2020 Amherst Train Show (February 2020)

We just recently attended the Amherst Train Show in West Springfield, MA and I would say that it was one of the better ones judging from the last few years. For us the attendance and business (sales) was certainly higher than years past. Many other venders said the same thing. The official attendance figures were 21,534 for a two day show and most of these attended on Saturday.

It’s February already which means all of our well-intended New Year’s resolutions are fading away or forgotten completely. Many of us will be paying off Christmas debts for a long time. Many will still be trying to learn how to use their new upgraded fancy electronic not so smart phones or eye-tablets or whatever gizmos. Some may have their grandkids helping them figure stuff out. Many model railroaders should be adding new stuff to their layout, breaking in (or just breaking) a new locomotive, building some kits, or helping their grand kids enjoy model railroading as a tradeoff for them helping with the electronic stuff.

At the Amherst Show and actually throughout the year I converse with many modelers that are in the process of changing to another scale or have changed from a small scale to a larger scale. From this I get many inquiries about our G scale couplers and do they work the same as our HO couplers. My answer to them is all of our couplers function the same regardless of the scale size. I did demo our magnetic uncoupling quite a bit at the show as there were many attendees that were new to the hobby, getting back into the hobby, or changing scales because their eye sight and dexterity are not as good as they once were.

We will be attending the Amherst Train Show on January 25-26 in West Springfield, MA. This show is one of the biggest and is always well attended by modelers, manufacturers, dealers, and individual sellers, historical societies, and clubs. There's something there for everyone even if you're not a model railroader there are operating layouts, sales, displays, and "information" and "how to" clinics. We are in the Better Living Center building booth #39 in the corner by the West entrance. If you have an opportunity we'd recommend attending this show, you won't be disappointed. The only draw back might be the weather and walking around all day. So check the weather, dress appropriately, bring good walking shoes with good traction, and bring some good tote bags to carry all your purchases.

There are a couple things we still get questions about that needs to be revisited.

Track code and wheel code have no relation. Track code is the height of the “rail” and wheel code is the width of the “wheel”. The confusion is when a modeler sees code 100 rail and then sees code 110 wheels and they then think they have to match the track code to the wheel code. Operationally, you can run code 110 wheels on any code of track code 100, 83, 70, and so on. Unfortunately, when the semi scale code 88 wheels became more popular the narrower .088” wide wheels did not operate on all makes of track especially turnouts/switches when the thinner wheels dropped into the gaps and derailed. So if you want to run semi scale code 88 wheels make sure they will run through all of your switches and such.

We do not make metal large scale couplers as the plastic ones we make are quite strong enough for normal large scale operations. Also, the weight difference would cause issues with many large scale coupler mountings.

On30 models made by Bachmann use their HO scale couplers that are too small scale wise for O scale narrow gauge. Standard head HO couplers are about a 7” coupler in O scale rather than a 9” coupler that’s proper for common narrow gauge. Unfortunately Bachmann flooded the On30 market with models equipped with HO couplers. Most of their rolling stock can be converted to proper On3 couplers, like our #803, but their On30 locomotives are almost impossible to convert to On3 couplers. So if you want to mix different makes of On30 models you may have coupler size and mounting height issues.

Now get them grand kids to fetch you a sandwich and a nice bowl of soup so you can relax and watch them operate your layout before you take a nap.

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