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ISSUE 7 - Fall 2010

In This Issue From The Railblog ............................ 5 Wooden Trains ................................ 6 End of Line Buffer .......................... 10 Fun With Radii ............................... 13 What to Do After That Starter Set? ... 15 Reverse Engineering Challenge ....... 18 Billund’s Miniland Trains ................ 23 Emrald Night Improvements ........... 31 Just Like Clockwork ........................ 36 Brickworld’s Train Roundtable ........ 38 Trainspotting ................................ 40 Behind The Tour ............................. 42 PF and 9V DC Trains ......................... 46 Draisine Du 65 ................................ 56

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The RAILBRICKS Team Senior Editor: Elroy Davis Staff Editors and Writers: Steve Barile Benn Coifman Tim David Didier Enjary Eric Kingsley Cale Leiphart Holger Matthes Mark Peterson Larry Pieniazek Anthony Sava Jordan Schwarz Jeramy Spurgeon Content Contributors: Thorsten Benter John Robertson Ludo Soete Jérôme Teissier

Copy Editing/Proofing: Christy Davis Copyright © 2007-2010 RAILBRICKS Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. LEGO® is a registered trademark of the LEGO Company, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this publication. All other trademarks, service marks, and copyrights are property of their respective owners.

ALL ABOARD! Welcome to the latest issue of RAILBRICKS magazine! It ’s been a long time coming. In the past year the RAIL BRICKS team has done many things, including releasing a calendar and wr iting many blog posts, but the maga zine hasn’t had a lot of activity. Thanks to some gentle nudging P h o to By A l f r e d Speredelozzi from one of the RAIL BRICKS team members (Thanks Benn!), the magaz i n e ca m e back into focus. Production of a magazine, especially one written by vo l u n teers, is a time-consuming process. As much as we ’d l i ke to spend our time writing , editing , and working on l ayo u t s , the reality is that we all have our day to day live s to co n tend with. Often we find ourselves busy, and the t h i n g s we love fall by the wayside as we wait for that precio u s “ f re e time” that we can use for our hobby. This is exactly the situation that the RAILBRICKS tea m fo u n d itself in. When the team realized that productio n o f t h e magazine had tapered off, Jeramy Spurgeon, editor o f R A I L BRICKS said “ When things get stale, sometimes it i s b e st to freshen things up.” Jeramy sug gested a reorgani zat i o n o f the team. This is how I now find myself in the position as RA I L B R I C KS current editor. Jeramy ’s plan worked. With talk o f reo rga nization also came talk of ideas for future projec t s . C re ativity started flowing , and this latest issue of th e m a ga zine started coming together. And so, I am now happy to present you with RA I L B R I C KS , Issue 7. Enjoy! -Elroy Instructions, Challenges, and Tips & Tricks have been categorized into the following levels:

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Math Can Be Fun! Written by Anthony Sava | Thursday, 04 February 2010 18:47 After my recent article (http://www.railbricks.com/railblog-categories/other/159-my-nerd-sense-is-tingling), I was contacted by a fellow TexLUG member who asked me about the scale I built my trains. He is interested in building a particular model and wanted a starting point, an asked me “do you build your trains 10 feet to 8 studs scale?” After all, I built my two TSRR locomotives at 8 wide scale, and as I said in my article they turned out to be about 10 feet wide. I replied and said no, that was just coincidence. I scale all of my locomotives based on their driver size, and for my two locomotives I considered a large BBB driver, 4 studs in diameter, equal to a driver somewhere between 55” and 65”. But then I got to thinking... just what is that? Well, 60”, the average size of a driver I consider to be represented by a large BBB driver, happens to be 5 feet. 5 feet to 4 studs scale... wait a minute... Well what do you know, I really DO model at 10 feet to 8 studs scale.

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V i s i t the R A I L B RICKS R A I L B LOG at w w w.railbricks.com

Math can be fun! For the curious, 10 feet to 8 studs scale mathematically ends up being 1:48 scale. Then again, my math skills seem to be a little off lately.

Have an idea for RAILBRICKS? Here are some guidelines for getting your article published in an upcoming issue. W h o m ay s u b m i t a n a r t i c l e? A nyo n e m ay s u b m i t a r t i c l es for consideration by t h e RA I L B R I C KS staff. S ubmitted articles are rev i ewe d a n d , i f s u i ta b l e, used in future issues o f R A I L B R I C KS m a ga z i n e. Peo p l e s u b m i tt i n g a r t i c l e s do not need to be p ro fe s s i o n a l l eve l w r i te rs. RAILBRICKS is a m a ga z i n e fo r fa n s , by fa ns. We welcome art i c l e s f ro m ent h u s i a st s w ho build, collect, and p l ay w i t h L EG O ® t ra i n s . W hen we evaluate art i c l e s , we l o o k fo r q u a l i t y in the content and t h e b a s i c w r i t i n g st y l e. We also evaluate any p h o to s t h at a c co m p a ny t he submission. Ever y a r t i c l e to b e p u b l i s h e d i s edited by the RAIL B R I C KS staff to i n c re a s e readability if needed, a n d w h il e b a s i c g ra m m a r and spelling are exp e c te d , p er fe c t i o n i s n o t necessar y. W h at s o r t o f a r t i c l e s m ay be submitted? A ny m ate r i a l rel ated to t he creation, display, o r co l l ec t i n g o f L EG O ® t ra ins is welcome. This i n c l u d e s a r t i c l e s a b o u t p rototype trai ns or rail ro a d i n g l o cat i o n s t h at m ay spark inspiration, ove r v i ews o f m o d el s t h at have been created, o r step -by- ste p i n st r u c t i o ns for train models. W h i l e o u r fo c u s i s L EG O ® t rains, articles about rel ated i te m s , s u c h a s modif ying track with n o n - L EG O ® el e m e nt s , a re also welcome. We a re a l s o i ntereste d i n t h e overall LEGO® train co m m u n i t y, s o a r t i c l e s a bout events, peopl e, o r c l u bs a re a l s o en co u ra ged.

How long sho uld articles be? Submissions should be long enough to cover the article’s topic, but short enough to hold the attention of the reader. In general arti cles should be between 750 to 3,000 words in length, and include any photographs or images that will accompany the tex t. In addition to images, any sort of source material that was used during the writing of the article, such as website URLs or book titles should be included in order to give readers additional resources should they decide to read more about the topic outside of RAILBRICKS. What if an article is over 3,000 words? 3,000 words is a guideline. If you have an idea for an article that may be over 3,000 words, please send us an outline or summar y. We may decide that the idea warrants the ex tra space, or the article may be a good candidate for being printed in installments across multiple issues. How should articles be prepared? Articles should be typed in either a tex t docu ment or e-mail, and should use proper gram mar, punctuation, and spelling. While the RAILBRICKS staff does edit submissions, they need to be in a readable form to begin with. Perfection is not necessar y. We don’t mind correcting a few spelling mistakes or punctua tion errors.

added as a file attachment (MicroSo f t Wo rd , OpenOffice Writer, tex t file, etc). Ima ge s to b e included with the article should be s u b m i tted as separate attachments, and clearly n a m e d . We can accept images in JPG, GIF, P NG , o r TIFF formats. High resolution images, 3 0 0 D P I at least, are preferred as they will re p ro d u c e better than lower resolution images. When will my article be printed? Accepted articles will be included in f u t u re i s sues of RAILBRICKS. When the article i s i n c l u d ed depends on a number of factors i n c l u d i n g the amount of content already availa b l e to b e printed, themes of specific articles, an d a r t i c l e length. In short, there is no way to d eter m i n e exactly when an article will be includ e d . Does ever y thing published?

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Unfortunately, no. While we will ma ke a n effort to publish what we can, it is no t a l ways possible to include ever y thing. Are authors compensated for their p r i nted articles? No one is paid for RAILBRICKS, inclu d i n g t h e editorial and writing staff. RAILBRIC KS i s a n all volunteer project, and as such, au t h o rs a re not paid for the use of their material . A r t i c l e s used by RAILBRICKS remain the pro p e r t y o f their authors.

How are artic les submitted? Completed articles may be e-mailed to submis sions@railbricks.com . The tex t of the article may either b e in the body of the e-mail, or

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by LEG

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Article by Did and photos ier Enja ry

In fact, everything started in 1932 when Ole Kirk Christiansen, owner of a carpentry in Billund, decided to produce wooden toys. The toys sold well and in 1934, the company focused on toys, also gaining its name LEGO. Farm

Plastic is fantastic. And so are LEGO toys. But the early history of the LEGO company is all about wood.

animals such the famous duck were bestsellers but the company also made, among other vehicles, some trains. There is a poor chance for you to own a LEGO wooden toy. They are at least 50 years old, and the size of production runs was not what they can be nowadays for plastic toys. They are definitively museum pieces. You can see some of them at LEGO Discovery Centers, LEGOWORLD and other temporary exhibitions. But there is a place one can see a large collection of LEGO wooden toys: the IdĂŠ Hus (Idea House) in Billund, Denmark. This museum is not opened to the genral public, but RAILBRICKS has a collection of photographs, some of which we are pleased to share with

LEGO wooden Train - 1935

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you today.

There is no motor of course. There is no question here of voltage. The 4.5, 12 and 9 volts train systems would appear only 30 years later. Obviously, no track either.These trains are nothing more than pull-along toys. They deserve the name of trains because they look like prototypical trains - for instance, you can easily recognize the global shape of steam train engines, box and tank cars, or passenger coaches on the pictures here. Also, trains because they are composed of an engine and towed vehicles: tenders, freight or passenger cars. Who says train says coupling device. Here, metal hooks - quite harmful for children, but safety regulations at that time was not that severe - are both of the male and female type. Cars can be reversed and connected in every manner.

-«I did not know LEGO did trains!» -«Yes they did, since 1935, and they still do»

If the body of the vehicles is made of wood, it has not been always the same for the train wheels. As you can see beside, this aerodynamic streamlined black engine has wheels made of rubber. The reason behind this move from wood to rubber is maybe to prevent noise of wheels on the floor.

About the photos All the models you can see in this article stand in display cabinets at the Idé Hus LEGO Museum at Billund, Denmark. All photos was taken through wndows which explain some undesired light reflections and slight green-bluish light.

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The wooden toys were painted with three coats of paint and you can recognize throughout these pages the LEGO company main color: red. But the toys were colorful and also wear yellow, green and blue along with black and grey, or more surprisingly orange liveries. (did the yellow paint fall into the red one?) There is an exception: the wheels are not painted. One can imagine that the wheels being in contact with the floor are subject to friction and the paint could have worn off. Paint is also a way to add details: windows to passenger cars or cabs , thin stripes to underline a shape on locomotives, nuts and bolts on tenders’ sides, doors on freight cars, wood pattern and even letterings : LEGO and the DSB name (Danish RailWay Company), brand names such ESSO or GULF.

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As you know, nowadays the plastic bricks are not only patterned or decorated, but the LEGO Group also makes a heavy use of stickers. It seems it went the same at the time of LEGO wooden train toys but less intensively, limited to one LEGO logo sticker (two versions). Probably the cost of such an item implied the stickers would fit on a large variety of products.

In 1958, the plastic brick with its interlocking system was born, and the LEGO group started to concentrate on plastic toys. After a fire destroyed a warehouse in 1960, the production of wooden-toys ceased.

