Sunday, October 25, 2020

10 Years Running on the Onondaga Cutoff

In a wild month of a wild year of a dynamic era, the Onondaga Cutoff has celebrated 10 years of operating sessions!    On October 25, 2011, we had our first 'official' session and somehow here we are having done so for a decade.  It is interesting to me that sometimes dates chosen for a first step become significant only due to the longevity of that which they began.   

So, here's a fun pair of photos:  the first session, and a screenshot thanks to Rich Wisneski of the online 'open house' we hosted on the anniversary date for many of the people that have operated on and contributed to the Onondaga Cutoff!

The 'virtual' crew, 10-25-2020

First operations, 10-25-2011

I am grateful for all the support and especially so this year with so much going on.  I hope this date finds you well and too that in 10 years, we can look back on 20 years of operations here!   


Monday, October 19, 2020

Using Resources - Sharing the Knowledge

There has never been better time to be a researcher of railroad history, whether recent or long ago.  Never before has so much information been available to us so simply and at such a low cost in dollars or time.  When we consider how things are developing and all the difficult energy in the greater world, it is sometimes easy to forget the bright sides of the internet and social media.

A longtime friend, Ian Clark, has begun to post some photos of his time trackside in the 1990's to the internet.  Ian was a quick friend of mine during my time at Syracuse University and he took time to show me the ropes on NYS&W and Conrail in the area.  He's a gifted photographer and in sharing some of his 'just another day trackside' images, I can draw great information for the Onondaga Cutoff.

This is an Ian Clark image of NYS&W's SY-1, the Syracuse, NY based crew that handled interchange with Conrail and local road freight work in the area.   By 1995 they were doing their interchange at Dewitt Yard, using trackage rights over Conrail from their junction at CP 293 west of town to get on the main line.   

What a wealth of information here!  First, we have four units including a GP18, SD45, B40-8 and F45, all in the attractive 'yellowjacket' paint.  We have the train on the North Runner at Dewitt with the large engine service facility in the background, with various Conrail power being serviced as well as an entire 'camp train' for the track gang - the white trailers on flat cars.  

Later that morning, Ian captured SY-1 leaving Dewitt, this time at CP 286 on the Chicago Line in East Syracuse, NY.  They are coming west on the North Runner for their 6-mile run out to Solvay to regain their own track.  This shot reminds me that I need some code lines as seen on the left, and shows a nice mix of freight cars that confirms the current makeup of the train as modeled.

Both of these images, while familiar to me, were freshly reconsidered thanks to Ian's Facebook posts.  Having resources like this and reflecting on how to improve our models helps the cause.  

Likewise it's fun to share the hobby and layout with young people, including my sons Teddy & Pete, both shown having some fun while switching Euclid Yard.  I work to teach them to be careful with the delicate models and the throttles, but also to enjoy the trains and have fun working together moving cars.  

It remains a wonderful hobby, and a great way to share time together for friends and for family.  I am grateful for both!