Archive for the ‘Model Railroading’ Category

Big Boy 4014 Restoration Underway!

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

If you haven’t heard already, Union Pacific is in the process of restoring a Big Boy locomotive for operation. This is pretty exciting news for railfans, especially foamers (I use this term affectionately) with a penchant for steam locomotives. So far, UP 4014 has been moved from the RailGiants Train Museum at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, CA to Union Pacific’s steam locomotive shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming. UP anticipates the restoration will take about 5 years; they are hoping to have it operational in time for the 150th Golden Spike Anniversary in 2019.

UP Big Boy 4014

No. 4014 Big Boy, Pomona, Calif., July 2013 (Credit: UP Steam Media Kit of uprr.com)

What makes Big Boys unique? The Big Boy was originally designed by the American Locomotive Company as an articulated, coal-burning, 4-8-8-4 to power wartime tonnage over the Wasatch Mountains and Sherman Hill. In fact, originally it was going to be called the Wasatch locomotive but one of ALCO’s mechanics working on the project wrote the words ‘Big Boy’ in chalk on the boiler and the name stuck. There were originally 20 built for Union Pacific with an additional order for 5 more to handle the increasing loads required by the war effort. Due to the impending switch of the industry to Diesel engines, there were no more produced. Only 8 of the Big Boys survive and all are in various states of (dis)repair in static (non-operating) display.

Once Union Pacific decided they wanted to restore a Big Boy, their Steam Operations Team went to visit all 8 remaining Big Boys to determine which was in the best shape to be restored to operation. They decided upon Big Boy 4014 owned by the Southern California Chapter of The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society where it had been on display in the mild climate of Southern California since 1962. To lessen the blow of taking Big Boy #4014 off their hands, UP gave the museum a freshly painted SD40-2C Diesel Locomotive (UP 3015), UP insulated boxcar #453665, and a CA-13-2 Bay Window Steel Caboose (UP 24567). The RailGiants Museum blog has many pictures and reports of the play-by-play action of the Big Boy moving out and the replacements moving in.

UP Bay Window Caboose

UP Caboose #24567 (Photo by Danny Mouawad)

Pentrex was also on hand for the elaborate process of moving the 4014 out of its Southern California home and onto the rails.  Their new DVD, Big Boy 4014 Update gives some history of the Big Boy locomotive including some nice vintage footage. The majority of the DVD is detailed coverage of  how the Big Boy #4014 made its way from its home of 52 years back onto the tracks so it could be relocated to Wyoming. The DVD shows a front-end loader towing 4014 from its static home at the RailGiants Train Museum through the parking lot using pre-built panel track sections (just like snap track!), to the San Gabriel Metrolink line. Then it joined a Special made up of UP Heritage 1996 (SD70ACE), 7 flat cars (6 empty and 1 carrying a vehicle and supplies for the Steam Operations Team) and UP 4014 (a diesel locomotive specifically chosen to help the Big Boy 4014 head to UP’s facility in Cheyenne, WY which took it onto the mainline.)

Big Boy 4014 Update

Big Boy 4014 Update DVD from Pentrex (Released June 2014) Click for more info or to order.

The first half of the DVD has almost constant narration about the logistics of each step of the elaborate move. The 2nd half of the DVD shows many long run-bys (including some nice footage on Cajon Pass), train meets, and the crowds of fans who turned out along the way to get a glimpse of this historic locomotive and its journey as it passes through Southern California.

More Big Boy

Products

From Pentrex:

Big Boy Combo Part 1

Big Boy Combo Part 1 DVD (Click for more info)

Big Boy Combo Part 2

Big Boy Combo Part 2 DVD (Click for more info)

Union Pacific Big Boy Collection

Union Pacific Big Boy Collection DVD (Click for more info)

Big Boys, Cab Forwards, Challengers & Daylights

Big Boys, Cab Forwards, Challengers & Daylights DVD

Union Pacific Classic Collector's Series Combo

Union Pacific Classic Collector's Series Combo DVD

From Greg Scholl:

Big Boys & Challengers

Big Boys & Challengers DVD

From Sunday River Productions:

Big Boys and Brothers in the '50s DVD

Sunday River Productions just released Big Boys and Brothers in the '50s on DVD, August 2014

For HO Modelers, from Rivarossi:

Union Pacific Big Boy Steam Engine #4008 - DCC Ready (HO)

Union Pacific Big Boy Steam Engine #4008 - DCC Ready (HO) from Rivarossi

Show off your Big Boy enthusiasm with this great Big Boy T-Shirt:

Big Boy at Night (Glow in the Dark T-shirt)

Big Boy at Night (Glow in the Dark T-shirt)

Child Sizes $12.99

Adult M, L, XL $14.99

2X $16.99

3X $18.99

LINKS

To read more about Big Boys here are some links:

UP’s 4014 Page with TONS of info

RailGiants Train Museum Big Boy Page

RailGiants Train Museum Big Boy News

The UP 4014 Project – Memories of the Move (YouTube Video from Union Pacific Railroad)

 

Rogue Valley Railroad Show 2012

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

This year at the Rogue Valley Railroad Show the top two People’s Choice awards went to some family-created layouts. In first place was Gary Johnston and his nieces Sarah (12) and Rachel (8) with their layout.

