Wednesday, October 30, 2019

A Visit to the Chicagoland RPM....and Legendary Operations

In a mark of just how busy these last few weeks have been, I’m making a rare blog update from the phone, making use of the commute home.  While most of this month had been good stuff I’m running right about at capacity these days, hoping that I’m not overlooking anything of consequence!

The month began with unprecedented good news when a project I’d suggested and worked hard on came to fruition:  three ‘Heritage Engines’ were released to the world by NJ TRANSIT on October 2, 2019.   

Then, I had the good fortune to be able to attend the famous Chicagoland RPM (railroad prototype modelers) meet at Naperville, IL this year.   The RPM is famous for is clinics and model displays, and for the list of accomplished modelers that attend.  For me, it was also a chance to operate with groups on Bill Darnaby’s famous Maumee Route, and Bob Hanmer’s well-regarded GN/DM&IR layout.  

First up was the Maumee, a railroad I’ve read about for decades in Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman and the rest of the hobby press.  Bill has created a masterpiece of operation, plausibility and detail.  The Maumee represents a fictional road crossing northern Ohio, in the mid 1950’s.

My first run on the route was passenger train #18, and I was too new to even think of taking a photo of that run.  Making your first run on a timetable & train order railroad that is new to you is a nerve-wracking experience!   But the second run, an eastbound extra empty coal train, allowed me to grab this view of the Ohio countryside.  Wow!

Bill’s attention to detail is truly amazing.  Each interlocking tower is built and detailed with the full rod system laid out for the viewer.  Here’s Miami Jct with the Maumee main crossing the NYC Water Level Route.

Another amazing junction is at Edison, with diamonds and a siding.  Bill has his operators use modeled Armstrong levees to line their route and indications through the plant.  Incredible execution of a great idea.  It was an honor to participate!

After a day at the RPM and exploring some of the area, we did another session at Bob Hanmner’s home with his Great Northern/Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range layout.  This layout depicts the neat trackage rights agreement between both roads in central-eastern Minnesota during ore season.  Here, Jerry Dziedzic and Joe Binish enjoy some commentary during the session.

I love this spot, a big DMIR bridge and ore train behind a massive 2-10-4 steam engine.

The RPM itself was a great one too, and a special treat was the local modelers displaying their work.  Here’s two beautiful Elgin, Joliet & Eastern SD38’s.  

And, finally, a really neat Metra F40C.  These models reminded me of a trip with Jack in 1997 to watch trains around the country.  We traveled by Amtrak and had an amazing series of adventures that in hindsight were almost utopian in their storyline.   It was a great way to close out a great trip, made despite the usual chaos and headwind of middle age.   Special thanks as always go to my wife Kristen and children Susie, Teddy & Pete for the time away!   They were all waiting for me upon arrival at the airport which itself is a dream come true.

More to come!  Lots to share as 2019 continues to be a banner year!


No comments:

Post a Comment