OGR Spring 2019 Grand Stand Meeting Minutes

Our meeting was once again held in the “Gold Hall” under the grandstands at the York Fairgrounds during the Eastern Division of the Train Collectors Association meet – their semi-annual meeting. Sort of like semi-sweet chocolates.  We had a large crowd this time, and if it keeps growing, we are going to have to move back into the Grand Stand.

Anyway, the meeting started right at 2:00pm with beautiful, clear skies and a temperature of 63 degrees. We had to set up our own chairs again. There are large benches in there with plaques from sponsoring banks that we were not allowed to use because those banks had long since failed and the FDIC was expected at any moment to come and repossess them. There was a commotion as I arrived, almost late, as Alan was trying to recruit another scribe to back me up. That wasn’t going well.

Ed Boyle welcomed the crowd and got things going.

Alan Arnold – CEO, OGR Publishing, Inc.

Alan reported that the Forum is now serving up 8.3 million page views a month and averages 300-400 new members a month. Big increase from a few years ago when they averaged 3 million page views a month. He reminded everyone that OGR is now a virtual company with everyone working out of their homes and invited anyone that gets to AR to visit his layout in Mountainview. The magazine is expanding, and they are offering new digital offerings at a reduced price. The digital version includes access to the digital library – so renew early. He also asked the group to “play nice” on the forum and don’t get personal in your posts.

Scott Mann – Golden Gate Depot

Scott shared with the group that they are making a brass diesel, the Rock Island Rocket TA Diesel and four cars and only 3 remained to order. He has also improved the window cut out process for his passenger cars using a CNC machine which gives them a lot more flexibility. They have announced a new series of Golden Gate Depot aluminum 18” passenger cars including Southern Pacific Daylight; The Broadway Limited; and the 20th Century Limited. Third Rail's website is 3rdrail.com, and GGD is at goldengatedepot.com

Jared Haedrich – CEO, Atlas Model RR Company

Jared talked about their line of O Gauge bridges are available again, including that fabulous Pratt Truss Bridge. Their new signaling system is shipping this fall, and their re-engineered turntable is available. It retails for $299.99 which is 20% of the competitors turntable price. They also announced for October two previous Weaver products – the Wagon Top boxcars and the Pullman Bradley Passenger Coaches.

Dennis Brennan – Brennan’s Better Ballast

I again suggested he change the name to Brennan’s Best Ballast and he told me no – I couldn’t afford the best – better ballast should be good enough for me and to stop making suggestions. Ed agreed. Anyway, he brought his latest kit - #3 in the Frank Ellison Tribute Series called the Richmond Packing Company. Could be used for any kind of factory. A craftsman kit, but easy to assemble. A lot of thought when into its construction. Give him a shout to reserve yours. Priced at $149.95 which is very reasonable, for a guy that normally sells crushed rock, anyway. BTW – his wife accompanied him this trip and helped out in the booth. A big improvement, in my opinion.

Chris Miller – Miller Engineering

They just released Portland Oregon sign, and one for Nathan’s Hot Dogs. New rotating signs for Sonic Drive In and Denny’s. They have two sizes of power adopters for someone that doesn’t want to use batteries. Their line of Christmas items are available, including a couple of three-dimensional items.  

Roger Farkash and Mike Reagan from TWTrainWorx

Roger reported that they have a number of new layouts under construction, and several public layouts are being put up for the holiday season. I know there are several in New York City. They brought to the show a new Freight Transfer Company Kit, selling for $200, and I bought one for Mrs Muffin for Christmas – don’t tell. Also a new laser cut wood fence kit they were selling for $50. It’s engineered, like their chain link fence kit, for easy assembly. Mike didn’t say anything – must have been ill. Andy was impressed.

Kevin Davis - Manager of Programs for the National Standard Modular Layouts for the LCCA

Lots of new modular layout clubs forming and several groups, I think 4, came together to build the modular layout shown in the Orange Hall. He encourages everyone to start a modular train club. At the 50th annual LCCA convention in Omaha there will be several modular clubs bringing their railroad. He also showed a Polar Express Car Lionel made for the TCA. Check out their website for more details on the car.

Andy Edleman – MTH Electric Trains

The new catalog is out with 550 products and the one getting the most questions in the DCS remote. The new version we will see in January will be the last run manufactured and will have no new functionality. The internal components are no longer manufactured – chips become obsolete – so the remote has different internal electronics, so that required a new product number. He was suggesting to the group that they need to get over the remote and move to running their trains with the WiFi application. It works much better.

He went on the say that the Halloween items are about sold out, and the Christmas items continue to use LEDs – Lots of LEDs. The Big Boy in the Catalog and the J611 are new items with quillable whistle steam and real sound files recorded from both the restored 4014 and the J611. Once released, you will be able to down load the sound file and install it in your current PS3 Big Boy or J611 – and for free.

