Dec 24, 2011

Pizza Party Overdose

On Thursday evening we had a Pizza Party with club members. I ordered 8 large pizzas from Rocky Rococo - Ralph and Jerry's favorite pizza joint this side of the Mississippi River. It cost $200.00 and most members contributed to the purchase. I thought I ordered too much as there were 3 pies (36 pieces) left over but not to worry. We had dozens of visitors showing up at 6 pm where pizza was available to them as well. It was the best event we ever put on. Other than one ill tempered comment to one of the members it was a terrific evening.
I put together a photo book for the club from the 100's of photos I took over the 3 1/2 years of the club and the members. I brought in to the club Thursday and a number of you wanted one for yourself. Other than Lloyd I can't remember who told me you wanted one. I can add additional photos of a member for their version of the photo book so let me know if you want one. 
The book has a hard cover, excellent quality photos, 30 pages long and a would guess 180 photos in my version shown here.
The cost is $35.00 plus tax. Email me at jerry "at" signalsigns "dot" com.

Dec 18, 2011

Fw: What are you doing the Eve of the Eve of Christmas Eve?


That's Thursday before the big night. This would be a great surprise to share with our kids,
or your parents or your friends or even your enemies. After all it's the Christmas season!
Join us on Thursday 12/ 22 from 6 to 9 pm
18213 East Appleway in the Spokane Valley... Exit 293 Barker Road.
Just one of the fabulous scenes we have created to share with everyone!
Sorry no smoking except the locomotives!
Towards the rear of the layout is this wonderful mountain we call Mt Whitney!
Look there's even snow for the season!

Dec 9, 2011

Cold night in Spokane -Part 2‏

A real triple header! One of our best non-members chastised me for calling two engines on the front with one pushing a triple-header but I guess they all need to be in the front. Oh well, he is out of the will!
We had an 8 year old show up tonight with his mom and he brought in this 44 ton GE engine so I got him to pull a few SI ore cars around the layout.
All workers at the engine house know to keep the Alco's outside the building if at all possible. Alco's were notorious as smokers and qualified as steam engines for their pollution.
Steam engines waiting for the torch are next to the engine house where the victors reside for a time. in 20 years the Fs will be replaced by newer engines and in turn they will be replaced. The industry continues to evolve as I remember what Spokane looked like when I got here in 1967 and what remains today.
And finally Burt took some cars up the Green branch after loading up on clean fresh water from a water tank. Soon this engine will have a name, a number, and some road grime!

Cold night in Spokane - Part 1 - Burt's new toy

This is what the railroaders called a Climax locomotive because that is who made them. They were built for low speed but plenty of lugging power.
The engine makes its way across the newly built bridge for the Green branch on its maiden run. Are those union guys ever going to get the job finished?
They are working late tonight at the engine shops with a Great Northern F unit on the Transfer Table. The dirt crew has not been by this place as the transfer floor is spotless. What are they thinking this is Lionel or something?
My favorite candidate for Vice president in 18 years is the fellow below who I was able to talk into running my Big Boy and blowing the horn around the layout. This guy has more enthusiasm for trains that most of us have! Mom looks like she is having a good time as well.

Dec 6, 2011

Who knew they had one?‏

This one is for you train nuts. This photo is a post card I purchased 20 years ago and just found it in my collection.

Before the Spokane Union Station was built in 1914, the Spokane International and the OWR&N (UP) had passenger trains in and out of Spokane. So they needed something.

The post card has a date on it of August 2, 1911 and the station was located near the Inn at the Park on the parking lot across the road and to the west of Washington Street.

In those days if you didn't travel by train then you traveled by horse and wagon. Good luck with that!

Dec 5, 2011

How to make paint templates‏

I was asked to make a special car for a customer from a O gauge Lionel car into an HO car of similiar model. The above print is a copy from my scanner of the Lionel car. I took it into the office and had a 66 percent color copy make and saw how it fit on the HO car.
I took the color copy and taped it to a piece of thin cardboard that will be my template for the silver airbrush pattern. The other colors will be decals but the pattern for the silver needed a cardboard template.
Here is the HO car with some of the decals applied. I little touch up is in order but that will be taken care of in the final work.
The finished template is now cut out through the paper copy in the upper right with the debris of the cut out part and cardboard panel are on the original scan of the Lionel car. Tomorrow I will spray silver with this template and we shall see how it turns out.
There will be a test on this tomorrow so bring your pencils ( or crayons) to the club.

The Good Old Days in the Cascades

The Great Northern Railway is long gone, the electric locomotives retired, the depot is gone but the highway bridge remains. It is BNSF main line over Steven's Pass.

