This is to announce the start of new Garden Railroad scheduled activities in Central Arkansas. It will be called the "Arkansas Powered Rails Garden Railways" also known as "Arkansas Powered Rails' (APR) to shorten it.
Al Taylor and I developed a plan to have scheduled activities twice every month officially starting in January but informally starting this coming Saturday December 13 at around 11:00 am at Al Taylor’s home.
Our initial schedule will be to have a “meeting” starting at 7:00 pm the 2nd Thursday of each month followed by a “Running Day” the 4th Saturday of each month starting at 11:00 am. The schedules can be adapted according to weather, holidays or other conflicts.
The Meetings will be an opportunity for us to get together with sort of a “show and tell” approach to see who is doing (or planning) what with their trains and layouts.
The Running Days will be primarily focused on running trains, visiting and perhaps having a cook out with light refreshments (Cokes, Hot Dogs and Hamburgers) to make it more of a family occasion. If there will be refreshments served it will be mentioned in the announcement.
Unless otherwise scheduled the default location will be at my home. This week will not be at my home but instead will be at Al Taylor’s. Future meetings and running days can be anywhere that anyone wishes to host them.
Our focus will be primarily on the various forms of track power which can include:
- Traditional Analog Track Power LGB’s MTS Digital Track Power Generic DCC Digital Track Power MTH’s DCS Digital Track Power Powered Rails with On-board Controls such as AirWire or Aristo-Craft
While it is outside our primary focus - as long as it can be done without inconveniencing track powered operations - we may also run battery or live steam powered trains.
Al and I have been expanding the capabilities of our layouts so that we can now run any of the above on our layouts. We have also equipped a quantity of our locomotives with decoders (to run with MTS/DCC) which will enable us to have multiple trains available (with individual remote controls) for visitors to always have trains available to run if they do not have or did not bring their own.
Since this will be organized activity it was probably a good idea to have a name that identifies the purpose of the activities. For that reason we will call it the “Arkansas Powered Rails Garden Railways” and use the name of “Arkansas Powered Rails” (APR) for short. At this time there is no need to include Association, Club, Society or anything else because there really is no need for any sort of official membership or club organization. We are just a couple of retired guys who enjoy running trains and welcome anyone else who would enjoy running trains with us.
In the past the limitation on running trains was how big the layout was so that one train would not run into another train. With the conversion of sufficient trains to MTS/DCC capability by adding decoders to them we can now have up to eight (8) trains running on the same layout at the same time with each train being run with an individual remote control.
Since Al and I are both retired we can usually be found at home (perhaps running trains) just about every day of the week so if someone wishes to get together with us it is not necessary to wait for a scheduled meeting or running day. Just phone ahead to see when one of us will be running trains again. The more advance notice we have the better the chances of being able to run trains when you would like to.
Going back to the name of “Arkansas Powered Rails Garden Railways” part of the reason for this name is because it can include anyone anywhere in the State of Arkansas (or even nearby states) who has or wishes to run Garden Railroad size trains with power from the rails. As we learn of others in the state who also use powered rails to run their trains we will be able to share knowledge and experiences with those who have had similar challenges to overcome. By the same token if they are running rail powered trains they could run their trains on our layouts and we could run our trains on their layouts (unlike battery or steam power layouts which typically cannot run rail powered trains).
As for the meetings and running days there are no specific plans to do anything other than get together and have fun. If only 2 people show up that is OK and we will have fun and if 20 show up that will be fun too.
Everyone is welcome and you are welcome to bring your family and any guests.
Al Taylor will be starting things out this Saturday. If you have not been to Al’s house contact me via email for his phone number and directions. Also contact me via email for my phone number and directions.
Al is located in Maumelle (north of Little Rock) and I am located near Austin, Arkansas (about 25 miles northwest of Little Rock).