Jan 25, 2017

Jim's new toys

You don't need to be a Great Northern fan to enjoy these new treats that showed up at the
train club today. You don't even need to be a modeler to be entreated to the detail and sounds
that Jim Bowden's new models showed us today. They even work as well as they look!
I added Photoshop smoke to give them some speed on their way around the layout today with the lead engine doing most of the work. Or so it seems. They had their
own smoke coming out of the stack!
Jim gives them the close scrutiny in the back of the layout to make sure they are behaving well.
And they did as far as I could tell.
Other members were running their diesels with Greg having his NP passenger train and Marvin having
his new NP freight units making their maiden run.
John Schwarze had his Western Pacific stuff making the rounds but the caboose with the two fancy
Roadway trailers really caught my eye.
New member Butch Tupper is getting back into the hobby and has become member 34. Butch is the
one who made that fancy pen I showed last week. We expect good things from Butch!

Jan 21, 2017


With all the fake news going around, I thought that I should get in the mood of bringing you fake model railroading news. Wait, I do that often? Well here's some
more. The guys called me over to this spot and said here's a photo op for you. So we faked 4 trains coming together like it was a random circumstance. What a
marvelous idea? Why didn't I think of that before?
This time I asked the guys to stop their trains so I can get a sharp photo of the scene back in the
port district. By the way that's a fake highway.
Will Windom had his P&W diesel working the Bakersville industries bringing them fake but clean
wheelsets to some starving industry that doesn't need them.
Well there's that fake fisherman fishing for fake fish in our fake water off our bridge scene.
The two trains catch each other in the front of the layout as well but my money is on the green one
as nobody can catch John Schwarze when he's running. Fake trees anyone?
Janice had her fake electric engine that looks like a steam engine pulling an unusual collection of cars.
At least she doesn't have fake rock in our ore car?  Too much honesty perhaps?

Jan 20, 2017

Strange happenings at the Evergreen Railroad

I could not believe my eyes when I captured on film Steve Weso trying to commit suicide by model
railroad. However we are happy to report that there were no major injuries to Steve as the train was
going slow enough to bounce off his head. Block watch is being formed to keep an eye on him especially
at Gonzaga basketball games where he goes frequently.
When I came back from dinner tonight I caught this strange man working up on TV Mountain.  Wait, that's not a strange man that's our member Rod Huffman!
Then again I repeat myself. But what is he doing? Planting a plane it looks like as some beginner pilot did not see the mountain in time to avoid the crash but bailed
out to catch the local train back to town.  Rumor has it that he was an ex-Air Force pilot!
Maybe it was poor maintenance by some retired Air Force guy that forgot to add oil and gas to the airplane.
Maybe the Minon got it on film with his one eye telephoto lens. Therapy is being offered to the club members
who might find this too stressful.
BBQ anyone. Recent diggings  revealed these dinosaur bones where found in the Huffman Tar Pits just outside
Davenport, Washington. It proves dog, deer and raccoons walked these lands before the white man arrived.
Mainstreeter add-ons in the works. Marvin wanted me to help him with additional baggage cars to add
to his NP passenger train so here is the result. They were Amtrak or Santa Fe cars that got the ribs
removed and sanded off for me to start the process of making them look NP.
We got another new member to the train club today but I don't have a photo of him but I did take a
photo of his pen. Butch Tupper is his name and he is talented enough to build the bullet pen with
rifle mechanism to extend the point!  It's one of the neatest pens I ever saw!  Wow!

Jan 17, 2017

Cub Scout troop invades the Evergreen Railroad.

Upon a special request we opened up the train club tonight to run trains for a bunch of cubbies that
never seen anything like it before. Most of them think in terms of 4 x 8 plywood empire but not a
25 x 60 room room filled with so much scenery and stuff.
I brought out my Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy pulling a work train while Jack Pappas had his little
engine pulling a short way freight.
Don Carnegie had Burt's little 4-4-0 up on the Green industrial branch so they could see a steamer
running over the big wood bridges on the layout.
Finally new member Jack took his modern diesels up to the Green Branch to see if clearances would
handle his train
Usually we have had little steamers or 4 axle diesels up here but these guys seem to be pushing their luck.
Kind of a dramatic angle for this shot looking down the Red main under the bridge and the Blue main
to the right. This spot is the first thing people will see when they come in the door. Not too shabby!
Looking the other direction we see the 2 main lines clearly to show separation and challenge for members
run different routes on the layout.  The main thing we try is to have fun with this marvelous hobby.

Jan 15, 2017

Back east railroading....gone but not forgotten!

