I ran a train. I’d do it again and again.

Last night I was lucky enough to have some time to finish some wiring tasks on the HO scale Bush Terminals layout. Finishing wiring always quickly turns into an excited “…and let’s just hook up a throttle and run a train!” time and I found myself there again. I dug out a box of HO scale models that haven’t had any chance to play with in probably a decade, maybe longer. Understandably some of the engines will need a little work to make them enjoyable to operate but it was great fun watching my models creeping through the heart of this little industrial loft.

The track itself is working well, the first time and I couldn’t be happier about that. I do have one very short section toward the end of a siding that needs to be re-gauged but only slightly. I also discovered that I haven’t run feeder wires to feed power into the point-end of the switch all trains use when entering the scene from the fiddle year. That’s easy enough to fix and I’ll do that this evening.

From my collection of engines I was surprised to see that a first generation Bachmann Spectrum 44 tonner that I was convinced was toast actually worked very well. This model is from the period when these models were powered by a pair of powered trucks and most of mine have suffered from burned out motors that were never timed properly in the first place and always failed in a puff of smoke. The Model Die Casting boxcab is still a noisy little monster and I need to find a way to quite it down. Otherwise it’s still a fabulous slow speed switcher and a joy to operate. Lesson learned here for manufacturers: always choose higher gear ratios folks, it’s the only path to happiness. Of everything I ran last night the little Varney “Docksider” will require the most attention. This engine has already stared in some photos here on the blog and it was the one model I had in mind when I decided to design and then build my HO scale Bush Terminals micro layout. I estimate this model is approaching fifty years old and I’ve owned it for almost twenty of these years. It is still my favourite model and it’s simple mechanism most likely just needs some tidying up and a general clean-up.

As I tidied up everything I enjoyed reflecting on just how much joy I was deriving from these little layouts and how much of this I had been denying myself while I waited to have enough room, or time, money or whatever. These micro layouts have been quite inexpensive to build and have more than returned on that investment in satisfaction. With each one I’ve reaquainted myself with some of my favourite aspects of the hobby and come away from each phase feeling like I’ve learned something or simply gotten a little better at that task. I grew as a model maker and I’m proud of how I invested that time.

I’ve said it again and it’s worth saying it again: “Build a layout. Run some trains.”

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