Gary Johnston and his nieces Sarah & Rachel take 1st Place in People's Choice awards at the Rogue Valley Railroad Show 2012

Gary Johnston and his nieces Sarah & Rachel take 1st Place in People's Choice awards at the Rogue Valley Railroad Show 2012 - Photo by Cat Cook

In 2nd place was the Lego Train City layout by TR and Kara.

Lego City Train by TR & Kara won 2nd place in the People's Choice awards at the 2012 Rogue Valley Railroad Show

Lego City Train by TR & Kara won 2nd place in the People's Choice awards at the 2012 Rogue Valley Railroad Show - Photo by Cat Cook

Lego City Train

Lego City Train - Photo by Cat Cook

In 3rd place was the returning folks from the Lower Mckenzie Modular Railroad:

Lower Mckenzie Modular Railroad

Lower Mckenzie Modular Railroad took 3rd place in People's Choice at the 2012 Rogue Valley Railroad Show - Photo by Cat Cook

The Southern Oregon Live Steamers were on hand with some awesome locomotives:

One of the locomotives displayed by the Southern Oregon Live Steamers - Photo by Cat Cook

One of the locomotives displayed by the Southern Oregon Live Steamers - Photo by Cat Cook

Art Turner created a 1.5 inch scale model of Western Pacific’s diesel locomotive #805-A from the California Zephyr passenger train.  It has a sound system, air horns, operating lights, and a detailed cab interior and for the most part is completely scratch built. It took him four years to finish and it lives at the Medford Railroad Park.

Art Turner's WP 805-A in the form of a 1.5 inch scale model

Art Turner's WP 805-A in the form of a 1.5 inch scale model - Photo by Cat Cook

The newly opened Jackson County Genealogy Library also had a booth at the show.  They have the largest collection of genealogical information available located between Eugene, OR and Sacramento, CA. From their site: “The JCGL is open from 10AM to 3PM Monday through Saturday except for major holidays. We close the library the week leading up to Christmas and Thursday through Sunday at Thanksgiving. RVGS members have free access to the library, but there is a $5 fee per day for nonmembers. ”

The Jackson County Genealogical Library booth hosted by a smiling Betty Miller - Photo by Cat Cook

The Jackson County Genealogical Library booth hosted by a smiling Betty Miller - Photo by Cat Cook

The Southern Oregon Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society was on-hand providing information and selling their new shirts and hats to raise money for the restoration and operation of Medco 4, a Willamette geared locomotive, and Medco 8, Baldwin S-8 diesel. They hope to begin operating an excursion railroad in the future.

Next door to our booth was Sidetrack Laser who produce various model kits of buildings, etc. mostly inspired from locales in the western United States.

Sidetrack Laser kit of the Beaver Creek Shingle Company - Photo courtesy of Sidetrack Laser

Sidetrack Laser kit of the Beaver Creek Shingle Company - Photo courtesy of Sidetrack Laser

There are lots of train shows happening before the end of the year. To find one near you check our Train Shows page: http://www.theshortline.com/SHOWS.html. We will be at the Great Train Expo in Portland, OR this weekend, December 8th & 9th at the Portland Expo Center. The following weekend (December 15th & 16th) we will be at the Great Train Expo in Puyallup, WA at the Puyallup Fair and Events Center.

The Short Line goes to the World’s Greatest Hobby on Tour in Portland, OR – The Recap

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Late last month we had our booth at the biggest model railroad show we have ever attended. The World’s Greatest Hobby on Tour in Portland, Oregon, held at the Oregon Convention Center.

Oregon Convention Center

Oregon Convention Center, site of Worlds Greatest Hobby on Tour Portland OR 2012 - Photo by Cat Cook

This place was huge! And there were so many vendors, layouts, and manufacturers there, it was a boon to anyone who had the chance to attend.  We were so completely slammed (in a good way!) with customers, we barely had time to look around but here are some pictures I was able to find the time to snap.

Last time we were in Portland, at the Great Train Expo, we saw the Rose City Garden Railway Society and they were at this show as well with their expansive layout!

Rose City Garden Railway Society yards

Where they get the trains ready for the day's work at Rose City - Photo by Cat Cook

The Rose City Garden Railway Society will be having their 2012 Summer Tour, Railroads in the Garden, on Saturday June 16th from 10am to 5pm with 8 – 12 layouts to see. For more information or to sign up for their once-a-year email reminder, you can go to www.rcgrs.com.

Pedestrian point of view in the Rose City Garden Railway Society layout

Lots of wildlife in downtown Rose City! - Photo by Cat Cook

Even though we were a few hours from home, we saw some of the layouts we see every year down in Medford.  Southern Oregon Z Modelers Engineers were on hand with their always popular layout.

SOZME

Southern Oregon Z Modelers Engineers were on hand! - Photo by Cat Cook

And next door, their friends, and ours, at Cascade Z Modelers!