Bibliography and further readings - The LEGO Group, http://www.lego.com/eng/info/default.asp?page=group - History of LEGO, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Lego - The LEGO Book, Daniel Lipkowitz, 2009, DK Publishing, ISBN 978-0-7566-5623-2 - 50 Years of the LEGO Brick, Christian Humberg, 2008, Heel, ISBN 978-89880-887-3 - It began with a duck..., Pernille Stanbury, LEGO Life, June 2005, p.16-17 - Quality toys win by a head, Pernille Stanbury, LEGO Life, September 2009, p.23 - LEGO Trains, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lego_Trains - Wooden toy train, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wooden_toy_train

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End of Line Buffer

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By Elroy Davi s

A n a c t i ve buffer that uses the elasticity of a Te c h n i c belt to absorb the shock of runaway ro l l i n g stock

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STEVE BARILE I t wa s Saturday, August 15, 2009, when I a rr i ve d in Fallback; a suburb of Stuttgart , G erm a ny. Stepping off the ICE from Frankfurt I wa s rec ei ved by a dear friend and ready to h ave a rel axing weekend full of German bee r a n d L EG O ®! The nex t morning , after a long b re a kfa st on the veranda bathed in sun, we b ro ke o u t t he LEGO® track and started impleme nt i n g H o l ger ’s vision. It was to create a circ l e o f t ra c k that encircled his apartment; fro m t h e l i v i n g room, out on to the balcony, bac k i nto t h e b edroom, through the hall way, and f i n a l l y b a c k into the living room. The goal was to u s e t h e technique that Holger developed w h ere st ra i ght track segments where connected w i t h a o n e rail ½ stud disjoint; thus causing a ve r y l a rge radius cur ve while maintaining elec t r i ca l co nt i nuity (see article Smooth Cur ves W i t h o u t C u tt i ng Corners in RailBricks issue #1). I t wa s a b l a st buildi ng t he ramps and bridges to s p a n t h e t hresholds of the outside door ways ( s e e p i c t u re). As we built I could see the ent h u s i a s m that Holger had envisioning his ICE go i n g f u l l s peed around his apartment on the gra c ef u l c u r ve o f L EG O ® t ra c k. A n d s o i t wa s … w h e n we c l o s e d t h e l o o p a n d f i re d u p t h e f i rst t ra i n we c h a s ed i t a ro u n d t h e m a i n l i n e l i ke l i tt l e k i d s ! I reca l l t h at at o n e p o i nt H o l ge r wa s b e e- l i n i n g towa rd t h e d o o r. I a s ked w h ere h e wa s go i n g , h i s re p l y, “ To get m o re t ra i n s f ro m sto ra ge! ”

A f te r a few b e ers a n d l i sten i n g to Ly l e M ays o n v i ny l a n d watc h i n g a l l m a n n e r o f t ra i n s zo o m a ro u n d t h e a p a r t m e nt ( s e e p i c t u re ) , we sta r te d ex p l o r i n g by p owe r i n g s m a l l l o o ps o f 9 v t ra c k w i t h Power F u n c t i o n s re c ei ve rs to c reate rem o te co nt ro l 9 v l o o ps . We p l aye d w i t h s eve ra l p e r m u tat i o n s o f p owe r i n g t h e t ra c k w i t h 9 v co nt ro l l ers a n d t h en Powe r F u n c t i o n s . R u n n i n g 9 v t ra i n s a n d b atter y m o to r t ra i ns o n t h e s a m e t ra c k etc … I wo u l d st ro n g l y reco m m en d t h i s exerc i s e to a l l t ra i n - h ea d A FO L s , i t i s t h e o n l y way to rea l l y u n d ersta n d a n d ex p er i en c e t h e o pt i o n s t h at co m b i n i n g t h e t h ree syste m s p rov i d e s .

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T h en it occurred to us to apply Holger ’s tec h n i q u e to cur ve track segments to ach i eve a s l i g htly larger radius by separating the i n n e r ra i l with ½ stud gaps. It took 10 segme nt s o f c u r ve track to achieve a ½ circle at ab o u t a 4 0 ” ( ~1m) diameter. This gentler cur ve i s awe s o m e for longer train cars and it worke d l i ke a c h amp. There was ver y little shudder o f t h e t ra i n as it traversed the gaps. Then we t r i ed s e p a rating the outer rail with ½ stud gaps ca u s i n g ( perhaps less useful) a tighter radi u s . I t to o k 7 segments of cur ve track to achieve a ½ c i rc l e at about a 25” (~63cm) diameter ( s e e a l l fo u r radii in picture).

A s n ew ideas may seem foreign at first, th i s i s a m u st do! At least tr y it at home or as a cl u b a c t i v i t y during a meeting; it will make eve r yo n e go WOW! Holger ’s technique applied to c u r ve t ra c k is a VERY useful tool for track desig n a n d i n c reases the overall visual aesthetic o f yo u r l ayo ut by relaxing the tight look of cur ve s .

T h a n ks Sina for the free time to remode l yo u r a p a r tment!

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P h o to By Eric Kingsley

B So you’ve finally decided to break-down and purchase a LEGO® Train. Now you own a shiny new Cargo Train Deluxe, or perhaps a Passenger Train, or even the beautiful dark green Emerald Night. You may have even found a nice 9V set at a reasonable price. You’ve got an oval of track, even a few switch tracks, but the fun has come to a crashing stop. You’re bored and not sure what to do next to excite your LEGO® Train hobby. With 9V sets no longer available, at least without a hefty eBay® price, your layout loop is just about to be replaced with adventures of Indiana Jones(TM), that Hoth scene you always wanted to build, or perhaps the expansion of your modular city, but without train track to get in its way. Don’t fret. It’s time to reinvigorate that interest in trains that initially made you go out and buy one.

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Here’s a few fresh ideas to build upon: 1. Expand your layout. You can either expand your train table or find a large room with a flat surface and start buying more track. A set of 8 straight track and 8 curves currently sells for $15.99 (USD) on LEGO®’s Shop at Home (LSAH) web site. Pressed for cash? Consider ordering one or more packs each month as you build your collection. Within just a few months, you will have a nice supply of track for creating numerous layouts until you find one you like. For some added excitement, pick up a few sets of Switching Rails at a price of $15.99 (USD). Have you run out of ideas for different layouts? There’s a track designer program offered through the North Georgia LEGO® Train Club’s Train Depot that provides a great utility for creating digitally designed layouts. Pictures of track plans can also be found on Train Depot’s Plans for Track Layouts page. As your track expands, so will your desire to add trains and buildings to your layout.

2. Build a town or city around your layout. What good is a train without a town? Set up those road plates under the track and start building a town around that track. You might consider adding some track-side structures like a large train engine shed that your train can pass through, a station, or even a switching tower. LEGO® SAH offers 7997 Train Station as a nice addition. Adding track-side buildings really add a lot of detail to your train layout and create focal points. While tunnels, bridges, and elevated track are certainly wonderful creations, they may not be a great idea for beginners, but you can certainly try and improve your building skills with these more advanced track-side creations. When it comes to adding a new town around the track, you might consider trying a common theme (i.e. farm and country, a port/harbor, modular City, or even a classic town). A common theme helps add realism to your layout.

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3. Become active within the LEGO® Train Community. There’s some great on-line sites where train fans can discuss a multitude of fun and exciting train topics. Train Tech, a new train forum on Eurobricks provides an excellent place for train fans to share their creations/ MOCs, read train set reviews, discuss various technical topics, and share their interest with others with a passion for LEGO® trains. There are also a number of LEGO® Train Clubs across the country, especially in the United States. You might try to “google” LEGO® Train Club and the name of your city, or find a list of LEGO® Train Clubs nearest you. LEGO® Train Clubs sponsor displays in local malls and conventions building elaborate layouts. You may even learn some tips and tricks from these “master builders”.

4. Launch a “Classic Train Restoration Project”. Visit Brickset, Lugnet, or Peeron, and begin looking at the wonderful LEGO® Trains from the past. Classic 12V and 9V trains are truly spectacular, with instructions scans available through Peeron. You will most certainly find a train that sparks your fancy, and may want to try building it within your piece collection. While you may not always have the pieces you need, substituting parts and changing colors is always possible, and only limited by your own imagination. Once you create one LEGO® set-inspired creation, you will find yourself interested in building more. Train sets with lots of parts, like 10183 Hobby Train, and others that have numerous base plates, wheels, and buffers really help provide the needed train parts.

5. Begin collecting old sets. Many LEGO® Train sets are still available through ebay® and Bricklink. While some sets do come at a very expensive price, you may find a non “Mint-In-Sealed-Box” (MISB) set at a reasonable price or within your budget. Pieces and parts are also available to build your own. Bricklink has a very nice feature that allows members to create a “Wish List”. One can add sets to their Wish List and be sent an E-mail reminder when the set becomes available. Receiving an old set in the mail is a great feeling and that set may soon become a favorite within your train collection. 6. Create a train display. If you are limited for space and want to change your train table, try creating a dedicated space for displaying your train. Book shelves work well for adding track, trains, and buildings, but you might also try wall shelves for a vertical display. Keep in mind that shelves do not need to be very wide, with length being more important. You’d be surprised at how quickly one can fill a shelf with their favorite train and rolling stock. Eurobricks’ members discuss different train display methods in Train Tech topic, “Train Storage & Display”. You might also consider new and innovative ideas to display your train, and share them with the LEGO® Train community.

7. Build your own train. Nothing is more enjoyable than to create a custom train to your liking. Using parts from your train set combined with other non-train sets, one can create all kinds of interesting trains. Don’t let yourself be limited to cargo and passenger trains either. One can use parts from new Castle sets to create a narrow gauge Dwarf mining train, an Indiana Jones(TM) Adventure train, or even a Power Miners lime-green tunnel digger. Combining themes provides the opportunity to create very unusual and creative train designs unique to your vision. If you are a traditionalist; however, you might gain inspiration

from looking at images of real-life trains and try building them with LEGO®. As mentioned in Idea # 4 above, in looking for sets that provide good train pieces, consider older sets that have a few cars with train base plates, wheels, and buffers; all very important pieces in creating a custom train. Hobby Train 10183 is an excellent set that contains numerous train pieces, and will also offer a lot of inspiration for designing your own creation. Brickshelf, MOC Pages, Flickr, and Majhost.com are excellent web sites where LEGO® builders share their creations. You can use train pictures as inspiration or even apply certain building techniques to your own creations.

LEGO® Trains is a fantastic theme among the LEGO® Group’s numerous products. Trains have held the “test of time” by being available throughout LEGO®’s history from push trains after the company’s inception to the new Power Functions system available in 2009. Whether you are a fan of 4.5V, 12V, 9V, Remote Control, or Power Functions, LEGO® Trains will always be a special theme that offers builders moving bricks. There’s no limit to what you can build with a little creativity and determination. So, now that you have that starter set, consider any of the ideas mentioned here to expand your interest in LEGO® Trains. Imagination has no boundaries! To visit the sites mentioned in this article, go online: LEGO® Shop at Home http://http://shop.lego.com/Default.aspx North Georgia LEGO® Train Club (NGLTC) Train Depot http://www.ngltc.org/train_depot/td.htm North Georgia LEGO® Train Club (NGLTC) Track Plans http://www.ngltc.org/train_depot/plans.htm Eurobricks Train Tech http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index. php?showforum=122 Brickset - http://www.brickset.com LUGNET – http://www.lugnet.com Peeron – http://www.peeron.com eBay® – http://www.ebay.com Brickshelf – http://www.brickshelf.com MOC Pages – http://www.mocpages.com Flickr – http://www.flickr.com Majhost – http://www.majhost.com

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Benn Coifman’s

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This column seeks to challenge readers to look around at other builders’ work and tease out how they achieved a specific effect, an important skill as you wander off the instruction sheet and into your own creations. After the Emerald Night came out I decided to build my own Pacific. My chosen subject was the Southern Pacific Railroad, 4-6-2 ‘Pacific’ type steam locomotive. Several of these locomotives survived into commuter service and were preserved at the twilight of steam in the U.S. Two were operational in the past decade (2467 and 2472) and a third is under restoration (2479). I had planned to use the banded drivers from the Emerald Night and finally power a steam engine via the drive wheels. But then I saw Cale Leiphart’s PF Y at Brickworld 2009 and now I had better propulsion to pursue. Moving the motors to the tender gave me room to play in the cab. The front windows are borrowed directly from Gerrit, but the side windows are my own working. Look closely, they open and close.

All submissions become the property of RAILBRICKS and by submitting an entry you will allow us to print your submission in whole or in part.

