We opened at 10 am Sunday morning with several folks arriving early. The crowd was surprisingly large. Over 500 for the day and almost 1800 folks throughout the 5 days we were open (evenings Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and days Saturday and Sunday). We are thrilled. We love the train–playing times with our trains, but are soooo happy when this many folks get to enjoy the hobby and the cheerful and joyous children’s voices and antics that are so freely displayed. I could do this every day just for the kids in all of us. So many talked with us asking every question possible and they were always getting a clear, honest, short, crisp, meaningful positive, informative answer from Me…
The town staff and factory personnel were most helpful in assisting us in every way possible to make this a great event.
I hold so many good stories in my sieve of a brain, I hope I can communicate a few of them. A senior couple spoke of the excitement and on a more personal note of the places they has served with the government. We “Couldn’t remember” where we had been but when he mentioned a spot I could say “Oh yeh, I landed there…” Or I saw that gorgeous area (From 20,000 feet…)
So much chatter about toys of their youth and of friends who had “That loco in blue” or played with the rich kid’s trains down the block from their home. Several ladies opined that their family bought them dolls when they wanted TRAINS! I got a doll from somewhere but it got little play time from me.
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My famous one-sided Standard gauge train set made its debut at the Candy Factory and was a huge hit. Lemme tells you the story: Back in 1961, while getting married in Sarasota Florida, I went to their antique car museum (Not during the ceremony but I probably shoulda as things did not work out)…Where was I … The museum had a horseless carriage restored on one side only. They had drawn a line down the middle from front to back and restored one side. It struck me a very neat and it spoke volumes about the a mount of work and time and products that go into a restoration. The concept stayed with me. Some years ago, while Ms. Sandy and I were enjoying the boat show at St. Michaels, someone displayed a stunning Chris Craft open speed boat wherein only half had been restored. Thus the chrome, mahogany wood, leather etc., was rusty and rotten on one side of center and minty spiffy on the other. This re-fired up my memories. About ten years ago a toy train engine( IVES # 10) followed me home. The loco had spent six years under water in Louis Hertz’ flooded basement. For the next nine years I chased after some equally treated cars and proceeded to restore one side only. This takes lots of parts and matching paints. The actual work was done over 3 weeks. The result is most pleasing to me. It communicates that things can be repaired and rebuilt by a non-expert. At the Candy Factory I made some silly arm waving’s and noises and promises as the 1/2 train moved from the back track, looking all rusty and beat up, to the front track with the good side. Magic, sez I, with my queeek restoration techniques. Then it went around to the back again and looked all rusty. (No one was fooled.)
Today was another trial run for “Orange Suede.” Saturday’s maiden voltage resulted in a change of motive power as the proper loco caused short circuits. Here is the sad story of her past difficulties: I found her in several cardboard boxes in a car show flea market in New Hope Pa. (Did I mention that I turned down a running 1958 Edsel ragtop for $1500 at the same place and bought Orange Suede instead.) OS’s owner said the sets had been stored in a barn which had burned to the ground some 30 years ago. The remnants stayed in the barn pyre until rescued by this guy in 1984 and pedaled to me for $50 bux. (The Edsel owner regaled me with story of starting the Edsel and watching the mouse nests run thru the carb, motor and come out the tailpipe. I suspected serious damage to this already tired car with the greasy drive shaft in the back seat.) I saw promise in OS. The pile included 5 motors, a 402 and 318, two gondolas and two passenger cars, all very rusty to the point of orange dust. They have been with me ever since. I might add that the heat was so great that all solder had melted away and the pot metal wheels had melted and the liquid metal pooled in a gondola car. Over the years I replaced the fried motors and added back parts that were missing . Those parts added had to be tarnished to match the patina on the fried set. Recently I had everything done to the set that I wanted to do and we did a trial run at the Rockville Senior Center Show. My set received much verbal abuse… Dave Eadie insisted the the head light function. This meant removing the melted bulb and socket and replacing it with a less ruined one. I did so and now one headlight now works. Saturday’s problems resulted from the motor mounting screw being too long and grounding out the field coil. Now fixed OS preformed just like a tired old rusty trains set. I was very pleased. About the tenth lap the loc became a cotton picker-upper. Dan Danielson had just arrived and was preparing a verbal blast to me about the awful looking consist. Our layout has sheets of cotton placed around the Department 56 house and action scenes to cover up the layout’s wires and under sheets and simulate a snowy Christmas scene. A piece of sheet cotton got near the track and the loco’s gears grabbed it up and wound it until the loco stalled. Cotton pickin mess I tells ya. After Dan picked cotton while, the set ran gloriously throughout her turn on the hi rails of the Candy Factory.
Please note most of my reporting is about the standard gauge/gauge 1 layout because that is what I was involved with mostly. The stunning over/under O gauge layout was spectacular. This was a first for such a design. Everyone loved it, even Santa who was about looking for a Trainic who had been good all year!? I was amazed at the way they raised to modules in such a simple manner. I’m sure they will report all the details.
We are developing a cadre of trainics who come back every year to see our displays. That is so nice. One lady’s twins have been here every year we have. We are becoming a family who gather annually at the old famous Manassas Candy Factory each Christmas season. Sweet!
Merry Christmas all,