First of all, Please do not flame me for 'playing with toys'. I am a serious beginner with a serious shortage of money for supplies! That being said, my name is Michael, and I am a married 28 year old living in Georgia. As with most of you, I'm sure, I've liked trains and model trains for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, my father took a job as a blacksmith at a theme park in Massachusetts. The park was called Edaville Railroad and was originally built by Ellis D. Attwood in the late thirties and early forties to service his many acres of Ocean Spray cranberry bogs. His equipment was the remains of several of Maine's 2 foot railroads. As his trains became more popular with his friends, and then his friends' friends, he opened to the public. Being there every weekend (and able to ride the trains for free since Dad was an employee) firmly cemented my love for trains. Now, about 20 years later, I've gotten a renewed interest in building an outdoor railroad. I live in a mobile home so there isn't much room inside. I've had a New Bright brand "Gold Rush Express" "G Scale" set kicking around since I received it as a Christmas gift in the late nineties. I say "G Scale" but that unfortunately only extends as far as the track. The trains are somewhat smaller actually. Last summer, I bought a free standing above ground rubber swimming pool, and just HAD to have something I could mess around with IN the pool so I bought a New Bright brand radio control fire rescue boat. I got to use the boat twice before neighborhood kids decided my pool made a good BB-gun target. I got restless one night and stripped both the boat and the train down to nothing and broke out the Dremel and transferred the battery compartment and electronics from the boat into the train. This gives me the ability to use the 9.6 volt rechargeable battery from the boat, and 3 radio control channels, one of which is an on/off latching circuit that ran a pump for a water cannon. The drive motor wires from the boat were connected to the drive motor of the train, and the latching circuit got connected to the locos lights. There is still the steering motor circuit from the boat that I have not yet found a use for. I think I will eventually use it to run a servo that can be used to uncouple the tender from the train. As for the layout I am thinking randomly of, I want to build in some whimsy, as well as some realistic scenery. I want to try building a wooden trestle at least 36 or 48 inches long that would lead directly into a tunnel, but I also was thinking of very obviously using an open mailbox for the tunnel entrance. I'm not sure yet how I am going to manage that. Another thing is, I need more track. I found that I can get track extension sets from Sears.com for $9.99 each, and shipping is free before Christmas if you buy more than $50. That will give me 90+ feet including what I have already. That should give me a good amount to work with, now I just need to layout a track plan. There are no cross tracks or turnouts to be had in the cheap plastic sets that I know of so I want to try building both out of pieces of existing track. Hopefully I can make room for more than one tunnel because I would also like to carve a tunnel entrance out of extruded foam board. I may go so far as to add a running stream if I can modify the pump from the pool I mentioned. it runs about 700 gallons per hour but doesn't have much uphill pressure. I am still trying to decide on using a turn table and a round house or a transfer table and a more generic engine house. Unfortunately expanding the set involves buying more New Bright trains since, as I said, they are NOT G Scale. Luckily these can be gotten at yardsales and 'junk shops' pretty easily but again, unfortunately most places seam to thing these sets are worth ALOT more than they really are. I saw one set in an 'antique' store, without box, track or ANY accessories, and had several pieces of detail missing entirely. It was priced at $180! I have been watching Ebay, but sellers seam to think the shipping of a half pound boxcar that would fit in an average shoe box cost anywhere between $5 and $30 dollars just to ship!!! Let me know what you think about my plans. More to come soon. I will add a few pictures once I have a chance to take some better lit ones. This has been an extremely long winded post by Mike, from DieCastoms and was brought to you by, being awake WAY too long!