Christmas 2007 – Going all the way back to the 1940’s, I had fond memories of a standard gauge train that a neighbor loaned us. I wanted something close to my standard gauge beginnings, so I bought a Hartland 1:24 scale, G Gauge 0-4-0 and work caboose. The first layout I made was an automated Christmas display for the front porch. A motion detector started the train running when someone approached. Clever wiring made sure the train always stopped in the “tunnel”. Initial development stages and finished product are shown below:

Above: November 22, 2007, an optimistically big oval test track.

Above – The motion detector that started the train in the ‘controls’ box that sat on top of the ‘tunnel’ boxes. The light turned on at the same time to show that the track had power.

Above and Below: The Christmas presents tunnel and control box.

Above: Note the rectangular motion detector and “on” light on the upper  “Christmas present”.

Above – A clue to the reason for the final demise of the ‘Santa Train’ is hinted at in the first year picture above. The kneeling position on concrete and the fact that I am almost sitting on the engine was difficult enough but the eventual addition of scenery in the entire middle section made set up almost impossible for an old guy. I did persevere for six years because so many people enjoyed the train so much.

Above: Real snow! It ran great in the snow, not so much in ice….

Above: Let’s add some permanent snow scenery! 

Above – FRED, The Flashing Rear Elf Device, says Merry Christmas!!

2008 – If we add sound, how long will the battery last?



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