Your challenge is to reproduce the opening windows within the confines of an 8 wide cab that is only 6 studs long. The primary challenge is the windows, but in the event of a tie, a submission that also includes the roof vent hatches will receive preference. Submit your solution to challenge@RAILBRICKS.com with the title “SEVENTH REVERSE ENGINEERING CHALLENGE” in either ldraw format or provide sufficient digital photos on how to construct the feature. Judging will begin on November 15, 2010, and will continue until we are ready to release the next issue. But be sure to get your submission in by opening date for full consideration. If you build a physical model, you can use more common colors. Be sure to include your name and contact information. The editorial staff will select the best design from all of the buildable submissions that achieve this effect and winner will receive a “RAILBRICKS Challenge” engraved brick. If one of our readers is able to solve this challenge we will publish the solution in the next issue. Otherwise, in the event that none of the entries are able reproduce the feature by the deadline, this challenge will remain open until someone is able to solve it.

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If you have ideas or suggestions for future challenges, contact us at submissions@RAILBRICKS.com.

C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s to R a n d a l l Fel d h u s en o f We st S a n d L a ke , New Yo r k fo r s u b m i tt i n g t h e w i n n i n g en r y fo r Rev e r s e En g in eer i n g C h a l l en g e 6 .

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Billund’s Miniland Trains The average LEGO train fans are familiar with the 6-stud wide train models from the LEGO company. But the company also exhibits much larger train models in the Miniland at LEGOLAND parks. However, these models are far less well known as not everyone can easily visit one of the four parks. That is why RAILBRICKS has decided to present some of these LEGO train models from Billund’s Miniland. The Miniland is divided into subsections, each one presenting a typical spot (Space Kennedy Center, Billund’s Airport), country landscape (Japan, The Netherlands) or Tourist spot (Rhine Valley, Hollywood Boulevard). In this second and last part, we are going to discover the largest trains layouts presenting danish and german rolling stock.

Article and photos by Didier Enjary

Angels Flight, funicular railway in the Bunker Hill district of Downtown Los Angeles, California.

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Lilleby

Lilleby (little town) is a fictional but typical danish village of the early years of the twentieth century - the blue car has a “1903” mark. You can see from the taller than usual characters that it is part of the very

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first Miniland models at Billund’s park. Lilleby layout feature two trains : a passenger and a freight train. Both of them are 4-car trains powered by a 0-6-0 steam engine.

Vrads station is part of the Vrads-Bryrup line. It is a 5 kilometers long preserved section of the former line between Horsens and Silkeborg. First operated in 1899, it was known as the most scenic railway in Denmark.

Vrads Station & VETERANBANEN

Locomotives were originally steam-powered. Nowadays, as exhibited in the park, you can still see a working steam engine on the line along with a diesel train. The steam engine model, parked on a sidetrack, emits some steam (sprayed water) while the diesel train goes over the line.

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Esbjerg Station Esbjerg is not only a city but also a harbour on the western coast of Denmark (Jutland peninsula) and the terminus of trains from Copenhagen. The line is deserved by white and red IC3 (InterCity) diesel multiple-unit passenger train. On the picture, you can see in the background the water tower of the city.

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This simple station - a unique railway platform - features an old class, probably of the second generation from 1967, of S-tog (suburban rail network of Copenhagen). However, Sydmolen is not a station part of the S-train network but a touristic place dedicated to fishing and windsurfing.

Sydmolen

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Germany

Germany has a large place at the Miniland of Billund. Let us discover some of the most noticeable trains that one can watch on the Miniland tracks.

The DB (Deutsch Bahn) Class 120 is a class of electric locomotives operated by DB Fernverkehr (the company that operates long distance passenger trains in Germany), first delivered in 1979, originally aimed at pulling passenger trains as well as freight trains. You can see the LEGO model at the front of a 6-car passenger train, in the Rhine valley. Probably the longest train in the Miniland world at Billund.

Two electric locomotives of the Class E50 are presented at the front of a freight train in green and blue/beige color scheme.

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The train consist is five different goods wagons: covered van or open wagon, refrigerated or with sliding sides. All of them pretty recognizable to European visitors.

The DB Class 614, a diesel multiple unit, featured in the park comprise two driving units and a center car in the ozeanblau-beige livery (ocean blue and beige). The Class 614 is an evolution of the Class 624 and 634.

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This is the end of this two-parts article on Billund Miniland trains. You have seen how much the designers at the Billund park take care at designing detailed and realistic models from real prototypes. The article covers about fifteen train sets but that is just a sample of what a railroad modeler can spot on site. Just for the pleasure of the eye and for your curiosity, you can see here more rolling stocks seen at Billund : historical, shunter or maintenance of way. And Billund is not the only LEGOLAND park. Windsor, Guenzburg and Carlsbad parks also feature train layouts. Yes, LEGO does trains!

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I

Emerald Night Improvements

By Ludo Soete

The Emerald Night is one of the most unexpected trains among the whole train line. Who had ever thought that there would be a steam locomotive with real LEGO® driver wheels? With the Emerald Night a dream came true. Being a participant of the LEGO® Power Functions Train Development team in the workshop held in November 2007 (see also Brick Journal Issue 6, Volume 2), I’m a proud owner of three copies of this train, but I’ve built only one. The first appearance of my Emerald to the public was at an exhibition on Easter weekend 2009. The train was set on the track and started, first with the remote receiver and IR transmitter. After a while, tired from constantly running after the train to keep up the communication between the receiver and controller, I decide to connect the battery box from the Monster Dino set (4958) straight to the PF XL motor. Starting with fresh loaded Mi-MH batteries, the train drove almost 50 minutes with two 52-stud long passenger cars before the first problem occurred. One of the tan gears had moved, and lost grip with the adjacent gear. This was a real disappointment for me. The Emerald wasn’t able to run reliably on the track. When browsing around on different newsgroups, it seems to be that I’m not the only one with this problem. So I would like to solve the problem with a minimum of extra pieces, and if possible make it not noticeable from the outside, keeping to the official model as much as possible.

Facing the First Problem When examining the problem, I was convinced that the problem lay in the movement of the 5.5 axle with stop (32209.dat). Because of the ‘heavy’ load from the 2 passenger cars, the axle moved into the recess of the second 1x2 brown Technic brick, causing the tan gear to lose grip on the axle. I noticed also that the Emerald Night wasn’t running smooth, but shuddering, and had large problems driving backwards. This problem was caused by another issue I’ll discuss later on (See: Facing the Second Problem). I tried to solve this problem and found a solution, perhaps not the best one, but a working one

The stop collar fits into the recess of the 1x2 brown Technic brick.

Because the 5.5 axle could move backwards into the recess of the second brown Technic brick, I was convinced that this needed to be replaced by another axle, longer, and held on both sides, one side on the driving rear wheel axle, the other side by a brick. The best fit was using an axle 6 studs long.

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1

3

4

5

6

7 32

2

8

After this modification, the axle couldn’t move anymore, and this problem was solved. I placed the train back on the track with its two passenger cars and ran again. This went pretty well, and after a low battery – 55 minutes later, I immediately changed batteries and started the train right away, but then came problem 2! The PF XL motor heated up and the train slowed down. That’s abnormal for as heavy-duty a motor as the PF XL motor, pulling only its tender and the two passenger cars.

Facing the Second Problem As mentioned above, we still noticed the shuddering driving of the train. My oldest son, Matthias – age 15 joined me and examined the behavior of the train. After a few minutes, he thought he found the problem, and discussed it with me. The problem he discovered is that the driving rods (pistons) weren’t always moving horizontally, but at certain moments angled up or down, causing an abnormal friction in the Technic ‘Perpendicular Axle joiner’. This explains the shuddering behavior of the train. This problem is also mentioned in the RailBricks issue #6 – page 19.

The solution is to double the sliding holes for the piston to prevent the abnormal friction, thus making the cylinder 2 studs long. This can be done as follows:

Abnormal friction

1

2

x2

Because of the covering of the cylinder by a bracket and the labeled 2x2 tile, the modification is almost not noticeable, and it works great! After those modifications, we started the train again to see how the modifications worked out. With fully loaded batteries (1800 mAH – Ni-MH), the train drove more than 3 hours before recharging the batteries! This means that the problems facing the Emerald Night had been resolved. We did 6 different runs, and the batteries needed to be recharged after more than 3 hours. It sounded like music in my ears to see the large improvement in time before a recharge was needed.

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Run Driving time

Modification

1 2 3 4

00:57:00 00:22:00 02:30:00 03:32:00

After modification 1 After modification 1 After modification 2 After modification 2

5

03:19:00

After modification 2

6

03:08:00

After modification 2

7

03:09:00

After modification 2

8

03:36:00

After modification 2

Remark Shaking Shaking, Motor heat up Stopped for shopping!

4 x 52-stud long passenger cars – 2300 mAH Ni-MH batteries

After both modification tests, Matthias rebuilt the train as in the original state, but kept modification 2. Started the train again, it drove until the batteries where empty without any problem – still pulling those two 52-stud long passenger cars. I was wondering if the first modification was done for nothing, because the train kept on running. But almost 2 hours after the battery change, the problem occurred again! The tan gear came lose. Implementing modification 1 again, we started the train and it kept on running, now with four 52-stud long passenger cars without a problem, and this for more than 3hours and 30 minutes – see the table above!

Facing the Third Problem In RailBricks #6, there is mention of a problem with the trucks - a lack of enough vertical movement. The implementation of vertical movement for the front truck is built into the first modification. The change to be made to obtain vertical movement for the rear truck is very easy. Replace the gray Technic pin with a Technic Axle pin (3749.dat), and rotate the Technic Axle Joiner Perpendicular with 2 holes (42003. dat) by 180°.

The train drove now more than 20 hours, but another problem was rising up!

The Rise and Fall of Problem Four The driving axle from the rear driving wheels tends to move towards the inner trackside. The major problem I have now is that the driver gets stuck against the Technic axle after running for 6 – 10 minutes! See picture.

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Moving axle, causing the rod to move outwards, and get stuck after a few minutes! The problem here is the lack of enough mechanical clutch between the axle and the axle hole in the train wheel. Due to a too large tolerance on both parts, the train wheel slide very easy over the axle. If both parts are on there smallest dimension, the tolerance is at its maximum. This is a big difference with the BBB wheels, where those need a whole lot more force to put the wheel on the axle. To prevent this problem, there are a few options possible. 1) Glue the wheels on the axle – Worst solution. 2) Place a small piece of paper over the axle hole, and press the axle in the hole. The paper will be pressed between the axle and wheel hole, filling the tolerance between both pieces. – Better solution than option 1, added mechanical stress on the wheel hole. 3) Tape a small piece of cello tape over the axle hole, and press the axle in the hole. The cello tape will be pressed between the axle and wheel hole, filling the tolerance between both pieces. – Perhaps the best solution, cello tape is thinner than paper – less mechanical stress on the axle hole in the wheel than option 2. After all those modifications, the train drives perfect – and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Last remarks: 1) Running uphill with an inclination of one plate / track piece works – with two 52-stud long passenger cars. An inclination of 2 plates / track piece isn’t possible. The driving wheels float over the track and lose grip. 2) Be sure to have enough cable length between the locomotive and the tender. Better a bit too long then a bit short. This can be the reason of derailing at points. 3) Derailing over points is still possible. Good Luck, Ludo Soete – Ambassador cycle 7 www.belug.be

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Just Like ClockworkRunning steam and PF on 9V track By Benn Coifman

Ever since I started building Lego steam locomotives I have periodically tripped over the unseen gremlins and had my locomotive derail for no good reason. I have recently stared one of the gremlins in the eyes and now that I’ve seen it, the solution is obvious and hopefully it will dispel some of your own problems.

