Thursday, August 31, 2023

Another Quiet Night

It's another quiet summer night for us here in New Jersey.  This has been a summer full of a tremendous amount of bustle, family trips and friendly gatherings, reunions and long weekends, time at the beach, lots of time working - some great and wonderful experiences, some really difficult ones.  Life is about trying to balance it all. 

There has not been sufficient time for quiet, but that is how things go when we are in our 40's, right?  Mid career, families, learning to be proficient or even beginning to master tasks in our hobbies or in our lives: finding ways to rise to the tasks at hand.  We can't choose the timing.  We can only do what we must to respond when opportunities arise.

I repaired - and replaced - some lighting tonight over on the M&E.  I saw this shot and figured I'd grab it, and then remembered a phone call from last night from a close friend about a distant but important friend who is fighting hard tonight.  Mike DelVecchio is a longtime titan in our hobby, a railroader and railfan, modeler and historian, and a good person.  He's a musician too, and an unassuming guy that has touched a lot of things that 40-something railfans would recognize.  A longtime employee of and then follower and fan of the Morristown & Erie, parent company of my modeled 'Minoa & Euclid', Mike was friendly to me from day one.  

Many wonderful tributes to Mike are out there, and I wish I could have joined the excursion in his honor last month where he was his old self:  smiling, friendly, garrulous, focused.  Family travels had me out of state while thankfully many closer friends of his attended.

Tonight, he and his family could use our thoughts and a prayer.  I made this image and immediately thought of Mike: how many nights did he push, forgoing a quiet evening for a safer move, or for one more tune at one of his gigs playing guitar?  He worked on the M&E 19, and now here it is resting quietly at Euclid, in 1:87.1 scale on the OC.  

May tonight be quiet and restful for Mike, and for all those who are fighting similar battles.  

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Scenes from an Railroad that Operates - ''Round the Clock'

Night operations are a longtime part of the experience on the Onondaga Cutoff, and the August 2023 session was one that modeled September 30, 1994 from 6p overnight to 6a.  The railroad ran nicely and crews acted the roles really well, so I had time to make some images that came out good enough to share.  

Midnight at Onondaga Engine Terminal.  The light power from TV 550, the NYS&W interchange stack train, is tied down on the fuel rack behind a few sets of local power and the Mohawk Dispatcher has also pulled a route up on the mainline for a westbound on Track 2.

C39-8 6001 has a new crew onboard and the engineer is getting set up as the power idles at Island Yard around 0100 hours.  Auxiliary lighting and weathering are the only two things that can be done to visually improve a ScaleTrains engine!

Its work at Onondaga Yard complete, train SEEL (Selkirk, NY to Elkhart, IN manifest) builds his air at CP 280.  Lead locomotive SD40-2 6462 is on the point at 0230, the dead of night, and the crew is eager to get moving for their next crew change out in Buffalo, NY - by which time the new day will have dawned.  Once they're ready to pull they will call the Mohawk Dispatcher for permission west, and the train will get a signal to proceed. 

Speaking of the Mohawk Dispatcher, here he is!  Jack watches the display and listens to the radio as needed while Rich, who is sitting in the Trainmaster position, checks crew status ahead of upcoming departures.  

No matter how you cut it, though, it's the people that make a railroad work.  The best part of operations is the camaraderie of a group of people that make it run.  It takes a team, and that is exactly what we had.  This session included a cookout and picnic for the crew and friends, spouses, and families and we remembered to get a full group shot on the freshly finished patio area.  It was a great day. Awesome!