Pan Am Heritage Units At Night

Keeping on a roll with heritage locomotives, Pan Am Railways, which operates the ex-Boston and Maine and Maine Central trackage in New England, painted up a couple of their own Heritage engines in 2011 which are featured in tonights night photo. GP-9 ST 77 was painted up in the Boston & Maine maroon and gold scheme used in the fifties in Auguest 2011, and GP-9 MEC 52 was repainted using the Maine Centrals’ 1950’s era “Pine Tree Route” green and gold livery. After being painted, these two engines always seemed to be assigned in or around Portland or Waterville, Maine, far east of my roaming territory at night. This summer the 77 came west assigned to an AD-1 working between North Adams, Mass. and N. Bennington, VT., but it was reported overheating on the return trip to North Adams and subsequently returned to East Deerfield Yard where the maint. forces could keep an eye on her. The MEC 52 soon joined 77 and the two spent the rest of the intervening time rarely being allowed out on the road, being used mostly in hump service in E. Deerfield Yard. You can imagine how disheartening it is to read reports of these two photogenic engines being confined to working the hump in the depths of E. Deerfield Yard each day!
Earlier this month saw the pair “out in public” escaping the confines of the yard powering small ballast trains nearby on the Conn. River Line. I made comments to friends how the East Deerfield to Bellows Falls wayfreight seemed like a natural assignment for the two locomotives, it was a short run with usually a light train. The last two weeks the Heritage pair resumed working the hump together. After shooting the Savannah & Atlanta Heritage engine in Mechanicville, I was waiting for the next night photo opportunity to appear when I checked my email yesterday afternoon. A railfan outside of the yard down in East Deerfield reported that it looked like the 77 & 52 were assigned to a EDBF, East Deerfield – Bellows Falls!! A few minutes later it was confirmed in following emails! I was stunned! It was happening! The 77 & 52 were coming to Bellows Falls! After Dark!
All plans for the night were dropped. After I went downtown and gassed up the Civic and bought a Veggie-Delite, I made a thermos of tea, loaded up the car and was on the road as darkness was falling. While there are several excellent photo locations in Bellows Falls, I had visualizations of the two GP-9s passing another favorite location of mine, south of Bellows Falls at Westminster, VT. where a red feed store sits trackside. My only concern was the feed store might be too much red with the maroon and yellow 77 leading. Two hours and fifteen minutes later, courtesy of I89 & I91 I rolled into the parking lot for the convenience store which bordered the track across from the feed store. During the drive down the car scanner had revealed nothing of EDBFs location. By coincidence, a worker came out the back door to encounter me setting up the light stands and after explaining what I was up to, she answered my question if there had been any trains going by lately, to which she  confidently replied...............nope, nothing has gone by for hours. Turning away from her while breaking into a wide grin, I realized I had arrived ahead of EDBF! Not knowing where they were I turned my attention to methodically setting up the lighting, then out would come the stepladder. So far so good!
Setting up the lights I gratefully acknowledged the contribution made by the NECR brushcutter recently, as it took down small trees bordering the right of way, widening the view here on the right side in the process. The trade off (there is always a trade off) was the fact the trees were of course left laying on the ground and I needed to climb through, over and around them to place light stands. The narrow stumps, cut a foot or more off the ground, were certainly nothing I wanted to risk falling on. So I took my time and finally had the view I liked framed up, test shots taken and I was chatting with the building owner while happily waiting for EDBF. The feed store owner, wearing appropriate attire, a light coat, shorts and those knee high black rubber “muck” boots wondered what I was doin’ of course. Trains, I replied...........a special train is coming by. After we discussed the feed stores history (built in 1902 or earlier) he left me to my specialty. Perhaps fifteen minutes later, an air horn was heard from south of me and eventually I could hear the low growl of non-turbocharged 567s! GP-9s anyone!? Imagine one of the Central Vermonts 700 series 2-10-4s pounding past here! Coming back to tonight, I was thinking....have I even shot an “as-built” GP-9 at night? Tonight could be a first with the lights! Eventually headlight beams reflect off the foliage and an old boxcar parked alongside the feed store, and into the scene accompanied by that lovely sound of non-turbocharged 567s comes Pan Ams Heritage engines, two GP-9s! Leader 77 wearing the classic Boston & Maine maroon and gold! I never thought I would see the night...........lol! With a silent click the light from flash units reflect back and the image is captured. Success! I shot this scene with a 35/2 lens vertically while planning on cropping the bottom and top back home. As much as I wanted to shoot horizontal, the dense growth of poplar trees out of the scene to the right prohibited (to me) placing flash units further to the right throwing light from within the trees. No thanks! So see what you think with this vertical. Shot in Westminster, Vermont on October 27, 2014 at 21:26. Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2014;
Gary Knapp

