Thursday, December 15, 2016

Long Winter Evenings

As the Holidays come and go, we're reminded of good memories and challenging ones, of time with friends and family, and perhaps a nostalgia of times gone by.  Model Railroads can be great time machines and the Onondaga Cutoff is no exception.

Here's a view, courtesy of regular operator Doug Watts, showing Conrail B23-7 1987 idling on the fuel pad at the Onondaga Engine Terminal shortly after 5 a.m. at the most recent operating session. Doug's camera captured the background sky with the light of the coming dawn, and it's looking a lot like the 1990's in this image!



With that sleepy image, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, or best wishes for your holiday of choice.  It has been an up and down sort of year for me and my community but a decidedly 'up-year' for the Onondaga Cutoff.  Persistence pays off!

~RGDave

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Backdrops Are Complete!

Capping a productive few months on the Onondaga Cutoff, and with a lot of help from Jason and Timm, all the photo backdrops on the top level of the Onondaga Cutoff have been successfully installed!  As you have seen over the past few months, different parts of the railroad have taken on a much different feel thanks to the backdrops and now that effect is fully in place.

Now that there is a some time for other projects, it will be nice to take a mental and physical break from the intensive effort to install the backdrop.  The results as you can see from recent posts are worth it.  Here's a quick iPhone snapshot of dusk at CP280.  This was a neat view before, now it's a already a scene with more to come as ballast and foreground scenery can be completed!


It's a major milestone, and 12/6/2016 will be remembered as such.  And yet it is just the beginning of the magic to come as scenes spring up in front of the backdrop.  The best is still yet to come!

~RGDave

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Depth at CP 277

It's not surprising that the look of the railroad changes so much with the addition of high-quality photo backdrops - to me, it's very rare that a painted backdrop looks better than a comparable photo backdrop.  Still, the degree of change from painted to photo in the case of the Onondaga Cutoff is amazing, and the shift in how the scenes now appear is adjusting some of the foreground ideas I have planned.


Here's a panoramic shot of train SEBU stretched out westbound, headed up the hill through CP 277. This is one of the most shallow scenes on the railroad, and yet with this backdrop completed, the eye is drawn to the train, even with no foreground scenery yet completed.  And this is just a quick snapshot!   This was going to be a simple scene along a flat swampy creek, but now it will be a superdetailed scene of its own.  It's a neat change!


Another nice development is that the backdrop has improved some of the longer shots along the railroad, such as here of that SEBU train coming towards CP 280 with the large Iroquois Paperboard plant in the background, with a backdrop of forest and sky.  Again, without any foreground scenery at all, this shot still 'pops' to my eye and will undoubtedly be better with ballast and scenery installed.


Finally, this one's for you, Phil -  had to have a model of the first car I owned, an '89 Dodge Caravan, on the railroad.  It certainly would have been trackside on the OC as much as it was the Chicago Line proper in the mid-90's!  Here it is with a model of my brother's '84 Chevy Caprice on the access road into CP 282.  Just another way to tie the model to the prototype!

Happy Thanksgiving to all you out there, best wishes into the Holiday Season.  This winter will be an exciting and dynamic time for the Onondaga Cutoff and I'll be reporting it here as time goes on!

~RGDave

Friday, November 4, 2016

Another One...

I can't resist adding photos for these new backdrops - they are really changing the whole look of the railroad in some very positive ways.  Here's how the scene at Iroquois Paper looks now, with I-481 in the foreground.


Given the fact that the scene is up near eye-level, it almost looks like I took two side-by-side images and put them together, but this is how the scene looks to the eye.  There's plenty of fine scenery work to follow here, of course, but this is a great addition to a key scene on the Onondaga Cutoff!

~RGDave

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Five-Year Anniversary

Today is the day, 5 years ago, that I hosted the first 'official' operation session on the Onondaga Cutoff.  Six guys got together for a night of model operation and a few beers, and it was a great time that started a long line of sessions that will continue as long as we are able.

I did a quick post on the session that night, which you can find in the archives here on this date in 2011.


First, here's a commemorative shot of a few of the guys at the end of the session a few days after the 5-year anniversary.  This time we have, from left to right, Mark, Al, myself, Doug, Rich, and John - the room looks a lot different than it did then.





For the record, here's the 'staff' shot from that night after the session - five years ago and a different time in some ways.  I'm excited to see what the next five years bring!


Here from left to right we have Scottie, John, Nick, Jack, myself, and Mark.  Thanks, guys - more to come!

