Hello Dear Train Lovers:

Over the last number of years I have been slowly retiring from my full time and part time contract position as an Industrial Controls Trainer for Siemens.  I opened Crocodile Music store about 5 years ago in the small Village of Dundee, NY, hence the Crocodile name.  In January of 2015 I got tired of having my Lionel trains that I have had since 1953 stuck away in storage. I had by that time moved Crocodile Music store to my own property where I could be open 7 days a week and also be close to home to be with my wife. I also began work on my O gauge layout.

Unlike many of you fantastic modelers out there, my skills are more on the electrical and heavy construction side of things. I have always been fascinated by maps and I love the history and geography of our wonderful country, and have spent 25 years traveling on the road teaching for Siemens all over the US and sometimes overseas. I think this led me to the USA theme for my railroad which I named The AH&N (American Heritage and Nostalgia Line).

I struggled over the type of railroad I wanted and looked at hundreds of layouts on-line. I am especially in awe of Eric Siegel's train web site and all of the generous work he has done to share his skill and knowledge with the world. THANKS ERIC. He was one of many that inspired me to try an ambitious layout no matter how far fetched I know my endeavor is. No one with any common sense would try to model the entire USA. Common sense was never my forte, but fun and love of trains is.

I wanted to pay homage to many of the familiar landmarks in the US and have been trying to forge a mixture of fantasy and fact into a USA layout. As you can see from my link to the layout it looks underneath like the USA map.

Click Here for my USA Layout

I projected a 10ft x 20ft image of a USA map on the wall onto 2 inch foam board that I had temporarily screwed there. After tracing the exact outline I took it down and cut it out with a jigsaw. This became the base for my layout on top of 1/2 in plywood. I decided to elevate the foam to accommodate the layout.  I used a layout I saw on the Atlas track website as a starting point and modified the design to fit 2 levels. I used GarGraves track and switches for most of it along with lots of Lionel track on the lower level. Tom and Mike at GarGraves were very helpful in adapting my software drawing to the GarGraves track standard track sizes.  Having the GREAT selection of sectional curve sizes and Flex Track when need allowed me to efficiently create my layout.  I had a lot of Lionel tubular track and the adapters and height of track made connecting them to the Gargraves a simple process.

Upper Level
Upper Level

I was very lucky that one of my best friend's sons was available to help me every day for a couple of months last winter to get it going. Also, when I decided to add a large independent upper level to accomodate wide curve equipment, a couple other buddies helped me stage it in the garage and transport it to the upper level of my store where the layout resides.

A couple of months ago I realized that I am fortunate enough to be very geographically close to two national and international distributors that have been extremely generous with time and advice in launching my new model train sales addition to my music store. Because of this proximity I can usually ship within 48 hours most anything that is needed in the world of trains in all gauges. I have immediate access to products from 18 manufacturers listed on the online store.

I sell trains because I love the darn things. I love looking at them, buying them, talking about them and generally sharing the hobby with anyone who is interested.

I sell trains and accessories at the minimum price allowed by any given manufacturer, and to try to get the best deal for you that I can. I understand what it is like from the consumer side since I have been on that side of the fence for many years now, and I know how expensive the hobby is and every little bit helps to get that next thing you might want.

I will adding product after product to my web site over the coming weeks and months, and also photos of trains and layouts that I have visited.

As I mentioned, Mike and Tom of GarGraves Trackage Corporation were very helpful in supplying and providing support to get my layout up and running, and I sell GarGraves track products.

I was recently honored with an MTH dealership and have their new WIFI system up and running.  I will be attending the MTH train service class this August 2016  in Columbia MD.

I have finished installing both Lionel LCS and MTH DCS to control my switches and accessories.  I have control installed on both IPAD and Android platforms.

I have also now finished wiring the Woodland Scenics buildings using their extensive lighting controls.

Garden Railroad
Garden Railroad

This spring has also been a busy one since I added a 20x40 G Gauge loop at 88 inches around my existing layout, and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my MTH G gauge BIG BOY.  WOW!!  For now my USA trains CLIMAX narrow gauge locomotive will have fun pulling my beer train.

Since I don't want to be stuck inside all summer with my trains I have built a G gauge garden railway outside, and will work on the landscaping over the summer.

My cell phone number is 207 249 4365, so you can reach me most anytime in addition to the store number 607 243 5100.

Best of Railroading and Modeling to all of you.

Mike Brooks.