CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Friday, August 21, 2015

Why 1984? (part 2 - Personal Connections)

Following up on my saga of focusing on the era to model, I also had some personal reasons for choosing 1984. True, in a sense all of my reasons are personal but here are three that are more introspective...

Reason #4: Opportunity to model something unique that I researched
Let's face it... there aren't many D&H layouts out there. And out of those that do exist, most (if not all) do not focus on the Colonie Main line or the year 1984. I have seen wonderful layouts set in the other regions of the railroad, including the northern Adirondacks, the Pennsylvania regions, or the Albany to Binghamton line. I have even seen Schenectady modeled, but not the Colonie Main. And, usually the period modeled is the 1960s-1970s.

The area between Kenwood Yard and Mechanicville isn't glamorous and much of the original railroad infrastructure is gone. However, when I first moved to Albany I lived in Menands and explored the remains of the Colonie Main Line during my free time. Because of this, I have a personal connection with the area. And, modeling something different appeals to me. Doing my own research instead of following in the footsteps of others is exciting. And frustrating. If I were modeling the Sante Fe's Cajon Pass or the D&RGW I would have thousands of sources of research. Here, there are very few. My pair of sneakers and Kodak camera are my most valuable tools. I have lot of good memories exploring the old buildings and taking measurements, and I find it enjoyable. So, for me the research is just as much fun as seeing the final layout.

Reason #5: Recreating childhood memories
I was born in 1982 in Rochester, NY. That was Conrail territory and "Big Blue" was everywhere. But, the types of trains that I saw as a kid in Rochester will be the same types modeled on my D&H layout. There weren't many TOFC or COFC trains, boxcars still were prevalent, and there was no graffiti on the cars. Though my layout will be set several hundred miles east of my hometown, watching the trains roll by will trigger early railfan memories. Plus, Conrail trains interchanged with the D&H and Amtrak trains rolled across on bridges so I can model them too.

Reason #6Evidence of 1983's "Year of the Bible"
In 1983, President Reagan declared that 1983 was going to be the "Year of the Bible". While looking through my DOT pictures from 1986 I noticed on the southern side of the prominent Central Warehouse in North Albany a large banner advertising the Year of the Bible. Assuming it was put up sometime in 1983, it likely was there in 1984 and it apparently lasted at least three years. I have no idea when it came down. God is very important in my life and, as a Christian, this is a great way to incorporate my religious beliefs into my layout in a realistic way.

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