47. you've ever gotten defensive with your railroading friends about buying a model engine or car from a manufacturer they hold in contempt.
  48. you've ever calculated how long your layout is in scale miles, and padded the number by adding the lengths of the sidings and spurs.
  49. it constantly annoys you that the kits for model airplanes, cars, and boats in the hobby shop aren't made to useful scales, like 1:87 or 1:160.
  50. you've ever told anyone, "I can quit buying freight cars any time I want!"

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If Dr. Seuss Was a Model Railroader

What's this I hear? You want some trains?
You want to run some little trains?
But you have to lay your track down long before you run a train,
And the joy of making trackplans can put headaches in your brain.
There are twice-arounds and out-and-backs and even point-to-point —
Oh, these funny words! What are they? Oh, my head is out of joint!

Then you have to choose an era, make it old or make it new,
But the experts will make faces if you try to mix the two.
Go with prototype or freelance, model shortlines or the main —
My-oh-my! You're looking lost and scared. I guess I should explain.

Now, scale means you compare the size of real things to the small,
And gauge means space between the rails; they're not the same at all.
And prototype? Why, that just means the way it's really done
On the really truly railroads, all for work and not for fun.

Now, HO is the favorite scale for three folks out of four,
And little N is second — you can run trains on a door!
And O scale is a big scale, as the Lionel fans can guess,
And there are others, like Gauge 1, TT, Z, G, and S.

And I could keep explaining 'til your head gets full, and POP!
But that's enough for starters, so I think that I should stop.
And now you're getting restless, so why don't you ask your Pop
To get his car and take you to the local hobby shop.

For the hobby shop sells things that you won't find in other stores,
And the owner, he likes trains, too, so you'll never get ignored.
There are books and magazines there that can probably explain
Half the questions that you're asking — oh, but first, look at the trains!

You want some trains? This is the store!
You've never seen such trains before!
You'll need some boxcars, quite a few —
You must have more than one or two,
And open hoppers; covered, too,
And tank cars full of sticky goo.

Flat cars carry boards and logs,
Stock cars carry cows and hogs,
And reefers carry cold egg-nogs
Across your rails and turnout frogs.

(A turnout? That's just something which
Would otherwise be called a switch.
A frog? Why, that's where two rails meet
And cross each other, nice and neat.)

You might want some big auto-racks
All full of Fords and Pontiacs,
And then, of course, there's piggybacks,
Or, better yet, some double-stacks!

But there's a warning I must call,
For piggybacks are rather tall,
And if your tunnels are too small,
You won't like double-stacks at all.

Now here's another revelation:
People ride trains on vacation —
Baggage, coach, and observation,
Taking folks across the nation.

And engines — how will you decide?
There are so many, side by side:
Steamers black, with rods that slide,
And painted diesels — they just glide.

Here's my advice: in terms of style,
Pick one out that makes you smile,
But get one that will last a while;
A cheap one just won't go a mile.

For if your engine will not run,
It makes you mad, and that's not fun.
You need cabooses; well, just one,
and — what? No, wait! We are not done!

You'll need to buy a power pack,
And yes, of course, you need some track.
The owner smiles at your full sack —
He knows that you will soon be back.

There are so many things to buy,
Like trucks, and trees, and painted sky.
Don't get them now, and here is why:
Your piggy bank will soon run dry.

Now you have trains! What will you do?
Why, make a railroad that is new!
Nail your track down on your table
Just as straight as you are able.
(Try and try, but you will fail
To keep your trains on crooked rail.)

You'll need two wires to hook your track
To "DC" on your power pack.
Don't use "AC" for trains — you'll cry!
Your brand-new engine, it will fry!

Plug in the pack, turn on the power,
Then sit and watch it for an hour.
There's something neat I can't explain
About just watching that first train.

But soon you'll start to make some plans
For tunnels, lakes and long bridge spans,
And hills and valleys, up and down —
Say, I know! Why not build a town?

So to the hobby shop you go,
With many questions you must know.
The owner helps you, in the knowledge
You'll help put his kids through college.

And now a mountain — how to do it?
Looks tough, but there's nothing to it!
First, a frame you'll have to make
Of wood and cardboard; it won't break.

Then mix the plaster 'til it's soupy;
Dip newspapers 'til they're goopy.
Slap them on the frame until
The frame is hidden — there's your hill!

Now it is a lovely sight,
But mountains are not colored white.
So make the whiteness go away
With artist's tints of brown and gray.