~RGDave

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

More Backdrop Progress

The first photo backdrop installation two weeks back on the Onondaga Cutoff led us quickly to the second, which included the backdrop behind the Island Yard.  As we learned the tricks for this effort, we were looking forward to doing the next one.  The Island is challenging, as it has only a few inches between the backdrop and the track closest to it.  As a result, the effect here is very critical to giving the scene some depth.

Here's the results!


The backdrop here allows the eye to immediately focus on the locomotives waiting for their call to duty as opposed to my simple efforts to paint the backdrop.  I feel it's just as effective from other viewing angles, as seen below.  First, a broadside view:


And, now a quick view down at the bumper block.  These views were completely amateur just a few days ago, and now appear to be part of a layout that is nearly fully sceniced.  


As we worked to hang this backdrop, I took a quick overview shot at Jason's suggestion.  It's neat for how it shows the change in progress.  You can see the rubber cement spread on the masonite backdrop, and the thick wallpaper-like backdrop in the process of being hung.  The cement is strong enough to hold the backdrop while the glue cures.


The immediate visual impact of the backdrops dramatically changes the feel of the layout, and is an incredible change for the better.  It also is the last major step that has held back other foreground scenery progress on the layout.  As you can see, installation requires me to clear all equipment and structures from the layout due to the cantankerous nature of that process.

It's a busy and exciting time for the Onondaga Cutoff, there is a lot of progress coming in a short time!

~RGDave


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Sweeping Upgrade

Last night, we hung the first of the new photo backdrops on the Onondaga Cutoff.   This marks the beginning of the installation of the large, 12' long photo backdrops, the final step in was has been a 2-year process of planning, re-planning, research, design, and purchasing.   Backdrops are about the most visible, and least appreciated, of all the components of a layout, and I wanted to make sure that what I was installing was exactly what I would be satisfied with in the long term.

We started the installation on the M&E, since the backdrop here is stand-alone and not connected to other sections.  Better to make beginner's mistakes on an isolated area!  First, I moved all the rolling stock out of Euclid Yard, and then removed all the structures and building flats that had been in place for several years.  None of the scenic elements had been glued in place, as I expected that I'd have to move it all eventually for this process.


The original backdrop here is better than nothing, but is very primitive - I'm no artist painter!  Images like this are what made me take a hard look at my progress.  By 1980's standards, these backdrops would have been sufficient - not perfect, but good enough to match the quality of the models and other scenery.  With detailed and weathered models rolling on quality scale track, with scale ballast and foliage, the backdrops became an increasingly crude part of the scene.  Too much effort has been put into the rest of the railroad to settle for simple painted backdrops in shallow scenes.


The areas for the backdrops were measured very carefully, 3 different times on different days, to ensure the numbers were correct.  Jason and I cut the backdrops to fit, again measuring 3 times before making any cuts.  With custom prints, a wrong cut would be very difficult to deal with - there are no backups here!  

Since this was the first try, we unrolled the whole sheet for a test hang with some painter's tape.  The measurements were correct and we were ready to begin.  I followed the directions posted at http://backdropwarehouse.com/Mounting6.htm - we were careful to think through each step and have a 'job briefing' before starting.  As suggested in that article, I used Elmer's Rubber Cement.  I brushed a 3-inch strip of cement vertically, as well as a 3-inch strip horizontally at the top, middle, and bottom of the painted backdrop.  Working foot by foot, we fastened the left side first, and then I unrolled and gently pulled the backdrop along while Jason used a new, try 3/8" nap paint roller to push the backdrop into the wet cement.  We had to re-adjust several times as we started to get the perfectly level installation, and the cement allows for that since the paper was such a heavy grade.

As we worked along, it quickly became apparent that this was going to be a sweeping, dramatic improvement to the scene.  Once we started, it was a continual process to spread glue, unroll, press into place, then spread more glue, etc.  It went quickly once we began - the planning had paid off!

After it was unrolled, we stood back, and it really impressed us.


Suddenly, this scene developed a depth and level of detail that would have been virtually impossible with paint.  The paper was nicely adhered to the backdrop, and so I put some structures and foliage back on the layout, and moved the cars back in - and the results are really something else.  Here's a view looking railroad south towards the Peter Doelger Brewery:


Even with no additional ballast or foliage work, the 'finished' look of the scene is very apparent!  With that level of detail, my simple mock-ups for the brewery itself have been replaced with some simple flats temporarily until I make time to assemble the brewery structures, weather them, and install them permanently.  