Cascade Z Modelers

Cascade Z Modelers with airborne helicopters! - Photo by Cat Cook

Then, I got another look at a layout I had seen at another show, by the HO Modular Group of the Pacific Northwest Region – Fourth Division NMRA. Here is a shot of their layout of the, Seattle, Pacific & Eastern Railroad.

4th Division of the Pacific Northwest Region of the NMRA

Layout from the 4th Division of the Pacific Northwest Region of the NMRA - Photo by Cat Cook

For the first time I saw a layout from Northwest S Scalers. Here they have a nice variety of offerings shown in their layout from dramatic scenery to unique industry and townscapes.

Northwest S Scalers

Layout from Northwest S Scalers - Photo by Cat Cook

Another new layout for my eyes was that of the Beaverton Modular Railroad Club. Here’s a nice little scene sporting some fine scenery with some hard-working crews.

Beaverton Modular Railroad Club

Shot of the Beaverton Modular Railroad Club layout - Photo by Cat Cook

I snapped this shot of this homemade Thomas the Tank Engine driving by our booth with a dangerously cute child inside. They were advertising a giant kids consignment event in Portland for this weekend, more info is at www.superkidsresale.com.

www.superkidsresale.com

Dangerously cute child alert! - Photo by Cat Cook

Sometimes on the way to or from shows, we see strange things on the road. This time was no different. Driving home we found ourselves behind a helicopter. There’s something you don’t see everyday….

Helicopter Alert!

Are we near an A-Team movie set? - Photo by Cat Cook

I love it when a plan comes together….

 

Beam me up! Train layouts hide all sorts of goodies at Monroe WA show

Friday, February 24th, 2012

A few weeks ago was not just Superbowl Sunday but it was also a gem of a model railroad show, the 21st Annual Train Show & Swap Meet presented by the United Northwest Model Railroad Club in Monroe, WA at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds.

When trains crash, United Northwest Model Railroad Club figures congregate to discuss the cause, to scale.... - Photo by Cat Cook

When trains crash, United Northwest Model Railroad Club figures congregate to discuss the cause, to scale.... - Photo by Cat Cook

We had heard from lots of folks that this was a great show and they were right. It filled a large hall with lots of vendors and layouts, many of whom I hadn’t the pleasure of seeing before.  First up allow me to present the 4th Division of the Pacific Northwest Region of the National Model Railroad Association.

Half Circle Farms module by Al Lowe of 4DNTrak - Photo by Cat Cook

Half Circle Farms module by Al Lowe of 4DNTrak - Photo by Cat Cook

My favorite part had to be Rob Jones’ logging module though, not just because I like logging themes but because of the Star Trek easter egg!

McCullough Logging module by Rob Jones of 4DNTrak featuring Star Trek away team - Photo by Cat Cook

McCullough Logging module by Rob Jones of 4DNTrak featuring Star Trek away team - Photo by Cat Cook

Also, showing off their handiwork was the Boeing Employee’s Model Railroading Club O-Scale Division.

BEMRRC

The Boeing Employee's Model Railroading Club O-Scale Division gets some attention - Photo by Cat Cook

Another nice layout was had by Tacoma Northwestern Model Railroad Club.

Tacoma Northwestern Model Railroad Club Layout - Photo by Cat Cook

Tacoma Northwestern Model Railroad Club Layout - Photo by Cat Cook

scenery shot TNWMRC

Scenery shot of Tacoma Northwestern Model Railroad Club - Photo by Cat Cook

We also met Linda McCune who was in the booth next to us. Linda was on hand to share the Don McCune Library which she established to preserve the works of her late husband Don McCune. Don McCune created many radio and television documentaries and was perhaps best known for writing and narrating over 400 episodes of Exploration Northwest. After being exposed to some of his excellent work we have decided along with Linda to add some of the episodes to our library of train-related DVDs. They aren’t on our website yet but they will be very soon. For more information on Linda McCune, Don McCune, and the Don McCune Library you can visit www.donmccunelibrary.com.

Linda McCune of Don McCune Library

Linda McCune of the Don McCune Library at the show! - Photo by Cat Cook

Next show is the World’s Greatest Hobby on Tour show in Portland Oregon, February 25th and 26th at the Convention Center. We hope to see you there or at another show in the future!

 

 

 

 

Reporting from the Capitol… of California… the Great Train Expo in Sacramento and other Train Goodness

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

A few weeks ago we attended the Sacramento Great Train Expo. Usually I try to document the trip within a week or two but unfortunately my immune system was assaulted (repeatedly) which laid me up for awhile and I got behind on a lot of tasks. This ended up getting further compounded by another show. I apologize especially to those who I told would be making an appearance in this blog, please forgive me. Without further adieu… here’s my report on the Sacramento show and the accompanying trip!

My trip began with a flight from Southern Oregon to Burbank where I sat next to a nice woman who had been a teacher most of her life and we had a long conversation about a variety of topics. Here, I have to offer another apology as I lost her name and email address but hopefully she kept mine and will see this. As we discussed trains and travel, she asked me what the longest train route was and I admitted that I didn’t know but that I would find out and put it in my blog for her and my readers. A few days later, as Don and I were headed north from Los Angeles on our way to Sacramento we fortuitously heard a story on NPR’s Morning Edition on the Trans-Siberian Railway and I realized that was the answer to her question. To further flesh out the answer, someone has made a nice little page on Wikipedia attempting to document the longest passenger train journeys, the top 3 of which are all in Russia.