I

Returning to the 9V track, consider Figure 2, most large Lego steam locomotives will have a blind driver between two flanged drivers, as shown. This wheelbase is about twice as long as a normal Lego train truck and 50% longer than While testing one of my newest steam engines I found the 9V motor. it kept derailing on the curves for no apparent reason. The outside After much head scratching, I realized that the 9V track wheel flanges are has a flaw in its design. Consider the schematic of a 9V pushed against rail joint in Figure 1. At the joint the rails bulge outward the outside rail as a result of the metal contacts. The bulge is ever so on curves. If the F i g u re 1 small, but if you run your finger along the rail, you will locomotive is feel a small bump, as shown in the figure. This bump running counter clockwise (to the left in this figure), the is no problem for the normal train wheels and motors, long wheelbase ensures that the leading outside flange but can be a big headache for steam locomotives if a will catch the leading edge of the bulge at every rail flange catches the leading edge of the bulge on the joint (top left). The combination is an opportunity for right hand rail. The trailing edge of the bulge on the the wheel to climb and derail the locomotive. Oh the left hand rail is generally not a problem. headaches I have had over this problem. Now turn the locomotive around and run clockwise (i.e., to the right The good news is that you can usually work around the in this figure). Now the outside flange takes the bulge problems, as discussed below. The even better news from the trailing edge and has nothing to climb (top is that the RC track (i.e., the newer, non-metalized, right). The inside flange encounters the leading edge of all plastic track) does not appear to have the bulge the bulge at the joint, but by the geometry of the curve it problem, at least not in the few segments that I have is far enough away from the rail that generally it should gotten my hands on. not be able to climb the rail. It’s like clockwork, if your steam locomotive likes to climb the rail on 9V track,

F i g u re 2

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you just have to remember to go clockwise around the loop and you should see improved performance and earn an A+ in staying on the rails.

In summary, 9V track has a minor flaw that appears to have been fixed in the RC track. If you are running a steam locomotive with a large wheelbase on 9V track, you will likely have smoother running if you go More recently, industrious AFOL’s have sought ways clockwise around your layout. On the other hand, if of powering trucks via XL or M PF motors built in the you are using an XL or M PF motor built into the body carbody (e.g., inside a tender). The center axle holds the of your locomotive to power your trucks on 9V track truck on the frame and simultaneously delivers power then you want to make sure that you gear your trucks to the wheels via a series of gears in the truck (See so that a counterclockwise motor rotation will propel Embracing The New PF System For Trains in RAILBRICKS the truck forward. #6). Typically the motor is mounted to the carbody frame. If there is a second truck under the frame, the motor will torque the powered truck in the direction of the motor rotation. Through the choice of gearing at the design stage, one can choose which motor direction will propel the locomotive forward. Figure 3 shows one such truck. If the truck moves towards the top of the figure as the motor spins clockwise, it will torque the truck to the right, as shown with the red box on the right of the figure. The flanges will be pressed against the leading edge of the bulge at every 9V rail joint, thereby having an opportunity to climb and derail. The problem will be more pronounced when the track curves to the left because the angle of attack will be larger. Exploiting the torque of the motor rotation can actually provide active protection against this problem. If you rebuild your truck so that it moves towards the top of the figure as the motor spins counter clockwise, it will torque the wheels away from the leading edge of the bulge, as shown with the green box on the left. The right leading wheel will be pulled away from leading edge of the bulge at every joint, and the left leading wheel will be pressed against the trailing edge F i g u re 3 of the bulge, but again, there is nothing to climb on the left and the train should stay on the rails. The one down side is that if build the locomotive with counter clockwise motor torque to go forward, whenever you reverse you will have clockwise torque and will be at greater risk of derailment. The conventional train motors available from Lego (9V, RC and now the PF train motor) do not suffer from this problem because the motor is housed in the truck, so there is nothing for it to torque against. A few recent AFOL truck designs also use this idea, affixing the motor directly to the truck.

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Brickworld’s Train Roundtable By Jordan Schwarz

For an hour each year, the Trains Roundtable at Brickworld provides an opportunity for fans of LEGO trains to congregate, convene, and discuss the latest from the world of trains with other fans and experts from across the community. Presented are some highlights from this year’s roundtable discussion, in case you missed it. Jeramy Spurgeon and Dave Sterling led the discussion. With the recent release of the latest battery-powered LEGO City train sets, early conversation focused on these new sets and the performance of the new train motors. The new sets feature an updated motor unit compatible with other Power Functions components. Testing has shown the efficiency of this motor to be much better than its RC predecessor, rivaling that of the 9V motor. Those attending the Roundtable were excited to hear that the performance of this motor with six AAA batteries exceeds that of the former motor with the 6-AA battery box. Fans also got to take a look at some of the new and unusual elements included in the latest train sets such as yellow bogie plates and 2x2 jumper plates. The discussion transitioned to the potential for future train offerings and train-related LEGO Exclusives. Significantly, this year’s roundtable was attended by Tormod Askildsen, head of the LEGO Community, Education, and Development (CED) Team, who was able to provide some insight into future directions. Fans asked about whether there would be additional cars for the Emerald Night or future train-themed LEGO Exclusives, although Askildsen was not able to comment on these specifics. In the Roundtable and at forums elsewhere at Brickworld, fans expressed considerable interest in bringing back service packs. However, Askildsen commented that the online Pick-a-Brick system is largely intended to replace service packs, which were phased out due to inherent challenges associated with maintaining inventories of many small, very specialized items. Askildsen also provided the Trains community with an overview of a new fan collaboration effort known as Cuusoo (pronounced “KOO-so”). A pilot project between the CED team and Japanese LEGO fans, Cuusoo is an online forum where fans can post their ideas for new elements and sets. Visitors to the website, www.cuusoo. com, vote on each suggestion, and those ideas that reach the 1000-vote threshold make it on to the LEGO Group for further consideration and possible eventual realization as products. According to Askildsen, the LEGO Group is flooded by suggestions from fans for new products, and these ideas are often simply thrown away. Cuusoo will transform this aspect of community involvement, providing a way for fans to contribute in a meaningful way to product development – and in a way that does not overwhelm LEGO with product suggestions. What could this mean for the future of trains? Potentially, the Trains community could develop concepts for new train sets and specialized elements using a web-based interface like Cuusoo.

B R I C K W O R L D 2010 R O U N D TA B L E PA R T I C I PA N T S . F R O M L E F T T O R I G H T, B A C K R O W : L A R R Y P I E N I A Z E K , M A R K P E T E R S O N , N AT E B R I L L , B E N N C O I F M A N , K U R T B AT Y, C A L E L E I P H A R T, J O E E L L E N B E C K E R , J O R D A N S C H WA R Z . F R O N T R O W : S C O T T WA R D L AW, PA U L F O S T E R , B R I A N W I L L I A M S , J E R A M Y S P U R G E O N , J A S O N S T E I N H U R S T.

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Engines for 9V/12V and some for RC RC turntable and 9V/RC pneumatic switchpoints. Sets complete with all parts, stickered box, colourfull building instruction (mostly printed, some on CD), list of parts and stickers/decals. All models also available without parts. For Lego Š technic/pneumatic fans: e.g. high quality pneumatic hose in 13 colours and pneumatic compressors. Most models extra economical for buyers from outside the European Community. No hidden shipping costs: they are showed before ordering. Shipping from the Netherlands.

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B About a year ago, the RAILBRICKS staff decided to create a calendar full of LEGO train facts, figures, and photos. Each member of the team was asked to submit at least one photo for consideration; some offered photos from shows, others created photos just for the calendar. I decided to do the latter and I named the resulting photo “Railfanning,” which eventually was chosen for the cover. With that success, I became inspired, and have since created enough photo gems to nearly fill a calendar of my own. They became so popular on their own that I gave them a name – the Sava Railways Scenic Tours. Now that the time for the RAILBRICKS 2011 Calendar is nearly upon us, I have been asked to write a quick “how-to” on just how I take these types of photos. For the purposes of this article, I will be focusing on one of my most recent photos, named “Stirring the Giants;” a scene depicting a diesel engine pulling a steam engine out of a shed. I will be describing how I go about building, lighting, and photographing my Scenic Tours.

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The first step in any of my photos is to pick a subject, a “main character” of sorts. This can be nearly anything – a locomotive, a minifig, a building – anything you can build a scene around. For my photo I chose two main characters – my Texas State Railroad locomotives #7 and #300. I had just completed #7, so I wanted to make sure it would be showcased in my picture.

It is said that every picture tells a story, and like in any good story the main characters need supporting ones. Minifigs, passenger cars, even trees and animals make a good supporting cast. My engine shed had two bays, but only one was filled. I needed to hide some unfinished areas anyway, so I added in TSRR #500 to the second bay. With only her nose peaking out, she added just a bit more life and interest to the The next step is to build the location in which the scene. Additionally, if #7 was pulling #300 out from the characters will be placed. In Palestine, Texas, the Texas shed, there would certainly be some workmen on the State Railroad has a very non-descript engine shed in ground assisting #7’s driver, so I added in a crew. A few which they store #300 and use locomotive #7 to pull spotters, #300’s driver and a conductor added much different engines and equipment in and out. The needed perceived movement. building is a simple tan colored steel building with few features, so not only would it be appropriate but Now that my foreground was complete, my attention construction would not be difficult. Unfortunately, turned to the background. Many years ago I was upon further inspection I did not have the pieces, inspired by John Neal’s giant brick-built trees and at least not for a complete building. For this photo, created my own versions, albeit significantly smaller, however, I didn’t need a full building, just enough of it for TexLUG use. There really isn’t a more convenient to be seen in frame. So I began constructing two partial background than a few trees, and I’ve relied on them walls and a partial roof – just enough to simulate the for nearly half of my Scenic Tours. Since my scene is engine shed. With such a boring exterior, I made sure only meant to be viewed from the front, smaller trees to include some of the internal framing and details to would be lost behind taller ones, so I made sure to add a bit more realism. Adding in part of a yard and keep that in mind while adding them. I create sky by some track and my shed was finished. using blue cardstock suspended on an empty LEGO set box, but I would recommend purchasing a large piece

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of blue poster board, as it would be much easier to work with. I wanted the “forest” behind the scene to look lush and full, so I didn’t want sky to peak through the short trees near the ground. A small baseplate set on its side is a cheap, fast, easy way to fill in the empty holes through the tree limbs with enough green to simulate dense vegetation. After looking at the scene, I decided the short trees, by themselves, looked too busy behind the locomotives, so I threw in Passenger Coach #42 to add a little monotony.

so I chose my “standard” setup – a combination of my two home-built light stands and my 4-bulb ceiling fan, all equipped with fluorescent “curly” light bulbs. The two stand lights are clustered together, creating directional lighting, like sunlight, and the ceiling fan, which has smaller bulbs, provides ambient lighting. I have chosen these bulbs specifically because of their color temperature – 5000K. All light bulbs have a color temperature – the lower the number the more red or “warm” the light appears. Most incandescent bulbs have a very low number, probably in the 3000K-4000K The only thing left is to add a few details to fill in the range. Most standard fluorescent lights, including obvious holes. Flowers, flower stems (“grass”), minifig most “curly” bulbs have a high number, close to 6500K, accessories and other small items work very well to which makes them appear more blue. It can take a lot hide or distract from blank or open areas. My goal of work, but I spend as much time as it takes to find for the majority of my Scenic Tours is to never have bulbs with a color specifically in the 5000-5500K range, to use post-processing to fix problem areas, so I try which is as close to absolute white as you will find. to have everything in its place before I take a picture. Unfortunately many manufacturers do not place much Sometimes it is necessary to use your camera’s view value on this information and don’t advertise it on the finder to help find these areas; I’ve even gone so far as packaging. For nearly all the bulbs I have purchased, to place grass and other details while looking through it was necessary to read the small print on the base my camera. of the bulb to find the color temperature. If you are unsuccessful in finding the right color bulb, don’t fret. To take a good photo you need proper lighting. Using a combination of a warm colored incandescent Lighting can almost be considered a major character bulb and a cool colored fluorescent bulb will give you in and of itself, especially in photos where shadow just about the same effect – artists have been using it positions and ambient lighting are crucial. For this for decades. shot I was less concerned with specific lighting choices,

