Frequently Asked Questions

Real answers to fake questions

In case you were wondering…

It’s called “irony”, like calling a bald guy “Curley” or a chubby guy “Slim”.

Or like calling the Chiefs a professional football team.

ps: feel free to call me “Slim”
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Are you INSANE?!
Those sweet babies are none other than Kasper MK VII, Rev 2 turnouts, the best turnouts money can’t buy. These engineered marvels have been known to make Swiss watchmakers shake their heads with envy, and are assembled with solder augmented with the sweat of Nobel Prize winners.

The gauge on these turnouts is so precise that the National Institute of Standards and Technology laboratory (NIST) uses a Kasper MK VII to calibrate the official length standards for the United States and the United Nations countries. NIST even created a new unit of length for that purpose: the Kasper (Ka).
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Yes! The power plant serves the University of Missouri, and was a steady customer for the Katy until the Columbia Branch was removed from service in 1977. The Katy would spot single hoppers of coal at the plant.
  1. Relax and have fun
  2. Keep the trains under 45 scale mph
  3. Anything odd or unclear, haul it back to Franklin Yard
  4. If you know a better way, let the layout owner know.
Rule G is a prohibition against railroad employees working while intoxicated. Consumption of adult beverages is allowed during operating sessions on the Mighty MKT. However, most of the drinking is done after the session by the layout owner. With a straw. While curled in a fetal position. And sobbing uncontrollably. And mumbling something about lost self-esteem.

And during couple’s night…don’t forget couple’s night!
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Yes, but only at the risk of the kitchen collapsing onto Franklin Yard.

In my younger days, I used to be able to squeeze between the pole and the yard fascia. Those days are long gone!!!
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Yes, really. I know. It can be a pain. Just go nice and slow into and out of staging and all will be well.
Yes, really. I know. It can be a pain. Just go nice and slow into and out of staging and all will be well.
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Do I seem like I’m a stickler about ANYTHING? Life is too short to get berated for placing car cards on the layout. Lean them up against the cars. Place them along the bluffs. Use the little shelves. You won’t get any complaints from me.
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Oh, I see that you are a man who focuses on the important things in life…like FOOD! Fear not! Plenty of snacks and beverages are alway provided at Katy operating sessions!
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Yes! during 2016-2017, I converted from a QuickBASIC program to JMRI, and I've been very happy with the change. The quickBASIC program worked very well for many years, but I wanted the fancier graphics that the newer technology allowed.

The JMRI front end drives the C/MRI hardware. The C/MRI is primarily used to obtain block occupancy, read toggle switch positions, and drive the signals. C/MRI is also used for the staging track virtual matrix control. The signal logic is handled within the JMRI program.

JMRI sits on a Mac and communicates with C/MRI hardware via a USB to RS485 adapter (lovingly referred to as “the dongle”).

The dispatching screen presents a graphic schematic of the layout and staging yards, and also shows the occupancy state and turnout position. The dispatcher also selects the staging tracks with a simple mouse click on the screen.

A cool feature of the JMRI is train tracking, a feature that I had implemented back in the Computer Cab Control days, but lost when I converted to DCC. Upon startup, JMRI will load the train symbols from a file and identify each train in staging (and also those trains that remained on the layout from the prior operating session). The train symbol will 'follow' the train as it traverses across the layout.
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I don’t think so. But wouldn’t that be AWESOME if there was!?

My good friend, Joe, is a huge Chuck (the TV show) fan, so the Mighty MKT has a fictional Wienerlicious shop in his honor.
…The king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.
Matthew 22:14
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You need to do two things to qualify as an Elite Operator™:

  • Read the classic novel, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. No, really. You must read it.
  • Embrace the philosophy of the Man from La Mancha, which is (for those that don’t read the book): If you want to be a knight, act like a knight.

That’s it! But remember, to call yourself an Elite Operator™ without having first met the requirements is the height of hypocrisy! You have to look yourself in the mirror.
No, I do not consider myself an Elite Operator™. It's kind of an inside joke. No-one who has observed me at an op session would ever mistake me for an Elite Operator™.
I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member!
Groucho Marx
The awesome green and yellow paint scheme was implemented 1971. This green paint scheme is sometimes referred to as "Whitman Green", after Reginald Whitman, who was company president from 1970 to 1975.

Among the Elite Operators™, that run the Mighty MKT, the layout is lovingly referred to as "semi-sweet green", in deference to the juggernaut N-scale Burlington Northern, Marais Division, which is owned by my good friend Joe. The Marais Division is known as the "Sweet Green" layout, and the Mighty MKT then becomes the "Semi-sweet Green" layout.
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Sweet Green

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Semi-Sweet Green

The Mighty Katy