Trans-Siberian railway, photos by DAVID GILKEY

Trans-Siberian railway, photo by DAVID GILKEY from his NPR story titled 'Russia By Rail'

Once we arrived in Sacramento we made our way to the Cal Expo State Fairgrounds where vendors were in one hall and layouts were next door. As we were unloading the truck we could hear trains passing nearby blowing their whistles. Once we we were set up, I took the opportunity to visit the other vendors and layouts. I met Diane Rodriguez who is an artist and painter who brought many of her original works of watercolor and oil paintings showcasing locomotives and trains. She also sells prints and and cards of her works, you can check them all out on her website, www.dianerodriguezart.com.

Diane Rodriguez Art

Diane Rodriguez and some of her paintings - Photo by Cat Cook

Out of Ione, California, Comstock Construction were on hand showing off their Garden Railroad Structures. They only sell direct so you can contact them through the info on their website: Comstock Construction Their buildings are designed to endure the elements, “using water resistant adhesives, mechanically fastened joints with steel brads, or staples, and all California Redwood construction.”

Comstock Construction

Comstock Construction Garden Railroad Structures - Photo by Cat Cook

Among the layouts were the Diablo Pacific Short Line which is a non-profit organization that educates the public about railroading and the role of railroads in America. They are a modular layout with 500 feet of track and have members from hard-core modelers to youths just learning about railroading.

Diablo Pacific Short Line

Diablo Pacific Short Line - Photo by Cat Cook

Another large layout was provided by Coastal Valley Lines out of the Sonoma Valley, CA. I met two of the module designers, Allie and Joan. They and some of their designs are highlighted below.

Allie with her Coastal Valley Lines modular layout

Allie with her Coastal Valley Lines modular layout - Photo by Cat Cook

Allie's Snow-Themed Coastal Valley Lines Modular Layout

Allie's Snow-Themed Coastal Valley Lines Modular Layout - Photo by Cat Cook

Joan Fleck with one of her Coastal Valley Lines modular layouts

Joan Fleck with one of her Coastal Valley Lines modular layouts - Photo by Cat Cook

Coastal Valley Lines Stack Train

Coastal Valley Lines stack train in front of one of Joan Fleck's Module

Joan's Farm

Farm layout by Joan Fleck of Coastal Valley Lines - Photo by Cat Cook

Also at the show was Sacramento Valley N-Trak who model the greater Sacramento area focusing on fallen flags including Southern Pacific, Western Pacific, Santa Fe, Sacramento Northern, Tidewater Southern, and others.

Sacramento Valley N-Trak

Sacramento Valley N-Trak Layout - Photo by Cat Cook

I also came across this layout called the Rusty Spike Railroad Co. , a member of the Toy Train Operating Society (TTOS). I believe they will also be at the upcoming Toy Train Expo & Sale in Santa Clara, CA on Sunday March 4 from 9am to 4pm.

Rusty Spike

The Rusty Spike Railroad Co. - Photo by Cat Cook

Another group visiting from the wine country was the aptly named, Wine Country N-Scalers.

Wine Country Layout

Wine Country N-Scalers - Photo by Cat Cook

That’s it from the show, it turned out to be great even though my beloved Saints lost the playoffs that weekend (boo.) Our drive home was pretty uneventful. Except for this guy….

Overpass Northern California

The Keeper of the Overpass - Photo by Cat Cook

It was cold, clear, and beautiful out. I snapped a nice shot of Mount Shasta as from the warmth of the truck as we drove by.

Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta January 2012 - Photo by Cat Cook

More blogs are in the hopper! Stay tuned… :)

 

Report from Rickreall Show – Winter is Coming!

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Last Saturday we drove up to Rickreall, west of Salem, Oregon for the Willamette Valley Model Railroad Show at the Polk County Fairgrounds. We left good ol’ Merlin in the wee hours of the dark and cold morning. Once the sun came up a few hours later we could see the passing countryside tinged with white frost everywhere and as ice formed on our antenna it began to flail back and forth with gusto as if in irritation.

Sunrise by the tracks on the way to Rickreall

Sunrise by the tracks on the way to Rickreall

Since we were only allotted a couple of hours to set up we brought our railfan goods (DVDs, Blu-rays, T-Shirts, etc.) and had to leave the bulk of our scale modeling items back at the ranch as our usual show setup takes about 5 hours to erect. Available from the wide variety of vendors were new and used goods in a variety of scales. It was a proper swap meet format lacking operating layouts on display which seemed to suit the 500+ attendees just fine as they kept a discerning eye out for prized pieces for their collections.