And now, some grass you'd like to view?
You'll make it stick with watered glue.
Use lots of ground foam for the grass,
Or green-dyed sawdust — both will pass.

Spray a spot, then sprinkle on
Some foam or sawdust — there's your lawn!
Drill some holes, and with great ease,
You've got a place to plant some trees.

And water? All good modelers say
That they have found the one best way
To make fake water look quite wet.
(They all look pretty good, I bet.)

But real wet water isn't good;
It's heavy, leaky, soaks through wood,
Evaporates, and causes mold,
And bad short circuits, so I'm told.

And buildings! What? You haven't any?
Take your choice! There are so many —
Stations, coal mines, stores and banks,
Factories and water tanks.

Get your start with plastic kits,
For wooden ones have many bits
And pieces you must cut to fit,
And that's too hard for your first kit.

Besides, once you have got the knack,
You know that you can soon go back
And buy one of the fancy kits,
And paint and glue and small drill bits.

And soon your railroad's looking grand.
The trains, they roll across the land
With cars of freight and people, too.
But here is one more thought for you.

You may have heard a lot of hype
About "Here's how the prototype
Does things, so this must be the best."
Now ask yourself this simple test.

When your long trains begin to run,
Does someone fire a starting gun?
Or do they start off like molasses,
Slowly stop for meets and passes?

If your trains start up quite slow,
You're close to the real thing, you know.
But that's just an initiation
To realistic operation.

Some modelers make rule books clear
For brakeman and for engineer.
Some trust their cargoes, near and far,
To waybills or to tab-on-car.

And some are real as they are able —
Signals, fast clock and timetable,
And if the Express is late,
Dispatcher makes the others wait.

What are all these fancy words?
Is it all just for the birds?
Is this something you should do?
I will leave it up to you.

But always keep this thought in mind:
A better hobby you won't find,
So get those trains and let them run,
As long as you are having fun!

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Famous model railroaders

Someone on r.m.r was recently asking about famous model railroaders. We hear about Rod Stewart and Neil Young and their love of model trains, and we rejoice that a celebrity is "one of us." But the board overlooked some of the best-known model railroaders. As a public service, I'll list the ones you missed.

Who is the most famous person in the most popular scale? Santa Claus, of course; he's famous for his HO-HO-HO.

Who's the most famous person in N scale? It has to be Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise. He's always saying, "N-gauge!" (He also enjoys restoring antique sewing machines; his other favorite line is, "Make it sew.")

But Capt. Picard is not a one-scale man. He takes a break from N now and then, and dabbles in the next larger scale, when he asks the food replicator for "TT, Earl Grey, hot."

Speaking of Star Trek, how many of you knew that Captain Kirk is also heavily into trains, especially old Lionel and AF? In "The Trouble with Tribbles," a Klingon describes Kirk as "a tinplate dictator with delusions of godhood." Or something like that.

Neil Young isn't the only Lionel fan in popular music. Don't forget the Eagles, with their old song, "You Can't Hide Your Lionels."

Nobel Prize-winning chemists also like O scale, as a general rule. They're forever testing whether a substance is acid or "all K-line."

But who is the most famous opponent of O scale? No question, it's Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live. "O no!"

We hear about musicians who like model trains, but they don't like large-scale trains, to the point of physical violence. Listen to musicians for a while and one of them will mention "hitting a G." The result of all this hitting? "G flat." But at least one musician will be getting a bachelor's degree in that scale. I heard her talking about her "G major."

Who are the biggest fans of S scale freight trains? The French, who love that S cargo. (Sorry.)

As for the smallest scale, almost every children's dictionary in existence refers to 1:220 ladies' undergarments ("Z is for Z-bra"). And, of course, there was that great pioneer in working Z-scale semaphores, Alexander Graham Bell, who gave us the bu-Z signal. [DISCLAIMER: in America, "z" is pronouced "zee." For those in other countries, I'm sorry, but you won't get the joke.]

Riders of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, in the San Francisco area, will know where the idea for BART Simpson really came from.

How many of you remember that the movie rating of PG used to be GP? Railfans in the movie industry named it after EMD's four-axle diesels, but they changed it after EMD threatened to sue. Now the lawyers are aiming at a cosmetics maker who took their name from EMD's six-axle diesels: SD Lauder.

And then there are the specific steam engines that inspired books, operas, TV shows, and songs —

Speaking of Christmas carols and steam engines, don't forget that railfan-inspired line from "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays" — "from Atlantic to Pacific, gee the traffic is terrific."