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Finally we turn to the camera itself. There are plenty is considered a narrow depth of field. Many factors of rules when it comes to great LEGO photography, but determine a picture’s depth of field, but as a rule of only three of them are critical: thumb, the more you zoom in on your subject, the narrower your depth of field will become. Depth of Rule #1 – Use a tripod. field is a powerful tool you can use if you wish to force Rule #2 – Use a tripod. the viewer to view everything as a whole, or if you Rule #3 – Use a tripod. want their focus on one particular object in a scene. For my photo I chose a relatively narrow depth of field, Using a tripod will not only give you nice, clear photos, mainly to hide the seam in my blue sky that I could not but it will allow you to take consistent photos enabling hide behind a tree. you to make minor tweaks to your scene without changing your field of view. If your camera has a As I’ve said before, for my Sava Railways Scenic Tours remote shutter or a shutter delay, this will also help series, I do my best to limit the amount of postyou obtain sharp photos. processing, or photo editing, as possible. So far most all of my Sava Railways Scenic Tours have not been As for the camera itself, while it helps to have a big, changed except for a little brightening and resizing. fancy, highfalutin camera with all the bells and whistles Only two of them needed to be cropped, and one that money can buy, great photos can still be taken was created almost entirely in Photoshop. This isn’t a with point-and-shoot cameras. Bells and whistles can necessity, but a personal choice and a fun challenge. compensate for poor lighting, so if you’re using just a I hope this article will inspire you to try your hand at point-and-shoot you will probably need to be sure you creating your own Scenic Tours. Building train MOCs is are using more light than you think you’ll need. great fun, but half the fun of building trains is playing Depth of field is a term describing how much of what with them too. For those like me, who do not have you see in your photo that is in focus. If everything home layouts, dioramas such as these can be a good in your photo is in focus then the photo has a wide creative outlet. depth of field. Conversely, if your subject is in focus To see more of Anthony’s work, visit: http://www.flickr. but everything in front of and behind it is fuzzy, this com/photos/savatheaggie/sets/72157622779934628/

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A I am a t r u e “ L EG O 9V train” system believer

– n o t h i n g will ever adequately replace this sys te m a n d there is no reason in the world no t to rei n sta l l that product line (TLC: Do you read m e ? T h e a n swer should be: Loud and clear!). I d o n ’t l i ke t h e all plastic rail system, nor the first ge n e rat i o n RC train system, nor the first generat i o n RC t ra i n motors, and I don’t like the idea of co m p l etel y depending on batteries at all. Wow, w hat an opener – none of the intro d u c t i on s I have written so far were as negative … b u t I swear: I do love LEGO. Well, let ’s fac e i t : 9 V t ra i n is over. Over and out. TLC has pulled t h e p l u g . T h e ridiculous plastic tracks are cheap e r to m a ke, RC/PF train motors are cheaper to m a ke, a n d t h at ’s it. They can sell the cheap stuff at w h atever pri ce they want – revenue has to b e h u ge i n many regards. And that is all the rea s o n i n g n ec essar y. TLC is a globally operating ente rp r i s e af ter all. Too b ad. T h ere were claims from TLC, some LEGO t ra i n co m m u n ities, and other groups that new exc i t i n g e l ements of the Power Functions se r i es

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( co n s i st i n g o f m e c h a n i ca l el e m ent s , m o to rs , l i g ht s , i nf ra red l i g ht rec ei ve rs co nt ro l l ed by re m o te s ) wo u l d m e d i ate t h e – i f yo u ’d a s k m e – cata st ro p h i c s i t u at i o n c re ate d by T LC w h e n p h a s i n g o u t t h e 9 V t ra i n syste m . H m m . I p u rc h a s ed s o m e P F el e m e nt s i n 2 0 0 9 . M e d i ate ? No t re a l l y. B atte r y p owered t ra i n s re m a i n b atte r y p owe re d t ra i n s . O ve r t h e p a st co u p l e o f we eks I h ave l e a r n ed , t h o u g h , t h at s o m e P F el e m ent s , p a r t i c u l a r l y t h e rec h a rge a b l e L i t h i u m p o l y m e r b atte r y ( # 8 8 7 8 ) ve r y n i c e l y i m p rove t h e f u n c t i o n a l i t y a n d a l s o d e s i g n o pt i o n s o f L EG O t ra i n s . M ay b e … T h i s a r t i c l e a d d res s e s a few t h i n g s t h at m ay b e wo r t h m e nt i o n i n g i n t h i s re ga rd – a l o n g w i t h s o m e m i n o r h a rd wa re c h a n ges n e c e s s a r y get t h e b e st o f b o t h wo r l d s , P F a n d 9 V. O n e h a s to a d m i t : T h e P F s er i es I S way co o l . I n 2 0 0 9 , t h e L i t h i u m p o l y m e r re c h a rge a b l e b atte r y b ox ( l et ’s ca l l i t L i Po ) a p p e a red a s a n a d d i t i o n to t h e ex i st i n g P F e l em ent s o n t h e S & H webs i te. I n s u m m er 2 0 1 0 I o rd ered o n e , af te r I h a d ca ref u l l y st u d i e d B r i a n W i l l i a m s ’ a r t i c l e i n R A I L B R I C KS , I s s u e 6 ( Pa ge 1 7 , htt p : / / w w w. r a i l b r i c ks . co m / m e d i a / r a i l b r i c ks _ 6 - p r i nt . p d f ) a n d P h i l o H u r b a i n ’s

p h o tographs of the opened LiPo show n o n B r i c k Shelf ( http://w w w.brickshelf.com/cg i - b i n / g a l l er y.cgi?f=399263 ). This raised a co u p l e o f q u estions:

A n d 1 0 V D C i s re a l l y st ra n ge. M ay b e L i Po te c h n o l o g y a s ks fo r s u c h a st ra n ge vo l tage? L i t h i u m p o l y m e r re c h a rgea b l e b atte r i es a re rel at i ve l y n ew o n t h e m a r ket .

1 ) I s TLC ’s (strongly voiced) sug gestion t h at yo u s h o u ld only use the LEGO 10 V DC powe r s u p p l y to c harge their LiPo exactly that: A sug gest i o n ? At a retail price of $24.99 in the US (€2 4 . 9 9 i n O l d Europe, as of 2010) this sug gestion s h o u l d b e s eriously questioned. LEGO is a fair l y h i g h p r i c ed “toy ” – with a couple of good re a s o n s . B u t when it comes to electroni cs, usu a l l y n o s u p er-precise injection molding machines b a s e d i n D enmark’s Billund are involved in the p ro d u c t i o n process. Rather some folks in low i n co m e co u ntries. And: Who on earth came up w i t h 1 0 V D C as the charging voltage? There is n o s i n g l e p i ec e of electronics coming easily to my m i n d r u n n ing on 10 V DC.

A b r i ef G o o g l e i n s p e c t i o n reve a l s : L i Po s d o n e ed fa i r l y s o p h i st i cate d c h a rg i n g e l ec t ro n i c s to m a ke t h e m l o n g - l i ved a n d e s s ent i a l l y n o n - ex p l o s i ve d ev i c es . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d : T h e re a re v i r t u a l l y e n d l e s s l i st s o f i nte g rate d c i rc u i t s fo r L i Po c h a rg i n g ava i l a b l e . A n d t h es e a re d e a d c h e a p – m o st p ro b a b l y b e ca u s e t h ey s e l l i n m i l l i o n s . L a pto ps u s e L i Po s , c el l p h o n es u s e Li Po s , m o d e l ra c i n g ca rs u s e L i Po s , a n d e n d l es s o t h er s m a l l m a i n st re a m d ev i c e s a s we l l . L i Po s a re a m a z i n g . T h ey ca n sto re e l e c t r i ca l e n e rg y at a b reat h ta ki n g l ow we i g ht to p ower rat i o ; w h en c h a rged a p p ro p r i ate l y t h ere a re b a s i ca l l y n o m e m o r y effec t s ( w h i c h were wel l k n ow n f rom t h e Ni C d d ays ) , a n d o u t p u t p ower i s rel at i ve l y sta b l e ove r t i m e. I n a d d i t i o n , v i r t u a l l y a l l L i Po c h a rge r I C s r u n o n a b ro a d i n p u t vo l ta ge ra n ge , m o st u p - to 1 8 V, s o m e even u p - to 3 2 V.

2 ) I s it possible to use the LiPo more o r l e s s a s a n “uninterruptible power supply ( U P S ) ” ? C h a rge it when having DC power at hand a n d s i m u l taneously run stuff off the 7.4 V PF p owe r te r m inal? Whenever DC is not availabl e ( e . g . , ca u s ed by rolling power black outs in S o u t h e r n C a l i fornia) … 3 ) … or rumbling over stretches of all-pl a st i c RC t ra i n tracks) simply switch automatically to b atte r y power? Brian sug gested such things a l re a d y a n d did some inspiring experiments. In t h i s re ga rd : Is it possible to efficiently run 9V t ra i n s P F rec ei ver controll ed on mixed RC and 9V t ra c k ? A ga i n Brian’s article strongly sug gested exa c t l y t h at . We l l , many of these questions have b e en a l rea d y discussed in articles, blog contrib u t i o n s , d i s c ussion groups, forums, etc. The follow i n g i s a b r i ef summar y, some additional exper i m enta l d ata , and some future ideas on the usage o f P F e l em ents for train operation.

1 ) T he LEGO 10 V DC power supply a s L i Po c h a rger T h e pictures on the LEGO S@H home we b s i te s u g gest that the LEGO 10 V DC power sup p l y i s a m o re or less plain vanilla “wall wart ”. It co u l d b e a sta bilized DC supply, but is it more tha n t h at ?

S o w h e re i s t h e c h a rge r el e c t ro n i c s h i d i n g ? W i t h i n t h e wa l l wa r t ? C er ta i n l y n o t ! P h i l o ’s p h o to s c l ea r l y s h ow t h at t h e c h a rg i n g e l e c t ro n i c s i s b u i l t i nto t h e L i Po b atte r y h o u s i n g ( we l l , I g u e s s s afet y re g u l at i o n s m a ke t h at s i m p l y a n e c e s s i t y, p a r t i c u l a r l y w i t h t h i s t y p e o f “ u n i ve rs a l ” i n p u t j a c k ) . A l t h o u g h T LC m a d e s u re t h at we d o n o t rea d i l y re co g n i ze t h e i nte g rate d c i rc u i t s u s e d , we ca n m a ke s o m e gen e ra l o bs e r vat i o n s .

Figure 1: A copy of Philo’s photograph of the printed circuit board (PCB) present i n the LEGO LiPo rechargeable batter y (#8878) (http://w w w.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/galler y. cgi?f=399263)

W i t h referen c e to f i g u re 1 : ( A ) T h e i n p u t a p p e a rs to b e p ro tec te d f ro m w ro n g c h a rg i n g vo l ta ge p o l a r i t y by t h e S M S 1 4 0 S c h o tt k y b a r r i er rec t i f i er d i o d e ( t h i s l i tt l e t h i n g feat u res a reve rs e m ax . vo l ta ge o f 4 0 V, a m ax .

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fo r wa rd current of 1 A , and the voltage dro p i s o n l y 0 . 5 V at 1 A! ( B ) T h ere appears to be a smart tex t-book L i Po c h a rg i n g circuit, note the inductivity, diode, a n d ca p a c i to r combinati on along with the nift y I C ( n u m b e rs printed on it don’t make any se n s e ) u s e d i n typical “step-down buck converters”. ( C ) T h ere appears to be a tex t-book pulse w i d t h m o d u l ated (PWM) diver circuit section co n n e c te d on the reverse side of the PCB to th e P F te r m i n a l . W i t h t h i s and the la ck of a bold “10V-DC-in p u tvoltage-required-or-this-device-will-fr y-andT LC - ca n not-be-held- responsible” label nex t to t h e i n p u t jack strongly sug gest that we can u s e a w i d e r range of input charging voltages. He re i s t h e p l a n : Hook up a stabilized adjustable lab o ra to r y D C power supply capable of delivering 5 A ( i f t h e L iPo should die, it won’t suffer) at u p - to 2 4 V to a flat LEGO LiPo. T h e ca b l e required for this experiment is ea s i l y fa b r i cated from the pieces of a $8 “wall wa r t ” t y p e p ower supply and the adaptor plugs t h at t y p i ca l l y come with it, see figure 2.

