As promised, here are a few photos of the new MTH Premier PRR HH1 (Y-3) steam locomotive shown in the video below. More photos are available on the 2-8-8-2 Articulated Steam Locomotive page of my web site.
After a thoroughly lousy winter (that makes two in a row and this one isn't over yet), I was happy that MTH finally brought out a new O-Gauge toy that I wanted. They reissued the Premier-line scale model of the PRR HH1, a 2-8-8-2 articulated locomotive, the first time they've done so in twenty years! The HH1 was a Y-3 purchased from the Norfolk and Western to fill the need for power during World War II and the PRR bought six of them. Needless to say, I ordered it and picked it up from my dealer at a train show yesterday. It is a superb model! I have yet to set up for photography but when I do, I will share some photos. I did, however, shoot a hi-def video of the locomotive in action, pulling a long string of the most recent AtlasO reefers, which I have never before shown in a video. Shooting the video proved to be quite an adventure as my Vixia, unused for so long, had lost all its settings and I had to rediscover what settings I needed to shoot videos the way I like to. What you're about to see is actually the fourth shoot; the first three all had problems. I think I finally got the settings right so, here then is the video.
The list of Atlas O reefers is as up-to-date as I can make it with all currently available information included. The photo catalog also has all of the cars released to date.
I had the cataract in my right eye removed last month and it's a real pleasure to be able to see clearly again with both eyes!
I'm a person of very strong beliefs that are very strongly held so it's exceedingly rare that I will discuss politics except with close friends. That being said however, it's said that this old adage originated with Abraham Lincoln (and if it didn't, it should have): "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." Some politicians and talking heads really need to consider that before they go before the cameras!
I've updated the AtlasO Reefer Master List and the photo catalog with all of the reefers that have come out in 2014. They issued quite a few very attractive reefers this year.
I've received emails asking why I've mostly left my online presences. Where do I start? For a while now, I've noticed that my vision has been degrading. Magnifying glasses began popping up all over the house so that I could read books and magazines as it was all blurred without them. I got a 27" monitor to try to make it easier to use the computer and I still wound up sometimes using a magnifying glass to read the screen. My ophthalmologist finally broke the bad news to me that I had a cataract in my left eye and it was getting worse. He recommended a top-flight cataract surgeon in NYC (Park Ave no less). To make a long story short, last week I had the surgery to remove the old clouded, yellowed lens and replace it with a new artificial lens. I can now see clearly out of my left eye for the first time in a long while and can once again read without the magnifying glasses. Next week I'll be fitted for new glasses to both work with the computer and for distance. There being a downside for every upside, I now know that my right eye is also degrading since everything appears to be yellowing and blurry compared to the now-fixed left eye, so in six months or so I will have to undergo the same procedure for my right eye. At least I know, based on the left eye, that it's nothing to be feared and that it will probably turn out as well as this surgery.
As if that wasn't enough, earlier this month, I was returning home from the pharmacy, the traffic light turned green, I proceeded across the intersection and, without warning, a Ford Explorer ran the red light (she didn't even try to stop and was clearly paying attention to anything but her driving) and T-boned my Envoy, caving in the entire passenger side. Fortunately, I had no passengers and just as fortunately I was driving an Envoy which kept me safe — by sacrificing itself. It was declared a total loss and I was faced with finding a new vehicle much sooner than I had intended. After careful consideration, I opted for a 2014 Cadillac SRX, returning to Cadillac for the first time since my 1990 Coupe de Ville. It's a magnificent vehicle but there is a steep learning curve due to the amount of technology built into it. ::sigh:: And people wonder where I've disappeared to. Now you know!
I'm sure you noticed that I posted nothing last year. Very few new toys, not much to talk about except the fact that I haven't been well and I don't like talking about that. I've just made the effort (I don't move or see nearly as well as I used to) to update the AtlasO Reefers page with photos of the reefers that were issued last year; it's fully up-to-date as is the Master List of AtlasO reefers. Enjoy.
Having been bitten very badly by the Standard Gauge bug, back in March 2012 I got the ultimate Standard Gauge passenger set — the State Set. This set is a reproduction of the set that Lionel brought out in 1929 which, when you think about it, was not the best year to bring out an expensive toy train. They are the largest and most elaborate passenger cars of that era (or any era for that matter), with the four cars alone stretching out more than seven feet in length! This set is in the original two-tone State green color; later sets also came in two-tone State brown. The cars have detailed interiors, down to lids that can be raised and lowered on the toilets! Since then (it's just before Christmas 2012), I've been hunting for the add-on cars that MTH created to go with this set, as well as the matching #381E electric locomotive that originally pulled this set (I've previously shown it being hauled by a reproduction #400E steam locomotive). Not that long ago, I finally managed to get all the cars and the locomotive, though it was the PS1 version. I was disappointed that it could not be upgraded to PS2, and started hunting for the almost-mythical PS2 version (there were not many made and they seem to be as scarce as hen's teeth). Just in the last few weeks, I managed to find and nab one! This True HD 1080p video shows the PS2 version of the #381E hauling all six State cars. While the original, from 1929, couldn't do a good job hauling the four cars it came with (which is why in subsequent years the set only came with three cars), this modern reproduction just walks away with all six. And what of the PS1 version that I now also have (someone very wise once said that you can't have too many #400E's or #381E's)? Stay tuned for a surprise coming in a few days. That's all I'll say for now!
In 1950, Lionel brought out a set of short streamlined passenger cars in yellow with red trim, accompanied by a set of yellow and gray Union Pacific FA diesel locomotives. Given the color and the fact that it was the 50th anniversary of Lionel, collectors took to calling this the "Anniversary Set". Though I have a reproduction of the set made by Lionel in 1994, I've never had the actual Anniversary Set, which has always annoyed me since I otherwise have a complete collection of these postwar short streamlined passenger cars. Well, I finally found a set in excellent condition and now have them! My collection is complete! I've posted photos on Lionel Postwar Short Streamlined Passenger Car page on my website and will soon shoot a video of the cars in action. Here are the photos; click on them to enlarge.
I've been after this car, the State baggage car lettered for Pennsylvania, for a long time and finally managed to bag the prize! It is the sixth and final car in my Standard Gauge State set (yes, I know that there were originally only four cars in the set, but that's one of the many advantages of having a modern reproduction set). The #381E (mentioned below) hauls all six cars (a very heavy load) with no trouble at all. Now that I have all of the cars in the set, I will go ahead and finally shoot the long-delayed video of the entire set in action. Meantime, here's a photo of the new car; click on the photo to enlarge.
On a trip to New York City (which I almost always do by train), an ALP-46 pushing a train of multilevel coaches pulled in heading toward Trenton. Just on a whim, I used my cell phone to take a photo of it and it turned out well enough that I've posted it on the ALP-44 & ALP-46 Electric Locomotives page of my web site. Here's the photo; click on it to enlarge.
Do you know what happens when you embed close to a hundred and fifty True HD 1080p videos on the Multimedia page of your web site? It refuses to load properly when someone tries to view it in a browser (any browser) and then Flash blows up! Even adopting YouTube's new way of embedding videos (inline frames) didn't help. Le sigh!! I've had to reformat and split the page so that there are no more than fifty videos per page — there are now three pages which interlink with each other so that navigation isn't a problem, but it's still a major bother. I need to do some thinking about how I ultimately want to deal with the entire "videos on the web site" issue.