Summer Evening and the ML401

Summer Evening and the ML401
Conrail ML401 rolls west through Central New York farm country in Onondaga County, September 1994.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Night Shots

The regularity of hosting operating sessions has, as I have written about before, led to a host of developments on the Onondaga Cutoff.  One of those has been the installation of a 'fast clock' which works with the DCC software to display a time that we use for operation.  In order to more effectively manage the compressed distances represented on a main line in modeling, we selected a ratio of 3:1 for the fast clock, so each real minute contains 3 'model' minutes.  This is the clock we use exclusively for operating sessions.

As a result, we have 'night' on the layout, and thanks to the installation of some lighting, we also have now the possibility of night shots.


Here we have Conrail B23-7 no. 1971 resting on the fuel pad at Onondaga Engine terminal under my models of fluorescent yard lights, ahead of this past weekend's operating session.  The engine house inside has my models of sodium-vapor shop lights, and I like the different hues they provide.  The room lighting that I installed years ago, halogen incandescent track lighting, is dimmable, which allows an approximation of dawn and dusk as well.  This is just a quick photo with the iPhone to illustrate what I think may become my favorite style of model photo!  

Modeling an around-the-clock freight operation adds a sense of place and mission to the Onondaga Cutoff.  That will only get better with more layout lighting and with scenery!

~RGDave


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

More Collaboration

In several blog entries over the last few years, I have mentioned a growing notion that the Onondaga Cutoff is becoming a community-oriented model railroad.  While it is located at my home, the contributions of several guys have been critical in bringing the operation to life, whether that be in signal design, signal construction, operation planning, and the addition of details to many scenes.  A big THANKS is in order for all that have pitched in!  The layout has really matured quite a bit in a few years.

Here's a photo of another recent collaborative process - Mark, a longtime friend and fellow operator and modeler who casts models of truck cabs out of resin, has built and supplied a Conrail knuckle-boom truck for the maintenance-of-way fleet on the Onondaga Cutoff, in exchange for airbrush-weathering services on some of the cars in his fleet.  Here the Car Department works on a bad-order hopper car, set off at Onondaga Yard:


We figured out a rough estimate for each service, and are simply trading services, each of us doing for the other what would take an entire learning process.  All I will do to this model is to add window glass and a painted interior.  While scratchbuilding trucks for the whole layout would be enjoyable, on a large layout there are tradeoffs to be made.  The time spent learning to produce a model like this was instead spend weathering models for Mark, plus weathering track and installing signal system components.  It's a win-win for us both.

Relying on collaboration - a 'little help from my friends' - is the only way a large layout like this will approach a finished state in any reasonable amount of time, and along the way, we're having a great time!

~RGDave