Last weekend, Puyallup; This weekend, Medford!

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

‘Hell on Wheels’ premiering this Sunday on AMC

October 31st, 2011

I’ve been aware of and anxiously awaiting the upcoming TV series Hell on Wheels for about a year. Finally it will make its debut this Sunday on AMC at 10/9c.  The show depicts post-civil war life on the front lines of the constructions of the transcontinental railroad. The railroad promises to be the star of the show which is exciting for railfans like me.

Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) in Episode 1

Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) in Episode 1

Watch the trailer here: Hell on Wheels Trailer

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

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

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

Thanks for visiting! If you would like to be on our mailing list for The Short Line Model Railroad Supply to receive special offers, information about new railfan or model railroading products or our train-related adventures, click here: Newsletter Sign-Up

I Went To Arizona And All I Got Was This Lousy Picture Of A Baldwin 2-6-0

June 7th, 2011

Last month I went on a little trip to Arizona to visit Haigler Creek with my folks. On my dad’s side of the family we have a distant relative that used to live there back in the 1890s which prompted us to explore more about our genealogy and the history of that area and the infamous Pleasant Valley Feud in which he was peripherally involved. The areas we visited were a bit light on railroad-related sights however we did happen upon this Southern Pacific 2-6-0 Mogul built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1901 which was on display in Globe, Arizona. I guess the picture isn’t that lousy, but I could have done with less fence.

Southern Pacific 1774 in Globe, Arizona - Photo by Cat Cook May 22, 2011

Southern Pacific 1774 in Globe, Arizona - Photo by Cat Cook May 22, 2011

Here is the accompanying information to the displayed locomotive from a sign at the City of Globe’s Veteran’s Memorial Park:

Steam Locomotive No. 1774 was built by the Baldwin Company in 1901. It was one of 335 Engines of this class built by Baldwin from 1899 and 1901 and number 1774 is one of seven steam engines that are in existence today.

Engine number 1774 was acquired by Arizona Eastern Railroads between 1910 and 1924. In 1924 Southern Pacific Railroad took over and the engine was assigned to main line freight. During World War II the engine was used to pull troop trains and to haul freight to military bases in Arizona and Southern California. Around 1945-1946 the engine was reassigned to the Globe-Miami Bowie Run pulling both passenger and freight trains.

For the statistics-minded rail fans, No. 1774 has 63-inch drives, 21-inch cylinders with a 28-inch stroke and a boiler pressure of 200 pounds. Weight on the drivers is 159,000 pounds. Light weight is 164, 340 pounds.

After 54 years, engine number 1774, a veteran of more than three million miles of service over the eight-state Southern Pacific Railroad System, was presented to the city of Globe on November 2, 1956. A spur was built by volunteers of the Ironworkers Local #75 and the old steam engine number 1774 was relocated to its present site, the Veterans Memorial Park.

The remaining six steam engines are located as listed below:

#1629 Sold to Gene Autry

#1673 On display in Tucson, Arizona

#1727 On display in Dunsmuir, California

#1744 on display in Corinne, Utah

#1771 on display in Placerville, California

#1785 on display in Woodburn, Oregon

Southern Pacific 1774 in Globe, Arizona - Photo by Cat Cook May 22, 2011

This picture would have been better with less tree, less sign, and less fence, but alas, it was not meant to be. Southern Pacific 1774 in Globe, Arizona - Photo by Cat Cook May 22, 2011

Looking for your own steam locomotive? We have some kits and Ready-to-run locomotives in stock. Click here to see HO scale locomotives. Click here to see N scale locomotives.

And, speaking of Dunsmuir (mentioned above), they are having their 2011 Dunsmuir Railroad Days this weekend in Dunsmuir, CA. They will have vintage trains at the Union Pacific railyard, it costs $1 to tour them. There will also be model train displays, a parade, speeder rides, a 2-mile and 5-mile run, music, vendors, pancake breakfast, and more. For even more information you can visit their site here: Dunsmuir Railroad Days


National Train Day & Rickreall Model Train Show

May 13th, 2011

Last Saturday was National Train Day, a holiday started in 2008 by Amtrak to celebrate the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. The golden spike was driven home on May 10th 1869 in Promontory, Utah connecting the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads. Although the holiday was initiated by Amtrak, all sorts of railroad museums, model railroad clubs, railfans, and model railroad retailers celebrate with events across the country.