Figure 2: P h o to g r a p h o f a t y p i ca l “ w a l l w a r t ” t y p e power sup ply and t h e p l u g u s ed fo r t h e c h a r g i n g ex p e r i ments. Such power s u p p l i es o f te n co m e w i t h a v a r i et y o f a daptor plugs. Inse r t : T h e 3 . 5 m m x 1 . 3 5 m m ( x m m l en g t h , n ot im portant) pl u g w o r ks b est w i t h t h e L EG O P F L i Po .

T h e re s ults are shown in figure 3. Below 9 V, n o t h i n g much is happening. At 9 V, the L i Po “c h a rg i n g LED ” started flashing. According to s o m e r u mors, the charging time may be lo n ger t h a n t h e 4 hours time given in Brian’s referen c e d R B a r t i c l e with the original power supply 1 . T h i s

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m a kes s en s e , s i n c e t h e m ax i m u m c h a rg i n g c u rrent at 9 V i s o n l y 3 0 0 m A . At 1 0 V, t h e m ax i m u m c h a rg i n g c u r re nt wa s p ea k i n g at 5 5 0 m A . I n c re a s i n g t h e i n p u t vo l ta ge to 1 9 V wa s co m p l etel y o k w i t h t h e L i Po e l ec t ro n i c s – i t a l ways c h a rge d n i c e l y. At t h e s a m e t i m e , t h e m ax i m u m c h a rg i n g c u r re nt wa s d e c rea s i n g . At 2 0 V i n p u t vo l ta ge “s o m et h i n g ” b a d h a p p e n e d – a l l l i g ht s went o u t a n d t h e L i Po el e c t ro n i c s a p p e a red to b e co m p l ete l y d e a d . O p e n i n g t h e d ev i c e 2 a n d d o i n g s o m e m ea s u rem ent s o n t h e P C B “s o m eh ow ” re a n i m ated t h e L i Po e l e c t ro n i c s , b u t I d o n ’t kn ow exa c t l y h ow . . . I d i d i t a ga i n a n d n ow I ca n ’t re a n i m ate i t a ny m o re . T h e p r i c e I h a d to p ay fo r t h i s res ea rc h … S o w h o ca m e u p w i t h 1 0 V ? M y b est g u e s s i s s o m e s m a r t m a r ket i n g p e o p l e at T LC . Th ere a re o n l y ve r y few ( i f at a l l ) c h e a p 1 0 V D C p owe r s u p p l i es i n t h e sto re s . I d i d n o t f i n d a s i n g l e o n e at F r y ’s o r R a d i o S h a c k. T h e c h e a p o n e s a re u s u a l l y rated 3 - 4 . 5 - 6 - 9 - 1 2 V o r s i m i l a r. Yo u k n ow w h at : W h o ca res ? 1 2 V wo r ks b e a u t i f u l l y wel l . I f re q u ent l y u s e t h e p ower s u p p l y s h ow n i n f i g u re 2 to c h a rge my L i Po “o ff- l i n e ” ; i t ’s a 6 € a n d 5 0 c ent d ev i c e . S u m m a r y : T h e re i s n o n ee d a n d n o a p p a rent re a s o n fo r b u y i n g t h e $ 2 4 . 9 9 L EG O 1 0 V DC s u p p l y f ro m S @ H . T h at t h i n g i s a ( ve r y ) go o d m a r keti n g j o ke . G o to yo u r favo r i te el e c t ro n i c s sto re , p i c k- u p t h e c h e a p e st ( u n reg u l ated ) u n i ve rs a l p ower s u p p l y rated at 8 0 0 m A o r a b ove yo u ca n f i n d a n d yo u a re a l l s et . Even l owe r ( b u t overl o a d p ro te c te d ! ) a m p e ra ge w i l l wo r k – c h a rg i n g t i m e w i l l go u p t h e n t h o u g h . I reco m m e n d go i n g to 1 2 V; eve n i f t h e o u t p u t vo l ta ge i s n o t re g u l ate d a n d yo u ’d go w i t h a “ n o m i n a l ” 1 2 V d ev i c e ( t h es e m ay ge n erate u p - to 1 5 V D C w i t h n o l o a d p re s e nt ) , i t w i l l wo r k f i n e . I t m ay ve r y we l l b e t h at yo u h ave s u c h a p ower s u p p l y a l re a d y s o m e w h e re i n t h e h o u s e. 1 Apparently the LEGO ser vice department claimed that the charging time is roughly 1 ½ hours, which was discussed in the German MBRF forum http://w w w.mbfr.org /smf/index. php?topic=189.0, cf. answer #3 (i n case you understand German ...). In answer #4 user Lithologe calculated that this charging time leads to an average charging current of about 750 mA . However, I doubt the 1 ½ hours. My LiPo charged for about 3 hours before the LED stopped flashing. 2 Just use a sharp drill bit, drive that slowly one or two turns into the plastic plugs in each corner on the base hid ing the screws fastening the lid, pull out the plastic plug , get the screws out and carefully remove the top part.

Figure 3 : L i Po c h a r g i n g vo l ta g e vs . m a x i m u m “c h arging” current measurements. The maximum current was measured with a stalled P F X L m o to r p r es ent o n t h e L i Po P F ter minal set to full for ward.

2 ) U s ing the LEGO LiPo as an UPS T h e L EGO LiPo is rated with 7.4 V/1.1 Ah. T h e exp e r i ment described in 1) was also used to m o n i to r t he LiPo output behavior: Changing f ro m 9 V to 18 V input charging voltage did no t affe c t t h e output characteristics at all: A PF X L m o to r ( # 8 8 82) was constantly rotating , the bri g ht n es s o f a LEGO 9 V light brick (#6035) was co n sta nt , a s well as that of the PF lights (LEDs, # 8 8 7 0 ) . I n o t her words, the LiPo is indeed a ve r y n i c e vo l ta ge regulator! Furthermore, sudden l y p u l l i n g t he DC charging plug does not cha n ge t h e o u t p ut characteristics to any significant ex tent ; t h e L iPo is in fact a fully functioning UPS ! 3 ) U sing the LEGO LiPo for mixed PF/9 V t ra i n o p e ration T h e best of both worlds – how about us i n g t h e L i Po as a power source for PF trains w h i c h a re r u n n ing on mixed PF/9 V track? Here i s t h e plan: a ) Modif y a 9V train motor as power p i c ku p d ev i ce. b ) Fa bricate matching cables to direct th e p owe r f ro m the motor to the LEGO LiPo.

c ) C o n n ec t t h e L i Po to t h e c h a rg i n g li n e a n d to a P F re c ei ver a n d r u n RC, PF a n d /o r m o d i f i ed 9 V t ra i n m o to rs f ro m t h e P F re c e i ver o u t p u t s . H e re i s a m o re d eta i l ed d es c r i pt i o n o f t h e re q u i re d m o d i f i cat i o n s : a ) M o d i f y a 9 V t ra i n m o to r a s p owe r p i c ku p ( f ro m co nt i n u o u s l y p owered t ra c k) . T h e f i rst vers i o n i s t h e “ p i c k- u p a n d m o to r ” m o d i f i cat i o n ; a l ter n at i ve l y, b u r nt m o to rs ca n b e u s e d a s “ p ower p i c ku ps o n l y ”. T h e fo r m er n ee d s a l i tt l e m o re wo r k ( s ee e. g . , R a i l B r i c k J o u r n a l I s s u e 3 , p a ge 5 3 a n d refe re n c e s h e re i n ) , t h e l atte r j u st n ee d s rem ova l o f t h e b u r nt m o to r. I n b o t h ca s es yo u n e ed to o p e n t h e m o to r t h o u g h . I t i s wo r t h t h e effo r t ! b ) Fa b r i cate m atc h i n g ca b l e s to r u n t h e p owe r f ro m t h e m o to r to t h e L EG O L i Po . We d o n e ed a p ro p er co n n ec t i o n to t h e L i Po i n p u t – t h e req u i red p l u g s u s u a l l y co m e w i t h t h e c h e a p p owe r s u p p l i e s , a s a l re a d y d i s c u s s e d . F u rt h e r m o re, a b r i d ge re c t i f i er s h o u l d be i nte g rate d i nto t h e c h a rg i n g l i n e ; t h i s way yo u d o n ’t h ave to p ay a ny atte nt i o n at a l l to t h e i n p u t c h a rg i n g vo l ta ge p o l a r i t y. T h e L i Po wo u l d n ’ t ta ke a ny h a r m f ro m w ro n g c h a rg i n g vo l ta ge p o l a r i t y ( s ee

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Figure 4: Photographs of modified 9 V train motors. Top: “power pickup and motor ” version. This has been de scribed elsewhere. The electrical terminal is cut and the wipers are connected to the outer two electrical studs. The motor is connected to the inner two studs. The original functionality of the motor is fully re-stored, when you con nect a 2x2 electrical brick to the modified terminal, as you would do any way when running a classical 9 V train. So no harm is done here at all! Bottom and insert: A burnt 9 V train motor is still good for the “power pickup only ” ver-sion. Either just remove the small gears to disconnect the (burnt) motor from the wheels (yellow circle) or remove the entire motor, see insert. The former solution gives the pick-up some weight; the latter is “cleaner ”. There is al so considerable space left.

a b ove ) ; it would simply not charge. Wikip ed i a h a s a n i ce description ( http://en.wikipedia. o r g / w i k i / D i o de_bridge ) on how the bridge rect i f i er wo r ks for AC but it works of course for “ch a n g i n g ” D C polarity as well. T h e b r i d ge rectifier should have a rating of 2 0 V a n d 1 A or above. These are ver y safe numb ers , c f. f i g u re 3: The average maximum charging c u rrent at 12 V is 0.55 A with a stalled (!) P F X L m o to r o r train motor present the output. Even w i t h a shortened output, the average charg i n g c u r re nt does not exceed 0.55 A at 12 V ch a rg i n g vo l tage. Philo’s measurements clearly s h ow

t h at t h e m o to rs s h o u l d d raw m u c h m o re t h a n 0 . 5 5 A w h en sta l l e d , p a r t i c u l a r l y t h e P F X L m o to r ( htt p : / / w w w. p h i l o h o m e. co m / m o to r s / m o to rco m p . ht m ) . I n o t h e r wo rd s , t h e L i Po el e c t ro n i c s kee ps yo u a l ways o n t h e s afe s i d e w i t h res p e c t to c h a rg i n g p owe r d raw n f ro m t h e t ra c k . T h i s i s s i m p l y b e a u t i f u l a n d m a ke s l i fe s o m u c h ea s i e r fo r m u l t i p l e t ra i n o p erat i o n ! S i n c e t h e re a re s o m a ny d i fferent k i n d s o f b r i d ge re c t i f i ers j u st p i c k o n e t h at f i t s yo u r n ee d s . I p refer t h e S M D t y p e c i rc l ed i n re d o n f i g u re 5 . To m a ke t h e c h a rg i n g ca b l e, s i m p l y c u t o ff t h e p l a st i c b a s e o f t h e m atc h i n g D C a d a pto r p l u g ,

Figure 5: L ef t : Va r i o u s t y p es o f b r i d g e r ec t i f i er s ; y o u could also use 4 discrete diodes shown on the right. I prefer the SMD type circled i n r ed . T h e ra ted m a x i m u m c u r r e nt s h o u l d be 1 A , just to be on the (ver y) safe side. Rig ht: Prin c i p l e o f o p er a t i o n o f a b r i d g e r ec t i f i e r. A d apted from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diode_bridge)

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s e e f igure 6. You can of course order the p l u g d i rec t l y as separate piece; the size 3.5 mm x 1 . 3 5 m m (x mm length, not that important ) wo r ks b e st . Then a scrap 9 V LEGO electrical w i re i s s o l d ered to the plug. As nex t step I reco m m en d i n co r porating the bridge rectifier into the c h a rg i n g cable. The “ +” terminal is soldered to t h e c enter contact and the “–“ terminal to th e o u te r co ntact of the plug. Nex t, both “~” (or AC ) te rm i n a ls of the bridge rectifier are conne c te d to a 1 x 2 electrical plate, polarity does not m atte r, s e e f igure 6 for details. Note: For the “ p i c k- u p o n l y ” motor, see figure 4 bottom, you co u l d a l s o u s e 9 V wire with 2x2 electrical plate. W h e n you go with the “power pickup and m o to r ” ve rs i on (figure 4 top), then you need to m a ke a n o t h er wire for th e connection of the PF rec ei ve r o u t p ut to the motor “in” terminal. You ca n e i t h e r u s e a standard LEGO 9 V wire, as shown i n f i g u re 7 , o r directly use a cable with a PF termin a l ( e . g . a # 8 886 PF ex tension wire). I recommen d u s i n g t h e 9 V wire though since it is far more f l ex i b l e t h a n the PF wire and as a result, the trai n m o to r p i vo t s much easi er.

