Thursday, September 19, 2019

Thankful Thursday - Chemical Tank Cars

I got a message from my buddy Dave Messer a few days back telling me that Ray Seri would be making a delivery to me soon. Long-time fans of the Valley Line will recall that Ray was the express agent at Wethersfield station and had a smoky old Dodge pickup he'd use around town making deliveries.

Well, I got home yesterday and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a package - ostensibly left by "Ray" - and containing two tank cars which will be used to deliver chemicals to Hartford Rayon in the Dividend section of Rocky Hill. There they are in the photo above, sitting on the siding at The Chapman Co. in Old Saybrook awaiting the next local to pick them up.

Thanks Dave!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


It's been a busy couple of weeks in Valley Local Land as I've been getting ready for the Mid-Atlantic Railroad Prototype Modeler's Meet happening this weekend. I'll be giving a presentation at 11a Saturday morning, but before that there's operating sessions, open houses, and tons of other clinics and presentations to see.

And if that wasn't enough, there'll be a whole room devoted to showing all the different models that folks have done. I'll have some models there too - a couple of engines (including the DERS-2b) some freight cars, and a couple of cabooses - but I'm really looking forward to seeing others' efforts and learning from what they're doing.

So hopefully you can make it to the DoubleTree by Hilton Baltimore - BWI Airport and check out all the cool offerings. And if you do, be sure to stop by and say hi!

Looking forward to seeing some of you there!

Wordless Wednesday #282

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Wordless Wednesday #281

Owner, Photographer, and Date Unknown
Location - possibly East Haven/Branford, looking east

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Weekend Fun: NHRHTA Reunion, Ops Session, Caboose Ride

Over the past few days, I took a break from my scenery progress to prepare a presentation for the Annual NHRHTA Reunion, and set up for an operating session. As a bonus - I capped off the weekend with a ride along the real Valley Line down to Saybrook from Essex, and I did it in style: in the cupola of a caboose(!)

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the Reunion, but I did remember to shoot the ops session. Here's RonP 'fanning his train (PDX-2) while his partner JimF (just off to the right) checks the paperwork. ChrisZ is holding down the right-hand seat of PDX-1.
TomD assembles the eastbound trains departing Cedar Hill Yard, while in the far distance 2 Bills (BillC & BillL) operated the Airline Local in Somerset.
Our 3rd(!) Bill of the session - BillS - worked the Saybrook Tower and performed Dispatcher duties. I thinks his expression proves he was definitely the right choice for this particular job.
I've been trying to get PaulC3 & JohnS over here for at least a couple years, but this day the planets aligned and I assigned them to the flagship of the layout - The Valley Local. Here they are coming southbound into Rocky Hill.

ChrisZ having fun at his first ever operating session! Or he could be smiling since it's his birthday (which I discovered much later). It's really cool not only that he chose the Valley Line as his first session, but that he wanted to spend part of his birthday with us. Very cool indeed!
Since we had a full crew, I was able to float around a bit, answering questions and such. But mostly, I got to sit in the "bleacher seats" (the basement stairs) and just enjoy watching the trains go by through Saybrook Junction.
After the session, we all adjourned over to Pizza Works - which, appropriately, is not only located within the old Old Saybrook freight house along the busy Shoreline/NEC, but also has a couple of operating model railroads upstairs. It provided the perfect ending to a fun, but pretty exhausting day.

I was able to talk JimF into staying over to save a long, late night drive back to New Hampshire, and after a nice long sleep we had breakfast at the local diner and then decided to head over to the real Valley Railroad to catch the Saybrook Special.

The first weekend of every month during the main operating season, the train backs south from Essex to just north of the wye in Old Saybrook. Here's the train sitting at the Essex Station waiting to depart.

Not only is the southbound trip relatively "rare mileage" for the train, but the Special also includes this ex-PRR N-5 caboose which we were able to ride for the trip down and back.

As often as I've seen the Saybrook Special from the ground (it literally passes right over my street and through my backyard), I've never ridden it as a passenger (I have, however, fired it). And the last time I was in this caboose was Railfan Day 1986(!)

Here's the End of the Line for the present-day Valley Railroad - Milepost 0, just north of Mill Rock Road in Old Saybrook. Amtrak owns the wye.
 Though I shot this video on a different day, it gives you an idea of what the Special looks like from the ground, northbound at Connolly Drive, Old Saybrook.

And here's Connally Drive not from the ground, but from the cupola of the caboose!
My buddy JimF - who doesn't seem like he's having a good time at all. %^)

Speaking of cabooses, I remembered to get a shot of the recently-restored New Haven NE-5 caboose on the way back. The C-540 was for many years an office at Landon Lumber Co in Madison, CT. But Landon graciously donated it to the Friends of the Valley Railroad who did an absolutely amazing job of restoring it to its 1950s appearance.
One last shot from the cupola as we entered the Essex Station area.
What a great way to cap off a wonderful weekend. But it was a little bittersweet since our friends Mike & Mel couldn't join us for the weekend as originally planned. Mike was involved in an accident a few weeks ago and is still recovering. Hopefully they'll be able to join us again very soon - and now that we've reconnoitered the Special, I expect we'll all be on the caboose next year!

Having completed its run south to Saybrook, here's the 11 am train departing Essex northbound.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Friday Fun: New MRH Article!

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the September issue of Model Railroad Hobbyist (which just posted today) has my article on how to superdetail a factory painted Proto 1000 RS-2. It's in the "Running Extra" portion of the magazine, which costs $2.99, but also includes a great articles by Jack Burgess and Jim Six. Even if you're not into the New Haven's RS-2s (class DERS-2b), those two articles alone are more than worth the 3 bucks.

I hope you'll check it out - and if you do, be sure to leave some (hopefully positive) feedback!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Wordless Wednesday #280

George Ford photo - Lakeville, CT
Ed King, Engineer - Doug Godfrey, Brakeman
Charlie Smith, Conductor (on the dock)