As seems to usually be the case the winter months are a time for progress on the layout. The Onondaga Cutoff is seeing progress on mechanical projects as well as scenery and with longer-term planning. Each of them provides a lot of satisfaction in a time of considerable uncertainty in the larger world.
I've finally made time to unpack, program and weather a new addition to the fleet, CN C44-9W(L) #2500 from the recent Athearn 'Genesis 2' series. It's an incredible model! One of my favorite features of the newer models is the lighting that is included, not only headlights and ditch lights but also markers and even step and ground lighting which make a huge difference for our night operating sessions. Watch for 2500 to lead a train coming up!
Another beautiful release recently was the Tangent Scale Models N7 caboose series. Built for the New York Central in the 1960's these cars were transferred to Penn Central and then on to Conrail where they served well into the 1990's. Given the 1979 paint job on my version, it will receive some heavy weathering, and I am excited about the project. Here is the new caboose with windows masked awaiting weathering.
I plan to experiment finally using white paint as a first overspray to help fade the blue to help convey the age of the paint. Stains and rust will also be a big part of this - it will be quite a project. Layers help tell the story with weathering, so it is worth taking time to do it right.
In the scenery area, I am finally deciding about the location of the last of the empty scenes on the OC, the area right about CP 294. This is a tight area on the lower deck, and was long a question for me. How can I make this a neat scene with the significant limitations? Thanks to Perry Squier's work on the beautiful tower, I have a key feature to work around, and by moving it behind the main line and over to the area between the two ramps climbing out of staging, suddenly the scene looked much better.
There's a long way to go with the scene but I am confident this is the way forward. This one only took about 8 years to come together in my mind - but the results will be worth the wait!
With all the turmoil in the world these days, from Ukraine under attack to the end of the pandemic to ongoing economic challenges, it is hard to find a sense of peace. I am fortunate to have a rock-solid person as a wife, and three healthy kids, and also a great hobby like this that allows for so much satisfaction. In that light I am starting a series of videos based on the Onondaga Cutoff and the experience of moving it forward, and I plan to release them on some sort of online platform like Patreon or similar soon. It will be fun to create an online community for videos as we move forward to help continue the good energy that is already coming from the Onondaga Cutoff!