The Show Floor in Rickreall Oregon on December 3rd 2011

The Show Floor in Rickreall Oregon on December 3rd 2011

Below you will find a picture of a SW1200 with full sound and battery charger custom made by Michael Baker of R & M Electric Locomotives. It is 7 1/2 inch gauge in 1 1/2″ scale and is available to purchase for $9100 by emailing mjbaker.1@juno.com. He is in the process of building another one that will also be available to purchase and it can even be custom-ordered to the road name and paint scheme you choose.  If you are looking for a place to run it after you’ve bought it then look no further than the Pacific Northwest Live Steamers and their Shady Dell Train Park in Molalla, OR. You can learn more about this non-profit train park by visiting them online at PNLS.org or you can call 503-829-6866. Their 2011 season is closed now but next year they will again be open to the public Sundays and holidays from 12:00pm to 5:00pm beginning the first Sunday in May through the last Sunday in October.

You Can Own This 7 1/2" Gauge Illinois Terminal Locomotive by Michael Baker of R & M Locomotives

You Can Own This 7 1/2" Gauge Illinois Terminal Locomotive by Michael Baker of R & M Locomotives

Also with a booth at the show were the folks from the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association who are dedicated to preserving the history of the Northern Pacific Railway. If you’d like more information or to become a member please visit them at www.NPRHA.org.

Northern Pacific Railroad Historical Association booth at the show in Rickreall OR

Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association booth at the show in Rickreall OR

Happy Holidays from us at The Short Line!

Brrr.... It's cold out there!

Brrr.... It's cold out there!

Thanksgiving Weekend’s Railroad Show in Medford

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

This past weekend was the annual Rogue Valley Railroad Show in Medford, Oregon. This year the main floor was packed with even more layouts and displays than before and when the doors were opened on Saturday we were slammed with attendees all day long which was great to see. One of the first-timers was Laurie who I initially met at the Rickreall Train Show earlier this year, she is a photographer who was showing her work which captures rolling stock adorned with street art (aka graffiti). In August she was featured in the Douglas County, News-Review Currents; if you have a subscription you can read the article here: News-Review Article on Laurie.

Laurie's work was featured on the front page of the News-Review' Currents section August 25, 2011

Laurie's work was featured on the front page of the News-Review' Currents section August 25, 2011

Also represented was the Pacific Railroad Preservation Association whom I first met at the Eugene Train Show.  In their own words, they are a… “non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to restoring, maintaining, and operating historic railway equipment of the Pacific Northwest. [They] are the official caretakers of the SP&S 700, a 4-8-4 steam locomotive that ranks among the largest steam engines still in operation.” If you’d like to help them out you can visit their website to buy some of the goodies you can see in the picture below or become a member here: http://www.sps700.org/

Goods featured by the Pacific Railroad Preservation Association - Photo by Cat Cook

Goods featured by the Pacific Railroad Preservation Association - Photo by Cat Cook

Next door to the SP&S 700-people was Roger Rasmussen, of Coastmans, showing off his Evergreen trees & kits. His kits are handcrafted in Oregon and are incredibly realistic. The Douglas Fir Tree Kit is their flagship product offering the absolute best in detail and prototype accuracy. Another one of their products, “SuperTrunks” is made from 100% Port Orford, Oregon Cedar. It may not singlehandedly keep the Oregon forestry industry alive but hey, every little bit helps. The kits and “RediMade” trees are high quality and affordably priced. Check out the Coastmans website here: www.coastmans.com

High quality trees for scale modeling direct from Oregon - Photo courtesy of www.coastmans.com

High quality trees for scale modeling direct from Oregon - Photo courtesy of www.coastmans.com

One of the layouts was by Shaun Anscombe and depicted Hogsmeade as well as some other Harry Potter-inspired scenes. He also had some reference photos of the real-life of the train station in England (where he hails from.)

Hogsmeade Station by Shaun Anscombe - Photo by Cat Cook

Hogsmeade Station by Shaun Anscombe - Photo by Cat Cook

A train speeds through Shaun Anscombe's Hogsmeade - Photo by Cat Cook

A train speeds through Shaun Anscombe's Hogsmeade - Photo by Cat Cook

Also sharing their layout was the Lower Mackenzie Modular Railroad Club out of Springfield, Oregon.

BNSF locomotive with warbonnet paint scheme on the Lower Mackenzie Modular Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

BNSF locomotive with warbonnet paint scheme on the Lower Mackenzie Modular Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

Lumber operations on the Lower Mackenzie Modular Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

Lumber operations on the Lower Mackenzie Modular Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

Winning first place for People’s Choice was the Southern Oregon Z-Scale Modelers out of Medford, Oregon. Check out the short video below featuring part of their layout:  It features a helicopter with rotating blades, a highway with moving vehicles, tunnels with plexiglass sides so you can see what is going on inside, and more!

This Saturday is the Rickreall Railroad Show and Swap Meet – Sponsored by the Willamette Valley Model Railroad Club – 10AM-3PM Polk at Polk County Fairgrounds Hwy 22 and Hwy 99E, 10 miles west of Salem. Over 50 different vendors on over 100 tables, a wide variety of railroad products, and inexpensive food. Since it is just a one day show (with 2 hours for setup) we can’t bring all of our modeling items, just railfan goods this trip, but hope to see some of you there!

Last weekend, Puyallup; This weekend, Medford!