If you've ever traveled over US #2 from Seattle to Wenatchee you would have gone over this bridge. 2 miles away is a ski resort and to the top left of the photo is a small railroad town called Wellington/Tye.

In 1910 it snowed for 3 days at 1 foot of snow per hour that stopped all train travel in the mountains. 2 passenger trains were trapped across this valley where you see the cut in the mountain that the road currently goes.

The snow slides were coming and eventually one snow slide hit the passenger trains, steam engines, steam rotary plows and everything went into the canyon 100 people died that February in 1910 and to this day the worst railroad disaster in US history.

The site is now an historical place with appropiate markers. Jim Hill was so embarrased that it happened on his railroad that he started building a new route with an 8 mile tunnel to bypass the site where snow slides bring down rocks and trees on to the tracks and blocked in the trains.

The train in the photo just came out of the tunnel.

Kind of like the Titanic but on a smaller scale.

Dec 4, 2011

Thinking of traveling to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho?‏

Especially if you are a bag of potatoes or something back at' the turn of the century...the last century! We see a crew moving bags of produce off or on the Lake steamer that ran from Couer d'Alene to Harrison, Idaho. Perhaps further up the Couer d'Alene River to Cataldo Mission, near Wallace, Idaho. This site is now a luxury hotel in downtown CDA.

Oh, the Good Old days!

Why didn't they take I-90?

Nov 22, 2011

New kid on the block‏

We had a visitor stop by this afternoon named Bob who used to own North End Trains in the Seattle area and he brought in his pride and joy Milwaukee Road Westinghouse Quill electric. Bob ran it around a while and I was able to photograph it on our layout.
Here Bob's engine passes a set of Great Northern F units waiting assignment.
Tommy was also running his matched set of BNSF baby GEs passing the Vinegar plant at Bakersville donated to the club by Jim Trunzo.
The big reason Bob stopped by was to give us a few presents to the club including this detailed Intermountain grain car that needed a little repair and got a little weathering on top of it. The club now owns it including a 2-10-2 steam engine, a Milwuakee E-8 with sound and a box of goodies we might be able to use somewhere on the layout. More on this when i get photos taken of the equipment.

Nov 18, 2011

New and Improved.‏

New member John Smith had a set of A & B units in Union Pacific colors and wanted them in Southern Pacific colors like he saw them in sunny California when he was just a mere child. His wishes were heard by the good fairy that makes things better at the Evergreen and we now have them almost finsihed to run on the layout. What is missing is smoke from an Alco, we can fix that!
That's better! That's what Alco products did when starting up and most of the time running. Though the magic of Photoshop we have reality!
Tommy had his BNSF units on the tracks and he did something he has not done before and that is have an engine at the rear of the train pushing just like
the real guys.
Imagine 100 cars behind with this guy pushing the final 30 cars up a grade and without a mishap!
And finally, Big Mikes' beautiful brass loco with paint! The decals are going on now that I am happy with the smoke-box and other stuff. Chuck H. gave me some pointers on where rust be - or would not be - located on a steamer. I thought it was everywhere? This is a Northern Pacific A4 passenger loco that was the Queen of the fleet before the diesels arrived.

Nov 14, 2011

The effort to save the Union Station in Spokane.‏

If an atomic bomb blew up over Spokane the last standing building would be the Union Station on Trent Avenue.
That comment was to show how strong this building was. It was intergrated into the girder system that elevated the
tracks to the second story of this structure. When the vote failed to pass to save the stations Expo 74 was given
the green light to start destruction. When the contractors started ripping into it they realized that it was not
coming down easy.
Looking east we see the massive girder system that made up the approaches to the station. Division Street is in the
background, the GN station was to the left of this photo.
The waiting room was a pretty good size an it served the people of Spokane from 1914 to 1971. The railroads that used
it were the Union Pacific, Milwaukee Road and the Spokane International. Perhaps others but I'm not sure. Before the
vote was taken to save it or not something funny happened, There was a pile of trash put up against a wood door and
a fire was a locked building!  I wonder how that happened?  The firemen arrived to a locked building!
So down she comes....ever so slowly. They changed the name of Trent Avenue to Spokane Falls Blvd to make it more
acceptable in a name. Someone explain that to me. The red wagon now sits on this location. How many uses could this
building have in Spokane's future?  I can count a dozen off the top of my head.
Along with losing 2 railroad stations for Expo 74 we also lost a mile long High Bridge just west on downtown Spokane.
The current Centennial Trail bridge now sits on the abutments from this bridge. By the way, I served on the Expo committee
to make this event possible but I think the current Riverfront Park would be a better year round park than the 8 month
useage we have today as there are no buildings to have events happen. When the snow flies hardly anyone uses the park.
What do I know, I'm just a guy from New Jersey. These photos are available on CDs. That's my point of view.  Jerry Quinn


