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Palatka Railfest 2011

Today I went to the Palatka Railfest, held at the Amtrak depot in Palatka, Florida. Despite two of my friends bailing out on joining me, I had a great time!

There were a few vendors of the major scales – N, HO, and O scale. There were some very impressive HOn3 models on display from Blackstone Models, and this line is very impressive! Two vendors had Digital Command Control (DCC) systems, and a third was selling just DCC decoders. They were all very helpful in answering my questions about DCC systems, and I came very close to buying one!

Alas, one of the HO scale vendors packed up and left early – less than an hour after the show started! Must have been some sort of politics involved, as it certainly wasn’t because he had sold all his wares.

The museum at the depot has two HO scale layouts. The first one you see is a triple-decker layout, where you basically only see the top layer, and a window into the second layer down. What surprised me was that they were planning on constructing two more layers above the current top deck!

The second layout is built against a wall with trains from about knee height up to the ceiling, depicting the side of a mountain. Several loops allow multiple trains to run in and out of several vignettes, and many of these vignettes include animated scenes. From blinking lights on a large communication tower, to pigeons circling the roof of a building, to a highway bridge being constructed with a crane, the layout captivates visitors.

There was a G-scale layout setup outside with several loops of track. This was nicknamed the “Railroadeo.” But the highlight of the show, for me, was the N scale modular layout that the Ocala Model Railroads Historic Preservation Society came with. Here are some photographs:

I’m not a big fan of cars with graffiti on them, but it’s a sign of the times. The Tropicana Juice Train, which runs from Florida to New Jersey just about every day, had a couple of them, though, and I have to admit, I really like them! Take a look:

Thanks for looking!