Celebration of completion of the transamerican railroad on 1869-05-10 (May 10th 1869) at what is now Golden Spike National Historic Site.  Public Domain: From the NPS website at http://www.nps.gov/gosp/index.htm

Celebration of completion of the transamerican railroad on May 10th 1869 at what is now Golden Spike National Historic Site. Public Domain: From the NPS website at http://www.nps.gov/gosp/index.htm

This year we did our celebrating by being a part of the Rickreall Model Train Swapmeet & Show just west of Salem, Oregon hosted by the Polk Station Rail Model Train Club. This club was founded in 1993 and features an HO scale layout which is permanently housed in a large upstairs room of the historic Rickreall Grange Hall.

Show organizer and club president, Tom Pryor, welcomes everyone in at the front door. Photo by Cat Cook

Show organizer and club president, Tom Pryor, welcomes everyone in at the front door. Photo by Cat Cook

The subject of their layout is the Oregonian Railroad which was a narrow gauge railroad that ran through Polk Station to Dallas, Oregon until Southern Pacific acquired the line in 1890 which removed the narrow gauge and replaced it with standard gauge. The layout is quite large and has great use of light and sound. Below you will find just a couple of shots, one includes the Tim Burr logging truck from Woodland Scenics.

The use of lighting in the Polk Station Rail Model Train Club's layout is fabulous as seen in this part of the neighborhood. Photo by Cat Cook

The use of lighting in the Polk Station Rail Model Train Club's layout is fabulous as seen in this part of the neighborhood. Photo by Cat Cook

Section of the Polk Station Rail Model Train Club layout featuring a Tim Burr Logging truck by Woodland Scenics. Photo by Cat Cook

Section of the Polk Station Rail Model Train Club layout featuring a Tim Burr Logging truck by Woodland Scenics. Photo by Cat Cook

One of the best things about participating in train shows is meeting other vendors with unique items we haven’t seen before. This show gave us a few opportunities to meet such folks. First, we met Dave one of our ‘table neighbors’ upstairs. He does custom modeling and scratch building of HO vehicles and equipment. He displays and sells some of his already completed projects and takes on custom projects for customers looking for items that are not already available in the marketplace. Although he mostly works in HO scale, he is not vehemently opposed to doing projects in O or N scale. “If you can imagine it, I can build it,” he says. Dave can be reached at dgeo59@hotmail.com or 503-442-0140.

A custom detailed Ford F350 contactor's pick up by Dave. Photo by Cat Cook

A custom detailed Ford F350 contactor's pick up by Dave. Photo by Cat Cook

An drill that can be used for oil or water, custom built by Dave. Photo by Cat Cook

A trailer-mounted drill custom built by Dave. Photo by Cat Cook

Another unique vendor we met this show was photographer, Laurie Breier. Laurie’s collection of photography is called Graffiti Artistry and it provides a unique view of railcars acting as the canvas to graffiti’s paint.  Railroad graffiti is its own subculture which Laurie captures as striking images framed and ready to display. The subject inspires conversation about topics such as the history of ‘graffiti’ on trains back to the days of hobo codes, what is art, and how has graffiti affected railroads, railfans, and modeling. Laurie can be reached at wkndrs@cmspan.net.

Laurie Breier displaying some of her work at the Rickreall Model Train Show. Photo by Cat Cook

Laurie Breier displaying some of her work at the Rickreall Model Train Show. Photo by Cat Cook

Laurie sharing one of her photos featuring graffiti and rust taken near the Roseburg, OR rail yard. Photo by Cat Cook

Laurie sharing one of her photos featuring graffiti and rust taken near the Roseburg, OR rail yard. Photo by Cat Cook

If you missed participating in some of the events for this year’s National Train Day here are a couple of the other big rail events coming this summer:

And here are some lists of other rail events for your perusal:

National Train Day Street Faire this Saturday in Ashland, OR

May 5th, 2011

The Ashland Historic Railroad Museum is celebrating National Train Day this Saturday the 7th from 12pm – 4pm at their current location 258 A Street in Ashland, Oregon. Aside from live music, railroad presentations by historians and rail organizations, and children’s activities they will be holding a raffle to help raise funds to acquire the original Railroad Depot for museum expansion.

The original Railroad Depot for Ashland at 5th and A Streets. Photo by Cat Cook

The original Railroad Depot for Ashland at 5th and A Streets. Photo by Cat Cook

We are already committed to attend the Rickreall Grange Train Swapmeet & Show May 7th & 8th and can’t attend ourselves but we donated a raffle prize to help the cause: a complete deluxe Thomas & Friends train set plus a Short Line Engineer Kit so the lucky winner can operate their new train in style.