On the other side of Bergen Hill is this junction where Jersey Transit train forgot to stop at the Hoboken station last year. But this shot goes back at least 40 years when it was run
by the Erie Lackawanna Railroad. These are commuter trains on these tracks where the tracks straight out go the the Jersey Meadows and the tracks to the right go to my
old neck of the woods near Passaic, Rutterford, Elmwood and Westwood neighborhoods for all those suburban folks that work in New York. They are electrics.
The loco is a GG1 and it was an icon in modern electric locomotion by the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Then Penn Central painted them black, then Amtrak did this to them, then Conrail added a medium blue
but they never received a better paint job than the original 5 stripe Pennsy scheme.
The Erie Lackawanna ran about one mile from my house in Rochelle Park so it was one of my
favorites when I lived back there. This shot has another attraction for me and they are the famous
Alco FA1 locos that is shown here
Not a back east railroad but a Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 steam engine residing at Scranton, Pennsylvania
at the Steamtown museum. This is the 4012 but the brother of this engine, the 4014 is being restored
for operation by the UP as we speak. I hope to live long enough to see that!
West Penn trolley system survived long enough for a friend to take color photos of it before the
buses took over. The center door is sure unique for a trolley.
How many cites can claim an elevated subway to move people? Not many but New York does.
The date is June 1963 in the Bronx.
Lionel made models of this engine that received the electricity for the third rail near the wheels that
could cause burn out feeling if someone decided to touch it and the ground at the same time. More
commuter stuff from Grand Central station to Harmon, NY, along the Hudson River.
This rare shot is one of the rare shots of early diesels back in 1946 called a Baby face Baldwin for
the Jersey Central Lines. They were mechanical monsters. These photos come from my photo CD
collections that are available to anyone. Let me know if you are interested. Jerry

Jan 12, 2017

The Empire Builder returns to the Inland Empire. The train, not the guy!

Thanks to a well known traveling engineer we now can enjoy the likes of a once popular train called the Empire Builder. His name is known throughout the land as Keith the
wandering Wiles. The Great Northern is the grand poo-paa to the Spokane, Portland and Seattle or commonly known as the step-child of the GN. Now if we only had paying customers?
Greg Mercier did not let us down as he brought the real McCoy in the form of SP&S Alcos earning a
real living hauling freight past Mount Whitney and bypassing the Blue main yard to stay on schedule.
We model what we see and now with younger members in the club they remember the BN as their
interests in the hobby. Robert Case had 7 or more BN units with him tonight but if I heard right there
are 40 more in his inventory?
Tom Kirk had this multi unit freight being field tested to see if it could haul some 40 plus cars on the Blue Main.
Canadian National got in a few hours of running with Burt Whitney doing the honors.
Keith Wiles cuts into the birthday cake Marvin made for new member Mike Gray standing to the left
of Keith. Each month we honor one or more members who birthdays fall in that month.

Jan 10, 2017

Looking down the tracks....

Welcome to the 21st Century!  Member Scotty Smith has put together a tiny camera with all the support stuff to allow us to view the tracks ahead when he gets to install it in a cab
of a model so it will look like we are sitting in the locomotive and looking out the windows of the cab.  Right now its all sitting in this gondola as a test run.
Will Windom's locomotive was acquired to be the power for this test run today and the results will
follow with a tour of the club layout at track level. New stuff to look forward too!
Marvin took his NP Challenger out for a spin today and it was fabulous to see and hear it run.
Steve Weso showed up with a flock of SP&S locos as his dad worked for them back in the day.
Will did some switching later in the front of the layout with his short line P&W loco he remembers as
a kid growing up in Oregon.
New member Robert Case had new BN locos at the club today with the nickname of "paleface" because
of the white face on the cab. It also has a BN logo instead of the white stripes on the nose.

The many faces of the 4449

For years the 4449 was just one of dozens of Southern Pacific steam
engines that moved thousands of passenger trains around the west.
Now it is an historic active steam engine owned by the City of Portland, Oregon.
Over the last 41 years it has been reactivated for historical and promotional uses mostly around the northwest but it has traveled to places like New Orleans and other
midwest locations. It has been a rock star in the railfan world. I caught it in this basalt rock cut along the Columbia River on the Washington State side in 1989.
It got its reprieve from the static park when it was rebuilt to run as the power for the 1976 Bi-Centennial train for our nation's 200th birthday and got this red, white
and blue paint scheme. It still was stunning looking to me to have an live steam engine visiting Spokane back then.
Even the BNSF borrowed it in the year 2000 for its own use as an attention getter in gloss black and silver trim.
The first time I ever saw the 4449 was in a Portland park in 1970 but I had no idea that someday I would see it in action. Who knew that this ugly maid would someday
be a queen of the rails? I sure didn't!
Saturday, July 4th at 8 am the 4449 crosses Irvin Bridge in the Spokane Valley as it heads east on a bright
sunny morning. With a bad foot with a slipper on I hobbled on to the rocks along the Spokane River
to catch this shot with 10 seconds to spare. It was worth it!  That was the last time I saw it run.