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Loading and Damage Control


By Lee Wright

For my first article I have decided to stay away from the technical and address more of a social issue. I donít want to come off as an ingrate or aloof, but to show a situation from a train ownerís point of view. 

Loading and unloading oneís equipment is probably where ninety five percent of the damage to ones equipment occurs. I have probably hauled my equipment about as many miles as anyone in the hobby over the past almost 20 years. By this time I pretty know what works and what doesnít.  I have learned how and how not to unload and load equipment. 

I guess the problem can be divided in to two categories. People that no nothing about your or your equipment trying to help you and people that come up and start asking a million questions at the most inconvenient time.

Lets start with some prime examples on unloading. I have one spotter who knows me or is appointed by the club as the unloader.  Yet, three people whom I donít know are shouting directions to me. Ten feet,Ö. more to the left,Ö wait, I will have that car moved that is 20 feet way.

From my point of view it looks like this: I can build a diesel locomotive from the ground up but donít know how to drive my own truck. I am looking out the mirrors and right down the middle of the truck yet, I must have no clue as to where the turntable is. As I get close someone will turn the turntable away from the truck. As I donít have a laser rang finder attached to the back of the truckÖ I am pretty much clueless as to how much farther I need to back upÖ

After I learn what voice to listen to and the truck is spotted.  Some of the on lookers canít wait until I get the stuff out of the truck. So again I turn around to look at something and bump into someone. I have had people pull on the handrails thinking they can move a 800 pound locomotive by just pulling on a small part sticking out.  I have had fellows pick up a set of trucks and literally throw them in the back of my truck. I guess a good rule to follow at a meet is, Unless your help is ask for, donít give itÖ.


Another thing that happens at almost every meet is this: I will run or 3 or 4 days at a track. My train will be sitting in a prominent location and I will be watching my equipment for interested persons and ready to answer questions or have discussions. There are several persons in this situation that I will talk with. However, There are always one or two that will wait until you are in the very middle of loading when it is most critical to keep you mind on what you are doing. These people will have a million and one questions. Want to take pictures or want you name or something.

I am sure that most of the people in the hobby has had these or similar experiences. How do we educate these people, I donít really know.  Maybe the topic can be discussed from me taking the initiative to bring up the subject.

Again, We know these folks have good intentions but please let us ask for help.

Lee Wright

the end


About the author

Lee Wright Started building 1/8 scale models in 1980. His first car was started as a group project for the metal working class he was teaching at the local high school.  Lee met Ross Sowers who suggest Live Steam Magazine as a good place to learn about the hobby. Lee decide to build his own SD-35 after seeing a "Railroad Supply" catalog.

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© SEPTEMBER 24, 2001 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. 
photo credit:  Jim O'Connor,  taken at ILS 2001 annual meet


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