Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday Fun

Spotted this as I parked by car at work this morning. Yup, this is the long-awaited Connecticut commuter rail train between New Haven/Hartford/Springfield. You can read more about it here - and be sure to visit the website at

While not technically Valley Line related, this may be the first new passenger service coming into Hartford since - well, since the Connecticut Valley Railroad started running trains through here in 1871.

In any event, it's historic. I just wish CTDOT had kept alive the tradition of painting its rail service engines in New Haven RR livery. And - bonus! - this Saturday and Sunday you can ride the train for free.

Happy Weekend!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Ramping Back Up

I have to admit, given the first 5 months of 2018 I was starting to wonder whether I'd fallen off the model railroad wagon without any chance of getting back on. Things were going well and I was making progress right through Springfield Weekend, including (almost) finishing the B&O flatcar I was working on. But then work & life intervened in a big, unexpected way. Thankfully, things are finally calming down now and dads' healths are improving, which all bodes well for focusing on other things (heh - like yard work). And also thankfully, the NERPM came at Just The Right Time to re-ignite my model railroading mojo.

One of the first things on the agenda is dealing with the in-progress stuff on my bench (which I alluded to in last week's WW):

In due time I'll get to those projects - hopefully soon.

But in the meantime, there's another fun development I can report on . . . Just check out the (2nd to) last page of this month's Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine. Long time followers of this here blog will recognize one of the photos there, but for those that don't, here's a little teaser:

Maybe that farmhouse in the lower right corner will look a wee bit familiar. :^)

Between the RPM meet and finding out I'll soon have my first-ever feature article published (as opposed to an op-ed piece), I've really gotten a HUGE shot-in-the-arm of modeling motivation. Thanks for hanging in there - and especially for all your well-wishes, thoughts, and prayers - while I was out of it for a bit. I'm looking forward to making more progress and sharing it with you!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Talky Tuesday - Kelly Questions

Still digesting the NERPM meet last weekend - what a great time! And folks are starting to post reports and photos on FB and their blogs. Check this one out by Don Janes over at the White River Division blog - it has some great photos (despite at least one questionable choice ;^)

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I've mentioned before how much I enjoy listening to model railroad podcasts, but I'm afraid I've gotten woefully behind in them lately. But I'm catching up and I'm apparently not the only one behind . . .

One of my favorite podcasts - A Modeler's Life - has a segment called the "Kelly Questions" where they ask their guest a series of questions to get to know them a little better, very quickly and I was one of the victims guests. It was recorded about a year ago, but it just got posted last month - and I just discovered it this morning on my way in to work. I guess a bunch of us are trying to catch up.

Unfortunately, like my Springfield interview, this 'cast is on the Modeler's Life paid site (costs as little as $5/month), but if you want to check it out click here and scroll down to May 14 to the episode called "Kelly Questions Rounds 33-34-25"  Yup, there are two other much more interesting fellas on that episode as well, so you get a little value-added for your money :^)

And, as always, you can browse & listen to the content on the main site by clicking here. There's a LOT of great model railroad talk to make long drives and cutting the grass just a little less awful.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Quick Post on the NERPM

What a Whirlwind Weekend! Yes, it was ProtoMeet weekend and since I can only make it every other year, I try to cram as much as I can into its 72-hour bucket. Started off bright and early Friday morning, attending as many clinics and presentations as I could right through Friday evening, including having dinner with my buddy PeteL, as well as CraigB, JimL, and LouP (Kaylee was, regrettably, at another table). Next morning was even earlier, meeting Pete, Pieter, Randy, and Tom for breakfast (minor miracle since we'd lost power at our house overnight). Then my presentation at 10:30, lunch with Randy, and great afternoon & evening clinics - as well as dinner with BillS, JimL, Randy, JimF, Mike & Mel. Then up again this morning to prepare for my layout open house, which was awesome due to the great folks that made the trip down to visit.


Among the many cool new things I learned over the weekend, three things stand out right away: 1) this hobby is MORE than alive and kicking (there were not only a high number of attendees, but many younger folks as well), 2) ProtoMeets provide a much-needed dose of motivation to get back to your own layout and make some progress, and 3) I really suck at documenting them.

But such as I have, I share with you. So herewith are some pics and video from the weekend. I wish I could say these are the best selected from what I have - these are pretty much ALL I have.

Enjoy! And if you ever have a chance to attend  ProtoMeet, you certainly should. Just be sure to take more and better photos %^)

A wonderfully done scene on the O&W by Mal Houck. I'll just say this here and now, because it's true of all the model photos I took this weekend (such as they are) - pictures don't do the modeling any real justice. Really amazing work. Be sure to attend in person so you can see this craftsmanship firsthand.

I wish I'd done a much better job not only at taking more photos, but remembering who did such amazing work! Fortunately, I captured Jim's great "description sheets" in this photo. What a great idea! Shows off the modeling and ensures that the modeler gets due and proper credit for their art.

Thanks to MelR, I have proof that I actually gave a presentation at the NERPM. Thanks to all that took the time to attend - and special thanks to the folks that came up to say hi and offer encouragement. We do this as a labor of love, and the appreciation & feedback we get back from sharing our work is truly priceless.
Thanks to BillS, we had a sign for the Layout Open House (especially helpful to clear up any confusion since my next-door-neighbor is the one that has an actual RR crossing sign hanging on the wall of his house).

No layout tour is complete without the Guest Book (which you must sign :^) and - of course - snacks!

As an added bonus, this weekend marked the first of the monthly Saybrook Specials run by the Valley RR (aka Essex Steam Train). Intrepid VRR photo WarrenD is over on the left, but my Open House helpers Pete, Bill, and Randy took a break with me to head down to the crossing to catch the action - at least some consolation for all the work they did to help me with the layout tour.

Special thanks to those you made the trip down to see the layout - and if you took any pictures, I hope you'll share them with me. I'd love to have some shots of/by folks that were there! And I promise next time to check the RR schedule and have the Open House earlier so visitors have a chance to see the train too.

I wish I had more or better photos of the 'meet, but be sure to check out the NERPM website. Dave Owens does an excellent job not only of putting on a fantastic weekend, but he's much better than I at making sure there are lots of photos from the weekend posted on the site, so be sure to visit. And make plans now to attend next year!