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Last weekend we made the long, cold trek from Southern Oregon to Western Washington for the Great Train Expo in Puyallup. We are getting ready for the Medford show this weekend so this post will be somewhat sparse, the main purpose to share some pictures from the trip. We met lots and lots (and lots) of friendly railroad-lovin’ folks, many of whom signed up for our humble newsletter.

As we traveled north, the trees got bigger….

Mmm... Trees.... - Photo by Cat Cook

Mmm... Trees.... - Photo by Cat Cook

Just south of Portland, we stopped briefly at the site where Boone’s Ferry used to operate across the Willamette River. The ferry began service in 1846 as a raft operated by oars pulled by members of the Tualatin Native American Tribe and operated 24 hours a day. Later the ferry became cable operated and finally was decommissioned in 1957 after the Baldock Freeway Bridge was built.

Photo courtesy of Emery D. Aden, Wilsonville-Boones Ferry Historical Society, circa 1950. Photo of a photo on a historical marker sign at a rest stop in Oregon.

Photo courtesy of Emery D. Aden, Wilsonville-Boones Ferry Historical Society, circa 1950. Photo of a photo on a historical marker sign at a rest stop in Oregon.

Soon we crossed the Columbia River Interstate Bridge into Washington….

Crossing the Columbia River Interstate Bridge - Photo by Cat Cook

Crossing the Columbia River Interstate Bridge - Photo by Cat Cook

And we passed under a train beneath increasingly darkening skies….

Ominous clouds rally overhead as we pass under a train in Washington State - Photo by Cat Cook

Ominous clouds rally overhead as we pass under a train in Washington State - Photo by Cat Cook

We stayed at the Tacoma Dome Hotel which gave us a view of the Amtrak station and the freight yard with the port of Tacoma behind them both…

View of the Sound Transit Tacoma Dome Station, Amtrak's Tacoma station, and the freight yard near the Port of Tacoma - Photo by Cat Cook

View of the Sound Transit Tacoma Dome Station, Amtrak's Tacoma station, and the freight yard near the Port of Tacoma - Photo by Cat Cook

As usual with Great Train Expo events the show was quite large with many clubs showing off their layouts. First up, Puget Sound Garden Railway Society….

Part of the Puget Sound Garden Railway Society - Photo by Cat Cook

Part of the layout from the Puget Sound Garden Railway Society - Photo by Cat Cook

Next up, Longview, Kelso & Rainier Railroad Club

A little farm road crosses the tracks and goes under a trestle on the Longview, Kelso & Rainier Railroad Club's Layout - Photo by Cat Cook

A little farm road crosses the tracks and goes under a trestle on the Longview, Kelso & Rainier Railroad Club's Layout - Photo by Cat Cook

Next we have a scene from the Mount Rainier N-Scale club which appears to feature many Classic Metal Works vehicles

Just a small portion of the awesome layout that is presented by the Mount Rainier N Scale Club - Photo by Cat Cook

Just a small portion of the awesome layout that is presented by the Mount Rainier N Scale Club - Photo by Cat Cook

The next picture is one of the locomotives displayed by the Kitsap Live Steamers….

One of the locomotives on display from the Kitsap Live Steamers - Photo by Cat Cook

One of the locomotives on display from the Kitsap Live Steamers - Photo by Cat Cook

Next is the Seattle, Pacific & Eastern Railway layout (sorry couldn’t find a link to a site for them)…

Cotton used as smoke on the Seattle, Pacific & Eastern Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

Cotton used as smoke on the Seattle, Pacific & Eastern Railroad - Photo by Cat Cook

Also attending was the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie, Washington who offer scenic train rides and birthday parties. For more information or to become a member visit www.trainmuseum.org.

Northwest Railway Museum layout - Photo by Cat Cook

Northwest Railway Museum layout - Photo by Cat Cook

Next door to the museum was the United Northwest Model Railroad Club who will be hosting their 21st Annual Train Show & Swap Meet February 4th & 5th 2012 at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe WA. For more info visit: Monroe Train Show

Monroe Train Show is February 4th & 5th 2012 in Washington

Monroe Train Show is February 4th & 5th 2012 in Washington

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! We hope to see some of you at the Rogue Valley Railroad Show this weekend at the Medford Armory. It is open November 26th from 10am – 5pm and Sunday November 27th from 11am – 4pm.

Rogue Valley Train Show 2011 is this weekend, November 26th & 27th

Rogue Valley Train Show 2011 is this weekend, November 26th & 27th

P.S. If you are in the market for tools for your modelling needs you can see Galloway Tools at many Great Train Expo events plus they sell online as well at www.gallowaytools.com. Nice folks!

P.P.S. We also met a gentleman who has some very nice High Def train videos on YouTube, you can visit his channel here: YouTube Hi Def 1080p Railroad Video Channel

Klamath Train Show 2011 and Two New Train Videos from 7Idea Productions

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Just over a week ago was the 2011 Klamath Model Railroad Show & Sales Event hosted by the Klamath Rails Club at the Klamath County Fairgrounds. Last year we had freezing rain but this year it was sunny and warm all weekend which made for a comfortable and happy event.

