The Model Railway Show – Episode 0033

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The Genchi Genbutsu Show!

In this episodeā€¦

Lance Mindheim, author.
Don Goodman-Wilson, modeler.

How to Operate a Modern Era Switching Layout

Genchi Genbutsu is a Japanese saying that means “Go and See”, and that could have been the subtitle for the latest book on modeling contemporary railroading from author Lance Mindheim.

Lance’s two HO scale modern-era CSX layouts have been well documented in the hobby press as well as on his website, and when working on the layouts he enjoys being able to “Go and See” his prototypes: It’s as easy as hopping on a plane to Miami. That’s also an advantage when it comes to designing operating sessions, as he describes in his new book.

Lance joins Trevor to explain how he learned about modern operations and how this has influenced his own layouts. He also explains how observing and replicating prototype operations can actually simplify layout design, with a corresponding reduction in construction and maintenance time and cost.

(This is a lesson Trevor is applying to his current model railway, and one that layout builders discussed in the most recent issue (44) of the Layout Design Journal – the quarterly publication from the Layout Design Special Interest Group.)

Listeners can learn more about Lance’s books in the bookstore section of his site, including viewing sample pages from How to Operate a Modern Era Switching Layout.

Japanese modeling in North America

Don Goodman-Wilson lives in Colorado, but models Japanese railroading. It’s very different from what we’re used to in North America, with an emphasis on high-speed passenger and commuter trains. But as Don tells Jim, it’s a rewarding switch for North Americans looking for something different. And there are a surprising number of North Americans who model Japanese railroads.

And Don should know: He’s the moderator of the Japanese Modeling and Japan Rail Enthusiasts Forum.

Don notes that North American organizations are not numerous – the Japan Rail Modelers of Washington DC being one of the few with an active online presence – but enthusiasts are quite dedicated.

The Japanese-North American ties are strong in the hobby, with many products flowing east across the Pacific. But this year, North Americans are giving back, through a charity called Omocha Express that is delivering toys to children affected by the March, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor incident in Japan.

Those interested in modeling Japanese prototypes are extremely well served by manufacturers including Kato, Tomix* and Micro Ace*. Japan has also been at the vanguard of innovative answers to modeling in small spaces, including the creation of T Scale (1:450), the T-TRAK N scale modular standard and the Bandai B-Train Shorties* – possibly the only model railway product line that should be called “cute”.

(*Websites marked with an asterisk are only available in Japanese, but may be viewed in English (or French, or Spanish) by pasting their URLs into Google Translate.)

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Episode 33 (mp3)

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Next time on The Model Railway Show:

Jim speaks with Sylvan Scale Models owner Clare Gilbert about his past 20 years as a manufacturer.
Trevor talks to Otto Vondrak about a tribute to the photography of the late Hal Carstens.

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