The Big E Report

On Saturday January 29th I made the trek to Springfield, MA for the Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show. Here are some of the neat things I'd like to share.

Southern New England "O" scale
City Classics....Go Steelers!
 Awesome U25B "Executive Line" from Bowser.

 New Bowser "Executive Line"Century ALCo C-630, pre-production.

 NY&OW Historical Society

 New From Bachman, RS-3's

 Bachman, D&H Hopper

 Bachman, I Love NY boxcar

 From ExactRail...

I bought one of these ExcatRail PS-2CD Covered Hoppers!

 From our very own local CH&R Structures , The company house...

 Tower B in Albany, NY

 and the rooftop water tank.

 From InterMountain, the new SD20-2Ws in HO and N scale.

From Custom Model Railroad.......great downtown structures.

From Mark Williams of Imagine That! Laser Art Products....the most impressive boothe at the show by far!

 From Bar Mills, really nice expanded booth this year!

 Nice building seminar, way to go Bar Mills!

 Cobleskill Coal from Branch Line Trains.

 My new favorite structure from Branch Line!

 XO Tower in Mechanicville, TMB Custom Models , he built this from the magizine article and produced the magizine article for Rail Model Journal. Awesome Stuff!'

Me and the VTR Moose!

 Atlas had a nice booth the new GP-40-2 (W)

Woodland Scenics had a great booth....lots of new stuff.

Rob D

Return of the 643

These January nights are a great time to be trackside with the lights on the D&H North End. I set my sights on 253 last night, after learning of its leader, CEFX 1030 and that the train was pulling into Mohawk Yard near Schenectady around 19:45. Remembering my last search for 253 which became very late departing from Mohawk Yard near Schenectady, tonights 253 should be up in my neck of the woods well before sunrise! LOL! Imagine my surprise while driving over to the free Crown Point ferry crossing of Lake Champlain, to hear a garbled conversation on the car scanner between night dispatcher Sandy and DS-13 on the Whitehall tower. Sandy was instructing DS 13, the local which serves the large International Paper mill in Ticonderoga, to plan on taking the siding at Whitehall to meet a 643 with the SOO 6027! Instantly wearing a big grin, I'm thinking.........you gotta be kidding me.......643 is running tonight with the same power set from the 642 I shot at Port Henry Tuesday night! So I arrive in Port Henry with the intention of shooting all four units on the curve there alongside the display train. Along comes a friend I have'nt crossed paths with in months, the third shift Port Henry policeman. We get to talking about local and world events until suddenly it dawns on me that I better get to setting up unless I want to watch 643 pass by from the civic! Before you knew it, maybe thirty minutes later, here comes 643 whistling into town, with Garys set up not finished, groan. Rather than get angry, quite a self-destructive emotion when you are alone, (laughing I reminded myself.......there is no one around who cares Gary, get over it) I figured this failure was universe leveling the playing field again after my two captures of 642 earlier in the week! LOL! What could I come up with for an encore? It was 03:30, 253 was around two hours away coming north, 643 had meets north of me with 930 and 252 to deal with. I gathered up the lights and headed for Plattsburgh, it was a long shot but how many trains will I get to shoot with SOO LINE and ICE power on it? After meeting 930 at Wadhams siding, 643 continued north towards its meet with 252 just south of Plattsburgh at Bluff Point. Arriving at the station in Plattsburgh I hopped out of the civic as 252 was passing by. It did'nt look good, but I optimistically began to set up the lights. I would get one chance at best! Worse, the setup at Plattsburgh is time consuming as you are required to drive a block or two to come around from setting up the majority of the lights along the backside of a fence guarding a sidewalk. As I drove back into the station parking area, I heard the crews inspecting each others train at Bluff Point, maybe five miles away. Placing two flash units on this side, then finding a spot for the stepladder and I was in business! A couple minutes later the Dock St. crossing signals are activated and around the curve comes the SOO 6027! As the head end comes downgrade past the station, I'm wearing a big smile as I click! Capturing the moment.......success! The engineer gives me a couple toots! You an imagine the conversation in the cab at the moment............."wait a minute, did'nt we just see Gary earlier at Port Henry?" Ha,ha,ha! The image was worth the effort getting up here legally from Port Henry. See what you think! Shot on January 28, 2011 at 04:59 in Plattsburgh, NY. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.