Rock formations modeled on the Klamath Rails Model Railroad Club layout (Photo by Cat Cook)

Rock formations modeled on the Klamath Rails Model Railroad Club layout (Photo by Cat Cook)

At the show I met Greg Jones of the Klamath Rails club who pointed out the rock formations he made on the club’s traveling layout. He explained his process for making the rocks included using the Woodland Scenics rock molds (shop here:Woodland Scenics Terrain and Landscaping Products) with fast-acting drywall compound you can buy at any hardware store. He gave me some examples to show you the rocks before paint is applied.

Rocks made by Greg Jones of Klamath Rails Model Railroad Club using Woodland Scenics rock molds (Photo by Cat Cook)

Rocks made by Greg Jones of Klamath Rails Model Railroad Club using Woodland Scenics rock molds (Photo by Cat Cook)

Returning this year was Robert Gavora with his Fine and Rare Books. He carries a huge collection of fascinating tomes on railroading. If you can’t attend shows in the Pacific Northest to see for yourself check out his website: www.robertgavora.com.  Here is my latest purchase, this fabulous book of Kinsey logging railroad photographs. In the early 1900s Darius Kinsey traveled around taking pictures of loggers with their locomotives, the photographs were then sold to the loggers. I’m pretty sure he has more copies of this if you are interested.

My newest book on logging railroads by Darius Kinsey (Photo by Cat Cook)

My newest book on logging railroads - Kinsey Photographer: The Locomotive Portraits edited by Dave Bohn (Photo by Cat Cook)

Another returning pleasure was getting to chat up Aaron Bentson producer of 7Idea Productions’ excellent railroad videos. The Klamath show allowed him to show off his newest production, MRL Montana Mainline Part 1: Jones Junction to Helena (click here for Blu-Ray). This release comes hot on the heels of his previous new release, Coal Trains of the Powder River Basin, out on DVD & Blu-ray last month.

Cat Cook and Aaron Bentson showing off 7Idea Production's latest releases (Photo by Don Cook)

Cat Cook and Aaron Bentson showing off 7Idea Production's latest releases (Photo by Don Cook)

As usual the Rogue Valley Model Railroad Club made the trek to share their traveling layout. Here’s a closeup of a portion featuring ‘fiber’ trees and an Athearn ready-to-run truck (buy it here: Athearn HO Ford C-Series with Van Body – California Motor Express CME). We will see more of them next month at the Rogue Valley Train Show November 26-27 2011 at the Medford Armory in Medford, OR.

Athearn RTR Truck on the road of Rogue Valley Model Railroad Club Layout (Photo by Cat Cook)

Athearn RTR Truck on the road of Rogue Valley Model Railroad Club Layout (Photo by Cat Cook)

Our next show is a big one, the Great Train Expo up in Puyallup, WA on November 19th & 20th 2011 at the Puyallup Fair & Event Center. Hope you can make it!

Dunsmuir Railroad Days Overfloweth With Train Happiness

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

In my last blog I mentioned Dunsmuir Railroad Days and the Baldwin  Locomotive Works 2-6-0 Mogul I saw in Globe, Arizona. Well, 2 weekends ago we went to Dunsmuir, CA to see one of the sister 2-6-0 Moguls, Southern Pacific #1727, and to see what their Railroad Days (June 10 – 12, 2011) had to offer.

2-6-0 Mogul #1727 in Dunsmuir, CA - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

2-6-0 Mogul #1727 in Dunsmuir, CA - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

From a plaque at the site:

Locomotive 1727 is a class M-6 Mogul built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1901. It served Southern Pacific in California and Oregon until 1956.  1727 is one of only 7 Mogul engines surviving today out of 355 originally built.

Donated by S.P. and brought to Dunsmuir in 1957 by the city council: Vic Petrovics, Mayor; Morgan Jones, Fred Lloyd, E. A. Christensen and Robert Dixon

(What can I say, I like to document signage.)

The forecast was for mostly sun but there was a persistently stubborn drizzle that wouldn’t get out of our way that day, but it did not deter us from gaining maximum train happiness, no sir! First we bought our commemorative button for the steep, steep price of $1 that would give us magical access to all the trains and assorted rail goodness on display. Then we made our way over to the speeders to get in line while it was early in the day and the line was short. Sid took us on a ride in his shiny motorcar with some Atlantic Coast Line paint. You can see a video of our ride on the speeder here:  Speeder ride in Dunsmuir, CA during Dunsmuir Railroad Days 2011

Here is a picture of me with Sid’s snazzy speeder after our mini motorcar excursion (there were 3 speeders and we went approximately 1/4 mile, I’m not sure how fast we went, I’d guess 25 mph, but maybe faster….)

Cat Cook with Sid's speeder at Dunsmuir Railroad Days - Photo by Don Cook June 11, 2011

Cat Cook with Sid's speeder at Dunsmuir Railroad Days - Photo by Don Cook June 11, 2011

There were four privately-owned passenger cars available to be toured. These were powered by Amtrak 190, a P42DC GENESIS locomotive. The Tioga Pass (built as a Canadian National business car for railroad executives in 1959) and the Silver Splendor (built as a stainless steel Vista-Dome coach for Chicago, Burlington & Quincy in 1956) can be booked for one of their public trips or for private charter through www.larail.com.