The cast of Monty Python's Flying Circus liked trains, or they wouldn't have made "Monty Python and the Holy Rail." But when it came to model trains, they were a little confused; they tried to eat the turnouts. How else can you account for a skit about "Crunchy Frog"?

Going back in history, William Penn must have been an Alco passenger-diesel lover. Why else would he give his state a name that would be abbreviated PA?

Our sixteenth President liked trains so much that he gave his name to the couplers in use at the time, the Lincoln pin.

We cannot forget the great contribution to fine-scale model railroading made by women during World War II, collectively known as "Rosie the Rivet-Counter."

Lastly, we must remember Gomez from "The Addams Family," who did his part to make tinplate trains into a collectible commodity, by increasing their scarcity.

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Microsoft Model Railroading

Thank you for purchasing your new Microsoft Train product! Please fill out and send in the enclosed warranty registration card. This enables you to receive 24-hour toll-free assistance with MS Train products (in other words, you'll be on hold for 24 hours waiting to speak to a specialist), and ensures that you will be notified when MS Train upgrades are announced, so you can spend more money.

When you remove the plastic lid of your MS Train product, you agree to abide by all the terms and restrictions of the MS Train User Agreement. If you do not agree to the terms of this agreement, return the MS Train to your hobby vendor, unopened.

This agreement gives you, the modeler, a license to run your MS Train only on your own personal layout. If you own two or more layouts, you must purchase one MS Train for each layout. Microsoft considers modular layouts to constitute more than one layout. Site licenses are available for those who wish to run MS Train on a modular or club layout.

If you use a standard control system, place the MS Train on the tracks. Set the directional switch for the desired direction of travel, and turn the throttle knob until the desired speed is attained. If you cannot achieve the desired speed, the fault most likely lies with your throttle. The problem is not with the MS product. It's never our fault! It's your fault! IT'S ALWAYS YOUR FAULT!!!

If you wish to use your MS Train product on a layout equipped with DCC, you must contact your Microsoft vendor for an MS DCC-Receiver upgrade. Note that this upgrade will work only if you have installed Microsoft DCC on your layout. It will not work with other brands of command control. Modifying the MS DCC-Receiver to work on other DCC systems will void its warranty.

If the MS Train fails to start, you probably made an error in the installation procedure. Make sure all the wheels are on the rails and that all wire connections are tight. If the train still fails to start, the problem is most likely in your power pack. Upgrading to MS Power Pack will probably solve these compatibility issues.

Because model trains are complicated devices, it is inevitable from time to time that your MS Train will stop running for no apparent reason. If this happens, turn off your power pack and reboot it. If this fails to solve the problem, remove the MS Train from the track and reinstall it. If the train still will not run, contact your power-supply vendor.

MS Train products are certified to run on the following brands of track: MS Track, Bachmann EZ-Track, AHM/IHC brass flex track on fiber ties. If you use another brand of track, your MS Train may not run, and you may void your Microsoft warranty. Microsoft cannot be held responsible for any derailments, even those that occur on MS Track.

The MS Train product line includes a range of products that will meet the needs of any model railroader. You can purchase each MS Train product separately, or you can buy one of the integrated suites:

Other freight cars may be made available at a later date.

Note that MS Stack Car may require you to upgrade your tunnel portals if they are not tall enough. We recommend using MS Portal, a product specially designed to accommodate MS Stack Car, and which is scheduled for release in the spring of next year.

All MS Train products are lettered only for Northern Pacific, SP&S, and other railroads that serviced the area near Redmond, WA. Relettering or repainting an MS Train product is forbidden according to the terms of the MS Train User Agreement.

It is a violation of Microsoft's copyrights to couple an MS Train product to an engine or car not made by Microsoft. If you presently use model train products not made by Microsoft, and wish to switch to MS Train, competitive upgrades are available. Contact your train vendor for details.

Our research shows that the F7 diesel can be used on a greater percentage of user layouts than any other engine. For this reason, the F7 is the only version of MS Engine we will make. There will be no steam engines, as backward compatibility is not a Microsoft goal. If you go to our Web site at, you will find a list of reasons why the F7 is good enough for you and why you don't need any other engines.

When the original MS Train was released, the MS Engine product was an Alco C-415. This engine does not run at the same speed as the new MS Engine. You must upgrade to the new MS Engine if you wish to run multiple engines together.

