Friday, May 26, 2023

On the Valley Line (and Air Line!) Today

After regretting my decision a few weeks ago not to take 10 minutes out of my commute to work to shoot rare 6-axle power on the Air Line in Middletown, I wasn't going to make the same mistake this morning . . .

Admittedly, not the same level of exciting as seeing Big Power, but still pretty cool. There are G&W-painted engines on the fuel service track alongside the old Valley Main, and some power still painted in P&W on the Air Line about to cross the Connecticut River eastbound.


Sunday, May 21, 2023

Progress Report - May 21

So, by way of explanation rather than tired-ol'-excuse, things have been a bit quiet 'round here lately since it's my busy time of year at work. Thankfully, there's only 2 1/2 weeks of crazy left and this year's legislative session will adjourn just in time for the New England/Northeast Railroad Prototype Modelers Meet (aka the NERPM). Good thing too, since I'm scheduled to give a presentation and a layout tour that weekend.

But in order to maintain my sanity - as well as provide a much-needed break - I've been doing my best to take advantage of the little blocks of time I can eek out on the weekends. In no particular order, here's what I've been up to lately . . .

My "Old Deep River Road" scene is going to need a bunch of New England's most common crop: Rocks. So I've been casting a bunch of them using a variety of molds and Woodland Scenics Hydrocal. Pro Tip: Be sure the Hydrocal isn't old, or the castings will come out all crumbly. Ask me how I know. Fortunately, I learned my lesson and now make sure I use fresh material, mixed exactly according to the instructions.

I've also spent some fun time on a little "scenery practice" - all on a 9" diameter disc of foam. For the aforementioned NERPM, I plan to display my recent pride & joy - B&M SW1 #1109. And just placing it on the table was certainly not going to do it justice, so I'm making this little scene for it. It's just a piece of ME Code 70, with ties weathered, some ground goop and ground foam added - not enough to distract from the engine (I'd considered a super-detailed diorama, engine service facility, or some such) but enough to put it in a nice setting to show it off. In the pic above, I've just done the goop and saturated the foam with glue. Static grass and additional scenery materials will be added later.

My recent sojourn into ESU/Loksound v5 decoders prompted me to print out the v5 manual and go through it to see if I was missing anything critical. Well, there's a TON of information there that I don't think I'll ever need, but at least I was able to add little Post-Its to remind me where to find what I know I'll need in the future.

And speaking of DCC and locos, I've decided to dive into my New Haven DEY-7 (EMD SW-1200) by Rapido Trains (insert jingle here) to see if there's an easy way to shoehorn a capacitor into it. I know the TCS KA-2 will fit, but I'd much rather use an ESU PowerPack. Unfortunately, the latest version of the PowerPack inexplicably got a little larger(?!) since the previous version, making it just a wee bit too large to fit. Argh!

But, despite this little frustration, Model Railroading is STILL fun - and a great way to give your dayjob brain a break. Here's hoping I can get to the bench or basement again sometime soon!

In the meantime, I plan to spend the rest of a quiet evening reading a few more chapters from this little gem . . .

PS: How many of you subscribe to this blog to get email notification of when new posts are posted? I used to subscribe myself (to make sure the emails were going out), but I don't get the emails anymore. Neither does DanR, who emailed me about the problem an embarrassingly long time ago (sorry to be so tardy in my reply Dan!!). Is ANYbody getting the emails anymore??