TV24 at CP 277

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

Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Value of Visits: Inspiration & Community

 I was honored in the Autumn of 2021 to have invitations to two trips that I'd hoped for years to be able to do:  the deserts of Utah with Mark Hemphill and the operating model railroads of southern Michigan with the local modelers long part of the 'Great Lakes Getaway' invitational meet.  Thanks to the grace and patience of my family, both were able to happen.  We looked at some of the images from the desert last time, so today we will focus on the layouts.

To say that Mike Burgett's fabulous C&O layout is an inspiration to me would be an understatement.  His work is second to none, and the atmosphere is top-grade:

Meeting Mike was a pleasure - his centralized traffic control (CTC) has always set a high bar for layouts.  And seeing my friend David Patch, Mike's Chief Dispatcher, was an added bonus!  Here's a photo of the three of us in Mike's incredible dispatching office.

Sitting with David Patch to learn the CTC machine and help dispatch the railroad was incredible.  Here's David at the controls:

In the afternoon after lunch, I elected to join the fray in the field and run a few trains.  I ended up with time freight #95 going west across the subdivision.  

It is rare to see a layout with scenery this good that is fully operational and this near full completion.  Wow!

Check out the code lines on the telegraph poles in the photo above. Incredible detail on an incredible layout.

For me, there was another much-anticipated layout: Doug Tagsold's fabulous Colorado & Southern, including the narrow gauge railroad's run from Denver west up to the Georgetown Loop and beyond to the mines in the Front Range.  Here my mine run steps across the Georgetown Loop.

Doug Tagsold has long been an inspiration to me through the pages of Model Railroader with his Denver, Front Range & Western layout in the 1980's as well as his Toledo Terminal layout in the later 1990's.  As my two favorite prototypes, they were well represented in Doug's modeling, and helped add to the aura of fascination I had with modeling in my youth.  These layouts were exciting!  They jumped off the pages and cover of Model Railroader to me.

I met Doug for the first time in 2018 at the Rio Grande Convention in Denver, CO, and was able to speak with him and offer my appreciation for his efforts.  Then for this trip to be able to visit his layout and operate - well, that was just incredible!  

November in the Rockies is much like winter in most other places and Doug has a beautiful snow scene along a rushing mountain stream.  My ore turn is making time on its trip with loaded ore gondolas enroute to Denver to the Arco Smelter.

The town scenes are fantastic too, custom buildings and roads with photo backdrops yield a seamless experience for operations.  I also enjoyed the sight lines around the open running, as seen below here.

Visiting layouts of this caliber shows what the hobby can do, and how much we can learn from people that are truly masters of the art of model railroading.  Someday I'd love to host both of these owners on the Onondaga Cutoff, too, and complete the circle.  I have a long way to go with scenery to match their work!  Still, that is how we build the community of modelers: sharing our work and operations with others, and appreciating the inspiration provided by the masters.  

Thanks to Doug for organizing the meet and to Mike and all the hosts for a job well done!

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