MS Engine requires a minimum radius of 27" in HO, or 14" in the N scale version. If your curves are too tight for MS Engine, you will need to upgrade your layout. Future releases of MS Engine will almost certainly require larger minimum radii, in order to make room for new features that most model railroaders will never use.

O scale, which was supported in MS Train v 3.1, is no longer supported. HO and N are the only scales that are supported. Microsoft makes an MS Train Migration Kit for those who use other scales and wish to change to MS Train. The N scale version will no longer be supported when MS Train 2000 is released. We encourage all users to switch to the HO version as soon as possible.

When Microsoft releases MS Train 2000, it will be equipped with the new MS Coupler. Your existing MS Train products will not couple to the new MS Train 2000 cars; nor will cars from any other maker. You will need to upgrade your couplers to maintain compatibility.

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R.m.r Jabberwocky

'Twas brillig, and the r.m.r
Did gyre and gimble with their trains.
All mimsy was the baggage car —
"On eBay," they explained.

>>Beware the Jabberthread, my son!
>> The endless talk that won't desist!
>>Beware off-topic posts, and shun
>> The frumious Haggis List!

He took his newsgroup sword in hand;
Long time for Big John's foe he stayed —
Then posted he on DCC
And newbies seeking aid.

And as the spam posts he removed,
The Jabberthread, with words that flame,
Came whiffling through the Usenet space,
And filled his browser's frame!

Eight-nine! Eight-nine! The subject line
He changed, so now it said, [OT].
And then, like most, he sent a post
That just said, "I agree!"

>>And hast thou changed the Jabberthread?
>> Come, what a waste of bandwidth, boy!
>>Please tell me why that thread won't die!
He posted with no joy :(

'Twas brillig, and the r.m.r
Did gyre and gimble with great nerve.
All mimsy was the baggage car —
"On eBay, no reserve."

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The eBay Train-Pages Song

(to the tune of "My Favorite Things")
[the buyers sing:]

Athearns and Katos, all MIB'ses and MOC'ses,
Micro-Trains in their original boxes,
K-Line and Lionel, no parts astray,
These are my favorite things on eBay!

Atlas Geep-30's and IHC Big Boys,
Diesels with RailSounds that make lots of big noise,
"Only been test-run for less than a day,"
These are my favorite things on eBay!

Old billboard reefers all lettered for meat-pack,
Sellers who never give negative feedback,
Limited runs that I've searched for and prayed,
These are my favorite things on eBay!

When the snipers
Steal my bargains
In the final hour,
I'll sign on to eBay and swallow my pride,
And bid on some Model Power!

[the sellers sing:]

Shipments that aren't overweight by two ounces,
Three-figure sales when the check never bounces,
Regular buyers with bank checks to pay,
These are my favorite things on eBay!

Buyers who jump at an "Only three days" sale,
Rubes who pay more than it's costing at retail,
Positive feedback with nice things to say,
These are my favorite things on eBay!

Frenzied collectors who bid in a panic,
Buy so much stuff it would sink the Titanic;
They've got to have it, don't care what they pay,
These are my favorite things on eBay!

When they don't meet
My reserve price
And I'm feeling sore,
I'll re-list on eBay for one-fifty less
And start off a bidding war!

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Model Railroad Haiku Poetry

Like an old plow-horse,
Your best engine limps along.
You must clean your track.
His Conrail Big Boy
Pulls his Amtrak auto racks.
Think he's new at this?
Four by eight plywood:
A good starting point, but this
Board may leave you bored.
Rivet-counters say
My boxcar doors are too wide.
Ask me if I care.
Like cats tied to dogs
Is hooking AC to trains
When it's not tinplate.
I model 90's.
Spouse gave me a wood reefer.
Now what do I do?
Great stones stay in place.
This engine won't move, either.
Buy good stuff next time.
DCC is great,
Except for the collisions.
I make Gomez proud.
Teardrops fall like rain.
I hate you, eBay sniper!
That engine was mine.
I showed off my trains.
My guests had but one question:
"How much did it cost?"
Wife bought a new dress.
That means an engine for me.
Fair is fair, you know.
My track is perfect.
Too bad it still looks like the
Plywood Pacific.
If Y2K hurts,
I'll run my trains on batt'ries.
First things first, you see.
Spouse asked a question:
"Do you REALLY need more trains?"
Spouse doesn't get it.
Lucifer's flatcar
Picks a new spot to derail
Every time I run it.
Double-stacks went in.
They all came out single-stacked.
Your tunnel's too low.
My unit coal train:
Sixty cars, one road number.
Hope I don't get caught.
My young son must see
Each "Thomas the Tank Engine."
He has good taste, yes?
Hobby-shop owner!
I'll help with kids' tuition.
Just sell me some trains.
PRR fans cringe
At my Pennsy U50.
No sense of humor.
I shall convert you
If your scale is not my scale,
Lest your soul be lost.
I saw a club show.
Trains derailed, track was dirty —
I get this at home!
Indecision strikes.
Buy more trains, or gift for wife?
Wish I could get both.
Not since last Christmas
Has my son played with "his" trains.
Guess that makes them mine.
Where do these wires go?
I pull on one, and two move.
Color code? I wish!
Can you tell me why
My trains always stay on track
Unless I have guests?
Lying to yourself?
"I can quit buying freight cars!"
Time for 12 Steps, friend.