The catalog includes the latest run of military flat cars, one with “Jeeps” though they can’t advertise it as a “Jeep” and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

Ryan Kunkle – Chief Project Manager – Lionel, LLC

Ryan reported that he agrees completely with Andy – quit buying DCS remotes. Another great year at Lionel. Record sales. The product keeps coming in, for example, they received 12 overseas containers in a single day. The Lionel Warehouse Sale is 11/7-9. National Train Day is in December. They are working on the 2020 Volume 1 Catalog, and a new Visionline announcement, which will be out in January.

With that, Ed adjourned the meeting and the stacking of the chairs commenced. To the elderly woman that grabbed and stacked mine – my thanks. I think she was in a hurry for me to leave.

Not at the meeting, but worth noting, was Millhouse River Studio which showcased a new Rotary Coal Dumper in their booth. Check it out at studiozphoto.com

Any additions or corrections, please post. Thanks for putting this together, Ed.

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MTH's Bradley Fighting Vehicle

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TWTrainWorx New Building

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TWTrainWorx new fence kit

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Pictures of Brennan's new building

 

       

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MrMuffin'sTrains posted:



Andy Edleman – MTH Electric Trains

The new catalog is out with 550 products and the one getting the most questions in the DCS remote. The new version we will see in January will be the last run manufactured and will have no new functionality. The internal components are no longer manufactured – chips become obsolete – so the remote has different internal electronics, so that required a new product number. He was suggesting to the group that they need to get over the remote and move to running their trains with the WiFi application. It works much better.



    

While I'm sure Steve didn't get a word for word exact quote.  I can see Andy saying something like that and comments like this make me want chuck all my MTH stuff.  Plus I would argue the Wife application DOES WORK BETTER THAN THE REMOTE is a fallacy.

Just as a follow up on the WiFi vs remote thing, we have been running our layout on a pair of IPads now for a couple of years.... the remotes are laying there, but we don't use them..... all of the connectivity issues; the engine not found; etc went away when we went to the WiFi application..... Per Barry's suggestion, we have four WiFi units cabled to a spare wireless router, and the IPads connect to the router and it effectively manages all of the packets. I also like the fact that the IPad is easier for me to read; I don't have to scroll through multiple menus; moving an engine from inactive to active is super simple; and seeing all of the options for each engine is easier. Overall it's much faster way to do what you'd like to do on a much easier to read screen..... if you visit, I have a loop set up so that you can start up and run an engine on your phone or tablet - come try it..... 

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"need to get over the remote".....i have supported MTH  and dcs with my wallet since it came out in the early 2000's.comments like this from andy makes me want to take MTH and pitch it out the window too. i am comfortable with the remote and don't see that changing....

thank you steve for another fine york report....

 

    Jim

Andy Edleman: "He was suggesting to the group that they need to get over the remote and move to running their trains with the WiFi application. It works much better."

Great, so I should now need a $50+/mo cell phone just to run my trains (I use my $100/yr TracFone for emergency calls).  Not a good cost payback for occasional use in wintertime layout running.  I'll stick with my two remotes and when they expire there will always be my trusty ZW levers.  All I lose would be horns and bell functions but not used that much anyway.

Each to his/her own.

rrman posted:

Andy Edleman: "He was suggesting to the group that they need to get over the remote and move to running their trains with the WiFi application. It works much better."

Great, so I should now need a $50+/mo cell phone just to run my trains (I use my $100/yr TracFone for emergency calls).  Not a good cost payback for occasional use in wintertime layout running.  I'll stick with my two remotes and when they expire there will always be my trusty ZW levers.  All I lose would be horns and bell functions but not used that much anyway.

Each to his/her own.

I agree 100%. This computer/smart phone crap is getting way out of hand, including the cost. I will just continue to run my trains with conventional ZW and KW transformers. And, I will have fun doing it that way.

Jeff

Wow! What a great report! Steve outdid himself this time,

Plus, Mr. Muffin helped move the controversy about using smart phones versus handhelds right up to the front of our consciousness. It is a serious topic and certainly deserves more discussion. I am convinced we will be hearing more about this topic from all sides on the Forum.

It doesn't get any better than that for a Forum report!.

Again, Steve I appreciate what you do and thanks so much for an informative and entertaining "Muffin Tour" of the Forum Meeting, complete with images!

Ed Boyle

I like the DSC remote. However if you do go the MTH WIFI route you don’t need cellular service just your router and your in home WiFi. You can use your current iPad or iPhone and or buy a refurbished iPad or iPhone etc for $100-200 dollars there are no monthly fees with WIFI only devices.

George

rrman posted:

Great, so I should now need a $50+/mo cell phone just to run my trains...

No you do not.

All you need is a cheap tablet with NO monthly fees. The cost of a suitable tablet is less than a Z-4000.