"Tip Of The Iceberg" Chap. 14 10/24/14‏

After almost a week of cold, wet, windy weather yesterday turned out just right for a photo recon. trip.  I decided to go to the upper reaches of Delaware County to check out towns and villages (and subjects I may have missed in past years) along the long gone Ulster and Delaware RR.  My first stop however was Bovina Center, a town not reached by the U&D.  What a find!  I can't believe I passed it by all these years while traveling Rt 28 to get to the D&H in Oneonta.  What I discovered was, literally, a time capsule with a delightful area resident to give a history and allow access to the intact creamery in the village. Photo 1 is a barn right on Rt 10 (the Main St,) in Hobart.

The rest of the drive took in the towns of Bloomville, South Kortright, Hobart, Stamford, and Grand Gorge.  I found subjects worthy of photographs everywhere.  (84 all told)   And the weather couldn't have been more accommodating, hazy sun that allowed me to take images in all directions with no loss of detail due to strong light and shadow.  
 Here are two of the several auto repair shops I found; these were in Hobart.

 The old store was neat too

Photos of the famous creamery in Bloomville (also Rt 10).  
Note:  Delaware County's land mass is (probably 50% farms with 70% of the population involved in farming (my calculations).
Enjoy,  they're out there still.
Wayne Sittner

Three Canadians

We return to Port Henry, NY in tonights photo, within sight of the west shoreline of Lake Champlain, to check out the view from my favorite perch atop the cab of ex-CP RS-18 1800 as Three Canadians come past the station with 931s freight. It is unusual to say the least, to see three C40-8Ms together running elephant style at night! Each with a different paint scheme! In tonights instance, two painted for CN and one for BCRail, now a part of CN. The leader 2444 and the BC Rail engine had led 930 south earlier in the week and we were keeping an eye out for their return on 931, THEN we learned of the third cowl unit added to the consist. We don’t see this kind of a lash up all that often on CP’s D&H. The 930/931 trains are actually carrying CN/NS freight operated over CP’s D&H Montreal – Binghamton under a haulage agreement involving the three railroads. At times these trains bring the sight of CN locomotives operating over CP track.
Arriving at the station here around 5 p.m., in the belief that you cannot be too early for these guys, it was nearly three and a half hours later before 931 came past me! I think you will agree the wait was worth it. The trees behind the engines are nearly at peak color. This is about as good as its gets for this angle, while several maples behind my location atop the RS-18 are blazing with bright colors! Areas along the lake such as this enjoy delayed fall colors due to the lakes ecosystem which keeps temps warmer into the fall. The car scanner had picked up North End Dispatcher Gordy Smith in a conversation with 931’s crew, which was good news, then the scanner picked up 931 passing the Fort Ti detector, and I knew I had my chance coming up! Keeping in mind the north wind blowing steadily, which might prevent me from hearing my normal warning signals of the approach of a northbound, I was watching the time since 931 had passed the detector, walking around the area when suddenly my intuition told me to climb up atop the cab and take a test shot!
I obey, having learned the hard way in the past that when my intuition says to do something, I should just go ahead and do it. So up to my favorite perch atop the RS-18s cab I climb, to the already set up tripod with 5D mounted on it ready to shoot. I listen for a moment, and do not hear anything except for the wind. I fire off a test shot and 931s engineer starts blowing for the crossing below the station, less than an quarter of a mile away! Oh my gawd! I had no idea they were this close! Less than thirty seconds later headlights appear coming round the curve extending below the station, I fire off the lighting to alert the crew, and CN 2444 leads two sister C40-8Ms past the station and up to my mark where the lighting reflects the moment back to the camera sensor!  Success! If I had not listened to my intuition............. I would have been scrambling. The Three Canadians look good from this height/angle, and running elephant style certainly helps! I erased three flash units on the station platform in photoshop. Shot on October 18, 2014 at 20:25, special thanks to Gordy Smith for his help! Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed.
All The Best In 2014;
Gary Knapp