All The Best In 2011;

Two Icons of the Battenkill

Two Icons of the Battenkill Railroad dominate tonights photo, RS-3 4116, acquired secondhand from the D&H, is stablemate to the 605, and then there is this "Stop, Look And Listen" grade crossing sign in Shushan, NY. John Culligan, who showed me this location a couple weeks back, claims there is "one" other survivor of this style of grade crossing warning sign remaining.........up in Quebec somewhere. All the more reason to appreciate this one surviving nearby. I'm told its in the Battenkills plans to repaint the sign this year, which would be remarkable! And to think I had written off making the drive down earlier in the day. The run to Eagle Bridge and the interchange with the D&H was on again, off again due to troubles with the newly repainted flanger, trailing 4116 in tonights photo. Cully had been keeping me appraised of changes in plans via a couple cell phone calls, and I had to ask, (knowing his adversion to the radiation devices) what phone are you calling from? Cully confessed the crew had let him borrow one of theirs to call me, long distance. I'm thinking.......I like these guys! Ha,ha,ha! SO after the third call warning me plans had changed again and they were making a run for Eagle Bridge, the flanger fixed up temporarily, I undertook the two hour twenty minute drive down, and was happy to arrive here in Shushan far enough ahead of the return trip to capture this image! Once I had set up the lighting here, I found I had backed myself into a corner so to speak composition wise. The view with my 35 & 28mm had the crossing sign in front of the background house, and I really wanted to separate the house, crossing sign and train. All three were strong elements in the photo and I wanted to keep them that way. Thanks again to Cully, who waved the train to a stop at the downtown crossing to let them know I was set up here, I had time to change lenses yet again to the Nikkor 14-24 zoom, and at the 24mm setting I got what I wanted! Of course, all this takes time.......estimating the manual focus distance and all......and when I finally mounted the stepladder the train was underway again and closing quickly! Engineer Billy Tabor saw me get in position atop the stepladder and notched out the 4116 for me, resulting in a neat display of sparks from the stack! The photo all came together within the last minute. And yes, I was glad I made tthe effort to drive down this afternoon! Special thanks to Cully! SHot in SHushan, NY on January 13, 2011 at 18:22. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.

All The Best In 2011


Sunday At Frank's

Sunday we got together at Frank Adamec's house. Saratoga Union Staion is coming along, Frank built a shadowbox on the lower level, next he will work on the street level.

Bill, Dave and Harold. Who farted?

 Trackside view of the station.

 Another building Frank kitbashed to fit the space...nice modern door on the end.

Frank's workbench is in the middle of the room, soon this will be where a 4' by 8' engine facility will go. There's Brad, Mark and Bill.

 Another new downtown structure goes up.

The new Cold Storage is ready for service also! We had a great night!

Rob D

Sunday Milk

Looking every bit the tired ol girl that she is, 2-8-0 #26 has just had her fill of good Pine Lake water as she sits near the Skenesborough Station awaiting hostler Jimmy Whalen taking her back to the yard where she'll take over the Sunday Milk.

RS-3 #203, having done her part, she sits in the clear while the Old Consolidation takes over for the next leg of the Sunday Milk Run.

Being a little short of cash, the SVRR has found that by tacking a combine behind the steamer on weekends, they can draw in a little extra cash from rail buffs anxious to ride behind live steam.

Jim Lafayette

Alco At Night?