Figure 6 : P h o to g r a p h s o f t h e L i Po c h a r g i n g ca b l e. Top: Com plete a s s e m b l y. B o tto m : C l o s e - u ps o f t h e s o l d e red parts. Left: 1 x 2 ter m i n a l fo r t h e “p ow er p i c ku p a n d m o tor ” version (see fig u r e 4 , to p ) . R i g ht : B r i d g e r ec t i f i er a n d D C plug.

Figure 7 : P h o to g r a p h s o f t h e m o d i f i e d 9 V t r a i n “motor-in” cable.

c ) C onnect the LiPo to a PF receiver a n d t h e c h a rging line. W i t h the two custom cables and the m o d i f i ed m o tors we can assemble a “best of both wo r l d s ” P F/ 9 V train. Figure 8 shows the princ i p l e o f o p e ration.

O n l y t wo co m b i n at i o n s a re s h ow n i n f i g u re 8 , o t h ers wo r k a s we l l : Yo u m ay co m b i n e m o d i f i ed 9 V t ra i n m o to rs a n d RC m o to rs a s yo u w i s h , f i g u re 9 s h ows o n e exa m p l e . S i n c e t h e L i Po / P F re c ei ve r co m b i n at i o n ea s i l y h a n d l e s t wo o f t h es e o n o n e o u t p u t , t h e s eco n d c h a n n e l i s a l ways f ree fo r o t h e r st u ff.

4 ) Pe r fo r m a n c e m e a s u re m e nt s I u s e d s u c h a s et- u p to b u i l d a rat h e r co m p a c t 2 - m o to rs - P F - rec e i ve r- co nt ro l l e d “te st bed” s h ow n i n f i g u re 9 to a s s es s t h e p e r fo r m a n c e o f t h e L i Po i n a m i xed P F/ 9 V env i ro n m e nt . T h e t ra i n wa s r u n n i n g o n a fa i r l y l a rge st retc h o f 9 V t ra c k. I t p u l l ed a to ta l o f 1 0 ca rs , a s s h ow n i n f i g u re 1 0 . T h e l ayo u t feat u red t wo reve rs i n g l o o ps , e a c h e l e c t r i ca l l y i n s u l ate d w i t h o n e p i e c e o f c u r ved RC p l a st i c t ra c k a n d s o me n o n - p owe re d s e c t i o n s b et wee n t h e p o i nt s o f a 4 - sw i tc h p o i nt c ro s s ove r. Pa s s i n g t h e revers i n g l o o ps l e a d n e c e s s a r i l y to a p o l a r i t y c h a n ge o f t h e vo l ta ge p i c ke d u p by t h e m o d i f i e d m o to r. T h e 9 V ra i l s we re p owe re d at s evera l p o i nt s w i t h t ra i n co n n ec t i o n w i res ( # 1 0 0 6 7 ) to p reve nt vo l ta ge d ro ps a l o n g l o n g st retc h e s o f t ra c k. A s fa r a s I a m co n c e r n e d , t h i s re p re s e nt s a fa i r ly to u g h te st t ra c k . E x p er i m ent 1 : No p owe r o n t h e t ra c ks . T h e L i Po b atte r y wa s f u l l y c h a rge d . T h e P F o u t p u t p owe r l evel wa s s et to “ 3 ” o n b o t h P F re c e i ver o u t p u t c h a n n e l s . T h e t ra i n sta r te d re a d i l y a n d p u l l ed t h e ca rs stea d i l y t h ro u g h s e r i o u s c u r ve s a n d s o m e s e c t i o n s o f st ra i g ht t ra c k 3 . T h e b r i g ht n e s s o f t h e L E D l i g ht s n eve r c h a n ged . I m ea s u re d t h e t i m e re q u i re d fo r o n e ro u n d rep e ate d l y. We l l , i t wa s b o r i n g . A f te r 2 h o u rs I t h o u g ht I wa s d o n e , s i n c e t h e t ra i n sto p p ed . I s o o n f i g u re d o u t t h at t h i s wa s j u st t h e i nte r n a l L i Po t i m er, w h i c h t u r n s t h e el e c t ro n i c s o ff af ter p rett y m u c h exa c t l y 1 2 0 m i n w h en t h ere i s n o D C c h a rg i n g vo l ta ge p res e nt … af te r 4 h o u rs , t h e ro u n d t i m e i n c rea s e d s i g n i f i ca nt l y a n d s o o n af te r t h at t h e L i Po wa s e nt i rel y f l at . 4 h o u rs r u nt i m e, wow ! I h ave to a d m i t , wa s d ee p l y i m p re s s e d . 3 The layout is built into my office under the roof of our house; it goes “through” book shelves and underneath my desk. As illustration, see the end of this video taken with a camera mounted on a train: ( http://w w w.youtube.com/ watch?v=wTP6WtcnQbg )

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Figure 8: P r i n c i p l e o f o p er a t i o n o f co m b i n ed P F/ 9 V t r ains. These are just two examples. Other combinations work as well. Left: “Pow er p i c ku p o n l y ” v e r s i o n + RC m o to r. R i g ht : “Power pickup and motor ” version.

Figure 9: C o m p a c t P F/ 9 V “ test b ed ” u s e d fo r L i Po p e r formance assessment. A modified 9 V train motor (power pickup and motor vers i o n , r i g ht ) a n d a n RC t r a i n m o to r a r e co n nected to output A of the PF receiver. Front and back LED lights are connected to o u t p u t B . T h e r ecei v er ea s i l y h a n d l es t wo train motors on one output.

E x p er i m ent 2: The LiPo was completely f l at f ro m ex periment 1. Upon turning on the 1 2 D C t ra c k p ower, the LiPo readily started flas h i n g t h e “c h arging LED ”. After a couple of seco n d s , I t u r n e d the LiPo on and the train was sta r te d at p ower level “3” on both channels. Agai n , i t ra n s m o othl y and hauled the cargo for ho u rs , a n d h o urs, and hours. Round time decrea s e d ove r t i me, possibly indicating that the LiPo wa s n et- c h a rging and de livered power in a ver y co n t ro l l e d fashion to t he motors. After 7 ho u rs I

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h a d i t . No i nter r u pt i o n at a l l , t h e L i Po stays “o n ” fo reve r w h en co n n e c te d to D C . Ea c h rou n d , t h e c h a rg i n g vo l ta ge p o l a r i t y c h a n ged t w i c e w h e n c ro s s i n g t h e reve rs i n g l o o ps – n o effec t . I even f i g u re d o u t t h at o n e c u r ved s eg m ent u n d e r my d e s k d i d n o t h ave a p ro p e r p owe r co n n e c t i o n – h ere t h e c h a rg i n g L E D sto p p ed f l a s h i n g . T h i s m e a n s t h at s u c h a test- b ed s et- u p ca n ver y eff i c i e nt l y b e u s e d fo r s n i ff i n g p owe r p ro b l e m s o n a 9 V t ra c k l ayo u t . T h i s a p p ro a c h a p p ea rs to b e m u c h m o re rel i a b l e t h a n u s i n g a vo l t m eter s i n c e

Figure 1 0 : “ Tr a i n ” u s ed fo r t h e L i Po R F/ 9 V p er fo rmance measurements.

t h e charging LiPo and the running moto rs re p res e nt a considerable local load and a ny vo l ta ge drop becomes much more pronounc ed . J u st d r i ve around and watch the charging L E D. I f i t sto ps flashing , you have a non- or poor l y p owe re d track. I was even more impressed w i t h t h e L i Po performance. E x p eriment 3: After 7 hours of continu o u s o p e rat i on, I simply pulled the DC plug. T h e t ra i n s h owed no sign of fatigue at all, it just ke pt go i n g . After 2 more hours the LiPo autom at i ca l l y t u r n ed off again … and so on, and so o n . A f te r t h re e hours, round time was going up aga i n , a n d s o o n enough, the LiPo was flat. After 10 h o u rs o f t ra i n operation and serious family issues, I ca l l ed

i t a d ay. F i g u re 1 1 s u m m a r i ze s t h e re s u l t s . E x p er i m ent 4 : S o w h at a b o u t s o m e h eav i er l o a d ? F i g u re 1 2 s h ows t h e s et- u p . T h e f i rst e n g i n e i s a G P 4 0 _ RC X , a s s h ow n o n t h e R a i l B r ic ks we bs i te ( b u i l d i n g i n st r u c t i o n , d i e s el s ) w i t h o n e m o d i f i ed 9 V t ra i n m o to r ( p ower p i c ku p a n d m o to r ve rs i o n ) . I t feat u re s a n o n - b o a rd RC X , b u t t h at o n e wa s e nt i rel y d i s co n n e c ted . T h e wei g ht o f t h e e n g i n e i s co n s i d e ra b l e s i n c e t h e RC X ca rr i e s 6 A A t y p e b atte r i e s . T h e s eco n d e n g i n e i s a G P 3 8 , eq u i p p ed w i t h a n o t h er m o d i f i e d 9 V t ra i n m o to r ( p ower p i c ku p a n d m o to r vers i o n ) ; h e re o n l y t h e “ m o to r- i n ” co n n e c t i o n i s us e d . T h e P F “ test b ed ” ca r r y i n g t h e L i Po b atte r y a n d t h e P F rec ei ve r wa s co u p l ed b et wee n b o t h e n g i n es . T h e

Figure 1 1 : Ro u n d t i m e m ea s u r em e nt s u s i n g t h e test set-up shown in figures 9 and 10. Red cu r v e : Fu l l y c h a r g ed L i Po b a tter y, sta r t a t t = 0, no charging voltage present. After about 3 ½ hours, the round time increas es s i g n i f i ca ntl y, s h o r t l y a f te r 4 h t h e L i Po was flat. Blue cu r v e : F l a t L i Po a t t = 0 . C h a r g i n g vo l ta g e 1 2 V DC. After 7 hours, charging power was removed.

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P F re c e i ver operated both 9V motors from o n e o u t p u t and the GP40 head light from the o t h er. T h e m o dified motor of the GP40 delivered t h e 1 2 V D C charging track voltage to the LiPo. T h e t wo t ra i ns hauled a total of 18 rail cars: a l l o f t h e 1 0 in the previous experiments and 6 T T X t y p e ca rs plus two 2-axle cars - the total le n gt h o f t h e t rain was limited to my track layout – p a rt i c u l a r l y due to the limited length of the reve rs i n g l o o ps.

- D u e to t h e re l at i ve l y sta b l e o u t p u t o f t h e L i Po, t ra i n d r i v i n g c h a ra c te r i st i c s a re v i r t u a l l y co n sta nt w h e n go i n g over p owe re d 9 V o r p l a st i c t ra c k .

