Back in 1990, one of the first hobby books I bought shortly after getting back into the trains mentions that, after a short
while, you'll get bored with running a train around in a circle, encouraging the building of a large layout. Well, as many may
suspect, I am not the average train hobbyist, and I don't get bored with a train just running around in a circle. Perhaps it is
because I have a large layout now, and have had many seasonal layouts as I kid, but I love to temporarily set up a small oval
of track at the kitchen table and just run a short train or a handcar. I find it very relaxing, at times mesmerizing! A layout, even
a small set-up, does take some time to begin an operating session. So in order to get a quick train "fix," I keep an oval of the
familiar 3 rail O27 track handy, place it on the table, sometimes adding a few books for trestles to create a little grade, and run
my favorite handcar. I can watch it forever. Perhaps it is hypnotic. It gives a weary mind a chance to unwind, relax, and
unlike the large layout, there isn't any stuff to control. Just being a spectator is enough for me. I guess that is why I like to
automate whatever I can on the large layout. The interactivity I enjoy is in making stuff, solving problems, and adding
some animation to static scenes. When I use my old Timex/Sinclair 1000 with the layout, I even have a few lines of Timex
BASIC code and a little circuit that will blow the whistle in the tender, so it is safe to assume that I like to just sit back and
watch. So maybe it won't be enough for some to just watch a train travel around a loop of track, but it is very relaxing for me,
like watching tropical fish in an aquarium. I believe it even lowers my blood pressure!
So if you can't have a layout for whatever reason, try a very temporary kitchen table loop of track, and enjoy the moment!
It's magic! Joe.
This oval of O27 track (27" by 44") is easily tucked away in a closet; no need to take apart the sections or attach it to a board!