Dec 23, 2012

Playing with lights! And dirty steam engines!

Our normal get togethers for the Evergreen club is on Tuesday and Thursday but this week was a bit different. I stopped by the club on Friday and Mike Baker was there running trains with the wife and her son. Helen and I started talking about cameras and we got into shooting a lot of night shots with the club lights off except the layout.
The glow from the existing buildings was very impressive and it gave us a different look at our layout.
I showed up on Saturday and Tommy Frank was running his passenger train and Allan had a new set of 2-8-2 Mikados pulling his 20 plus car set of coal hoppers. They ran well but something was amiss. Could it be those shiny "Lionel like" driving rods? Perhaps?
Allan twisted my arm to make them look better ( read dirtier ) and this is what we came up with. How do you like me now?
Allan is a CP man and the proof is in the equipment he runs. Whatever he is running it is first class! Maybe he will bring this train to the open house next week on Saturday from 1 pm to 5 pm?

Dec 21, 2012

Thursday night ramblings

New member Frank Spuler had his Union Pacific SD45s working a freight train eastbound over Beaver Canyon this afternoon.
Later in the day 3 different passenger trains clog up Bakersville. There must be a convention going on to have this much traffic.
The power to these passenger trains were varied heritage as steam and diesel units from different railroads are apparent.
The unique power is a dinner train doing a tour of the Green branch and the headlight is not Photoshopped but as the camera caught it!
Tommy Frank's BNSF freight passes the excursion dinner train owned by Don Brereton in the front of the layout. The Green Branch is not for long cars such as these passenger cars but who would know that?  See that photographer at the end of the bridge?
To prove we are dealing in models and not real trains I took this photo of Don setting up the shot. You would thing Don would be smiling when I shoot a candid shot of him moving his models into position! Somebody say something to him!

Coal trains? We got no stinkin' coal trains!

Oh yes we do! Steve Welton and Jim Bowden has long sets running tonight as well as an operating trolley line.
Now that the passenger trains are gone from Bakersville we can get back to running freight and making a few bucks for the stockholders.
Woops, there's that dinner train again! I just love that head light glow!
We renamed a building on the layout thanks to my good buddy Jim Bowden who said how come we have Mt. Whitney, Bakersville, Thomas Industrial Tools, Heppler Hardware but nothing for Jerry?  That gave me the chance to make my own signs through my sign business. Thanks Jim!
Here is how I make them out of aluminum license plate blanks. If there is a need for signs on your layout I can do these for $15.00 each and you supply the Jpeg art to me in the size and colors you require. Note the plate is 6 inches high and 12 inches wide but we need to watch out for the bolt cut outs so all the material is not useable. I can help you with the art if necessary and have them cut out and edged for finished signs as well. We can converse on this as well. 509-939-5845.

Dec 13, 2012

A working man's trolley system !

Almost 2 years of effort went into creating a trolley line with 2 towns associated with it....we now have operations! The brass trolleys will sit in the shop area as retired equipment. The new Bowser PCC cars ran flawlessly!
The guys came up with a new name for the new trolley system called CART for Cobbleton Area Regional Transit. The theme will be...
They were San Francisco trolleys but now we own them and took the SF logo off the sides and added our own name. How many trolley lines have tunnels?
When you have an unlimited expense account anything is possible.
Burt and Allan worked on this project and now we have 2 operating trolleys. Burt donated $50.00 towards the cost and Allan will install station stops for the trolleys to start and stop on their own! Here we have the brain trust working out where the switches will fit for the soon to be port track plan. I added the lettering to the cars.  Next time take the trolley!

Dec 2, 2012

Morning at the Mill

I got to the club early Saturday morning and noticed the sun glinting on the water at the mill so here is what it looked like.
Stranger in the engine facilities! The Santa Fe Alco somehow gets into the GN engine facilities. Maybe it is on its way to be scraped?
More improvements were done by Jim at the port district with the Blue Main double track and the "purple" connection between Blue and red Main lines.  The only piece left to do is the side track up to the industries on the ridge.The work is top notch.

Memories of Avery, Idaho

My buddy from California came up north to visit me and we went to Avery, Idaho on May 15th to see the last of electric operations.  We climbed the hill to the north of the engine facilities to shoot from a high hill position.
On Bill Barker's layout he modeled the Avery facilities  to near perfection!

Looking east from the road overpass is the station, town and sub station. All electrics cut off at the train station and went to the engine house for service. The 2 Little Joes are moving into position near the station to take over an eastbound that  will have diesels on the point and will cut off and get out of the way.

Compare the photos and you can figure out where you are if you were looking at the Milwaukee
  Road layout near Hamilton, Montana. Nice job Bill !

Nov 27, 2012

On the Burlington Northern standardization was everything....or was it?