 Finally a close up view of some equipment in the yard, again showing how the backdrop alone takes this scene from a simple, unfinished view to a view with unlimited depth, allowing focus to fall on the stars of the show - the rolling stock.  Even this old Model Die Casting flat car that I built in high school looks good!

I'm excited with this, and this really gets me inspired to keep the ball rolling and get the rest of these backdrops up this fall and winter.  Jason will be helping with the cuts and the installations, so watch for more of those soon.  It feels like we have turned a corner on the Onondaga Cutoff - now, with this in place, the 'final' versions of these scenes come into focus and will be moving forward.  This is an exciting step in the right direction and a top-notch compliment the operation!

~RGDave

Friday, October 14, 2016

Scenic Progress - the Interstate

The route of the Onondaga Cutoff roughly follows Interstate Highway 481 south of Syracuse, through Ram's Gulch, and over towards Fayetteville and Dewitt.  Including a piece of it was a key way to link that part of the layout to a prototype location, increasing the authenticity and sense of place.

Thanks to the skills of a buddy of mine, the Onondaga Cutoff has a new scene that dramatically transforms one of the most visible parts of the layout.  Jason W., a fellow HO scale modeler that has attended a few operating sessions and is skilled at building model roadways, generously offered to construct a scene I had planned in front of Iroquois Paper.


We measured the location and built a scale plan, and Jason then built the scene on his workbench. Once it was constructed, he moved it to the layout space, and we built a support system to mount it on the benchwork.

Jason build the base for this out of thin plywood sheet, then used foam roadbed to build up the height of the road surface, which was constructed from sheet styrene, then painted and decaled to produce a very realistic roadway.  He finished the scene with various details, correct signage, and even painted expansion cracks, suggesting an older highway with concrete underlay, similar to many highways in the Northeast.

One of the best parts of this is the new scene covers the mainline loop east of CP294, where it happened to run alongside the mainline east of CP277.  Since the locations are 13 miles apart, we needed something to provide the illusion that the only mainline track here in this scene is the track adjacent to Iroquois Paper at MP 276.9.

I'm thrilled with how this turned out!  As you can see, it is not finalized - currently it is set in place, pending final installation of photo backdrops and surrounding scenery base.  Once the backdrops are in place later this fall, this scene will be fastened down, and the rest of the surrounding scenery will quickly blend this scene into the layout. This scene will only get better, but it was time to show you how much it has improved already!

~RGDave

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Few Snapshots

As usual the end of summer and beginning of fall are busy times that don't allow as much time for working on the layout.  I'm still making progress here and there and setting up for the big backdrop installation project, which will begin soon.

Operating sessions themselves are a real highlight of the hobby these days, a great chance to bring guys together for a common goal.  And, before the session, a nice diversion from construction continues to be the preparation for the operating sessions!  We had one just last weekend on 9/10/16 and I thought I'd put a few images here for your enjoyment.


The session started at 1750 'fast time' on our 3:1 fast clock.  Darkness came quickly and most of the session was run while the sun was 'down'.  Here, Conrail SD40-2 6437 leading train SEIN (Selkirk, NY to Indianapolis, IN) slowly grinds through the interlocking at CP280 and heads west on the South Runner to make his pick-up.


Earlier in the session, Conrail B40-8 5088 led train SEEL (Selkirk, NY to Elkhart, IN) west passing the old, abandoned tower at CP282.  He was putting his train back together after making a pick-up.


Here's a typical scene at the east end of Onondaga Yard at CP280, with the car department's truck waiting to give a brake test to WADE-30 once DE-30 is put together.

These night shots capture some of the feel we go for on the Onondaga Cutoff - long, cool-but-humid nights along the former New York Central in the days of Conrail.  Things will be getting busy soon with installation of the backdrop, all of which is now on-hand, so stay tuned for some updates on that process!

~RGDave

Friday, August 26, 2016

Backdrop Update...and Keeping Busy

Well, I took the plunge, and finally ordered a photo backdrop for all of the Onondaga Cutoff!

After extensive research online and discussing with other layout owners, I decided to work with Backdrop Warehouse (backdropwarehouse.com) due to the quality of their base photographs and their ability to allow a 'mockup' on their website so that I could roughly see how things would come together.  The backdrop will run over about 90 feet of existing Masonite.  I chose scenes that blend in with photographs of the area, and compared that to the Google Earth street views as necessary.

I decided to call the printer directly, using the number on the site, and spoke with Neil several times to get the order put together the way I needed it.  He was able to build transitions for me between scenes based on actual photographs and it will add tremendously to the atmosphere in the layout space.  The lead time is several weeks - I will update this blog with entries on installation here soon.  Exciting developments!

