Monday, February 23, 2015

Engineer Training

It's been busy around the Valley Line lately. Not only did I break ground in Old Saybrook, but I've been in the middle of a (decidedly UN-Valley-Line-related) remodeling project which has kept me from the basement for a bit. But perhaps the most exciting development lately is that I've been doing some 1:1 scale railroading.

Long-time readers may recall that I not only model the Valley Line, but I occasionally work on the full-size Valley Railroad, firing steam locomotives on the line I'm modeling. How cool is that?!  But it gets better: After many years on the left side of the cab, I got a chance to start my journey to the other side. Yup, I've started engineer training. And what a time of year to start it! Let's just say that all those beautiful Phil Hastings photos of New England winter railroading are best enjoyed with a warm beverage in hand and a cozy fire in the fireplace. It was COLD! And since we had a diesel, there wasn't even a nice warm firebox to thaw us out.  But I wouldn't have missed this opportunity for anything,

The occasion was the final day of the Eagle Flyer which the VRR operates during President's Day Weekend each year. It's an operation unlike any other that we do - especially when there's been a lot of snow. This year, there have been not one, but TWO snowplow specials to clear the tracks (click here to watch one), so it's Real Winter Railroading for sure. Follow along on a little photo tour of the day...

Awaiting passengers at Essex. Snowplow is parked on the siding. We used a GE 80 tonner on this (north) end, with another diesel pushing on the south end.

Stopped to deboard passengers at East Haddam. That's Camp Bethel up there on the hill - East Haddam's own version of Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard - lots of little Victorian cottages.

Stopped at the end of the line - well, the farthest we can operate so far, anyway.

South of East Haddam station. Compare this photo to the one for Wordless Wednesday #34

While I'm a long way away from actually operating, the engineer kindly took this photo while we were stopped.
It's really exciting to be starting this new phase of my fledgling railroad career - but it's certainly nice I don't have to do winter railroading for a living! I'll never look at those Hastings photos quite the same way again.

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