253 By Midnight

In tonight's night photo we return to Canadian Pacific's ex-Delaware & Hudson Canadian Main at Plattsburgh, NY. Standing in for you and I in the photo are long time D&H railfans Bonnie and Richard Wingler who, upon being promised a “253 by midnight” agreed to drive “into town” from nearby Cadyville to join me to pose in the night photo. They knew what they were getting into, (big smile)! Bonnie and Richard are responsible for inviting me down to Rogers Island in Fort Edward, NY to shoot this gem at their re-enactment campsite: https://neverhomeboy.smugmug.com/Canadian-Pacifics-Delaware-Hud/i-tD66hqC/A in Sept. 2010. Tonight marked the first time we had met up in over two years!
The reason behind our “rendevous” was the pair of 5000 series rebuilt SD-30 Ecco units powering 253 tonight! This was thought to be the first time a pair of the attractive rebuilds have worked on the D&H together. We are all for this becoming an operational pattern! LOL! Run the Ecco units on the short run from Montreal to Saratoga, NY and save the GEs to go west! The Winglers drove in tonight as I was finishing the lighting around 21:30. We did the required test shots, Gary did his tweaking of the lighting, and the new owner of the station building came out to see what we were up to. He liked how his new home, the station, looked in my test shots! He will get copies yes!
With 253 normally departing from Saratoga, NY at 19:00, we knew we could expect to see them here anytime after 22:30, depending on work enroute, etc. We talked by our autos as 22:30 came and went, and 23:00. But we heard a garbled transmission on the car scanner which we took for the defective equipment detector south of us at Port Kent, and some twenty minutes later we heard more garbled talk which we deduced to be 253 working nearby in Bluff Point Yard. After several minutes of talk silence took over, and we took up positions, crossing the track wading through the snow, only to hear after several minutes 253 talking with the dispatcher. Ok......NOW we concluded they are on the move! Bonnie thought how we should hear 253 whistle for crossings south of us, and I thought to myself, yeah right, not tonight........because we are in here! LOL! 
Maybe ten minutes pass by as we listened for the approaching 253. The reason for our attention was how they come around a blind curve, over Dock St. crossing, and down past us at the station with an allowed track speed of thirty mph. You need to be ready. I think I hear ‘em! This proved to be a railfan failure, LOL! Then several minutes later we hear the distinct, but faint rumble of EMD prime movers. Suddenly the quiet is broken as crossing signals activate up at Dock St. An air horn sounds out blending in with the bells at the crossing! And CP 5035 emerges from behind a building on the blind curve, I fire off the lighting as they cross Dock St. I’m judging 253s speed as he rolls in on us, the engineer gives us a short toot just before 5035s pilot plow passes my mark! Yup! It looks like thirty mph to me! After shooting Pan Am Railways for several nights this is fast! LOL!
The lighting does its thing and I check the image as it comes up on the rear of the camera, then out of habit turn to give a wave to the head end, now several car lengths past me! Having shot this scene many times with the Canon 5D in the past, tonight surprisingly marked the first time I have shot with the Ricoh GR here! I am smiling after seeing the results! We three migrate back over across the track to the autos where we visited for a while then Bonnie & Richard headed for home. I stayed to see what 252 had for power coming across the border into Rouses Point, (just in case) but they had a GE, so I collected the lighting and took off. Shot in Plattsburgh, NY on March 20, 2017 at 23:40. First day of spring! We are holding off on planting gardens.....for now. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
Bonus photos are included of myself with both Bonnie and Richard! They deserve to be publicized! Not all my railfan friends are willing to pose in my night photos. You know who you are, lol! Special thanks to Bonnie and Richard! By the way, the tiny point and shoot hanging from my neck in the photos IS indeed the $550 Ricoh GR! With Pocket Wizard transmitter attached to the hotshoe. An amazing camera/lens combo!
All The Best In 2017;

Universal Man

Many decades ago Weston had a figure they called, I believe, "Flexible Man" or something like that. I'm thinking this Preiser figure can be "Universal Man".
In Chapter 8 "The Gulliver Effect" covered how I alter figures for specific "needs" but, this little fellow wasn't so much altered as he was used for a variety of specific needs.  I think most of you saw when I used this guy as a man waving.  Many of the visitor groups even got to see him wave good-by via email after you left and returned home.  He was thanking you for your courtesy.
I've used the same figure to adjust the mirror on my trucks and now, with an easily made prop he hands up train orders.  I attached the "prop" with Elmer's so it can be removed easily when using the figure for other needs or to return him to the adjuster of truck mirrors.  And, yes I know I have to have the fireman reaching from the cab to retrieve said "orders". 
I kit-bashed a fireman to grab the orders.  I couldn't get the factory installed windows out of the CNJ F3 so I substituted another F3 to complete the scenario.