The Tioga Pass Dining Room - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

The Tioga Pass Dining Room - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

The Silver Solarium and Silver Lariat were both built as Vista-Dome coaches for the California Zephyr in 1948. They can be booked for one of their public trips or for private charter through www.CalZephyrRailcar.com. These cars were part of a round-trip excursion trip from the Bay Area to Dunsmuir, as well as an excursion Saturday afternoon to Black Butte and back to Dunsmuir. More information on this and other excursions can be had by visiting: Trains & Travel International.

The Silver Solarium Dome - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

The Silver Solarium Dome - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

If this makes you wish you had a California Zephyr train on your layout you may be interested in some HO scale passenger cars from the now out-of-business International Hobby Corp. Once this stock is gone it will likely be unavailable in the future.

One of the IHC HO Scale D&RGW Cal Zephyr Vista Dome cars available from www.theshortline.com - Photo by Don Cook

One of the IHC HO Scale California Zephyr Vista Dome cars available from www.theshortline.com - Photo by Don Cook

One of the coolest things about Dunsmuir and its Railroad Days is they have a working turntable. They even gave rides on the turntable every hour! I uploaded a video of my turn riding the turntable on YouTube here: Taking a ride on the turntable at Dunsmuir Railroad Days 2011.  And here’s a short video of them locking the turntable into place: Locking the Dunsmuir, CA turntable during Dunsmuir Railroad Days 2011. Union Pacific generously brought out the 1996 Heritage SD70ACe painted in commemorative Southern Pacific-inspired colors and some of the other displayed rolling stock for the event.

Some nice folks taking their turn on UP 1996 on the turntable in Dunsmuir - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Some nice folks taking their turn on UP 1996 on the turntable in Dunsmuir - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

If you are wishing you had one of these locomotives for your N-scale layout you’re in luck! We just got one of these back in stock: Kato N – UP (SP Heritage) EMD SD70ACe Diesel Locmotive. Soon after I took the above picture, a Union Pacific freight train entered the town for a crew change. I took a video of this train as it left town southbound and added that to our YouTube page as well: Union Pacific southbound leaving Dunsmuir after crew change during Dunsmuir Railroad Days 2011. This train was being pulled by 1 ES44AC and 2 SD70Ms and bringing up the rear were 2 ES 44ACs. Below you can see the UP train parked in front of the Amtrak Depot.  In the same building you can find the Dunsmuir Railroad Depot Historical Society. Another non-profit with a presence at the fair included The Shasta Cascade Rail Preservation Society.

UP Freight Train doing a crew change in Dunsmuir during Railroad Days - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

UP Freight Train doing a crew change in Dunsmuir during Railroad Days - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Did you know that Dunsmuir was originally named Pusher for the ‘pusher’ or helper locomotives that assisted trains over the steep grades to the north? Well if not, now you do! After Alexander Dunsmuir came to the town of Pusher and fell in love with it, he promised the inhabitants that he would build them a fountain if they would name the town after him. He did and they did and the fountain (and town name) are still there today! Below you will find a mural highlighting some of the features of Dunsmuir-living which prominently include the railroad, Mt. Shasta, and fishing in the Sacramento River. This mural was designed by John Signor, prolific author of many railroad books including Southern Pacific’s Shasta Division: Over a Century of Railroading in the Shadow of Mt. Shasta.

Mural located in downtown Dunsmuir, CA designed by railroad author John Signor - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Mural located in downtown Dunsmuir, CA designed by railroad author John Signor - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

There were also 3 cabooses on display. 2 were UP cupola cabooses including the one pictured below. If you are looking for some similar ones for your layout we currently have in stock just 1 HO Athearn kit left of a UP Cupola Caboose.

Union Pacific Cupola Caboose at Dunsmuir Railroad Days - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Union Pacific Cupola Caboose at Dunsmuir Railroad Days - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Then there was this Western Pacific Bay Window caboose from the Western Pacific Railroad Museum.  Developed in the 1920s, Bay Windows allowed for a safer way to look ahead at the train and monitor for equipment problems than the Cupola. Located in Portola, CA this museum and the related Western Pacific Railroad Historical Society are a great place to visit. You can even arrange to operate locomotives! We don’t have any WP Bay Window cabooses in stock but we do have an HO Union Pacific Athearn blue box kit with 3 bay window cabooses. Once these old blue box kits are gone they are G.O.N.E. So, first come first served!

Western Pacific 484 Bay Window Caboose (Western Pacific Railroad Museum) Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Western Pacific 484 Bay Window Caboose (Western Pacific Railroad Museum) Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

In addition to the plethora of life-sized train equipment, one of the local model train clubs was showing off their layout too.  Below you can see part of the permanent layout of the Dunsmuir & Cedar Flats Model Railroad Club.

Looks like there's some unauthorized equipment on the Dunsmuir & Cedar Flats Railroad Club's turntable - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

Looks like there's some unauthorized equipment on the Dunsmuir & Cedar Flats Railroad Club's turntable - Photo by Cat Cook June 11, 2011

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