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The Model Railroader's Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through my pike,
Not a steamer was stirring, not even a Mike.
My yard tracks invitingly empty and bare,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The diesels were nestled all snug in their sheds,
While visions of DCC danced in their heads.
While I, in my blue-and-white engineer's cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When down in the train room, there rose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the basement I flew like an ace,
Then tripped on the cat and fell flat on my face.

I stifled a curse meant for Chessie (the cat),
And I muttered to no one, "I meant to do that,"
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But an HO-scale sleigh and eight Preiser reindeer,

With a little conductor, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than GG-1's, onward they came,
And he blew a steam whistle and called them by name:

"On Athearn! On Lionel, Kato and Walthers!
On Kadee and Micro-Trains, Atlas and others!
To the top of the mountains of cardboard and plaster,
Now Dash-2 and Dash-9 and dash away faster!"

As dry leaves that behind a new Genesis fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So in through the window the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of trains, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, on my roundhouse, I saw on the roof
The prints in the dust of each HO-scale hoof.
As I drew a deep breath, and was turning around,
From beneath the benchwork, St. Nick came with a bound.

He was dressed like an engineer from head to foot,
And his clothes had that fine smell of ashes and soot;
A bundle of trains he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — just like marker lights! Dimples, how merry!
His cheeks like a warbonnet, nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And his beard was so white, it would please Phoebe Snow.

He puffed on a pipe as he refilled its bowl,
And the smoke, it smelled just like bituminous coal.
He had a broad face and a belly (I found)
That shook like a tank car with wheels out-of-round.

He was chubby and plump, and I wanted to shout,
"The man's got a route the UP can't buy out!"
A wink of his eye as he passed near the door
Soon gave me to know I'd have freight cars galore.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work.
He filled all my yard tracks; then turned with a jerk,
And leaving an airbrush he'd found on eBay,
And giving a nod, he returned to his sleigh.

He pumped up the brakes, blew two blasts on his whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

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I Am the Very Model of a Modern N-Scale Modeler

What if Gilbert & Sullivan had been model railroaders? I don't know if they would have had as wide an audience, but the "Modern Major-General" song from Pirates of Penzance might have gone like this:

I am the very model of a modern N-scale modeler.
I've named my towns and cities for my mom and wife and toddler.
My wheels are all low-profile and you know I took a lot of pains
Replacing all my Rapido's with body-mounted Micro-Trains.

Of Walthers and of Red Caboose I surely have a lot of stuff;
Of Atlas and of Kato I will surely never get enough,
In Chessie and in Burlington, Rock Island and the Super Fleet, (pause)
And everything from double-stacks to hoppers full of sugar beets!

Chorus sings:
And everything from double-stacks to hoppers full of sugar beets,
And everything from double-stacks to hoppers full of sugar beets,
And everything from double-stacks to hoppers full of sugar, sugar beets!

I've built some InterMountain kits, which took me more than just a day,
And also fixed some engines with the body shells by JnJ.
In short, in matters permanent and portable and modular,
I am the very model of a modern N-scale modeler!

Chorus sings:
In short, in matters permanent and portable and modular,
He is the very model of a modern N-scale modeler!

My rolling stock collection is the stuff from which you'd make a dream;
I've counted every rivet and I've counted every welded seam.
I use a magnifier so my eyes can read the stencilled date,
And I won't buy or use a car if it was made a year too late.

My train of coal has eighty cars with different numbers, every one.
I filled them all with simulated loads, which was a lot of fun.
I made a modern tipple and I made a dumper rotary — (pause)
They're built from scratch — I'll prove it with this letter from a notary.