While we await the arrival of the new backdrop, I have taken time to work with Jack to finalize the track layout on the Cazenovia Industrial Track.  Once it was set, I glued the track in place and installed all the wiring needed to power it up.


Here above we have the west switch for the runaround track.  I used old, beat-up switches I had in my scrap box for this project, and glued the track directly to the painted plywood.  This will be buried in mud and ballast in spots, suggesting an old and lesser-maintained piece of railroad.

Using older switches saved me a lot of money and also allowed me to model track that has seen better days.  In this photo the switch is installed and weathered with Rail Brown spray paint.  After this photo was made, I used a Caboose Industries ground throw with the built-in single-pole double-throw electrical contacts, so that I could power the frog.  Slow speed means more potential for stalls, so extra work is needed to prevent that.


This view above shows the  main line up to the left, looking east towards Fayetteville, and the industrial track coming out beneath it.  Once the new backdrop is up, scenery here can begin in earnest, especially since all track is now in place.  It was a nice change of pace to get back to track laying.  After 8 years, there isn't too much more track to lay!


This is a view looking the other direction at the same spot.  The switch to the left will be the spur for a scrap and recycling dealer.  A photo backdrop will greatly enhance this location.

Staying busy laying track and dropping feeders for each rail has filled a week already, and will be work I am glad is done once the backdrop arrives.  I am looking forward to the dramatic change that a photo backdrop can provide.  Get ready for a big upgrade on the Onondaga Cutoff!

~RGDave

Monday, August 15, 2016

Back to Ballasting


It has been a nice hot and humid August so far in New Jersey, and despite outdoor chores and family commitments that makes for a good reason to spend some time in the cool and dry basement.  Recently I spruced up some of the scenery near the Iroquois plant by adding ballast and some basic scenery.


Worth noting here is how much the color of the ballast changes during the installation process.  The image above is how it looks once it has been installed and glued in place, and then left to dry for 24 hours.  The final product here is a nice approximation of the color mix on the Chicago Line.  However, getting to this point took some experimentation.  The mix is dusty out of the bag and looks too white, and then during the process to set and glue the ballast, it looks too dark - see below!


With the dramatic changes in color, getting started with ballast was a leap of faith as it would have been a big setback to have to remove the entire track structure to re-ballast it should the color have not worked out.   As a review I have settled on Arizona Rock & Mineral 'UP-Silverton Grey' mix, with a bit of 'NYC' limestone mixed in for some variety.  The cinders are from the 'Southern Pacific Yard Cinder' product, and they make a nice blend along the right of way.


Here you can see the difference between freshly ballasted track to the left, and weathered-but-unballasted track to the right.  This is the location of a highway scene coming soon, which will be installed over the unballasted track, hiding it from view at this location so as to add distance to the mainline run.  The temporary cardboard view blocks here will (thankfully) disappear with that installation.  


In other news, the new spur down to Blue Circle Cement is going in, and so far has turned out well.  I have a few more switches and lengths of track to glue in place and we will then be able to wire it up for operation within the next few weeks.  

Backdrop research continues and a purchase will be made soon, starting that process for the fall. The installation of the backdrop will be a startling visual change for the entire layout area.  I'm looking forward to it!

~RGDave

Thursday, July 28, 2016

So, About Backdrops...

We are coming close to the big step of purchasing and installing a photo backdrop on the Onondaga Cutoff.  Using the photo backdrop approach, as opposed to painting, is not a decision I have taken lightly, as some of the long-time readers here will remember.

Two years ago, I tried out painting some distant hills on top of the overall coat of grayish-blue, which worked fine when viewed at a distance but was quickly inadequate when viewed from any closer than about 5 feet.  I read about techniques.  I practiced.  And tried again.  I worked at painting in more detail, but the result was rather disappointing.  I'm no artist painter!

After that, I had the idea to install a photo backdrop of downtown Syracuse (Syracuse, On The Horizon) which was completed in November 2015.  I was very pleased with how that turned out, and it quickly convinced me to look more into photo backdrops.  There simply is no better way to achieve the depth of field and complexity than a properly scaled photograph!

I looked into using more of my own photographs, processed in Photoshop, to complete the rest of the railroad and realized that it would be (1) very expensive and (2) involve seams every few feet.  Not ideal.  Again, I turned to the internet and to my surprise, found several different options for more generic photo backdrops.  Some were not very good - the prints had a fisheye effect, taken from one vantage point as a panorama, and poorly processed.  