It seemed like only a day or two ago, when I read the email from Cully informing me that Battenkill had repaired their less attractive RS-3 4116, (orange and black) and 605 would be shut down for a rest. So, with a good sized snowstorm arriving tomorrow, I had decided to let the Tuesday run go, and wait to shoot the Wed. run in fresh snow. Tuesday afternoon around 3 pm I discover a message on my answering machine........ its from Cully, the 605 is running today, and it will be going through Cambridge and Shushan after dark. I'm staring at the answering machine, I'm thinking, well, I have to go. How many chances will I get to shoot 605 at night? So I make up a thermos of tea, a couple sandwiches for breakfast somewhere, and head out. Two and a half hours later I'm in Cambridge, just in time to watch 605 pass by the station, in darkness! LOL! Oh the pain! Ha,ha,ha! I drove up to Shushan but did not have enough time to finish setting up before 605 came by. Then I headed into Greenwich, to shoot from a balcony on the backside of a house which overlooked the railroad. Arriving at the house, it looked abandoned! No lights on inside. I walked around to the back to find the balcony roof off and an overflowing trash container trackside below it! I was too late! The place was being dismantled. While I could still enjoy the elevation from the second story balcony, who wanted to look at a trash container with an RS-3 passing behind it? After scouting around the neighborhood, it became obvious, I had to try looking at the bridge again. I liked this angle, shot from down low. The junkyard underneath the bridge is hidden. And that paint scheme is outrageous! What a glamorous ALCO! Thanks for the heads up Cully. Shot on January 11, 2011 at 20:45 in Greenwich, NY. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.

All The Best In 2011;



Robert Gould's EL

I stopped over Rob Gould on New Years Day too see how's things are progressing. His MRCs Prodigy DCC system is working great and he's been working on his city scenes and adding scenery. 

LV & D&H make an appearance.

 The city scenes are coming along.

The local is sitting waiting on a warm sunny day.

The working Pabst Blue Ribbon Sign was a Christmas present.

The middle staging yard, in the downstairs "crew room".

Enjoy, Rob D


Sharing Vintage Champagne

I had been made aware the previous night by friend John "Cully" Culligan, that the ALCO RS-3 powered Battenkill Railroad would be using their RS-3 605 to run down to the interchange at Eagle Bridge, NY during December 28th. And with these shortened days, the opportunity "might" present itself to capture the elderly ALCO passing the Cambridge Station as dusk or darkness fell. For "Out of Towners", the Battenkill operates one day a week, (usually Tues.) and their day usually begins at seven am. Because of this daytime schedule the ALCO RS-3 powered line has not been on my radar. Rest assurred, I will be visiting again soon! SO after returning from shooting the pair of NECR GP 38s on 324 earlier that morning, I went horizontal for a couple hours, did'nt really get much sleep. I mean, how many times do you get to shoot an as-built RS-3 at night? Ha,ha,ha! A quick check of the email around noon confirmed the 605 was running!! This was too much! Another great gift to shoot. Leaving the compound around 1:30 pm, I was in position in Cambridge at 4, enduring driving into the setting sun all the way south, LOL! I know.......I know.......its a rough life! After setting up the lights, Cully walked in, but alas, the 605 showed up maybe fifteen minutes before it got dark. Not to worry, proclaimed Cully, and he led me on a mini tour of Shushan, then we went over the hills on a shortcut, coming to a stop in front of a classic farmhouse outside of Battenville, NY. I found a setting I liked in the front yard, as Cully knocked on the front door for permission on the property and we quickly threw up the lights. Once I was happy with the lighting, Cully went out to meet 605 at a crossing up the line to make them aware of the impending night photo. The engineer was enthusiastic about this, and offerred to come to a stop and dim the headlights as well as turn on the number lights! With everything in place, Cully rejoined me back here, and waited to spot the 605 as she pulled up to a stop. The stage was set for my first night photo of an honest to goodness RS-3! In a few minutes 605s headlight was spotted, and as she came idling up to a stop it all came rushing back to me; the many appeals of the ALCO RS-3s. The 244s exhaust sounds otherworldly now, in 2010, advertising the brute pulling abilities ALCOs were known for. Within a minute, its all captured! One of New Englands reclusive antique diesels pausing for its portrait in the night. Afterwards it was Cully who accurately summed up the night shoot as "Sharing vintage champagne" . Thanks for your help Cully! Shot in Battenville, NY on December 28, 2010 at 18:11. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.

Happy New Year!
Gary & Cully!