Nov 30, 2016

43 years of locomotive improvements

Member Greg Mercier showed up today at the club with his new Northern Pacific Challenger Z-8 as well as his #29 2-8-0 and I was impressed with the difference in size that
the little turn of the century was the mainstay of freight operations for the NP in that time period. In 1943 the first 4-6-6-4 wheel arrangements started showing up and were
not only bigger but more powerful to meet the needs of fighting wars on 2 continents. I think they called it World War 2?
In trail of that big engine were a fleet of 40 foot ice reefers to keep meats, fruits and veggies chilled
for the journey to the rest of the nation. New York City did not grow much of this stuff.
Marvin had his BN SD40-2s running with a fuel tender to get them through Montana without stopping
to fuel up. They don't use them any more with the Hauser Fuel Depot doing the honors today.
Tom Kirk has a Union Pacific wide nose EMD unit leading a group of Rio Grande locos.
Another cute NP caboose showed up on Greg's train today and is it a cutie as caboose go.
Keith Wiles had this SP&S caboose hop running the mains. That spot of red really stands out in the photo.

Nov 17, 2016

Wild turkeys and orange monsters!

You poor folk don't necessary need to go without a fancy turkey dinner if you know where to look in
the Spokane Valley as there is a flock (herd) of them here. They seem to be a pesky problem as they
can dirty up a driveway or a lawn pretty fast.
I saw this Union Pacific train heading west so I went over to the signal tower only to catch a BNSF
train heading east for this passing in the evening shot to get both of them. Lucky me! UP has trackage
rights through Spokane until Cheney where they get on their own tracks to Oregon.
New spot for photography is this underpass in Rathrum, Idaho about 1 mile east of the BNSF
fuel depot. The arch is in the girder to give it more strength than a straight one.
That famous coal train talked about earlier had two Dash 9 units of 4400 hp with another pushing at
the other end. Note the sag in the tracks at the rear.
Same train passing over the Barker Road crossing about 2 miles north of the train club. Welded rail,
concrete ties, roller bearings and plenty of power to keep it on schedule. Paved roads as well!

Nov 13, 2016

What to expect when you visit a train show in the Seattle area.

Seattle is about 291 miles west of Spokane and has a large chunk of Washington State's population
so their train nuts are more abundant than Spokane's. Here's proof that this entire building is loaded
with train sale items and multiple model train layouts.
Every scale was represented with some layout by individuals or by groups of guys that pool their
talents and funds to create something to show off at these kinds of events. This shot was of an N scale
layout which is half the size of our HO stuff at the Evergreen. Nice work so it gets a place in my e-mail.
Another N scale layout with a military marshaling yard
that was very elaborate. Remember these scenes are
moveable to the train shows so the logistics is remarkable.
This layout may have been the best one there similar to the Hangman Creek layout from Spokane. It is in
On3 scale which means narrow gauge track with oversized equipment that was popular in the forests
in the Northwest. It must have been a tough life for the workers.
The G scale guys had their layout working including this UP Big Boy that was coming off the main line
when I was getting there. The engine most be about 36 inches long?  This is the stuff that they use
in outdoor garden layouts.
This is what they call 7.5 inch gauge that you can actually ride it. Now you are talking big bucks and
a religious dedication to this hobby as now trucks are needed in the inventory to move it around.

Nov 11, 2016

Ever see a micro motor?

Scotty Smith showed me what a micro motor looks like and I thought I would show it to you. They are
so small they could be the future of how model locomotives could be powered in the future as little
traction motors on each axle next to the wheel just like the real ones have the traction motor on the axle.
We all have one of them already if you have a cell phone that is able to vibrate. This is what does that.
We had a visitor at the club last night and he ran his coal train on our layout. No coal dust was found
after his run? How could that be?
The mighty Steve Weso checks out the wheels on our little steamer on a high bridge to see what is the
problem with it not behaving.
Greg Mercier has the 3 clean green BN locos passing through our port district but alas this train has
no Boeing airplane bodies in transit. Maybe next time. Greg worked at Boeing for many years.
Do not adjust your computer screen as this is a Baldwin loco and they don't look like any normal
early diesel engine. Spokane and Pasco had them in 1967 as I saw them but didn't know why they
looked different then the other EMD models.  Greg owns this one as well.
We had out monthly birthday bash at the club last night and I am one of the November and 3 of the 5
birthday boys were there to be the honored guests. Besides me there was Mike Olin and Steve Welton
that got the famous song sung to as well. The other 2 members that were not there where Steve Hart
and Mike Baker? 2 special pies were consumed by the members and guests.

Nov 9, 2016

Factory fresh EMDs passing through

Once a while you see nice and clean locomotives heading up a freight train wherever you live including Spokane. Greg Mercier had 3 on his special train on Tuesday.
Last week Mike Baker had his GN Big Sky Geep pulling a gaggle of trailers to a delivery spot.
By the way I have 3 foot by 4 foot blueprints of downtown Spokane available for sale at $10.00
for you guys that want to see where all the tracks were located before the massive removal of
the railroads that used to call Spokane one of their service centers. Also have GN Hillyard as well.
Milwaukee Road and Amtrak duel it out as they head in the same direction. I saw this matchup back in
1974 in Montana as 2 Little Joes were past up by an Amtrak train heading east.
Here's a close up view of Mini-Me in the form of Gas Electircs in 2 different scales.
Who knew Amtrak had this many paint schemes on the P40/42 GE locos?

Nov 4, 2016

A meeting of the minds!

I noticed quite a bit of new equipment was running on the layout after we came back from dinner Thursday night and somehow all of the runners stopped their
train at a wide spot near the back of the layout. We have doodlebugs, Sounders, SP&S Alcos, EMD Milwaukee Road units, Amtrak P40s GE units and a set
of good old EMD F units for the Western Pacific. It don't get much better than this!
A Santa Fe doodlebug rail car has a unique flat car load it was hauling around in the form of a
Mini-Me. It's the creation of Rod Huffman and it's a very cleaver idea of modeling with a
touch of creativity.
Two very different passenger trains meet up with each other at Cobbleton. One is the Sounder that
the folks on Pudget Sound know very well as a commuter train serving Seattle and other cities.
The other is Amtrak with 3 different paint schemes that Steve Weso had running on a long haul train.
The end of the SP&S is near but until they merge into BN they soldier on with old and new Alco
power to get their freight to and from Spokane and Portland.  Keith Wiles is the GM for this railroad.
The long haul Amtraks around here are 15 to 17 cars lengths to handle the heavy business at times
to get people in and out of the Northwest.
The Western Pacific still lives in the heart of John Schwarze as it was merged into the mighty
Union Pacific some 35 years ago. John grew up with the WP and remembers it with model railroading.

Family gathering at the Evergreen

I was minding my own business when a few of the guys called me to say here's a good shot of some of the pre-merger railroads passing each other and wouldn't
it make a good shot to get them together. It took me a nano second to agree with them and here it is!
Don Carnegie has come up with an answer as to why he is now modeling the Erie Lackawanna in
Spokane. I can't understand it but its his railroad as it passes the ice station building.
Steve Weso had his SP&S on the road but the 2 cabooses caught my eye and the camera's attention as well.
Meet Mr. San Diego or as his wife calls him Ernest Grabbe. They moved up here a few months ago
and they are still emptying boxes but found time to join a local model railroading! He's a
retired Civil Engineer so don't use any long words or sudden moves. Welcome  Ernest.