A ga i n I used the flat charging LiPo as powe r s o u rc e and again the train started smoo t h l y, w i t h o u t any sign of fatigue. After a coupl e o f h o u rs t h e LiPo seem ed to be net-charging a ga i n , a s j u d ged form the decreasing round time. Aga i n , I p u l l e d the plug and again it kept going …. T h e re i s o n l y one thing I can say: Wow.

6) Outlook

5 ) S u m mar y 1 ) T h e 7 .4 V/1.1 A LEGO PF Lithium polymer rec h a rge a ble batter y can be charged with a b ro a d ra n ge o f DC input voltages ranging from 9 V to 1 8 V. 1 0 V or above is recommended, since the f u l l c h a rg i n g current is minimizing charging time . 1 2 V s ee m to represent the best price-perform a n c e rat i o, a s judged from the availability of c h e a p “ wa l l wart ” type power supplies. For large t ra i n l ayo u t s , new or used computer power sup p l i e s a re p e r fectly well su ited; they deliver easily wel l a b ove 1 0 A on the 12 V line. 12 V car lead batte ri e s wo u ld also work well for many, many h o u rs at h i g h currents. There are many more optio n s . 2 ) T h e maximum LiPo charging current was ca l c u l ated to be around 750 mA based on info r m a t i o n f ro m the LEGO ser vice department and t h e web ( 1 ½ hours charging time, 1.1 Ah capac i t y ) . T h e p re sent measurements sug gest a maxim u m c h a rg i n g current of 550 mA , even with stalle d X L m o to rs either directly on the LiPo or PF recei ve r o u t p u t , respectively. 3 ) T h e L iPo works well as uninterruptible powe r s u p p l y ; the output characteristics remain p rett y m u c h constant, regardless of charging vo l ta ge . T h e transition from DC to batter y power i s s m o o t h and without any problems. 4 ) T h e L iPo is a PF element with nicely comb i n e s t h e b e st of both worlds, PF and 9 V. Modified 9 V t ra i n m o tors are required though (“power pi c ku p o n l y ” o r “power pickup and motor ” versions ) :

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- M o re t h a n o n e t ra i n ca n b e o p erate d o n o n e st retc h o f p owe re d 9 V t ra c k . - C h a rg i n g o f t h e L i Po i s a u to m at i ca l l y e n a b l ed o n p owered st retc h es o f 9 V t ra c k ; n o a c c e s s to t h e c h a rg i n g j a c k i s n e c e s s a r y.

M ay b e yo u ow n o n e o f t h e t ra i n en g i n e “s h ed s ” ( # 1 0 0 2 7 ; i t re a l l y i s a f u l l y b l ow n t ra i n m a i n te n a n c e stat i o n ) , w h i c h ca m e o u t i n 2 0 0 3 w i t h fo u r st ra i g ht 9 V ra i l s i n t h e b ox . Now yo u i n te g rate t h e s h ed i nto a n a l l - p l a st i c P F s u p e r l ayo u t , s o m ew h ere i n a “ge n era l m a i nte n a n c e” a rea . Power t h e s h e d 9 V ra i l s w i t h 1 2 V D C ( o r t h e l i ke) . W h e n eve r yo u r t ra i n s u ffe rs f ro m l ow L i Po b atte r y p ower, j u st d i re c t i t i nto t h e s h e d a n d wa i t . A f ter 2 to 3 h o u rs yo u a re rea d y to go a ga i n , w i t h o u t to u c h i n g t h e t ra i n at a l l . Yo u r t ra i n d es i g n d o es n ’t n e ed to p rov i d e a ny a c c e s s to t h e L i Po c h a rg i n g j a c k , w h i c h m ay g i ve yo u even m o re co n st r u c t i o n f l ex i b i l i t y. H ow a b o u t t h e b est o f t h re e wo r l d s ? T h e 1 2 V t ra i n system m ay a l s o b e i n co r p o rate d i nto t h e P F wo r l d ( I n eve r h a d a ny 1 2 V t ra i n st u ff, I a m d re a m i n g t h i s u p ) : 1 2 V i s w h at t h e L i Po l i ke s ve r y m u c h ! S o yo u j u st n e e d to p owe r u p yo u r 1 2 V t ra c k l ayo u t , i n sta l l t h e b e a u t i f u l 2 x 4 t ra i n p ower p i c ku p b l o c k ( # x 5 5 2 ) , u s e exa c t l y t h e s a m e p i c ku p ca b l e t h at we h ave m a d e fo r t h e 9 V syste m ( s ee f i g u re 6 ) , co n n e c t t h at to t h e 1 2 V p i c ku p a n d t h e L i Po a n d yo u a re a l l s et . I f yo u ’d a d d i t i o n a l l y i n sta l l a 9 V m o d i f i e d m o to r, yo u ca n ea s i l y m a ke a hy b r i d t ra i n t h at r u n s o n 4 . 5 V, 9 V, a n d 1 2 V t ra c k ! D ep e n d i n g o n w h at st retc h i s p owe re d , t h e L i Po wo u l d c h a rge. O n a l l n o n p owered st retc h e s t h e b atter y f u n c t i o n k i c ks i n . B u i l d i n g a c ro s s m u l t i p l e t h em es – t h e ent i re L EG O t ra i n wo r l d u n i ted by Power F u n c t i o n s ! Eve n f u r t h e r d ow n t h e ro a d : P F u s e s 3 8 k H z m o d u l ated I R l i g ht fo r re m o te co nt ro l o p erat i o n . T LC a p p ea rs to l ove 3 8 k H z I R l i g ht : T he M a n a s u s e t h at , t h e RC t ra i n s u s e t h at , a n d s o m e o f t h e p ro g ra m m a b l e b r i c ks ( P B r i c ks ) o f t h e M i n d sto r m s l i n e S co u t , S py b o t , a n d RC X u s e t h at a s wel l a l o n g w i t h t h e M i n d sto r m s rem o te , to n a m e a few. I n e a c h ca s e , t h e b i t p ro to co l i s o f co u rs e

d i fferent; other wise chaos would result , e . g . , d u r i ng a Manas attack on the RC ICE trai n . B u t i t would be cool to control the not-so-i nte l l i ge nt devices (Manas motor, PF receiver, etc . ) f ro m intelligent PBricks. In other words, P F re c ei ver controlled operation of LEGO tra i n s o r o t h er devices may not only be possible w i t h t h e I R remotes (#8885 for bang-bang o p era t i o n , e. g., switch points, or #8879 for p owe r l evel controlled applications) but also w i t h t h e LEGO NXT PBrick. I have played wi t h t h e i m p l ementation of PBricks for 9 V train o p era t i o n (see RailBricks Journal, issue 3, page 4 4 ) . I a l s o whined about the fact that the NXT i s n o t d e s i g ned along the “playing across mu l t i p l e t h e m es” philosophy. Well, I was wrong ( n o t at t h at time though …): With the introduct i o n o f t h e HiTechnic IR Link sensor (#MS1046), q u a s i s i m u ltaneous PF, RC, and RCX/Scout com m u n i cat i o n (!) has potentially become possib l e. A l l we n eed to do is getting it to work. I m a g ine this: You have a mixed RC/9 V/ 1 2 V l ayo ut. Maybe s ome loops are entirely 9 V, s o m e are 12 V, and some other section s a re

a l l - p l a st i c . T h e re a re RC t ra i n s , P F rec ei ve r co nt ro l l e d t ra i n s , a n d s o m e exo t i c RC X o r S co u t co nt ro l l e d t ra i n s o n t h e t ra c k l ayo u t . Eve n b ette r, i f yo u h ave f ree P F c h a n n el s , sw i tc h p o i nt s m ay b e re m o te l y co nt ro l l e d a s we l l . T h e RC t ra i n s a re r u n n i n g o n b atte r y o n l y, t h e P F e i t h e r o n b atte r y, L i Po, o r L i Po + 9 / 1 2 V p i c ku p p ower. A l l p owe re d t ra c k i s h o o ke d u p to a ca r l e a d b atte r y o r a 1 2 V … 1 8 V D C p ower s u p p l y. T h e NX T P B r i c k i s eq u i p p ed w i t h t h e H i Tec h n i c I R L i n k s en s o r. I t ta l ks v i a B l u e To o t h to yo u r l a pto p co m p u ter. H e re yo u h ave a co nt ro l p ro g ra m r u n n i n g , w h i c h s i m p l y i n st r u c t s t h e NX T to s en d : “ S et RC t ra i n # 3 to p owe r l evel 5 ” a n d t h e n “ S et sw i tc h p o i nt # 4 to st ra i g ht ”. S h o u l d t h e NX T s en s o r n o t p u t o u t e n o u g h I R l i g ht i n te n s i t y to re a c h d i sta nt l ayo u t reg i o n s : U s e a rel at i vel y c h e a p I R ex te n s i o n ava i l a b l e fo r T V/ DV D rem o te s . O r t wo o r t h re e. Wow, I n e ed to go ; t h i s m ay b e a d re a m co m i n g true … T h a n ks fo r rea d i n g a n d P l ay wel l !

F i g u r e 1 2 : H e a v i e r l o a d test s et- u p . T h e P F test bed i s coupled between both engines. It uses a “power p i c ku p o n l y ” m o to r. T h e P F L i Po / r e ce i v er combination is powering ever y thing, both 9V train motors ( f r o nt t r u c k o f G P 4 0 , r ea r t r u c k o f G P 3 8 ) and the GP40 head light.

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B Draisine DU 65 During the fall of 2008, some FreeLUG members were invited to exhibit a LEGO train layout in Estivareilles, France as part of a model railroading exhibition. Their day would not have been perfect, had they not taken a ride on the historic train driven by a light railcar : the Draisine DU 65. Jérôme “JAC” Teissier has recreated one of this draisine with LEGO bricks and offers you the building instruction for it.

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I hope you’ve e n j oye d t h i s i s s u e o f R A I L B R I C KS m a ga z i n e . A s o n e o f o u r contributors w ro te d u r i n g t h e p ro d u c t i o n , “ R A I L B R I C KS i s t h e to p a d d re s s for LEGO railro a d i n g m ate r i a l .” A s a n ew e d i to r, a state m e nt l i ke t h at i s both flatterin g a n d f r i g hte n i n g . W h i l e t h e to p i s a h i g h ex p e c tat i o n fo r anyone, I sincerel y a g re e w i t h t h e statem ent , a n d I h o p e t h at w h at we’ve presented in t h e p rev i o u s p a ges h a s exc e ed e d t h e ex p e c tat i o n . I’d like to tha n k t h e R A I L B R I C KS te a m a n d o u r a r t i c l e co ntr i b u to rs fo r assembling a ter r i f i c b o d y o f m ate r i a l . C o nt r i b u t i o n s a re re a l l y w h at make this maga z i n e g re at , a n d I ’m co nt i n u a l l y a m a ze d at t h e d ept h a n d breadth of th e a r t i c l e s , i n st r u c t i o n s , a n d m o d el s t h at we s e e i n t h i s hobby. If you wo u l d l i ke to s u b m i t a n a r t i c l e fo r co n s i d erat i o n fo r R A I L BRICKS magaz i n e , p l ea s e d o ! We a re a l ways l o o k i n g fo r n ew co ntent , a n d the fans know b est w h at fa n s wa nt to s ee . S u b m i tt i n g a n a r t i c l e i s ea sy. Send it to us at s u b m i s s i o n s @ r a i l b r i c ks . co m , a l o n g w i t h a ny p h o to s . F i n a l ly, I’d like to take a few words to th a n k t h e R A I L B R I C KS tea m , J era my S p u rge o n es p e c i a l l y, fo r p u tt i ng their faith in me as our new edito r. M o st o f t h e tea m h a s b e e n wo r k i n g to get h e r s i n c e I s s u e 1 , a n d I can only imagine what it takes fo r t h em to t r u st t h ei r p ro j e c t to t h e n ew g u y. I ’m h a p py t h at we have a great group to work with , a n d I l o o k fo r wa rd to wo r k i n g o n m a ny n ew i s s u es i n t h e f u t u re. - E l roy


RAILBRICKS Issue 7