Happy creative modeling,
Wayne Sittner


D&H RS3m's in Bloom!

  Aaron's beautiful fleet of D&H RS3m's take a ride on Kip's layout! Enjoy!


Vic Roman's NYC Hudson Division

This past weekend the Hudson Berkshire was able to visit Vic Roman's Hudson Division. Vic has created a beautiful work of art with trains running through it. He wants more operation action. He wants a longer mainline. He wants easier access to staging tracks. He wants a larger and bigger layout so he has done what some of us might dream about. He built a basement addition, with a house addition above. And in a few short weeks, he will be disassembling his current layout. Above is the beautiful Albany Union Station.

Downtown Albany is the main focus of the layout.

Underpass at Madden Lane.

 Albany's fire boat.

Madden Lane Bridge.

 West Albany Shops.

Central Warehouse in Albany.


Ken Karlewicz’s HO Scale Delaware & Hudson Layout

A trio of C420's drift down grade passing the Cement Plant at Howe's Cave, NY. Well they say in life, "Timing is everything” so when I got a call last July from my friend and Master Model Railroad Technician Don Buesing asking  "Hey Ken, did you still need help to build a railroad?”, I scrambled to my calendar to see how we could create a plan of action. Don and I began work on my "Piece of the Bridge” on July 26 2016, with Don making the weekly three hour trip down from Saratoga Springs to my home in Rockland County. Working ten hours per day, both Tuesday and Wednesday each week (with the exception of a few snow days and a holiday of two) the last weekend of February saw us completing session #20, with Don installing the last of the thirteen Tortoises and I keeping the scenery progressing steadily from Central Bridge through Howe's Cave and over toward Cobleskill. The railroad is a mostly proto freelanced, point to point shelf layout, focused on the area of upstate NY. between Worcester and Central Bridge NY. during 1978-1981 with trains traveling from the main upstairs bedroom to and from a nine track staging yard in an adjacent room. The  DCC layout was designed for operation, offering lots of switching possibilities along the mainline and  the Battenkill inspired interchange yard and branch, which runs to the yet to be configured “Cherry Valley yard". We feel very fortunate, in that we share a  similar work ethic, passion and attention to detail, which has proven to be paramount in all phases of the layout’s construction and development. Our  work and brainstorming sessions always end with high fives and while we're both very happy with the progress we've made over the past seven months, it's inspiring to realize how much will still need to be done and no doubt redone, as time passes. Looking back over the past seven months, I realize that what started out as an idea to build "my piece" of the bridge, actually has turned out to be “Our Piece of the Bridge” and a truly collaborative effort combining the skills and talents of two very inspired model railroaders, intent on getting and keeping the trains and a great friendship, moving in the right direction.
Don in the blue flannel and I during our October field trip to do all of the measurements for the underpass scene. You may contact Don at:

Track detail at Schoharie Jct. Interchange.

A pair of Alco's work the "Mill Job" making their final moves at Schoharie Jct.
before heading to the Agway at Central Bridge.

Southbound RPPY blows through Central Bridge with RS11 5002 throttling up past the Agway for the assault on Howe's Cave Hill.

An overall view of my spare bedroom layout!

Ken Karlewicz


Completing the Main

I have working to complete at least one scene on my layout. A local CP switcher is heading over the Barton River on the way to service the Ethan Allen plant at Orleans, VT.

You can see the plant in the background.

To finish the main line on the layout I need to build a  lift out. I used 2 pieces of 3/8 hardboard and 1/2 homasote sandwiched and glued and screwed together.

Sides attached and level.

Once the track is in, I'll cut the main and add power.

