We are nearing the end of our time away from the trains. The activity over the last three plus months has been well spent on our other property. At the same time, albeit less focused than normal, some thought and assessment has been given to the train activities.
Some realities have become clear.
1- the alternate potential income from this site is very remote. The Amazon ads and the report downloads have both been a total bust. The Google ads, while not very productive, have at least made a few pennies. Also of note, eBay has contacted me about a program similar to the Amazon ads. In Feburary, the downloads and Amazon ads will be taken off the site. At this moment, it is not clear if there will be participating in the eBay program.
2. The current motor/ electronics test series has produced some interesting results. However, the focus will be narrowed. There are currently eight test bed engine reports available. The plan at this point will be to focus on a few of these and add the number of motors tested. The previous plan had over twenty-five test bed engines. Most were Blue box based. The adjusted plan will bring in more current release motors and a few optional test beds. Exactly how the latter will be accomplished is not clear at this writing. The availability of recent released test bed engines is a quandary. TBD
3. Testing will continue, as a matter of assurance, on the engines that are rehabs through the shop. Heretofore, data was taken on all said engins. A go/no go approach is being contemplated for a large percentage of the future engines. Unique and limited data base models will still see a full assessment. One has to question what new is learned when the number of a given model type exceeds 20. Generally 10 is enough for a statistical family. Look for more steam and other unique configurations to be tested.
4. The most attention seems to be around modeling. I am also interested in starting on my long delayed layout, with its various modeling activities. One of the issues has been the size an committment required for a successful layout build. Recently, the folks at Model Railroad Hobbiest have been encouraging the concept of TOMA. While this is actually a form of modular layout building, the intent is to encourage the home layout builder to follow similar principals. At this writing, there seems to be many diverse opinions as to what TOMA really is. The FreMo and NTrak feel it should have their requirements at the very least. The show module builders have a similar bias in the direction of what work so well for them. MRH is doing a series on their for price subscription page on the topic. It seem prime for innovation. I am anticipating a learn by doing activity. The initial activity will be to define what it means to me and the basic planning steps. Hopefully, that will go quickly and some module building will happen.