"Inch At A Time" Chapter 16 Modeling MTYS, Gons & Flats‏

Back in "Chapter 12"  I sent my ideas for modeling scrap metal and wood loads for gondolas.  (Also see RMC 8/13 for a detailed how to).  Now I'll give some thoughts on modeling them as they appear the other half of the time, MTY.  I'm also including a pair of flat cars.  The models cover the 50's through the 80's so every one should find something useful to their era.
I show a variety of gondolas.  The cleaning is most often done by the receiver.  I found from experiencing the prototype that the job is rarely thorough.  There can be anything from a little to quite a lot of residue left.  THE CARS ARE NEVER TOTALLY CLEAN!  Fifties period modelers, note the wood floor on the NYC gondola.  These take a real beating as witness the gouges in the decking.

Here's a 40' wood decked flat car.   I used an Athearn kit as the basis but, milled the cast on deck smooth (almost off) using a belt sander.  I replaced the plastic "wood" with bass wood and then stained it subtly.

The image of 85' TTX car is purposely dark to show the color and value differences on the deck surface; all done with paint and chalk.

Hope you find something useful and/or entertaining,
Wayne  Sittner


Southern Adirondack Update

Just some of the things that have kept me out of trouble this summer.
I got the Bachman B&M GP7 with sound and it came in a very baby blue and numbered 1575 (as you can see, I already have the 1575 and it has the train lighting box and other details).  A repaint into a more proper B&M blue and relettered to 1559 so I didn't have to make another lighting box (I've done 2 over the years...1575 and 1564).

I got a bottle of Testors gold paint and finally finished the StJ&LC (bicentennial painted and renumbered for the D&H) GP7 2606.  Jim L needs to stop drooling now!
I finally (after thinking about it for 6 or 7 years) built the Schylerville branch of the Southern Adirondack.  I need to do some wiring and build a box to keep the dust off (as its in the garage) but otherwise it's operational.  The RDC3 now has a proper place to layover and there's some switching work to be done in Victory Mills.  Obviously it needs scenery but at least I have some structures (need to be painted) and a plan.


The RS3 is my friend Ricks and he bought it to run on my layout.  We planned to change it from P&W 164 to D&H 4082 from the start, I just needed to find a proper brown to cover the lettering. After some mixing, I think I got it right and the project got done.

The RS3 is my friend Ricks and he bought it to run on my layout.  We planned to change it from P&W 164 to D&H 4082 from the start, I just needed to find a proper brown to cover the lettering.  After some mixing, I think I got it right and the project got done.
With the arrival of accessory decoders, the dispatchers control panel became obsolete.  This meant I could reframe where the panel was and make the area under the stairs (DB and ME cabins) a bit more stable.  I moved some stuff around and ended up with my desk under the engine shop and a more finished look for the command station.

Brad Peterson


Lee Schamberger Update

The WW&F has a Wharf !. Still to do are the seawalls , river bed , and the water. Plus a Lobster boat . On30 is funner!

Lee Schamberger

The Second Hutton Excavator

Glenn G. was kind enough to give me a second Woodland Scenics excavator kit to use on the Hutton Brick Co. diorama. (As you can see from the prototype slide, they had several.)  Since I had already built the first one according to the kit specs.  I decided to play a little with the second.

It took a lot of filing and grinding with the Dremel but, I removed all the cast on open doors and shuttered things as on the prototype.


 Wayne Sittner

Third Time Is The Charm!

