Saturday, July 17, 2010

Updates - Finally

It's been a couple of overly busy weeks, so both the promised updates (and any real modeling) have been in short supply. So, somewhat spraying to all fields, here's what you missed, and the "plans" for the near-term future. If memory serves, the last time I left you, the faithful reader, I was swamped with work, which really screwed up my typical last minute push to get things ready for a show. Anyone who feels the need to ask why wait till the last minute, clearly doesn't understand model railroading !

And for the record, all of this last minute push was done to get ready for the July 4th Trolley Pageant/Yahoo Large Scale Trolley Mini Meet at the Illinois Rwy Museum and I can happily report that the big guys do the same thing, they were feverishly finishing touch up paint and final lettering to at least 3 newly acquired CA&E cars (the full size ones) on July 3rd !

This year the Yahoo Large Scale Trolley Mini-Meet featured something not done previously, a contest, or "challenge". It was thought of pretty much last minute, 98 days out from the 4th of July. The challenge, starting at that moment, build something new that would be finished and operable on July 4th. In typical fashion, I went immediatlely for the kill-shot and started on something big, flashy, and frankly, inappropriate,, an Illinois Terminal Streamliner.
I got a really good start on it, before deciding that it wasn't really in the "theme" of things, and stopped and scaled back my plans. It will be finished at some point because it's simply too damn big and cool not to complete, but as it turns out, it would have had problems clearing even the biggest loop we had set up with 6-7 foot curves, this thing is big.

Scaling back (and really having to build something that would fit any available on-hand power trucks), I decided to keep with the Interurbans of the Fox Valley theme, and built a single truck line car, Aurora, Plainfield & Joliet #3. Yes, it is a prototype car, circa about 1885 or so.

In progress, about 2 weeks before the 4th

And the finished car, such as it is. I was fortunate enough to be named the winner of this year's competition, although I think the judge's decision (Jan Giradot, the Yahoo LST list owner) was based on his collective idea of how much effort I had put into making the event work out, and how much he enjoyed the Interurbans of the Fox Valley display I put together for the event in the depot, but that's another story, I won, and I ain't giving it up, so there !

Some of the happy Yahoo LST group, from left to right, we have:
Rick Hannegan from Pennsylvania, Bob Kutella, from Illinois (and IRM)
Jan Giradot, from Colorado, Bryan Anderson, from Iowa, Charley Sheets, from Ohio, and on the end, the incredibly svelte looking one is yours truly.
Cliff Burnstein from Kentucky was clever enough to avoid picture taking !

All in all a very successful weekend, we set up on Saturday the 3rd, and operated some of the afternoon on the 3rd and all day on the 4th. 4 operating loops, including one with live overhead (supplied by John Nelligan, who graciously offered the layout's use even though he was out of town), and we had operations with 2-rail and battery power as well.

A special note of thanks to some of my local NMRA Fox Valley Division members. The call for help went out in mid-June, and Jim Allen stepped up immediately, offering not only to help with setting up and tearing everything down, but also brought his "Action & Reaction RR" display, which is a HO scale train that operates on a bicycle wheel. As the train moves, it turns the wheel, so there is motion, coupled with a sense of being stationary. Has to be seen to be believed.

Jim also brought along Mike Hirvela, and both guys stayed much of Saturday and all day Sunday, helping with the day's events. We were also joined early Sunday morning by Jim Osborn who also helped with some of the last minute set-ups.

I also set up a version of the Interurbans of the Fox Valley display in the depot.

Couple new additions, most significant I suppose is the original Fox River roll-sign I got earlier this summer. One special/strange moment,, someone was viewing the display, and then seemed to get all excited. They took off, and then came back a few minutes later with a friend and the latest issue of First & Fastest magazine (which the IRM bookstore has on sale). I was lucky enough to have the IoFV display noted in the current issue and this person had apparently been thumbing through it in the bookstore and then realized he was able to see the same thing in person. Funny, weird, strange. And no - I'm not signing copies !

The display inside the depot (Jan Giradot photo)

I'll wrap up the July 4th reporting with a final thank you to the folks at IRM, starting with Bob Kutella who is the defacto host, and all the people who helped make the day successful. Of note, Barb Lanpheir, Buzz Morrisette, and John Faulhaber come most quickly to mind. I know I missed many more names than I included, and my apologies, feel free to contact me to edit this post and include the missing !

I wrapped up the July 4th weekend by getting some measurements of display cases out at IRM. I was asked to put together a semi-permanent display of the Interurbans of the Fox Valley.

Got my info and then spent the following week trying to visualize the whole project, spent the following Saturday building displays, mounting materials, and then finally spent the better part of Sunday the 11th setting it all in place. The finished display is up now and available at no extra charge to IRM visitors. I'll likely take it down sometime early-mid October in order to use some of it at Trainfest in November and store the rest for the end of the season.

The IRM Display. This is in the Art Train car, which is parked just south of Barn 4 where the Electric Car Department does much of it's work. Next to the Streamliner cars which are also open for display. (Special note, both the streamliner cars and the display car are air-conditioned,, this is the single best-kept secret at the whole museum on a hot summer day !)

So, other than all of that, my personal modeling hit something of a wall. Just too much needed to be done to keep up with shows/museum/displays/etc, and way too much going on at work. In the interim, I've done the next best thing, spend some of my hardly-earned income on new toys.

I've really built up the O scale fleet the last couple of months, it's really been something of an embarrasment of riches. Lots of goodies finding their way to the marketplace at very favorable prices !

In no particular order :

The Illinois Terminal C-Class motor. My plan was always to expand the Interurbans of the Fox Valley concept to Interurbans of Illinois, so this will come in handy. Keeping the theme of expanding to Interurban of Illinois, I also grabbed 3 Clouser North Shore cars (already in preliminary Greenliner paint, just needs finish details and lettering), a little GE 25 ton steeplecab, also destined for North Shore paint, a B/W steeplecab which will be paired with a sister in CA&E colors, and a great CA&E modernized Kuhlmann coach. I also picked up another CA&E Pullman car, one of the new Bachmann Peter Witt cars (Indianapolis Rwy maybe ??) and as of today, compliments of Ed Skuchas, the final Fox River 300 series car is on it's way to me, giving me all seven in the series.

Needless to say, plenty of projects, painting, and building for the next few months !

The plan for this weekend is to chill out a bit (no pun intended as we're in the middle of a two week 90+ degree temperature run in Chicagoland) and sort things out, get resettled and rearranged. Hoping to get the track in place for the GS layout and maybe even ballasted !

Will update that series as we get back on track !

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