The best one I have seen so far is called 'Backdrop Warehouse' and I ordered a sample of one of their scenes.  For $20 shipped, they sent me a 1' X 12' backdrop scene - much cheaper and with far less seams than my plan to use my own large prints.  I installed it behind CP277.  Here's how it looks:


I love the depth that is instantly added to the scene, especially with typical Northeastern details like the telephone pole to the left.  Central Onondaga County is lots of these distant hills on the horizon.  The sky is a nice humid blue, matching my plan for a late summer/early fall theme.  While the sample had very little sky, I like the clouds and color much more than my blue paint.  I do not, however, like how washed out the scene appears, and wish the resolution were a little sharper too.

It turns out those are issues that I believe can be solved by working with the contact at Backdrop Warehouse.  They offer similar scenes with higher resolution, and better contrast.  Their scenes are professionally processed to provide the same scale throughout - no strange fish-eye effect.   And, I can specify how much sky to include, allowing me to have just a few inches of distant woods or fields and then enough sky to suggest the wide-open hills of Onondaga County.

The website allows all sorts of demos too, so I can put together 4 or more 12-foot-long backdrops, so that the scene for the entire railroad can be purchased at once and be continuous.  Installation will be a big deal...imagine having hundreds of dollars of custom backdrop, but having to hang it like wall paper over a model scene, avoiding wrinkles, with no second copy to back us up!

That said, I think this is the way forward.  I will be reaching out to the company in the next few weeks and keep this blog posted on progress.

In other news, tracklaying is underway on the Cazenovia Industrial Track.  It was fun to lay some track again, for the first time in quite a while!  Here it is curing under weight:


The cool basement provides a great respite from the humid, 90+ degree evenings we have been having in NJ this summer.  Little by little we're getting there!

~RGDave

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Finishing Up

Over the last few evenings, around usual summer busy schedules, I finished up a few locomotive projects - the 6437 as seen last month under construction, and then also the 2816, my first model of one of the B23-7's from Conrail's first order for those locomotives, delivered in 1977.




With each passing project, I am learning more about the balance of the different layers of weathering - thinned black washes, then dullcoat, then airbrush oversprays, acrylics, and finally pastel chalks.  I'm very pleased with how the windshield masks allow the area where the 'wipers work' to be different than the surrounding areas.





Big decisions are directly ahead relating to backdrop which will set the stage for the final big scenery installations, all of which will be discussed here soon.

This entry is a quick look at the projects that I keep busy with while the big stuff is on hold pending decisions.  As I have mentioned before, any progress is infinitely more than no progress on any given day.  Even a few minutes applying some weathering is worth it!

In family news, our Susie is turning 4 this coming weekend - hard to believe in many ways, but exciting in every way.  Here's a tight crop of a grab shot on July 4th.  She's become a little girl now, and a great big sister!  Happy Birthday Susie!


~RGDave


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Slow & Steady

Summer is in full swing and for the last 8 years, that has meant less time in the basement working on the model railroad while spending more time outdoors with the kids, and visiting family and friends.  Later at night, though, I make time to get downstairs to make some progress.


I'm happy to report that CR 6437, my latest locomotive construction project, is coming along well.  In fact, all it needs now is weathering and it will join the fleet.  I added ditch lights and various details to match the prototype in 1994.  


The major scenery work is on hold pending some decisions about backdrops, but while I mull that over, I am working to finalize the track layout for the new branch line.  This will be called the Cazenovia Industrial Track, and will serve several new customers.  I find it very helpful to temporarily lay track out to see how it fits and feels, and think through the operation.  Planning ahead means doing less work two times.

Thanks to big progress in the cooler and wetter months, it always takes time to shift gears away from major progress.  However, it's still possible to make meaningful and lasting progress!  Enjoy the long evenings!

~RGDave

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

On Painting Plastic Handrails

A common task in modeling has always been the painting of models.  Model railroading in general has come a long way over the last few years, but painting remains part of the hobby.

As the hobby changes, there has been a move to the inclusion of scale handrails on models - they are beautiful. However, to make them more durable, they are molded from a slippery, flexible plastic, so they resist breaking when they are bent.

The issue at hand is that sometimes, those railings are molded in a color that does not match the paint on the model.  Look carefully at the handrail stanchions here - they almost appear to be purple against the bright Conrail blue on the stock Athearn 'RTR' SD40-2.




I had added new decking and see-through etched brass steps to this model, but that effort is much less effective when the handrails are the wrong color!

