Running Extra 80 with Hunter

My friend Hunter Hughson visited last night. My wife joined us for a trip to Harbord House for dinner, then Hunter and I headed to Port Rowan aboard a freight extra hauled by CNR 80.

Hunter is only the second friend in the hobby to visit since I added ambient sound to the layout, and since his many talents include “musician” I was keen for his feedback on what I’ve done. I was pleased – and relieved – that he likes it. The choice of sounds seemed spot-on to his recollection of summers in Ontario, and he felt the levels were not overpowering.

Hunter took the engineer’s seat while I grabbed the paperwork and loaded into the caboose. We switched three cars in St. Williams, and four in Port Rowan, so it was a busy evening. The Port Rowan switching included lifting and spotting cars on the elevated coal track, which requires a careful hand on the throttle. Hunter did a fine job.

Hunter is enjoying the novelty of running a short local behind steam: As he notes on his blog, his main involvement in a layout is as a member of the Waterloo Regional Model Railroad Club in St. Mary’s, Ontario – a group building an extensive HO scale layout representing CP Rail in the Sudbury area in the 1970s. It’s a very impressive layout – and about as far from my modest Port Rowan effort as one can get.

After finishing the extra’s work, Hunter and I discussed layout sound, which reminded me that Lance Mindheim is feeding Soundtraxx decoders into headphones to capture the full range of audio – including the big bass notes that tiny speakers mounted in locomotives just can’t reproduce. It’s not something I plan to do on my layout, but it is an interesting approach. You can read about it on Lance’s blog – look for the April 7, 2012 entry.

While I was too busy conducting things last night to take photos, this morning I shot some video to recreate some of last night’s session. I’m in the process of editing my footage, but here’s a video of Engine 80 being turned at Port Rowan:

(You can also click here to watch this video on YouTube – where you may be able to view a larger version.)

Since I’m thinking about audio a lot these days, I’ll mention that all the sound on this video is natural – i.e.: picked up by the condenser mic on the camera, with no fiddling in the editing suite. The locomotive sound is generated by the on-board Soundtraxx Tsunami decoder, feeding two speakers – a small one in the boiler and a larger, high-bass model in the tender. The ambient sound includes bird calls, a cicada, and the turntable’s air-powered motor (which would have been fed from the locomotive).

Thanks for visiting, Hunter – let’s do it again soon!

9 thoughts on “Running Extra 80 with Hunter

    • Dear Mike,

      …and you know, it’s not actually that hard. There’s no CVs to tweak, creating the sounds does require using an Audio Editing app which is Free, but is seriously only as difficult to use as writing an email, and using one’s ears… 😉

      Happy Modelling,
      Aim to Improve,
      Prof Klyzlr

  1. I really enjoyed watching the video. The effect, heck the whole scene has evolved so nicely that it just is so pleasing to watch the engine moving through these basic movements on the table. Thanks for sharing the video.

    • Hi Chris:

      Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      I’ve tried a different camera for capturing video and it seems to work better than the one I used previously – or, to be honest, it’s more idiot-proof! Regardless, this means I will try to do more video of the layout as scenes develop.


  2. I had a busy weekend performing shows, and I’m just now getting caught up with the blogs that I follow.

    Thanks for having me over Trevor. As always, the meal at Harbord House was perfect. The addition of environmental sounds to your layout adds an entirely new dimension to the illusion. These sounds fit nicely with your very realistic scenery.


  3. Magnificent scene, made even better by the sound. Your blogs have forced me to ask “How much railroad do I really need to be happy?” Reevaluating my space as well as the railroad I am modeling (Spokane International circa 1940’s). Thanks for the inspiration!

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