Nov 13, 2011

Was the Great Northern Station in Spokane worth fighting over?‏

The countdown begins for Expo 74, the World's Fair in 1974 in Spokane, Washington.
This building and the Union Station were part of the Riverfront Park when they put it up
to a levy vote in 1971. It got 56 percent yes but it needed 60 percent to pass. Then Expo 74
plan shows up with the stations removed from the plan. What happened?
Being in advertising and a railfan nut I got involved with saving these structures. I got the Spokane Ad Club involved
as you can see on the poster. We had about 35 of these posters made for the effort to save them as the theme for
Expo 74 was "Recycling" and reuseing buildings seemed to fit that theory so off I went to"fight city hall".
We lost the vote by a 43 to 57 so down they came.  The city did not play fair but what is new about that? They tore up
the marble floors and photgraphed the dirt lines in the concrete using the picture in a newspaper ad saying "Do you
really want to save this old thing?"  Here a carne is tearing out the boiler from the building to the east of the station.

Down she comes. Santa Clause came to the Ad Club Christmas party that year and had a gift for me.
It was a brick from the Great Northern station and didn't everyone have a big laugh when
he gave it to me. I paused for a moment and said to the crowd " I wasn't so much concerned
with the bricks ....but how they were arranged!" I can still get angry over this destruction. Jerry Quinn

Nov 10, 2011

Burlington Northern's Steam Engines

Did the Bn ever have steam engines on their roster? Yes they did in the form of these 2 pressure cookers working
the tie yard at Sommers, Montana, about 25 miles south of Kalispell. No sparks were allowed so they pumped these
guys up to 600 psi and they ran around the property until 1975 or so.

Nov 9, 2011

The Good Old days!‏

I was looking at my slides of the Bn a few nights ago and I thiough for the first time how I miss the Burlington Northern
now that the BNSF is in full flower and how boring it has gotten. Here we have 2 of the 3 Bicentennial units together
for the 1976 event. I nice break from BN Green.
Who knew? And if you did how does this unit look to you today? LNG fuel was being considered by the BN and this was
the mother ship to the plan. It normally has a large white fuel tender behind to supply it with fuel but I guess it did not
work out well.
In the magazine about 15 years ago some writer wondered if the BN ever used their Executive F units in freight service.
Well here is proof that they did as they pass under the wood trestle just west of Parkwater yard in Spokane, WA.
Modern BN inherited these old snow plows to get the snow off the tracks by pushing them as fast as they safely could
down the tracks. It worked most of the time.
One way to get old paint off a old locomotive was to use acid to strip the paint off for the new stuff. Soon 828 will work
around Spokane for another 10 years before it too is worn out for further use. My guess was that it was an NP unit. 
Should I do more? We still have Baldwins, fuel tenders, Alcos. I miss the BN Green after all.
Cabless power units were popular for a time with the BN. We have 2 EMD rebuilds going east with 2 GE cabless
built new as B units heading west near Barker Road in the Spokane Valley. This was shot about 20 years ago.
I don't think BNSF has cabless units on the roster anymore. As least I don't see them coming thru town.
All of these models are now gone from the roster. NP SD45's had crankshaft problems and were failing often. The
4075 was an SP&S Alco unit ( I got one of the numberboards!) that just got old and worn out. The 5739 in a GE U33
and have been replaced by thousands of GE Dash 9s by the BNSF.

Nov 3, 2011

Evergreen Railroad goes high tech!‏

If we had to pay this guy we would need Federal funding but we don't so Al keeps doing great stuff to the layout. Al is our
brains in the outfit when it comes to electrical stuff. He is installing a system that will detect a train approaching the switches on the
Green branch that will allow us to run manually or continually on our dogbone track design. It became apparent when we had our
open house that when we were running a train up on the Green that we could not get to throw the switch because of the crowd.
That's my Big Boy passing above by the way.
Bill Jibby has been installing additional plug in panels for our controllers in easier access
locations so we are always in control of our train.
This plug in is at the front of old city where you can see the breakwater implying it is a seaport.
Our other electrical brain is Jim Bowden ( anybody that can figure out electrical for
more than 2 wires is a genius to me! ) Jim is adding a bunch more electrical contacts
to the main bus for more consistent power to the rails. Atta boy, Jim.
Aged to perfection! Jim allowed me to weather his pride and joy 4-8-4 Santa Fe Northern. I was told to make it only 10 years
old and not hammered so it didn't look like it was on its last legs. How did I do? It used to be black.