The View from the Skywalk

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I was out at the Skydome (I still find it hard to call it the Rogers Centre)  to watch the Toronto Blue Jays pound on the Seattle Mariners.  Why walking to the stadium through the skywalk–a convoluted path that is convenient but poorly marked-I had a chance to snap some pictures.  I hope you enjoy.

 

Trains in Vietnam

My recent trip to Vietnam was fantastic.  If you want to see more pictures, please check out my main blog (link somewhere on the left hand side of this blog.

During the trip, I had the chance to see some interesting trains and I thought I should share them on this website.

The first is the original steam train the French used to go from Saigon to Da Lat when they wanted to escape the summer heat.  Based on the fact that it was over thirty degrees at the end of February in Saigon, I think that was a great idea.  Also, since Da Lat is a coffee producing region, have trains to carry the coffee beans was also a pretty good idea.

The second is  of the commuter train we took from Hue to Hanoi.  It left about 5:30 and we traveled until 5:30 in the morning.  I have a video, but I am unable to upload it to here.  When I have it uploaded to YouTube, I will put a link here.

Two Kinds of Hobby Shops

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Years of shopping for hobby stuff has taught me a couple of things. One is that you can find useful hobby stuff in non-hobby stores.  This can be the dollar store, the hardware store or even the grocery store.  The other important thing, which was reconfirmed this weekend, is that there are two kinds of hobby shops.

There’s the one that’s brightly lit, with organized shelves and clear product areas. The store has the latest products, the least amount of dust and staff who use price guns to stalk the aisles and tell you what something costs.  They also have some cute toys for the youngest children and a good chunk of things for display.

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The other is like the one I went to. The lighting in insufficient and the windows, if there are any are covered over with displays, shelves or curtains that don’t get washed all that often.  This leads to lifting the products up to get a better look at them.

There are clear signs of organization, it’s just more general. Military models in that corner, cars in that corner, trains over there behind the wall, N on the left, HO on the right.”  You might find things in the wrong place, but that is part of the fun.  You might even find a bargain.  If you can’t find it, you ask and the person can take you right to it, and maybe tell you a story about how long they have had it for, where they got it, or how they sold twenty one snow January day.

In addition to all this, the store might have a whole bunch of stuff that you can’t find anywhere. The store I went to was no exception.  It was a treasure trove of stuff.  They had:

  • a whole pile of Tyco and AFX track for sale, including risers and lap counters.
  • a multi pack of N scale figures from Woodland Scenics (more than 16 sets bundled together for a bulk sale–the plastic on the outer pack had yellowed from years of indirect sunlight–but it was still for sale.
  • every scale of train from O right on down to Z.
  • Apollo, Gemini, space station and space shuttle rocket kits.
  • monster models and dinosaur kits.
  • educational models
  • cool prints of train artwork
  • a large number of slots car scales and kits (analog and digital)
  • a whole pile of tools for crafting your hobbies, including spray booths and choppers
  • RC car parts (though I didn’t see any RC cars)
  • New and vintage magazines (some real vintage ones)
  • used electronic parts for trains, slot cars, power boats and ….

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I could go on listing all the things I saw, but the truth is that I probably missed a whole lot more. I spent more than an hour there just wandering around trying to buy something.  The only problem is that I really just didn’t want to.  There was nothing I could justify spending money on because I have a whole room full of half complete or unopened things to do.  I am in a bit of funk and I don’t know how to get out of it.  I thought wandering the hobby shop would help, but it only made me more confused.  Starting a new hobby or a new project is fun…but seeing all the other incomplete projects makes me sad. (I did consider a race car set, and I was looking for a large scale 1964-67 Mustang Kit…and some train cars……..

I walked away with my money in my pocket….for now.

Rail Maintenance

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Hey train enthusiasts. A short time ago, early April. there was a news article about a train hitting a backhoe.  My mother, having heard this on the CBC radio news, wondered how this was possible.  Not to belittle the tragedy but rather to explain to my mother rather than Googling, I wanted to give her some ideas–if only in a smaller scale.

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I came across this construction crew today. They were doing work on the train line with interestingly modified vehicles.  Also, since a number of people checked out this blog when I posted the Aurora train station, I thought you might like this tool

 

 

Aurora’s Trains

Trains are awesome.  Trains are great.  My town has a renovated, yet classic train station, yet only commuter trains run on it.  That doesn’t bother me, but it isn’t the same as seeing freight trains every day.

I went out for a walk today and took some photos.  Anyone interested in trains might appreciate them.

 

 

April Walk 014

 

April Walk 015Even the bicycle parking is cute.

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I should also include the heritage sign for those who would like to see it.

April Walk 020

Japanese Cargo Trains

 
 
I just wanted to put some shots of some of my other Japanese cargo trains…..in case there were some train fans out their reading this blog.
 
I think these mini tankers are kind of cool.  I don’t know what they are called, but do like them.  The ones on the right are undecorated, but someone put the sticker numbers on them already.  I will have to paint over them and apply some new letters–sounds like a project.
 


An overhead view.

I am interested in Japanese cargo trains for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I seem to have an over exaggerated interest in anything Japanese.  If you’ve been reading this blog, you already know that.  The second is the sheer novelty of it.  These cargo trains are quite different from the ones we have in North America.  The third is that their way of doing things is different.  You don’t need to have a bunch of different cars, just different cargo add- ons.  This is the same rail car as in previous shots, just with different card put on top.  Seems pretty cool to me, but I would love to hear from other N scale railroaders about their opinions.

Most of what I have seen in hobby shops around here are just Japanese bullet trains.  Nobody seems to have cargo trains.  It is too bad, because they are cool.