Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Trusting Experts

 I arrived home from Springfield from the big Amherst Society meet to a surprise - longtime friend and companion J. Alex Lang had provided me with artwork for an updated banner photo for the blog!   Alex was an early inspiration for me with photography and Conrail knowledge in general, along with his sincerity and ambition.  He mentioned the last photo was getting dated, and asked that I provide a few more recent photos to which he could add some text and the Conrail logo.  

He's got a great eye for aesthetics - an expert eye - and he used one of my favorite recent images and created a new banner better than I could have on this one.  

Next time you open the blog, you'll be in for a treat.  Thanks, Alex!

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

A Weekend of Operations

Operating trains on the Onondaga Cutoff is one of the highlights of the railroad.  The weekend of January 21 and 22 2023 was one where we not only hosted a session, but I was able to attend another one, too.

The OC session modeled a period from about 3pm to about 3 am on a typical Saturday - September 17 1994.  Thanks to Mark Sullivan and Rich Wisneski, we have photos of the prep as well as some from the session.

Here we are enjoying pizza for supper and doing the safety briefing ahead of running trains.  While the safety briefing may sound heavy-handed, it's important to note emergency exits and fire extinguisher locations for people unfamiliar with the house.  It's also a time to build some of the atmosphere ahead of the session:  what was the temperature on September 17, 1994?  What current events get us in a mindset of the 90's?  What was the price of gasoline?  For our operations to work, our minds need to travel in time a bit as well.  

Rich always likes to have a photo of the participants, and this time the group included the kids as well as a number of guests.  It takes people to make a railroad work, and we are fortunate to have a number of good ones!  This session ran into the darkness with a simulated sunset, and the fun continued.  Amtrak train #276 after its run was tied down at Island Yard.

And, later, SEEL from Selkirk, NY to Elkhart, IN was working up at Onondaga Yard, highlighted by the dwarf signal at CP280.

Nighttime brings a magic to the OC, and one of the best spots is the fuel pad where locomotives are serviced through the night.  Two B23-7's idle while being fueled.

Then, Sunday, I was fortunate to be able to attend the operating session at Tony Koester's famous Nickel Plate Road layout, set in Illinois in 1954.  Tony gives his briefing before the session, with regular operator Bill Jamboor sitting behind him.  

While operations isn't the way most modelers choose to participate in the hobby, it is one of the niches that helps set our hobby apart from other modeling hobbies.  Instead of our models sitting on a shelf, in many cases our hard work can be displayed in motion, as intended.  Operations models not just equipment or structures, but the dynamic environments where the prototypes run and - most critically - the coordination with others to accomplish a task.  Operations takes us from train models to modeling railroading.  

On another positive note, see you in Springfield on Saturday and Sunday - if you're at the big Amherst Society show this year, January 28 & 29, stop over at introduce yourself at the Onondaga Cutoff table:  Better Living Center Section 4, Table L!  

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

A Table at Springfield!

Welcome to 2023, a new year full of opportunities and more than that, hope.  There is a lot swirling around in the air these days, including an increasing awareness that the most limited commodity these days really is time.  Hard work and persistence allows the ability to earn more money, but time marches on, and it is irreplaceable.  It is important to make moments count.

Last year something I wished we had done with the Onondaga Cutoff was to attend the big Amherst Model Railroad Society train show at Springfield, Massachusetts, always the last weekend of January each year.  This year, thanks to the A Modelerslife Podcast, the OC will have its OWN TABLE at the massive show - one of the former City Classics Inc tables.  

Come see us at the Better Living Center, Section 4, Table L!  Look for our flag on the wall behind the table:

It's a great show, with a full floor layout available online here:  https://www.railroadhobbyshow.com/pdf-maps.php   My plan is to have the table as a home base and be there to meet and greet fans of the OC, old friends and new from 12-3p on Saturday, and from 12-2p on Sunday.  

More to come soon, but prep is underway and we are excited to see you there!