Jul 24, 2017

Oh no...not another Birthday party! 36 of them each year!


Good morning, sunshine!

Our train club decided to go on a trip by train to Montana as a group and 17 of us brave souls ventured forth. We left Spokane early in the morning of
Saturday and woke up in Whitefish, Montana on our journey to a small town further down the line. Hello Montana!
Here are 2 unlikely riders on the train as both were BNSF engineers, now riding the rails as customers...
paying customers! That's Keith on the left and John on the right looking at the scenery from a side window
instead of a windshield.
Around lunch time we arrive at Havre, Montana where they preserved a Great Northern 4-8-4 steam engine
that used to run past this spot on a regular basis for 25 years before diesels knocked them off. I left the guy
in the shot to show how big they were.
After lunch in Havre we got back on Amtrak to now journey west back to Spokane. Two new GE engines were
our power to allow that to happen.
Ver Walker takes a photo of me taking a photo of the train we are about to ride back to Spokane.
The journey was some 1200 miles and 24 hours long. The ticket cost was about $160.00 per member
and next year this ride may not be available if budget cuts occur in Congress. 20 Trillion and counting!
On Marias Pass in the Rockies we travel past spots I railfanned many times in my life, now I see it
from a different perspective from the train. I may never make it back here again. What a ride!

Jul 15, 2017

Putting Spokane on the map!

Here's a little known fact that may have escaped you non-railfans on this list!
We beat all the others in quantity of concrete ties on a single day. I bet that
makes all of us real proud.  Its located near Hartford Road near Idaho along Trent Ave
on the old NP, now BNSF.
Here's another record of 14 wild turkeys visiting my new home in the Spokane Valley. Those are my garbage cans
that they are inspecting for future feeding adventures. Future 14 Thanksgiving meals I would guess?
After a months absence I finally have an operable computer as all 95.000 photos have been transferred
to my new computer along with my addresses on you guys. Did anyone miss me? Steve Weso had has
SP&S Alco loco running on the Green branch that has a lot of tunnels to endure.
Another Steve Weso creation is a set of SD units that have the rare Orange/black nose stripes.
Another Steve Weso shot of a 6 Alcos of various schemes and models. One hopes we will see another Weso video
of these trains as well.
This is a non-Weso ( we think ) creation on a Saskatchewan grain car altered in a fashion that might
make it the official paint scheme as it was done so well to the car. The best graffiti job that I ever saw
and I didn't do it either!

Jun 29, 2017

Main line railroading in miniature!

Anyone who lived in the Northwest in the 1950s saw these Northern Pacific Geeps plying the rails delivering the goods to many communities along the way.
What could be better than a brace of 4 units doing this job day after day?
How about 2 sets of NP GP7s and 9s doing it in different directions? We did it at the Evergreen today as
Marvin and Greg had a set of each making the rounds.
Much overlooked by me is our own trolley system hauling people around town..
The SP&S was well represented by Steve Weso with 6 Alcos on the point.
That same set works it way through a set of switches in the back area.
Big power was called on for coal trains and general freight by Jack Pappas and Ver Walker. Big time!

Is passenger service coming to Spokane?

Yes, but only if you are a big shot with the Union Pacific Railroad. I got word from my underground
agent that something special was passing through our area and I caught up with it near Felt's Field
in the Spokane Valley.
Two big and new diesels were the power for these 4 passenger cars that held a Vice President or
some body important enough to justify this service. Maybe the wash outs this spring on the old Spokane
International line to Canada would have something to do with this train's appearance.
Observation cars say somebody is somebody with the railroad.
I moved to the Green Street bridge for another shot at it from a better vantage point when a Union Pacific
SUV passed by to see if the coast is clear. I was on public property so he was not interested in me!
The sun was cooperating at is is about 11:30 in the morning Wednesday, June 28th on a westbound train
passing Spokane Community College and also the old SI yard where RS-1s used to congregate
in the 1950s. UP took them over in 1959. Not a bad way to travel if you are a railfan either.

Jun 27, 2017

Guess who joined the club today!

