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February 08, 2008


Christopher Flynn

Ok, a few questions, silly in nature, but things that I've always and recently wondered!

I have always wondered if you are any way related to the Groff of Groff's Grove on the SRR?

So Modern Marvels came to the Strasburg Railroad - I think Mike Rowe and Dirty Jobs should come to you when your doing the winter work! Besides the dirt we deal with, imagine the fun of talking about your fake dirt, and all the miniature dirty jobs taking place on the display!


Do I have a question. I managed to acquire a 1988 N scale Christmas car.How many were made? What type of couplers did you originally use? What type of chassis came with the original? Mine has a fishbelly(lack of correct name) the kind of chassis that you see on old time cars.


Hi, I was so impressed by your layout and I like the way your vehicles move on the road I want to have vehicles move on my layout.Any way you can post something that can give me an idea how to go about this? Thanks very much and keep up the great work!!

David A Burroughs

What kind of power do you use, for lights, animations, and motive? I need to get some kind of power supply for lights, separate from my engines.

Tom Groff/Choo Choo Barn

All of our trains are powered by home-made power supplies using Variacs and 24 volt, 6 amp transformers. We went to this type of control over 30 years ago. We use the Variacs as our "step-down" transformer. The voltage out of the Variac goes into the primary side of the 24 volt transformer. The secondary side of the transformer then goes through a full-wave bridge rectifier that is also filtered and then goes to the track. So, if there is 110 volts going into the Variac and it is turned to 50 (50%), there is 55 volts AC going to the transformer. Since we are only supplying 50% of the normal voltage to the primary side of the 24 volt transformer, we get 50% of the output or 12 volts AC. This is then converted to DC via the rectifier, filtered using 1000 mfd capacitors and then connected to the track. All of our trains use filtered DC voltage for operation.

We use mostly 110 volt motors for animations. There are only 3 low voltage motors working animations at the present time.

I use a very heavy duty 24 volt DC power supply to power relays and some lighting. Other lighting is powered by smaller train transformers at various places under the display. There a lot of ways to power lights in houses and streetlights. You can actually use "wall worts", the little black transformers that are used as battery eliminators and to power cordless phones, etc. Just make sure you don't overload them or they will get hot and burn out.

David A Burroughs

Thanks! I've been using wall-warts, nice to know I wasn't too far off mark.

David A Burroughs

Very nice clear partitions. What kind are they, and are they expensive? What kind of complany supplies them?
Thanks in advance!

Bob Farrell

How do you get the flashing lights on the emergency vehicles ? Would like to do this on my 1/32 scale slot car racing layout ? What motor do you use for the airplanes ? Could you give me part numbers for the flashing light controllers ? Thanks in advance ! Been to ChooChooBarn about 6 times.great place !

Robert l Kirschbaum

Tom how did you mount the lawn tractor to the drive chain what did you use?.

Robert l Kirschbaum

tom can you send me the information for the timmers that you use on your lay out you said you use burgular alarm system timers thank you Bob Kirschbaum.

Johnny Dollar

hi, i had the opportunity to see you setup this past weekend. a question that came to mind was, with all the materials and electronics that you have on the display, do you have any kind of fire suppression system? or do you just plan to use hand-held extinguishers in the event anything happens? thanks!

Tom Maier

I am a woodcarver with basically no model railroad experience (well, not in THIS century anyway:-) ). I like to carve caricatures and I have recently gotten the itch to build a wooden model of "The General" of Great Locomotive chase fame. The problem is that although I can find some very nice photos of the old girl, what I really need is a set of dimensioned drawings or whatever else a scratch builder might use. Do you know where I can get such a thing? Thanks in advance,

Dick Powell

Hi Tom...My name is Dick Powell, TCA member # 03-56083. (please don't hold that against me, as Carol in the office was the one who tooke the time to lookup your number and webbsite) I live in Delmar Maryland and my wife & I travel to the two York shows each year and travel through the Amish Country because we just love their way of life. Now, back to my question. I am retired from Verizon and my communication business that I started upon retiring from Verizon. I have built a 22' X 14' steel building out back to house my "S" guage train collection and phone related collection. Like you I never throw anything away. Strange how much stuff I've collected over the years and now actually need it to build displays in my Train room. I am currently working on a tram or lift display which will cover about 10' over my table. I have contacted Putt Trains to try to purchase two old streetcar train shells to use in this diaplay. Waiting to hear from them. In the meantime, I was intrigued by your display, s/a how it worked and how it was powered. I am also a AC Gilbert nut, who has a great deal of old Erector sets with a fair inventory of parts. I have geared two Erector motors with pully's to do this but one has to be really on top of things to manually change the gear lever configeration. Any advice, since yours seems to work perfectly. We are planning to journey to York again this comming month of October and I would very much enjoy being able to meet you and talk with you about your display. We have toured your display several times and have taken our 11 yearold Grandson to tour the display as well. Any chance that I might be able to stop by and get to talk with you. Time and place are of course at your discresion. Your very much detailed conversation on the several different projects listed on your webbsite have been very interesting and helpful to say the least. I leave you get back to your life of toy trains! Thank you for listening to me.

George Skelley

I Saw your display a couple of weeks before Halloween 2010. Great job, impressive. How did you do the crane lifting and lowering the sign, near the exit? If you had pictures, showing how you did it, that would be great, I did not find any.

Ed Schechter

Last week I visted your store and you shared with me the way you do animations. Could you tell me which sychronous motors (RPM's) shoud i select for the following projects:
Road grader going back & forth.
Painter, painting a house.
Golfer putting.
Watering plants in a green house.
Circus performer, bike on high wire.
I would assume they would be all very slow. Any direction you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Ed Schechter

chris centini

do have any matchbox cars fo sale from 1987-1994 matchb
ox cars and trucksh

chris centini

do you sale ant matchbox cars and trucks from 1987-1995 send me mail to my house at 644 east madison street lancaster pa 17602

Michael Sagel

I recently acquired several promo cars which have been made for your choo choo barn and was wondering who was or is the manufactures of these cars.The guy that I received them from says there Franks rousehouse, but have found the UPS Boxcar online ,and they say its KMT? Can you possibly help? I can send pics of the cars if that would help. thanks,Mike

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