I am hoping “third time is the charm” tonight as I load up the Civic and head south from Hinesburg to Cohoes, NY around eleven p.m. I have the ol’ thinkin’ cap on early tonight, and make “a call” before I leave to ensure D45 is indeed operating tonight and the two D&H engines are still powering the job! I do not want a replay of my last effort to catch this train, when I was cornered into shooting dirty CP GEs on 252 at Delanson. Reassured that D45 is running as advertised tonight, I have an enjoyable drive down to the Albany area and pull into Noah Fowlers home at 0145ish to pick him up only to find a darkened house and no Noah in the driveway! I sat for a few minutes, hoping he had just fallen asleep while waiting for me and was rewarded when lights came on in a room and the outline of a head appeared at the window! I waved from the Civic. Who else would be out here in the driveway with car lights on at 01:50 in the morning? In a couple minutes the room lights went out and here came Noah! Alright! Everything is in place for a third try at catching the two D&H engines on D45 passing the old mill at Cohoes!
During the drive down, I had encountered torrential downpours but the rain had stopped well before I arrived at Noah’s home. As we departed from Noah’s the rain began again and when we arrived at the old mill we were greeted by Mother Nature with another torrential downpour. The rain seemed to let up a little and we jumped out optimistically, with outside temps in the low seventies we could get wet for this shot, only to witness the rain come down harder, so we retreated back into the Civic to wait it out. I told Noah how the flash units can handle the moisture when inside a zip lock freezer bag. Noah had tracked the 7304 to having departed Saratoga, so D45 was heading our way somewhere north of our location. Great! But..........Mother Nature had us pinned down at the moment! lol! Patience paid off and after several more minutes the rain slowly abated and then stopped altogether. Noah and I emerged from the clean Civic commenting how nice it was of Mother Nature to wash the power for us tonight! lol! Listening for air horns, we safely set up the lighting and settled in waiting. It was surprising to both of us how busy the city of Cohoes was this time of night! Apart from the car traffic, people are out walking around!? Perhaps forty minutes later we agreed we could hear 7304s air horn away to the north. Ah! Finally! A few minutes later 7304 eased past us having just come off the big bridge over the Mohawk River, and in a flash the moment is captured! Success! It is a miracle that these two engines are still together on the same job working within driving distance from me! SHot in Cohoes, NY on August 21, 2014 at 03:37. Special thanks to Gordy Smith for his help! I added some HDR effect to this photo, see what you think? Please enjoy! Comments are welcomed!
All The Best In 2014;
Gary Knapp


Got up early today, in hopes of catching the southbound sleeper as she went through Munns. Here she is with the 5023 on the point rounding Hooper's Curve up behind the old feed plant.
 I caught her again passing the cemetery
I had to move quick to get her pulling into the station
It was a little easier after she stopped.  Soko was the Conductor while Short Pants Longtin was the Engineer.
Earlier this week I had some guests at the SVRR.
Bill Rooke and Fred Gemmill, from the Plattsburg area were under the watchful eye of the Yardmaster.  Bill was doing the Lower Jct Job while Fred switched the K Mill.
I could have used the Yardmaster's help with Sammy.  he is being tutored this summer by my daughter.  She wanted him to see the SVRR.  He has quick hands when it comes to small HO parts.

Jim Lafayette

"The Knight Train"

Skenesborough Council 276 of the Knights of Columbus have charted a special to take it's members and guests to the rededication of The Lower Junction Catholic Church named Saint James.  The trainmaster affectionately dubbed it "The Knight Train". 
Running tender first, she is stopping at the Lower Junction Station for the good Knights and their ladies to de-train.
Her passengers safely inside St James it's time to make the runaround and get set for the return trip to Skenesborough.
 Here we see her backing down the CK Lead to make the run-around.

Rutland #82, rented for this run, is headed down the run-around track as a CK employee enjoys the show. 

 The run-around complete, she has backed back to the station and had a drink of good Pine Lake water while she awaits the completion of the religious ceremonies.  In the mean time engineer Hank Weber is making a little adjustment while fireman Homer Knott gets his coal where he wants it.
The ceremony complete, its time to head back for home.
Jim Lafayette