Friday, March 31, 2023

'Next Gen'

 In busy times, perspective is important.  It only takes a few seconds to step back, take a breath, and consider an idea that comes to mind.  

The Onondaga Cutoff is a dynamic and growing collection of people interested in the camaraderie of railroading, experienced by building and operating a scale model of how Conrail did things in 1994.  In that light, bringing new people in is a critical part of its long term mission, and young people add even more to the richness at hand.

From left to right, we have Pete, Christopher and Teddy, all of whom are regulars at our operations.  Each time they get better, and are more able to participate as a full member of the team.  It takes time to learn, but they're well on their way.  

The best is still yet to come!

Monday, March 20, 2023

Finding Wonder, Again

As days and years pass so does time, and our perspective on all these things changes too, as a matter of course.  We can see things differently, or sense that we are seeing things differently, and no matter what the days pass.  

This incredible hobby of ours pushes the envelope in whatever ways we allow, and one of those ways is the simple sense of wonder of it all.  A recent opportunity led me to a small company that installs custom ESU LokSound DCC decoders in locomotives, but also goes beyond that and offers all sorts of services for auxiliary lighting as well.  I took a chance and sent a few locomotives over to Garden State Modelworks LLC - and the results caught me by surprise.  I knew it would be cool, but didn't expect to be stunned!

The most recent operating session came and went, and after dark - always an enjoyable part of a session - there was a new level of magic, a new level of life to what we were seeing.  Before these new lights, there would be a lot of dark along the bottom of all these engines.   

Step lights now bring a whole new dimension not just to the locomotives so equipped but to the entire scene.  Extra marker lights, a Conrail staple through the 1990's, are now scattered through the roster instead of just on the Rapido or ScaleTrains units that came factory equipped.  Older Atlas and Athearn locomotives now jump out of the dusk or the darkness, looking the part of their prototype at night, all thanks to a beacon of attention in a tiny pair of step lights.  

March 20th would have been my dad's 84th birthday, and one of the treasures he gave freely to others was his lasting sense of wonder.  He loved a day at the beach, loved watching sports, loved a good upset, a quick basketball 'back door' play, a perfect football block or seamless pass, and above all, the integrity of the game.  I miss him, daily.  

For me, who remembers lonely nights trackside around Dewitt, NY in the 1990s, a few tiny light details have renewed a sense of wonder into the operations on the Onondaga Cutoff.  Much more to come on this!