Chorus sings:
They're built from scratch — he'll prove it with this letter from a notary.
They're built from scratch — he'll prove it with this letter from a notary.
They're built from scratch — he'll prove it with this letter from a nota-, notary.

I've gotten rid of cab control, I'll just be using DCC —
Decoders are a hassle, but I love the flexibility.
In short, in matters permanent and portable and modular,
I am the very model of a modern N-scale modeler!

Chorus sings:
In short, in matters permanent and portable and modular,
He is the very model of a modern N-scale modeler!

(slow down)
When I can glue down ballast so it doesn't stick my turnout points,
When I don't leave a monstrous blob of solder on my flex-track joints,
When I can think of benchwork as a thing that isn't tedious,
And when I know precisely what is meant by "min'mum radius,"

When I can make some scenery that's verdant, green and flowery,
When I know more of trackplans than a wino in the Bowery,
In short, when building layouts is a pleasure, and is not a pain,
(speed up again)
You'd say a better modeler in N has never bought a train!

Chorus sings:
You'd say a better modeler in N has never bought a train!
You'd say a better modeler in N has never bought a train!
You'd say a better modeler in N has never bought a, bought a train!

I haven't got a layout, though my plans are better every day.
I haven't run a train in years — who needs to run them anyway?
But still, in matters permanent and portable and modular,
I am the very model of a modern N-scale modeler!

Chorus sings:
But still, in matters permanent and portable and modular,
He is the very model of a modern N-scale modeler!

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Gunga Train

(with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

You can talk of model cars,
Or of looking at the stars
Through a telescope, or flying R/C planes.
But when I need some funnin',
I will turn to N-scale runnin'
And I've never found a substitute for trains.

Well, that's what I tell myself,
But some naughty little elf
Loves to fiddle with my trackwork so it fails.
I have checked each flex-track joint,
I have filed each turnout point,
But the rolling stock just won't stay on the rails.

It's that train! Train! Train!
It jumped the tracks — fire up the Brownhoist crane!
Fix one car amid the wreck,
And two others hit the deck.
Sometimes you drive me crazy, N-scale train!

When your unit train is stallin'
When you want it to be crawlin'
But it found a dirty stretch along the track,
You can give a little nudge,
But the stubborn thing won't budge,
'Til it leaps and breaks a coupler from the slack.

So the rails you rub and buff
'Til you're sure they're clean enough
That your Preiser folks could eat off them for meals.
But the engine that you run'll
Surely stall within a tunnel
'Cause you didn't clean the gunk from off its wheels.

It's that train! Train! Train!
This dirty track is driving me insane!
I have worn my Bright Boy out,
Still I feel the urge to shout,
"I'll trade you in for slot cars, N-scale train!"

When you think it's finished failing,
Then it starts again derailing
At your turnouts, and you fly into a rage
When you check your GS-4
That you love and you adore
And you find the wheels are mostly under-gauge.

So you take your work of art
And you stretch its wheels apart
'Til they're perfect (or as close as you can render).
Then you set it on the track,
And you have a heart attack
When you see you've scratched the paint job on the tender.

It's that train! Train! Train!
Derail once more and I'll be raising Cain!
Fixing rails and fixing wheels —
Sisyphus knows how it feels!
It's not what I call fun, you N-scale train.

We had guests a while ago;
They had little ones in tow.
When they heard that I had trains, they had to see.
But I wasn't filled with joy,
For my 1:160 toy
Hadn't run well for a week or two, or three.

Still, I couldn't just say "no,"
So I said I'd do a show,
Though I couldn't promise modeling perfection.
"Come on in and I will try,
But don't get your hopes too high."
How I hate to see a little child's dejection!

Oh, you train! Train! Train!
You'd better run, or I will cause you pain!
With an audience, I know
Things are doomed from the word "go."
Just move and I'll be thankful, N-scale train!

So I turned the power on,
Found a hopper and a gon,
And my faithful SD9 in BN green.
Then I throttled up a notch,
And my young guests stood and watched
As that engine ran like I have never seen.

It went 'round and 'round and 'round
With a quiet purring sound,
And the cars stayed on the rails where'er they went.
And the kids, with eyes alight,
Watched that train in pure delight,
And I knew my hobby time was time well-spent.

Oh, that train! Train! Train!
With simulated loads of coal and grain!
Though I've cursed you and I've fought you,
Still I'm awful glad I got you —
In the end, you're worth it all, you N-scale train!

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