My Story

Model Train Repairs

When I was four, I received my first American Flyer train, a No. 312 steam engine with three red 650 passenger cars, and a 718 baggage car that I still have and maintain. I have collected American Flyer, American Models, S-Helper, and Lionel Flyer trains in anticipation of retirement. When I finally retired, a couple of the guys at work had a bet that I would not have any trains running in a year, so I had to prove them wrong. My wife spent three weeks in California visiting our grandchildren, and I did not tell her what I was about to do in the basement. When she came home she said, “What did you do? You took over the whole basement!” “Yep, I did it,” and built a 9×16 foot layout with the help of my friend Andy. We laid original S-Helper flex track on top of Flexbed and now at least, I had a loop and the guys from work lost the bet by only a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, it has been like that for many years and someday I will lay down the track plan that I originally wanted.

I finally got out my old trains and wanted to get them in some sort of operating condition in preparation for the long awaited layout. After dropping screws, washers, and all sorts of stuff on the floor, I decided to look for some sort of cradle to work on my trains. I found nothing to buy that I liked, so I developed and built an adjustable cradle that I could test run the engine while it was in the cradle. The cradle was adjustable, for H0, S and 0 gauge trains. After a couple of revisions, I showed the cradle to some of the guys in the local train club, and they said I should start selling it. I went to the monthly local Great Midwest Train Show where they sold out. I continued to build more of them and eventually it was featured in Model Railroader Magazine as a new product. Unfortunately, some of the materials that I need to make the cradle are no longer available, so I had to stop making it. At the local train show, a couple of people asked if I did repairs, and before long, a couple of more asked, and then some more, and so it began. Along the way, I also built flashing crossbucks, and some with an operating bell. Unfortunately, this too ended because the company that was making the electronics is no longer in business. ….

Specializing in TMCC Installation

… About this time, I heard about TMCC, and I had seen DCC in operation, but I was more curious about TMCC. I heard about Carl Tuveson who has an S layout and runs TMCC, so I decided to contact him. After numerous emails and phone calls, I decided to install TMCC in one of my engines and it worked so well that I did several other installations. I took one of the engines to a local show and people began asking me about TMCC, so I gave them demonstrations, and eventually they asked me to install TMCC in their engines.

I learned a lot from Carl, and not knowing anyone else in the area that understood TMCC as much as he did, I had to learn a lot on my own. Of course, I made lots of mistakes. I also learned very quickly that most people had no idea about TMCC. I traveled the Midwest and part of the East Coast going to train shows and giving seminars on the basics of TMCC. Sometimes Carl would go with me. I set up a demonstration table for TMCC, with a hands-on experience. To this day, Carl and I are great friends, even though he is about two hours away.

One thing led to another, and I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to be sponsored by a local hobby shop to go to the Lionel school to become an Authorized Lionel Repair Station. Mike Reagan himself gave me the oral test. Of course, I passed and was a great learning experience. I came away with a better understanding of TMCC, but unfortunately, they no longer offer the school. I was also sponsored to go to the MTH school and now I am authorized in MTH repair, as well.

I continue to work on trains and TMCC installations and still enjoy doing it. I have a milling machine and a lathe that allows me to sometimes modify an engine to make room for the installation of the TMCC components. I have several different engines that I have modified that are on YouTube and one in particular is the American Models Northern with a fan driven smoke unit that has a synchronized chuff n’ puff. The video is here

 
 
 
Some Cool Facts

Numbers Speak For Themselves

0
Products
0
Years of Experience
0
Completed Projects

Need advice or help repairing or installing new features on your rolling stock? Please email me at  customercare@goldinhands.com or call me at (847) 727-0857