Cat delivering the Thomas Train set to the museum for this weekend's raffle. Photo by Don Cook

Cat delivering the Thomas Train set to the museum for this weekend's raffle. Photo by Don Cook

If you live in the State of Jefferson consider dropping by to have a good ol’ time and support the museum! They are raffling off lots of goodies including a stay at the Ashland Springs Hotel!

Ashland Historical Railroad Museum Director & Curator Victoria Law and her husband getting ready for the event! Photo by: Cat Cook

Ashland Historical Railroad Museum Director & Curator Victoria Law and her husband Chris getting ready for the event! Photo by: Cat Cook

Here’s the flyer for the event!

National Train Day Flyer

National Train Day Flyer

Railfans & Passengers Recruited to Observe & Report

April 22nd, 2011

Do you love trains and enjoy fighting crime in your spare time? Amtrak and The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) have jobs for you complete with official identification cards! BNSF has been doing this since 2006 under the Citizens for Rail Security program but now Amtrak has joined in with their Partners for Amtrak Safety and Security program. Picture, if you will, a neighborhood watch for railroads where railfans and, in Amtrak’s case, rail passengers report suspicious activities.

Once you sign up online you are able to print out your very own membership card. You are also given some direction about what type of activities qualify as suspicious. This includes things like: trespassers, unattended vehicles, suspicious objects/packages, suspicious activities or people all on or near railroad property, crimes in progress like vandalism or theft, threats against the railroad, gates left open or damaged, track obstructions, potential mechanical problems with trains and illegal dumping.

Nothing to see here, move along. Photo by Cat Cook

Nothing to see here, move along. Coast Starlight, November 2009 - Photo by Cat Cook

So, you’ve seen something suspicious! Both Amtrak and BNSF make it pretty clear, just because you have a special badge doesn’t mean they want you to go take care of it. What they want you to do is report it! This is where the card comes in handy, as it has the number they would like you to call to report your particular flavor of suspicious activity. Before you call they want you to note some specifics first, here it is helpful to pretend you are a newspaper reporter and note the 6 W’s: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How.

  • Who is being suspicious? Describe them, their vehicle….
  • What is suspicious? Describe what you saw, what occurred….
  • Where is the suspiciousness? Explain where the issue is, include streets or mile markers….
  • When was it suspicious? Relate when this happened, or when you noticed it….
  • Why/How is it suspicious? How doesn’t start with a ‘w’ but it’s in the list; include any other information that might help the police or railroad personnel.
Watch out! I'm official! My Citizens for Rail Security card.

Watch out! I'm official! My Citizens for Rail Security card.

Now, I know you are really liking this badge situation and feel pretty special. Like you have a special ‘in’ with the railroads but wait! There’s more…. The railroads want to make sure you understand that this isn’t an invitation to trespass. You are supposed to report trespassers, not become one! That would defeat the whole purpose. Don’t trespass even to answer the 6 W’s.  Restricted areas include places like: employee areas, maintenance facilities, unoccupied trains, engines, or maintenance vehicles, office areas, baggage areas, delivery areas, commissaries, right-of-way areas, track areas, and in-service train cars. Then there are the tracks, don’t walk on the tracks! That’s a big no-no. It’s highly illegal and highly dangerous. Only cross tracks at roadway crossings or designated pedestrian areas and when taking photos of trains always do it at least 15 feet from the closest rail.

San Luis Obispo Amtrak Station November 2009 Photo by Cat Cook

Where not to stand when taking a photo. Obviously I hadn't read the rules yet. San Luis Obispo Amtrak Station, November 2009 - Photo by Cat Cook

Of course, we should all be reporting suspicious activity whether we have a special identification card or not.  However, you may want to consider signing up with Amtrak or BNSF since the cards are handy for reminding us of rules around railroads and for providing the phone numbers to contact authorities in case of suspicious activities or safety hazards. Oh, and then there is the cool factor. I printed mine on card stock to give it that extra little ‘something’. Now, I just need a laminator to preserve my fancy ID cards for all time…

Eugene Train Show: Railfans & Layouts & Speeders – Oh My!