So, it was time to try and paint the railings to match.  The problem is many paints will not adhere to the slippery plastic.  Here, I recently tried a trick in using a product advertised as an automotive paint adhesion promoter - specifically, Dupli-Color's CP199 Adhesion Promoter, seen here.

This is nasty and toxic stuff - do not use this indoors.  I removed the handrails from the model, and went outside with the handrails attached to a painting jig to spray the promoter outdoors.  The instructions call for painting within 10 minutes of applying the promoter, so I was set up to go right to painting once the spray was done.


This is more like it - the handrail color now matches the body of the locomotive, and the paint is sticking to the handrails very well.  I will be using this trick in the future as needed!  For 6437, now I will move on to adding ditch lights, windshield wipers, and pilot details, then it's on to weathering.  After that this unit will join the fleet on the Onondaga Cutoff.

~RGDave

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Few Images

With spring in full swing in New Jersey, I'm tied up with outdoor maintenance and with family trips.  So, here are a few photos from the last operating session for you all.  These are taken with my iPhone, with brightness and a bit of cropping adjusted afterwards in Photoshop.

First, new C40-8W 6213 share shop space with a former Reading GP40-2:


A beat-up old Erie Lackawanna gondola sits in Onondaga Yard:


The backshop area at Onondaga Yard, after midnight on May 9, 1994:


WAON-10, the Onondaga Cutoff local job, returns to Onondaga Yard in the late afternoon of May 9, 1994 ahead of some rain showers:


Downtown Syracuse, NY, shimmers in the valley below as dwarf signals and a safety light glow at CP282, before dawn on May 9 1994.


Yard lights provide illumination for YAON-20, doing overnight classification work at Onondaga Yard.


Operation sessions provide lots of good opportunities for snapshots like this, and really let the 'creative mojo' get started.  Often it is images like these that can generate some more ideas for scenes, which helps to keep me interested.

Enjoy the turn to summer, and check back soon - there is always something changing on the Onondaga Cutoff!

~RGDave

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Some Prototype Inspiration

Now and again, we come across a photo that is just asking to be modeled.  For the new branch line out of Onondaga Yard, I needed to construct an underpass where it crosses beneath the Onondaga Cutoff Main Line.  I had planned on a simple concrete tunnel, narrow and height-restricted to less than 16 scale feet.  

Last week, however, regular Trainmaster Rich W. forwarded a photo to me courtesy of Fred Chidester, which shows a bridge that has presented itself to be the perfect prototype for the underpass.  This deck-girder bridge, constructed in the 1930's or 1940's with the New York Central lettering and logos still obvious in 2016, will be replicated on the OC.


Atlas Model Railroad Co. makes a thru-girder bridge whose girders are a close match for this one.  It is a bit of a project to cut the bridge apart and then convert the girders for use in my situation, and I will document some of that project here.

With springtime comes the annual lack of time for layout progress, but we will keep pushing as always and present that here.

~RGDave

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Dream, Come True!

Ever since I can remember, 'Model Railroader' magazine by Kalmbach Publishing Company has been a staple of the model railroad hobby.  I've been a subscriber for decades, and it has long been a source of inspiration and of wonder for me - as a child, seeing these amazing layouts was defining over time. The idea of being published in 'Model Railroader' was a long-time dream for me.

I had practiced for the last few years taking some photos of the railroad, and sharing them with you here and with friends as well.  It's an entire subset of the hobby!

Due to a variety of timing and circumstance, I was introduced to the columnist for the new "On Operations" column in the magazine, Jerry Dziedzic.  He actually attended several operating sessions and very much enjoyed them, especially the overnight part of the operation. We enjoyed having him as an operator, as well!   Much to my excitement, late last year Jerry approached me with a request to feature the night operations on the Onondaga Cutoff in one of his columns, including a photo to help set the tone for the column.

I am thrilled to announce to you all that in the May 2016 issue of 'Model Railroader', you will find Jerry's column discussing night operations on the Onondaga Cutoff, accompanied by a photograph I took!   It's a fun read and a good issue overall.

Here's a few out-take photos from the shoot that eventually provided the photo editor the material he was looking for.  This is train SEBU, shown before dawn at Onondaga Yard, before making his pickup and set out.




The final shot was close to what Jerry and the editors decided they wanted.  This ended up being a process of about 4 different shoots to get to the final product, and it was a great experience to be able to go through the process of proofs, critiques, and edits with professionals.  I hope there are more to come!

Enjoy, and as always thanks for your support!

~RGDave