Friday, June 26, 2015

Era Creep: A DERS-1b Story

While I remain committed to conveying railroading in the Lower CT River Valley as it was in October, 1947, I've started to vacillate a bit lately and it's my buddy Tom's fault (aided and abetted by my buddy Randy). You see, Tom brought over a recent acquisition to visit - a brand spankin' new Atlas RS-1 in the New Haven's gorgeous delivery scheme. And - frustratingly - it sounded as wonderful as it looked (all that cool Alco burble...)

But no worries - I figured I knew all there was to know about motive power use during my era. And it's true - no RS-1s were used on the Valley Line (or the Air Line either, for that matter) in 1947. But a quick review of the railroad's Engine Assignment Book for April 24, 1949 shows an RS-1 being used on PDX-1 (the Cedar Hill - New London Shoreline Local) the #0669. Worse Even better, Atlas produced the #0669 in that beautiful delivery scheme.

Well now.

What followed was a frantic search on the internets for the now-out-of-production Atlas NHRR #0669. Good news! I found one - for a steeply discounted price! - at TrainWorld and I immediately ordered it. Bad news: Randy was sure - despite what was on TrainWorld's website - that they were actually out of stock. Turned out, Randy was right. TrainWorld called me a few days later (WTH?!) to tell me they no longer had the #0669.

Ah well - "it's not really in my era anyway" I consoled myself. Which is about when Randy stepped in with news that he'd found an 0669 in a local shop. Not quite as discounted, but very much available.

Well, it's not available any more, since I got it.

New Haven Railroad DERS-1b #0669 at Mill Hollow
Interesting sidenote: I'd been surprised to discover #0669 being used on the Shoreline Local, but I shouldn't have been. Turns out I'd mentioned this exact locomotive in a previous post - coincidentally from exactly one year ago today(!). But I'd made a critical error, calling it a New Haven class DEY-5 (S-2) rather than a DERS-1b (RS-1). So all along I'd been assuming that when the lower CT River Valley area was fully dieselized in 1949 it was exclusively the domain of S-1s (on the Valley Local) and S-2s (Air Line & Shoreline locals). Turns out, the area's early diesel era was more interesting than I thought. Suffice it to say, that post has been updated with the correct information %^)

So it looks like I've started down the path of modeling a date range rather than a particular year. It'll still always be October, but during operations you'll know what year it is depending on the motive power that shows up - from fully steam (1947), to a mix of steam and diesel (1948), to fully diesel (1949). That, coincidentally, is a pretty interesting - and very fast - transition: Certainly compelling enough for me to allow just a little bit of era creep and - bonus! - it should also provide some neat variety for my crews to keep them coming back for more.

P.S. while I have great detail on the actual locomotives used in 1948 and 1949, I don't have the same level of detail for my primary year - 1947 - since I don't have an Engine Assignment book from that year. So if you have - or know where I can get - a copy (even a photocopy) please let me know - thanks!

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