However, if you still don't want to do it this way, I have some buggy whips for sale, cheap. 

Rich Melvin

Steve, that was a great report, I wasn't there but sure wish I could have been, that 's ok, my day is coming to make it up there.  I have a DCS system with remote, never been out of the box, my wife is thinking of getting a new I-Pad and I'll hopefully get her old one.  It really isn't that old, maybe a couple of years now so I may not have a need for the remote.  We shall see.

Thanks for all you've done on the report and keeping the group informed.  Thank you for your hard work and great report.

JEM

sptrainnut

TCA 12-67009

 

Todds Architectural Models posted:

Steve-

For future reference, what is the approximate head count of attendees?

I got there late Doug, but I have set up before with Ed. I believe that the rows are usually about 25-30(or more) or so long, figure about 4(or 5) deep plus extra chairs up front. I would say the group is easily around 125 or better. I think October 2017 it was a rather full hall, which there was some folks standing at the side(where I was this time around).

Steve, great minutes, I wish I could have been there from the start, but 611 at Strasburg had my attention for a good while Friday morning-afternoon.

A further note about methods of controlling trains, which I think Andy stated, Wifi technology isn't going away, which is why he was saying it is a good thing to get into. The technology in the remotes that they had had the chips became obsolete. The new remote I believe he said the same thing as well. Technology is always changing, and Wifi is the great new thing. Myself, I don't have the DCS system, and I don't have any Wifi apps or such to run my trains. Currently I have Legacy Cab 2 and my trusty ZW's.

Todds Architectural Models posted:

Steve-

For future reference, what is the approximate head count of attendees?

Doug - I would estimate the crowd at a couple hundred..... Over a thousand have read my report. 

Our website is at www.mrmuffinstrains.com

 

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To get the weekly newsletter from MrMuffin'sTrains with new arrivals; product photographs; product announcements; special sales and discount codes for our website - sign up here!

 

We have over 150 layout videos up on YouTube and they're available on our website. 

 

 

Thank you for the nice report!  The outstanding question I have is:  Will Atlas ever again be able to make O Gauge locomotives?  I remember reading all about the closing of the factory and realize things take time but there hasn't been a peep about this from anyone.  I care because I like their products.  Cheers!

IC fan posted:

Thank you for the nice report!  The outstanding question I have is:  Will Atlas ever again be able to make O Gauge locomotives?  I remember reading all about the closing of the factory and realize things take time but there hasn't been a peep about this from anyone.  I care because I like their products.  Cheers!

I for one would like to see Atlas get back into locomotive production.I would like another run of Erie builts in NYC

I find the thought of using WiFi/tablet intriguing. If I wanted to get into it seems I am looking at about $350 to do it. Used tablet approximately $150, MTH WiFi unit Retail $180 street price $161 and a dedicated router say $40. That isn’t that bad and I could buy the items separately so it isn’t one big purchase at one time. 

Most of the time I run my trains under DCC. The system I have is NCE. I don’t know when they came out with their current system but it was before DCS. I remember folks on this forum comparing the new MTH DCS remote (not yet released) to the already existing NCE remote. There are some similarities as noted back then. What I don’t understand is why isn’t NCE, Digitrax, Lenz or any of the other DCC companies saying the same thing as MTH-that their chips are obsolete, etc and their customers should invest in using tablets and WiFi? The NCE remote is even older than the MTH remote.

Disclaimer: I am a big MTH fan and I am not knocking MTH in any way. Most of my trains are MTH and I love their products. Just trying to understand why they are doing what they are doing. 

Possible answer: Is it possible that because NCE is made in the USA that they have a machine that makes chips and they can make any chip they want? I don’t know just taking a guess in the dark. 

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

Hudson J1e posted:

I find the thought of using WiFi/tablet intriguing. If I wanted to get into it seems I am looking at about $350 to do it. Used tablet approximately $150, MTH WiFi unit Retail $180 street price $161 and a dedicated router say $40. That isn’t that bad and I could buy the items separately so it isn’t one big purchase at one time. 

Most of the time I run my trains under DCC. The system I have is NCE. I don’t know when they came out with their current system but it was before DCS. I remember folks on this forum comparing the new MTH DCS remote (not yet released) to the already existing NCE remote. There are some similarities as noted back then. What I don’t understand is why isn’t NCE, Digitrax, Lenz or any of the other DCC companies saying the same thing as MTH-that their chips are obsolete, etc and their customers should invest in using tablets and WiFi? The NCE remote is even older than the MTH remote.

Disclaimer: I am a big MTH fan and I am not knocking MTH in any way. Most of my trains are MTH and I love their products. Just trying to understand why they are doing what they are doing. 