Rob D

BFPO at Bernardston

The weekly unit Slurry Train operating out of Riverside Yard near Bellows Falls, VT. destined for Portland, Maine and paper mills beyond is a natural assignment for Pan Ams newly acquired 4000 h.p. ex-CSX C40-8s. When I first learned they were assigned to the job, I drove down the next Sat. night, arriving at 23:00 to find the train gone, so I arrived the next Sat. evening at 21:00, and the train was gone! This past Sat. I arrived at 17:00 and found the train with C40-8s parked in Riverside Yard, waiting for a crew! I was reminded of Winston Link relating how it took several visits to capture a certain steam powered train with a grade crossing watchman in the photo. Winston mentioned how the train kept running earlier and earlier in the night, until one night it came by at 01:00. LOL! Tonight, in true Pan Am form, the crew arrives by light power, not taxi, riding in a third C40-8. Seeing this I grabbed a Veggie-Delite salad from a nearby Subway and parked alongside the yard in an obscure truck unloading lot.
While I am eating the salad a car enters the lot, stops and the driver steps out to talk. I’m amazed he stumbled onto me back here! He asks if I know of a good hotel in the area, I don’t being from out of town. He explains he is going skiing and has no reservations for a room. I tell him, it’s Sat. night, good luck! I direct the man to Hetty Green further into town as he did’nt like the nearby hotel. I finish up the salad while the crew does brake tests, then, obeying Railfan rule #14, I wait until they are pulling around 21:30 and head for the interstate. My focus is to catch the C40-8s on the bridge in Bernardston with snow, the shots around Bellows Falls can wait. You see, with Amtraks Vermonter running over the bridge now on its new route, there is a twenty five mph slow order in effect. Amtrak plans to eliminate the slow order likely in 2017 by resurfacing the bridge. This attention from Amtrak will undoubtedly bring a cantilever safety walkway installed on one side of the bridge. Any guesses which side will get the walkway? (Big smile).
I arrive around 22:15 near the bridge, and immediately think how being here early on a weekend will draw attention, and sure enough, later on while I am waiting on BFPO the town cop shows up! He hollers down to me from the parking lot where the Civic rests, maybe twenty to thirty yards away............”Can you come up here?” LOL! I holler back no, I’m sorry officer I am waiting for a train, I don’t know where it is. I was thinking HELL NO! Talk about inviting BFPO to appear, that would be the time! So the officer, to his credit, negotiates the path in the hard packed snow in his street shoes to interview me. One of the neighbors, as I feared, had spotted the tiny red lights on each flash unit and become concerned. I do a quick scan of the nearest houses imagining a concerned couple on the back deck watching intently that I could wave to but disappointed, see no one. Once he checks my id and learns what I am up to, the officer has no problem with my activity and satisfied, heads out.
After a long stake out, which included a large skunk wandering through the snow in the scene, I hear an air horn that sounds like Amtrak! Smiling I remember the C40-8s have similar sounding horns.........here they come! The wait is ovah! After whistling for two more crossings headlight glow silhouettes bare trees on the far side of Fall River, I fire off the lighting and find my marks up on the bridge using the ol’ headlamp as headlights appear in the darkness, then start across the stone arches at maybe twenty mph. Watching the leaders headlights moving above me, when I think they are where I want the pilot plow to be I say to myself........”Wait”, then press the shutter thus overcoming the tendency to shoot a hair early. The colors comprising my second favorite CSX paint scheme reflect back with the stone arches for a split second, then darkness envelopes the scene again! Success appears on the rear lcd monitor as an endless string of white tank cars filled with limestone slurry roll by above, sixty two in all.
To me, the photogenic C40-8s are a great addition to the variety of locomotives that call New England home. The benefits from embracing the New England trait of frugality is certainly not lost on Pan Am. I like the black “add-on” cab door on leader 7643! They can run around in this paint scheme for as long Pan Am management desires and no complaints will come from Gary! Shot in Bernardston, MASS at 00:30 on February 19, 2017. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2017;
Gary Knapp


Robert Gould's Cheshire Line

The Cheshire Line, is the layout of Robert Gould, who, interestingly enough, lives on Cheshire Place. The layout is a freelanced layout styled along the lines of the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad on its trek from New Jersey to Chicago; passing through some of the same cities. It is a loop around the cellar layout with some built out areas for industries and cities, rail yards and staging areas.

This is not Rob's first layout. He received a Lionel train at eight years old and it wasn't long before his uncle and dad built a platform on which he could set up the trains and add details. His uncle had a large Lionel layout that provided considerable inspiration. He has built a couple since. Although this layout was started in August of 1981, it is only within the last couple of years that he has had regular time to work on it. Rob has had full-scale railroad experience, having worked for the D&H, CSX, and now as a railroad inspector for the State of New York.

Robert uses a Digitrax system with circuit breakers for six districts. Although he doesn't have regular op-sessions, he still has a car card system for directing and monitoring car movement. And he has a lot of cars – well over three hundred – so yards and staging areas can easily become clogged with rolling stock. He has a couple of large wall-mounted cabinets for handling extra cars and engines, but there is now more than they can handle, too.

There is plenty of freight traffic moving through on the adjacent mainline tracks and it is being faithfully watched over by the old switch tower.

An Erie-Lackawanna freight operation is busy with contract freight and items that are too big for UPS. That cab-over tractor was typical of the period and the location. The long frame was used mainly in the mid-west.

Having enough coal cars to run a forty-seven car unit coal train adds a lot in itself. And to get all three hundred plus cars to work well together, he recently went through the process of aligning all coupler heights and replacing all axles with ones with metal wheels. He says that this has made a great difference as the cars can be pulled so much easier and do not string-line on curves.

