Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How I Spent My Summer

Well, Summer is officially over now and Fall is here. I realize I have not posted since May, so a whole season has passed. I must admit that I have been pretty tied up with other things and have not done much model railroading. But hopefully now things will settle down and progress will continue on the layout. Plus there are some events coming up I need to prepare for.

So much like going back to school, here is my How I Spent My Summer report, specifically from a model railroad perspective.

I wrapped up Spring finishing up a flatcar load project. Inspired the Kalmbach Freight Car projects book I picked up at Springfield, I worked on an open lumber load for a bulkhead flatcar. This used inexpensive wood strips purchased at Michaels, glued together and then "tied down" with EZ-Line.

This Walthers NAFX bulkhead flat was sitting unweathered and crying out for a nice load. It also allowed me to add some needed weight concealed within the load.
I also started some scenery work at Johnson, building up the landforms and putting in the Route 15 roadway. This has some basic scenery in place and next up will be finishing the road with striping. I'll post more on that once the scene is further along, but I did get a good head start before the summer hiatus. (You can see a bit of the work completed in one Op Session photo below).

In late June I held another Op Session. This included another new operator to break in. All in all it went well, although I still need to work out some wrinkles in the overall plan as we still did not get through a full schedule yet. Here are some pics:

Bill Howard held down duties at Morrisville and has a good handle on things now. Meanwhile Joe Hueber attended his first NEK Op Session, and is bringing the LVRC train through Johnson, where you can see a little preview of the scenery going in there.

Chris Conaway worked the Gilman local job, which had some new twists that worked out well, easing some of the pressure on the St. Johnsbury yard operators.

Phil Duba wa son hand again and worked the B&M Groveton local turn up to Whitefield. This job also had some new twists that I found worked very well. 
Bruce Barrett and Mark Fryzstacki again worked the St. Johnsbury yard and have become quite proficient in keeping things fluid. 
Throughout each month if the summer I was able to attend the Op Sessions at John Rahenkamp's large Clairmont, Lewistown & Western layout. I have been holding down the Bayview job and have taken and posted a number of pics and some video to the NEK Layout Facebook page.

This shot comes from early in the session as I am picking up empty coal hoppers to build the coal trains over in the yard to head back up to the PA coalfields for reloading. This view shows just a small number of the nice urban buildings John has built for the layout.
In July we returned to the White Mountains for some vacation time. I did not spend too much time seeking out the trains in this area as I have visited many times and have many pictures. However one rainy day we took a long ride up north and I came across the New Hampshire Central trackage above Whitefield, up to Groveton and North Stratford. It was interesting to see the freight car facility I visited some 17 years ago is now a trainload facility for propane tank cars (it was raining too hard to stop for pics there). I did get to see an idle NHC Geep in Groveton, and see some repair work in place on the old Groveton Station.

New Hampshire Central GP9 7324 (ex-NYC) sits idle along the mainline next to the empty area that once housed the large paper mill at Groveton. No active railroad activity here in this rainy Monday.
Directly opposite the GP9, the Groveton station shows some recent repairs in place on the roof. St. Lawrence & Atlantic trackage between Maine and Montreal (ex-Grand Trunk) is situated behind the station, while the NHC (ex-B&M) track is to the right of the station (where the GP9 was parked). I'm not sure what the overall plan is for this area or the station.
In August we took a trip down to Baltimore Inner Harbor. Not much left of train activity in the area we were, but did see 2 older railroad relics while taking a ride on the Water Taxi.

This older building along the waterfront still shows faded "Railroad" lettering between the 2nd and 3rd floors.

This old pier still has rail in place, which can be seen overhanging the wooden structure. Trees in the background are actually growing on the pier itself, which is not accessible (or too safe looking) for people, let alone rail cars!
Our final stop takes us to Florida. We visited relatives over Labor Day weekend (before the hurricane). Although we flew down, we did leave by taking the Trip-Rail train from Delray Beach back to Fort Lauderdale airport. While waiting for the Trial-Rail train, the Amtrak train 98, the northbound Silver Meteor out of Miami made a station stop. I thought this was cool as I had just recently put a Seaboard Air line boxcar with Silver Meteor lettering onto the layout (see post).

The northbound Amtrak 98 Silver Meteor stops at Delray Beach while we waited on the next southbound Trip-Rail commuter train. The Amtrak train arrived right as we were getting on the platform, so this was the best shot I could get.
So that concludes my Summer report. I'll be back to work on the layout for an open house in November, as well as doing some module work for the NER Newport Convention in November and the Springfield show in January. I also want to get in another Op Session. So there will be more to report in the coming weeks.