Remember back in 1976 when America had a birthday party? The BN did up a number of locos in red, white and blue to honor those days. The lead unit is a Generals Electric, the middle unit is a General Motors. I wonder what the General's name was that ran them into the yard?
Flat nosed power was what the BN F45s were. It was an SD45 in a shroud so the employees did not have to walk outside the engine especially in cold or snowy, slippery weather.
Another oddity was the 7149 in a paint scheme all by itself as no other unit looked like this. The reason was it was built to run on LNG gas but it proved unsuccessful for some reason and now it is just another 3600 hp SD45.
 When a unit gets into a wreck the railroad could spend a lot of money rebuilding it or go economical. The 7500 was in a wreck and they rebuilt it without the cab part which has a lot of expensive stuff in it. Now its a B unit so another engine tells it what to do as it labors away as a trailing unit.
The BN painted up 2 of these Heritage locos with locos to promote safety especially at grade crossings with automobiles. Lots of people are careless or want to commit suicide and the train crew pays the price  to witness the carnage.  Its like Peter Rabbit versus Godzilla. Don't bet any money on Peter.
Around 1990 when the F units were done on the railroad some executive decided that having a few of the old timers around as power for the Executive Train would be a good idea. I agree. Nice way to travel around on your railroad too!

Nov 26, 2012

Visiting the Inland Empire back in the good old long as you don't count in outdoor plumbing!

No, Hurricane Sandy did not get to Coeur d'Alene last week but quick melting of snow in the mountains can make its own problems for people who live near the lake. The Coeur d'Alene Hotel that currently stands would be behind the larger structure. We now have dams to mitigate this problem most of the time.
I think this is a photo op for the photographer as the guy in the cab is also in there on close up shots as well. This rock can be found just north of the Spokane River on Division St. It is also paved and is 8 lanes wide.  The car is no longer there.
 Here we have a 4 car trolley leaving downtown Spokane heading east. The GN tower is in the background behind the pole. The tracks are all gone and this area is now all buildings, mostly for the educational centers that is a big deal for Spokane.
The trolley is crossing the original Northern Pacific main line through Spokane at the turn of the century ( 1900 ) In 1914 the NP elevated the entire line through town and is now the BN/ BNSF main line through the Northwest. The current Amtrak station is where the passenger cars are located.

Nov 24, 2012

Visiting the GN shops in Hillyard 40 years ago.

Here I am in the middle of the repair shops at Hillyard and no one is yelling at me to get out. I guess I was not a terrorist threat back then!  The first time I saw BN green is that engine to the right in the primer green undercoat.
In 1967 GN introduced a new color for their railroad in the form of Big Sky Blue. It was not received well by most of the GN fans. This is the view from the GN control tower base on the west side of the tracks.
During a 1970 NRHS Convention we got to visit the control tower and this mostly Big Sky engines are coming in from Seattle, passing through the yard before heading east again. 
A big deal for the facility was this transfer table that could move engines and cars between different buildings.
This shot was taken from the Francis Ave. overpass with a 300 mm lens back in the good old days.  The control
tower can be seen in the background. The main lines were to the far right of the photo. BN switcher does the work so the yard may have 2 more years to survive when I took this photo in 1972.
The GN herald on the building came down right after the BN merger was announced. Can't have any of that
heritage stuff surviving! The SP&S Railroad used Hillyard exclusively except for the 2 FA's that hung out
at Parkwater yards for the Scribner turn when cars were picked up or dropped off in Marshall Canyon for the NP.
The passenger station to the right was moved to the Spokane Valley and made into an unsuccessful
restaurant and is still there in poor repair. It was hauled by a moving company over Bigalow
Gulch and I have pictures to prove it.
Different eras of power are shown here as the blue unit is from the 50s and the big orange unit is a
passenger unit from the late 60s. The small box to the rear is a clue for the steam generator unit.
Looking north from the Francis Avenue bridge shows how big the yard was and it had a hump in the middle. The crews always had to be aware that cars can roll out either end if not carefully set with brakes. The Western Fruit Express repair shops are on the slight rise to the right of the photos. Sometimes it snows in Spokane.
Looking south on a much better day shows the cattle pens that were there. The tracks that angled off to the left are in the repair tracks. Look how they used to haul wood with banding on groups to hold them in place. Where's OSHA?

Nov 23, 2012

In the beginning....there was nothing!

In the beginning there was plywood and plans and imagination of what could we create in this 25 by 60 foot room.
The back half of the room did not look like much near the end of 2008 as we tried to use as much space for a model railroad that we dared to put into this place.
Pete puts in his time doing cork roadbed and track. Future Mount Whitney will be behind him and the Blue Main yard will be near the camera. November 2008.
Terry Frank checks measurements on the front portion of the layout. Those old sofas are long gone!
Merry Christmas from the Spokane Valley Fire Department! On Dec. 26th 2008 We got a phone call saying there was a fire in our club room and when I arrived I saw smoke coming out of the roof. Luckily it was next door that had the problem in some exhaust vent that overheated from the vent being clogged with snow.  That hose will put a tear in our awning!  We all thought it was the end! Not quite!
We survived the fire, the Fire Department, a bad economy, the glass store front, a poorly designed bathroom, keeping funds in the checkbook and kept disagreements to a minimum. Not bad for a bunch of kids no matter what our age shows on our licenses.