April 13th, 2011

Last weekend (April 9 & 10, 2011) was the 23rd Annual Willamette Cascade Model Railroad Club Train Show & Swap Meet in Eugene, OR. It was our first time there and we met many new & friendly folks. We look forward to going back for this show year after year. In all, it filled 3 large rooms of the Expo Building at the Lane County Fairgrounds. There were layouts, equipment, vintage railroadiana, railfan goodies, model trains & accessories in abundance. Lee & Diane Temple were on point organizing the show, their hard work paid off with a well-attended and smooth-running event. When they aren’t organizing the train show they specialize in buying, selling, and consigning trains, paper, books, memorabilia, & more! Their business is Temple’s Trains and Things and they can be reached at ttandt@ram-mail.com.

I think I was in the right place - Willamette Cascade Model Railroad Show - Photo by: Cat Cook

I think I was in the right place! - The Willamette Cascade Model Railroad Show - Photo by: Cat Cook

There were a few layouts including Clay’s Trailer-n-Train Railroad, a 24 by 10 foot G-scale layout that is displayed right on the trailer used to transport it from event to event. Across the way were the Oregon Electric O-Gaugers with their 30 by 12 foot O-scale layout. In one of the other rooms Roger Fegles, one of the members of the Willamette Cascade Model Railroad Club, had an awesome N-scale layout displayed.

Gary & Roger of the Willamette Cascade Model Railroad Club were all smiles while working the door at the show. Photo by: Cat Cook

Gary & Roger of the Willamette Cascade Model Railroad Club were all smiles while working the door at the show. Photo by: Cat Cook

Nearby, Ken showed off Dawson Station, his 1 x 4 foot N-scale layout based on the Hull-Oakes lumber mill in Dawson, Oregon. If you’ve never seen Ken’s Dawson Station layout or his website please check it out! I love his video tours, especially the Nightfall at Dawson Station which includes a soundtrack of Willamette Valley frogs & the Arduino Control of Model Train which gives an overview of the circuit boards used to control the locomotive and sound (Hey Dad, if you are reading this, watch that one!) By the way, wanna see how to use a Wii Nunchuk to control a locomotive forwards and backwards (with realistic acceleration) as well as to operate turnouts? You can see it in the Arduino Control of Model Train video. It’s pretty cool and geeky (two attributes I appreciate equally.)

Dawson Station Layout based on Hull-Oakes Sawmill - Photo by: Cat Cook

Dawson Station Layout based on Hull-Oakes Sawmill - Photo by: Cat Cook

If you’ve been to a train show before, you may have seen one of these on display:

M-19 Fairmont Speeder - Photo by: Cat Cook

M-19 Fairmont Speeder - Photo by: Cat Cook

These railroad motorcars, AKA speeders, were used to travel on and inspect track although nowadays Hy-Rail vehicles are usually used instead. The North American Rail Car Operators Association (NARCOA) is comprised of people who privately own these rail cars and get together for excursions on tracks around the country. We met Guy and his speeder named Sophia (pictured below) at the show and got to hear about this fascinating hobby. Because NARCOA has an excellent reputation for safety, they are allowed to rent out rail lines for their excursions. Often these excursions take the motorcar owners and their lucky few passengers to locales miles from civilization for some very unique railroading experiences. For more information about this hobby check out www.narcoa.org and www.railspeeders.com.

"Sophia" the Speeder! Photo by: Cat Cook

"Sophia" the Speeder! She's a Tamper TMC-2 - Photo by: Cat Cook

On the way home I snapped a couple more pictures of Central Oregon & Pacific’s Winchester switching yard:

CORP's Winchester Rail Switching Yard - Photo by Cat Cook

CORP's Winchester Rail Switching Yard - Photo by Cat Cook

Here are some EMD GP20Ds in Central Oregon & Pacific (CORP) and leasing company Capital Equipment Funding (CEFX) paint:

EMD GP20Ds at the Central Oregon & Pacific yard in Winchester, OR - Photo by: Cat Cook

EMD GP20Ds at the Central Oregon & Pacific yard in Winchester, OR - Photo by: Cat Cook

We passed this mystery piece of Maintenance of Way equipment on a West Rail Construction flat bed, if you can identify it please email me (Cat) at media@theshortline.com:

Maintenance of Way Equipment (Unidentified) Photo by: Cat Cook

Maintenance of Way Equipment (Unidentified) Photo by: Cat Cook

Happy Railroading!