Form19 Editor Bert Pflegl for the copy, Rob Dennis photos.

West Waterford Update!

A view of the river going through the sawmill.
 Grandpa's camp on Lake Champlain next to the D&H.

 Overhead of work continuing on sawmill.

Wan's Wonk Wagon!

Mark Oliviere

Going To Church

The first night photo of 2017 is taken on Friday the 13th of January, on a full moon night, in the rain outside the Green Mountain Baptist church in Center Rutland, Vermont. Vermont Rail System (VRS), has applied the finishing touches to one of their two ex-Florida East Coast SD70-2Ms, 431, that has been repainted by the shop forces on the Providence & Worchester into VTR red & white! The white part being striping and lettering applied in Rutland. Once 431 emerged from the Rutland enginehouse with its white striping and lettering, fortunately for me (and you) the unit was turned on the Rutland wye to face east! This move made it possible to shoot it going past the church in Center Rutland, one of my favorite locations! I’ve been saving the location for the return of 431 over the past month or so!
I thought of Winston Link when 431 made its debut run over to Whitehall and back the previous night, LOL! I was just starting the drive down to Center from home, when I learned the crew was already headed back eastward just after midnight, light power! I was too late. So tonight I headed out earlier, leaving around 22:45, arriving at the church at 00:15. And this night the crew aboard 431 came by after 04:00. Winston, in a video done of his work at night, had lamented during an interview about how the unpredictability of freight train schedules became an accepted risk/part of the hobby, LOL!. Some photos he took required several consecutive nights before he got a chance at taking the shot.
Tonight, I am all set up by a little after 01:00. The weather is outstanding for a night photo, windy with temps in the forties in January! It deteriorates as the hours pass into a steady light rain with temps falling into the low thirties. Still excellent for a night photo and that is what matters! Ratty weather for humans produces great night photos of trains! After 03:15ish I hear the CLP 263 job departing from Whitehall on the car scanner. I do the usual tweaking of the lighting to keep moving around, not that it needed it. Being careful not to do something I’ll regret, lol! Around 04:00 I hear an air horn, but from the wrong direction! It belongs to the VTR GP 38-2 201 leading the job going to Burlington coming out of Rutland to meet the Whitehall train at Center. Several minutes later I hear 431 coming in from the west, blowing for crossings in West Rutland. I’m thinking how this could be spectacular! Visualizing the 431 wearing VTR red & white at this location.
Atop the stepladder, I hear 431s engineer blowing for the Rte 4 crossing, then a secondary road followed by silence as the train climbs Boardman Hill toward me. Finally I see brush trackside below the church start to lighten up, I fire off the lighting, and watch. Headlights appear behind the evergreen in front of me and I look away at my mark, then as the 431 starts to follow the curved track to my left I look back and watch as the pilot plow slowly drifts up and past my mark. I wait a second then fire. Red and white reflects back! Wow! I give conductor Dominic Cioffi a wave as his side of the cab passes by, the dark shape of 431 towering above me. Then I check the photo on the GRs monitor.............Holy Cow! Dosen’t 431 look great here? Glistening in the rain?
This historic trackage, incorporated as the Rutland & Whitehall Railroad in Nov. of 1848 before being acquired by the Delaware & Hudson, who would eventually sell it to VRS subsidiary Clarendon & Pittsford, saw all the exotic D&H diesels passing by the church here, RS-3s, PAs and the Baldwin Sharks to name a few models. The 431 certainly fits right in tonight with the addition of the evergreen, which I’m sure is a recent improvement to the location! SHot in Center Rutland, Vermont on January 13, 2017 at 04:11. Special thanks to Michael Ricketts! Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2017;
Gary Knapp

"Inch At A Time" Chapter 22 - Modeling Piles Of Old Ties

While I don't keep up much with manufacturers offerings I don't think anyone's come up with this commercially!
Over the years I've photographed many piles of discarded ties.  I've found that, while they differ in size, texture, condition, etc., they do share some commonalities.  And, they're oh so simple to recreate in model form.
After looking through my slides and digitals of prototype "piles" - I settled on the ones found in Saugerties, NY (along Conrail's West Shore line) and Pittston, PA (along the former Lehigh Valley) as my guides.

I did add some Campbell per-cut ties but, mostly I used old wooden matchsticks I cut to proper length.  If your wife burns as many candles as mine you could accumulate quite a lot of the

I made the impressions of removed tie plates and spike holes in some.  For a few, I attached Monster Model Works tie plates to represent the few that were left in place..  Everything was glued together with Elmer's Glue-All before painting/staining.

I trust the photos work well as a guide if you want to include yet another of my prototype observations on your layout.

Wayne  Sittner