Runaway train fueled by steel prices

Feb 01, 2011 | 05:13 AM | Jo Isenberg-O’Loughlin

It's a seasonal ritual at my house, one that goes something like this About mid-December, dive into the bedroom closet, retrieve a box or two of Christmas bulbs, a tangle of lights and a beat-up tree stand. Then head to the living room, anchor the tree in the stand, breathe deep and steel yourself for the ultimate test ... stringing 10 feet of model-train track together in as perfect and level an ellipse as possible around the base of the newly decorated tree.

That part went well—or as well as could be expected, given uneven floors, cramped space and one rotten house cat. What didn't pan out as planned was the anticipated steady progress of the Chinese-built, diecast metal 0-8-0 locomotive and tender around a metal and plastic loop of Lionel's FastTrack. This year, the Pennsylvania Flyer lived up to its last name and in the space of five minutes flew off the track at least that many times, defying gravity, the relatively steady hand of its remote engineer (me) and the electronic commands issued by the Powermax transformer to which that hand was affixed.....





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