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.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Progress, Here & There

Progress on the layout varies a bit by season.  Looking over the 12 years or so of entries here, in most cases there is a load of progress on the Onondaga Cutoff in the winter and spring which tails off a bit once we get to the warmer months.  Part of this is more outdoor activities and household maintenance tasks, and more of it is using free time for trips or helping on other's layouts, too.  It's all a welcome part of the hobby. 

Some of those trips are just local jaunts with the kids.  Kristen and Susie had a weekend Girl Scout camporee last weekend, and so the boys and I had a weekend to spend time together.  Teddy calls that "boy time" and looks forward to it, which warms my heart!  Pete & Teddy wanted to watch trains, see some new things, and explore together, and so we did just that.

Along our local mainline, the NS Lehigh Line across central NJ, we did some hiking along the rivers and found a new-to-us through truss bridge.  Teddy still loves bridges of all types and especially railroad bridges.  They were amazed!  

During the evenings, I made time to finish a few projects that had been hanging around the workbench.  Months ago I finally purchased a vacuum car for the layout after finding a good deal on eBay for one.  It was the Lux model from Germany but works seamlessly with my DCC system.  But, I thought the bold German lettering was a bit much.  So it got a coat of paint, replacement couplers, and new lettering for a plausible piece of Conrail maintenance equipment.  Here it is, awaiting final weathering, after which it will join my CMX track cleaner car in the setup night maintenance train.

And, some of the long term collecting of Conrail covered hoppers is beginning to pay off.  Thanks to amazing weathering by Lenny Harlos, we soon will have a unit grain train for the Onondaga Cutoff, which fills yet another gap in our operating plan.  Here's a sneak peak of work so far.

As spring opens up in to summer, and as pandemic restrictions seem to finally be waning, it's exciting to look forward to so much that we used to take as guaranteed.  Operating sessions, family gatherings and road trips - all these things are coming back soon and it's an exciting time.  Best wishes to you on this Memorial Day weekend, may we keep in mind those that have given their life in service to our community and our nation.  

And may the best still be yet to come!

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