Possible answer: Is it possible that because NCE is made in the USA that they have a machine that makes chips and they can make any chip they want? I don’t know just taking a guess in the dark. Hi Phil,  it’s possible that NCE is working on WiFi control with an apple supported app. Digitrax has one now -LNWI allows you to connect compatible WiFi devices to LocoNet and run trains using compatible throttle apps. The apps available can be downloaded from Digitrax.

Hi Phil,  it’s possible that NCE is working on WiFi control with an apple supported app. Digitrax DCC has one now -LNWI allows you to connect compatible WiFi devices to LocoNet and run trains using compatible throttle apps. The apps available can be downloaded from Digitrax or the Apple App Store.

George

Great report and even better, your helpful response on using wifi and tablets was/is a great gesture. It clarified how easy it would be to use these gadgets.

I was at the OGR Forum, and yes......Andy pretty much said verbatim ( or extremely close) to what you have reported about the lil' remote.

thanks for your time spent doing it!!!!!!

"It was a shiny caboose and it smoked...."

rrman posted:

Andy Edleman: "He was suggesting to the group that they need to get over the remote and move to running their trains with the WiFi application. It works much better."

Great, so I should now need a $50+/mo cell phone just to run my trains (I use my $100/yr TracFone for emergency calls).  Not a good cost payback for occasional use in wintertime layout running.  I'll stick with my two remotes and when they expire there will always be my trusty ZW levers.  All I lose would be horns and bell functions but not used that much anyway.

Each to his/her own.

Sounds like you've made up your mind based on incomplete information, or just don't want to consider anything new, but here goes anyway (from someone who didn't like the idea at first either)...

There's no need to buy another cell phone or pay for additional cellular service.  Not sure where you got that idea.  Get the MTH wi-fi box (under $200), buy a basic Android table (under $50 - you don't need a high-end model unless you want it for other stuff), and download the premium version of the app ($25) and you're good to go.  You don't need to connect anything to your existing computer or cell service.  You buy the app once, and it covers all of your Android devices.  When the tablet bites the dust, just buy another one. 

Drop or wear out a couple of DCS remotes and you're money way ahead with the wi-fi version.

Now go eat your broccoli. 

Mallard4468 posted:
rrman posted:

Andy Edleman: "He was suggesting to the group that they need to get over the remote and move to running their trains with the WiFi application. It works much better."

Great, so I should now need a $50+/mo cell phone just to run my trains (I use my $100/yr TracFone for emergency calls).  Not a good cost payback for occasional use in wintertime layout running.  I'll stick with my two remotes and when they expire there will always be my trusty ZW levers.  All I lose would be horns and bell functions but not used that much anyway.

Each to his/her own.

Sounds like you've made up your mind based on incomplete information, or just don't want to consider anything new, but here goes anyway (from someone who didn't like the idea at first either)...

There's no need to buy another cell phone or pay for additional cellular service.  Not sure where you got that idea.  Get the MTH wi-fi box (under $200), buy a basic Android table (under $50 - you don't need a high-end model unless you want it for other stuff), and download the premium version of the app ($25) and you're good to go.  You don't need to connect anything to your existing computer or cell service.  You buy the app once, and it covers all of your Android devices.  When the tablet bites the dust, just buy another one. 

Drop or wear out a couple of DCS remotes and you're money way ahead with the wi-fi version.

Now go eat your broccoli. 

However I believe you have to upgrade the TIU software to 6.xx, so there is expense to send to MTH or a service station.  And you would have to have cell service to at least download the ap to the phone from MTH.  And before someone chimes in do TIU yourself, I did it just once years ago to get to 3.xx version, took most of the day. Had to drag TIU and ZW upstairs to my boat anchor computer, solder up cords, lotsa blue words, and had to keep restarting ritual before software finally "took".   But that's my wah-wah oh woe is me story.

 And yes, I really do love broccoli

 

 

BTW - we are happy to upgrade any of your DCS components, for free. Just ship them to us. WE usually get them headed back your way within a day of receiving them.

MrMuffin'sTrains

177 West Main Street

Atlanta, IN 46031

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RRMAN makes a good point: How does one get the MTH Wifi app installed on an old tablet that has life in it but had been off the grid for a long time?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Steve, Thanks for telling everyone about your free TUI software upgrade service! I'm sure there are enough people out there that don't want/like to do it themselves.

Chris

LVHR

lehighline posted:

RRMAN makes a good point: How does one get the MTH Wifi app installed on an old tablet that has life in it but had been off the grid for a long time?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Steve, Thanks for telling everyone about your free TUI software upgrade service! I'm sure there are enough people out there that don't want/like to do it themselves.

Chris

LVHR

Connect the tablet to a WiFi network and install the app.  The tablet may need it's own OS updated first but as long as you can connect to the internet you can get the app.

Marty

 

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"Eating Treksgiving dinner with Captain Kirk!"

 

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