In the world of TSTO, there are clearly those who don’t really understand the excitement around the return of the Monorail, and those who think, “The Monorail is the BEST UPDATE EVER Because It Keeps on Giving and Giving and Giving!!!”
I think it would be safe to say that I am in the latter camp.
From the earliest days of my youth, back in a time when you had to make your own toy building blocks out of the tree that you had to cut yourself, after walking nine miles barefoot into the woods, I have enjoyed building things. It would be accurate that the “building things” and designing, and redesigning, and tweaking your design, is the very reason I tap.
Yes. I love the Simpsons. Yes. I like the dialogue. Yes. I think Maggie is “oh, so, cute!” But, the real reason I play, is that TSTO gives us so many ways to build, and decorate, and create. This aspect of my personality came out early in life when I began model railroading.
I’ll let that settle in.
Yes. This CrankyOldGuy has boxes of HO track, rolling stock, and buildings, ready to set up at a grandchild’s notice. I like building things…and then watching them run.
Which is why the MONORAIL IS THE BEST UPDATE TO EVER… Oh. Wait. We already covered that bit.
But, even for those of you who are less than enthusiastic about grinding for track, there is a HUGE reward!!
Even before the recent revamp and retread of the weekly Monorail Track Offering, there were Five Bonuts (bonus donuts) for those who completed the entire challenge in 7 days. It took a TON of tapping, to pull it off. You had to collect 70,000 points to get the Bonuts.
After the revamp, while we don’t get Bonuts every week, we DO get something of value for just 25,000 points. CAKE!!!
But, for me…the coolest (and meanest) new addition is the Tunnel that allows you to extend or connect your monorail(s) together. Very cool. With one minor exception. They have only offered ONE tunnel so far…and it may be weeks until we can get a second. If you really want to do a loop, you need to have two. Unlike the world of Model Railroading, there aren’t any cross tracks, or merge tracks…so you need two tunnels. It’s OK. I’m patient. I can wait.
And yes. In typical EA fashion, the tunnel forces you to make some adjustments to link two existing monorails (what is the plural of monorail…duorail? It’s confusing…). And yes…all of us that have been collecting since day mono, have WAY more curved track than anyone should ever have to store. But, again…I’m fine with the tradeoffs…because of the fun, and because of the bonuts!
For those of you who missed the monorail the first time, this is your chance to “join the monorail community.” I know what you are thinking. Do you have to wear a funny hat and meet in a team member’s basement on Tuesday nights to discuss the virtues of HO Gauge over S Gauge track? No. Sadly, there are no hats yet.
But, you WILL get the fun of having something in your Springfield that runs…and can tour your town from a “close-up train perspective,” which is a GREAT way to see a neighbor’s town as well.
I hate to admit how much time I have spent “riding” the monorails of my friends and neighbors. There are some AMAZING layouts out there… Mine is fun. It isn’t a single loop….and in fact, if you start at one station, it takes more than 6 minutes to run the full cycle back to the station. I know. Huge…right??
But, as a special bonus…for those of you who are Model Railroad enthusiasts…let me introduce you to the REAL definition of HUGE. The “Largest Model Railroad Layout In the World” is just minutes away from Alissa’s home town in New Jersey. How big? How about 1.5 MILES of track in a single building?
Now…THAT is HUGE!!
Before I finish this up with some pics from Northlandz, I want those of you who are “less than excited by monorails” to give it another try. It takes time. It takes planning. But, the result is so rewarding. Hours of “riding” without leaving the comfort of your own home! And LOADS of BONUTS!!
NOW…Here are a few shots from NORTHLANDZ!!
Their Site doesn’t really come close to making the point JUST HOW BIG this thing is…more than 1.5 MILES of track!!
Every single piece of the countless bridges and trestles is hand built…stick by stick. AMAZING…
One Solution for too many curved tracks!
You can look down canyons that are as long as 100 feet long…HUGE!
And just when you think you have already seen the LARGEST LAYOUT You Have Ever Seen in Your Life…you see a sign that reminds you that “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!!”
Humor is part of a true “Model Railroader’s” version of a “perfect build.” This suspension bridge is no exception.
Don’t laugh! I have seen a ton of TSTO towns that look something like this!!
Another solution to the “too many curved track” problem!!
And…just in case the Largest Indoor Layout isn’t enough…you can ride the full-size, narrow gauge train in “the backyard” at Northlandz!
So. Cool. This one was definitely on our bucket list!!