Sunday Shoutout

Great fun was had yesterday in Bowmanville and today in Woodstock! In addition to a couple of wonderful finds (and spectacular deals), the best part of both days was connecting with some model railroad folk and having some great conversations.

In Bowmanville, I bumped into Ralph Renzetti who does amazing weathering. Ralph has a great ‘how-to’ series on called Extreme Weathering. Ralph is a great source of information and recommended a fiberglass brush for distressing paint that works well. He also suggested I try a rubber cement fading technique that I am excited to test out. Ralph has also inspired an upcoming post that I am working on…stay tuned!

Sunday in Woodstock, I met up with Muskoka Steve who won first place in the YouTube Model Builders BIG Build Contest. A big congrats and kudos! I blogged about Steve’s fantastic Maple Leaf Mills model here. You can watch the big win on YouTube below.

Steve is very involved in NMRA and told me about the 15th Annual Hamilton & District Layout  (H.O.M.E.S.) Tour on Saturday, November 7, 2015. Layouts are open from 9am to 5pm (with a break for lunch, 12:30 to 1pm). There will be 20 layouts in various scales open to layout tour participants, several of which have never been on the tour before, and including the HOMES and Burlington club layouts. Mt Albert Scale Lumber will also be open for demos. More info here.

And a final shoutout to Luc from Sarnia, who you might remember from my first Sunday Shoutout. Luc is working on a new layout and it was great to hear about this plans. He also received a delivery at the show and is now one of the rare few that have a set of my HO scale beavers 3D printed from Shapeways. Always great to connect with friends, mentors and the folks who inspire me to be better and do better!


Raspberry Pie


Yum! Who doesn’t love a slice of pie? The Raspberry Pi is a cheap, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It runs Linux and is capable of doing everything you’d expect a desktop computer to do, from browsing the internet and playing high-definition video, to making spreadsheets, word-processing, and playing games.

And it runs JMRI Model Railroad Interface!! Or it is supposed to…


I have been playing around with it and it works… sort of. With no Linux programming experience and some help from my company’s IT guru (who sold me his used Raspberry Pi model B for $20) I have DecoderPro up and running on the Pi and can turn main track power ON and OFF by using DecoderPro and also can control a loco on the mainline with a JMRI throttle.

But, for some reason, I am getting a serial port error (see pic above) in the JMRI preferences pane and can NOT read or write or program any brand of DCC decoder. Which is strange as you’d think that JMRI would either communicate and work or NOT communicate and not work at all.

Since it is a serial port issue I googled “Raspberry Pi JMRI Serial Port issue” and found this post online at

One issue that Raspberry Pi users run into is that JMRI requires a package called RXTXcomm. It is included with JMRI but the version included does not work on the Raspberry Pi. That means you must install the package from scratch and then replace the file included with JMRI with the one in the newly installed package. (A file named RXTXcomm.jar should be copied to the /opt/JMRI/lib folder.) Once I had JMRI and the supporting packages installed I plugged in my Digitrax PR3 to the remaining USB port (remember I used one for Wifi, one for the keyboard and one for the mouse). I then started JMRI and it opened at the “Preferences” window where I selected “Digitrax” for the interface manufacturer and PR3 as the interface. From the drop-down menu I was able to select the USB port the PR3 was plugged into. Finally I selected the Command Station I have (Zephyr). If you don’t have your interface connected to the RPi2 and powered up when you start JMRI you will get an error indicating the hardware wasn’t found. Also you need an external power supply for the interface because the RPi2 USB ports can only supply about 100mA of current.

Like all things computer, more googling is necessary and I need to find the time to ask for help at 

When I get it fully up and running I will (re)post this entry with the process and (hopefully) the solution.

This is the BIG Weekend

Train show double header… Saturday I am heading to the Bowmanville Annual Train Show

2015 - 29TH ANNUAL FALL SHOW - COLOURED-page-001
And Sunday is the WOODSTOCK MODEL TRAIN SHOW AND SALE, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the Oxford Auditorium and the Mutual/Market Buildings, on the Woodstock Fairgrounds, at 875 Nellis Street. Expanded to two buildings and featuring up to 180 vendor tables of Model Trains of all scales including Train Sets, Locomotives, Transformers, Rolling Stock, Track, Structures, Photographs, Videos, DVD’s, and Railroad Memorabilia.

Comment below if you are planning on attending. See you there?