Train Video Reviews – Northeast Rails Remembered II (DVD)

March 27th, 2011
Northeast Rails Remembered II DVD from Charles Smiley Presents

Northeast Rails Remembered II DVD from Charles Smiley Presents

Northeast Rails Remembered II on DVD (2011) makes its debut March of 2011 highlighting the end of the Delaware and Hudson (D&H) in the early 1990s. It succinctly covers the history of the D&H, and gives interesting tidbits about some of the towns, industry, and history surrounding the rail line and its transition to Canadian Pacific (CP) Rail.

All the power you will see in this video is diesel-electric from GP38s to SD50s & B23-7s to C40-8s all built between 1967 and 1991 including paint from: Canadian Pacific (CP), Chesapeake & Ohio (CO), Conrail (CR), Chessie Seaboard Multiplied Transportation (CSXT), Delaware & Hudson (D&H), Grand Trunk (GT), Maine Central (MEC), Missouri Pacific (MP), Norfolk Southern (NS), New York, Susquehanna & Western (NYSW), Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac (RFP), Santa Fe (SF), Seaboard System (SBD), Seaboard Coast Line (SCL), SOO Lines (SOO), Southern Railway (SOU), as well as some leased power from GATX & PLMX.

Delaware & Hudson power from Northeast Rails Remembered II DVD by Charles Smiley Presents

Delaware & Hudson power from Northeast Rails Remembered II DVD by Charles Smiley Presents

That’s a lot of variety but nothing like the variety of rolling stock witnessed during the 93 minutes of this program. Aside from the road names already mentioned you’ll see the following in varying quantities: Ashley, Drew & Northern (ADN), Bangor & Aroostook (BAR), Bay Line Railroad (BAYL), Boston & Maine (BM), Berlin Mills Railway (BMS), Burlington Northern (BN), Columbus & Greenville (CAGY), Corinth & Counce Railroad Company (CCR), Canadian National (CN), Green Bay & Western (GBW), Greenville & Northern (GRN), Illinois Central Gulf (ICG), Illinois Terminal (ITC), Lamoille Valley (LVRC), Milwaukee Road (MILW), Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern (MNS), Norfolk Western (NW), Oregon, California & Eastern (OCE), Pittsburgh & Shawmut (P&S), Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), Quebec Central (QC), Reading (RDG), Sandersville Railroad (SAN), Southern Pacific (SP), St. Louis Southwestern Railway (SSW), Terminal Railway Alabama State Docks (TASD), and Union Pacific (UP).

But wait! There’s more! In addition to all that you get to see acid trains, coal trains (I was pleased to see a bunch of Shawmut Line hoppers!), iron ore trains and phosphate trains. Also checkout the Rail Analyzer Car and Track Geometry Car courtesy of Conrail, a few passenger cars via Chicago & Northwestern (CNW) and North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDT) and a great look at the James E. Strates Railroad Carnival.

James E. Strates Railroad Carnival from Northeast Rails Remembered II from Charles Smiley Presents

James E. Strates Railroad Carnival from Northeast Rails Remembered II from Charles Smiley Presents

Phew! That’s a lot of variety.  Which in some ways dictates the overall form of the video. Although there is some narration regarding D&H and some of the history and locales, the majority of this film is simply presenting run-by after run-by of colorful trains. Many trains will make an appearance several times throughout the video as it passes through different locations. To some, that might sound dangerously boring but as a chronicle of graffiti-free trains from a time gone by it excels, giving you plenty of opportunities to view the trains from different vantage points. This format also allows you to experience much uninterrupted natural sounds from the trains with almost no competing sounds from the environment. It provides a nice, pure train experience.

Shot by Tom Luckey (Mountain Grades of the B & O, Northeast Rails Remembered) this video was filmed in the late 1980s and early 1990s throughout all the seasons (though winter/fall seems to dominate with most shots containing bare northeastern trees). Aside from some landmarks like the Lehigh River, Hill to Hill Bridge, and Bethlehem Steel Plant the frequency of winter forests are a nice neutral backdrop for all the colorful trains to stand out against.

Northeast Rails Remembered II Map from Charles Smiley Presents

Northeast Rails Remembered II Map from Charles Smiley Presents

Northeast Rails Remembered II is great for people who like diesel locomotives, lots of variety in road names, and appreciate seeing pre-graffiti trains of the northeast, particularly Pennsylvania. The majority of this film simply lets the trains roar by telling their own story however, it’s punctuated by the tried and true Charles Smiley maps and narration giving some reference and structure to what is a high volume, quality, and variety of train footage.