Doug just moved here from the Seattle area and is a good friend of Greg Mercier who moved here last
year himself. Doug says he models Milw, SP&S. GN, NP, NYC, SP, Pennsy and lots of other U.S. railroads.
We'll be waiting to see what he brings in to the club. Doug is also a U.S. Navy guy just like Greg.
Welcome home Doug!
One member has this speed-o-meter at the club to see how fast or slow our trains are running around the
club layout. Jack Pappas had his BNSF train test it and it reads 7.7 miles per hour scale speed.
We are concerned to ask John Schwarze as to what damage his lighting fast trains may do harm to the machine.
After our trip to Canada I seem to have more respect for the Canadian railroads as I saw them as hard working for very organized to their rail efforts. I'm glad they are to the north and decent neighbors.
little railroads need little people to do the work us big people can't do. Like who of us could fit in the cab
of any of these machines?
Don Carnegie puts his yard goats to good effect by giving the engines some road service work.
Union Pacific means big time railroading as 2 modern day monsters can keep most rains moving and at track speed.
Ver Walker owns these beauties!

Jun 23, 2017

Day 4 - Heading back to Kamaloops

Burt and I are now at the station with 550 people for the return leg of our trip from Jasper back to Kamaloops.
The passenger train is maneuvering in the yard to get the train next to the gate for our convenience.
I don't think they would want this crowd to be stepping over rail to get aboard.
I wandered over to the front of the station and this well preserved Canadian National steam engine was
displayed there.
I finally got close up to our power for the Rocky Mountaineer and this is what they looked like.
Walking back to our car I see Burt in the distance waiting for me to get on board. On the first 2 days of
the trip we were tail end Charlie, now we are the lead car with the locomotives. Different train and crew.
These sisters I think were from Australia and they are now on the e-mail list so they
will see themselves taking photos for their memories.
I spend more time in the vestibule and caught this CN freight passing us along the way.
Lots of rain and plenty of snow had the waterfalls and
streams in full measure.

Jun 22, 2017

Bringing back memories of trips on the North Coast Limited.

Three times I had the pleasure of riding out west from New Joisey to Spokane. The first time was 1963 on my honeymoon with Alice, the second time was
1966 on a vacation with our new son Jerry Jr. and third was to move to Spokane! This Greg Mercier train reminds me of those times sitting in the Vista Dome
and taking in the sights and sounds of this great adventure called being alive. Regrets? Not many!
This is an observation car that I never enjoyed but I don't know why? Not in the right class accomodations?
Never traveled to the rear of the train? I did on the New York central but not the NP!
Don had his Model T at the club and I snuck out and took a photo with the club's magnetic sign on his car.
Back inside, we find a crew working the rocks near 3 railroads with the NP diesels roaring by as the
men make way for the paying customers.
More NP freights dominated the club today as Marvin's Geeps deliver the goods. Some day those
semaphores will actually work.
Quick action allowed me to catch Jack Pappas using the turnabout on the Red line which has a
tunnel to allow trains to change directions.

Jun 21, 2017

Day 3 -Jasper bound!

After leaving the glacier area on the bus we still had a few miles let to go to get to Jasper. This Elk
stopped by but seems a bit nervous knowing the mountain man is on his way to the great White North.
The bus stopped at Athabasca Falls. Story goes that some early explorer tried to canoe over this spot and
didn't make it.
Not a bad rest stop as it was another fantastic viewing spot.
When we arrived at Jasper I saw Via arriving at the station headed by 2 F40 EMD diesels.
So the bus dropped us off at the hotel I thought maybe I can catch a shot of the train after a 1/2 delay.
I waited another 1/2 hour and she is coming out of the station! This is Canada's version of Amtrak and
connects all the northern communities with the rest of the nation.
Shades of the 50s streamliner era. Domes and a observation car reminds me of the California Zephyr.
Oh, the good old days. look at the trail to the left side, the railroad put it in so people could enjoy the train scene!
Would this be nice to have this set up along Trent Avenue on the south side?