TV24 at CP 277

TV24 at CP 277
Conrail TV-24 rolls east through rural Central New York in Onondaga County, September 1994.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Warm Nights on the Railroad

One of my primary goals in layout construction on the Onondaga Cutoff is to capture the atmosphere I remember from the 1990's on a healthy, busy Conrail. The second definition of the word is as follows:

Atmosphere noun: the pervading tone or mood of a place, situation, or work of art

Being a professional railroader, and just as significantly being a life-long fan of sitting trackside, has acquainted me with the atmosphere around the tracks. It's exciting anytime but the mystique builds into the night. Add in some warm air, sounds of summer or early fall, the expectation of things to can almost feel the emotion in it.

A few recent images, in my opinion, capture it pretty well. These are taken all in the same few minutes during a recent operation session, and all show train ELSE (Elkhart, IN to Selkirk, NY) waiting and then beginning to work at Onondaga Yard.

For just a moment you can feel like you're back in time, 25 years ago, trackside on Conrail's Chicago Line, while the cicadas and crickets and tree frogs make a racket. For me, I was in love with the railroad and with a wonderful girl; my brother and sister and parents were doing well. The band I was in was playing good music, friends were close and camaraderie all around.  The summer was full of excitement and promise, problems seemed far away and pale in the distance. All of those emotions are tangible again here. The sounds and the feel of locomotives, the smell of warm creosote ties and diesel exhaust, the weight and humidity in the air- these are things that we can almost sense just in allowing ourselves a few minutes to gaze at the images.

Enjoy the last days of the summer, and may your memories bring you back to the atmosphere of good times remembered!


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