CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Wrap Up

The date of this shot is 12/31/1986... New Year's Eve. Surprisingly, the Mohawk River doesn't look iced over and I see no traces of snow anywhere. There is a lot of motive power on this train, but perhaps Guilford decided to combine several trains to get them over the road before the holiday evening. Mohawk Yard is just to the right of the bridge, and downtown Schenectady and the old Alco plant are just on the left. I think I see six different paint schemes on the locomotives. 

As 2021 draws to a close, I wish all of you a wonderful, safe, and happy new year.

I accomplished several things in 2021:

1.) I scratchbuilt twelve structures for the NMRA "Master Builder - Structures" certificate. As it turns out, only three earned enough points for a merit award but another two more are very close and should be easily augmented to bring up the level of detail. I will likely scratchbuild something new for the twelfth, and super-detail it just for the award. 

It is funny that every all eight pieces of rolling stock I built earned merit award, but I struggled with structures. Sure, I didn't add as many details as I could but I suspect something else influences the judging more: most judges (and most modelers) have built craftsmen structure kits, but few have scratchbuilt rolling stock. As a result, I think most judges believe that rolling stock is harder to accomplish and as a result they judge it more leniently. Everyone can build structures, so they judge them harder. Or that might just be my own perceptions.

2.) I started to seriously explore Hi-rail O gauge. I joined the Empire & Eastern Division of the Toy Train Operating Society and have attended many of their online weekly Zoom meetings, went to a couple of their in-person layout meetings, and even helped them set up at a local train show. I also toured three different O gauge layouts (one in Buffalo, NY; one in Maine; and one in New Jersey) and I had been having a blast with the bigger trains. I also started buying O scale trains that I liked, and have so far weathered about a dozen freight cars and a caboose. I even wrote an article with a major O gauge magazine accepted for publication next year. At this point, I believe that my next layout will be in this scale.

3.) I took a day trip to Maine to ride a 2-foot train, toured a custom layout builder, and had lunch on the Maine coast. Seeing real trains, riding trains, and talking with other model railroaders was great even though I had a very long car ride in the process. It helped remind me of what "normal" looked like before the pandemic occured.

And, I have some things to look forward to in 2022:

1.) The "Springfield" Amherst Train show in January is something I need for my modeling sanity. I couldn't attend the local Great Train Extravaganza earlier this month due to a plumbing problem in the basement, and so my train show itch is still waiting to be scratched. However, with the rise of Covid numbers I fear it will be cancelled.

2.) The Rapido Rohr Turboliner HO scale train which I ordered several years ago may actually be released this year. Yay!

3.) After taking nearly a year off, I am recharged and began working on my HO scale layout again. Most of that will be discussed in a future post, but suffice to say for right now I am excited to at least be doing something with it.

Here's to hopefully a great 2022!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

D&H company service automobile

I am not a car guy so I can't tell you what make or model of automobile this is. But, because it has D&H shield on the side I would assume it was in company service. The slide is dated July 1976 and if you look at the back window of the car you can make out a large American flag. If anyone has more information about this interesting car I would love to know.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas!

I wish all of you a Safe and Happy Holiday Season and a Blessed New Year!

Here is our tree for this year. Bringing out the Lionel Hogwarts set requires 0-48 (diameter) curves, which cuts into our family room carpet where our dog Clover normally plays. As a result, she sometimes knocks the train over as it goes around and around. In this photo, though, she is content to just watch it roll along.

For those who are wondering what to get for model railroaders for Christmas, I believe that this classic Charlie Brown cartoon says it all:

And for the true meaning of Christmas, also brought to you via Charlie Brown & Linus...

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Snowy D&H scene

In this December 1988 shot, engines from the D&H, Chessie, and the Bangor & Aroostook Railroads combine to move a mixed freight. It looks cold in the scene, but I don't see any exhaust from the engines to perhaps they are idling.

Lately I have been reading many books on the B&A and B&M, and I have always thought that the Chessie scheme was pretty sharp, so this image captured a lot of my interests. Except the snow. Oh well, that is what December is known for in upstate NY.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Four generations of locomotive power in Utica (11-25-2021)

While visiting my Grandmother for Thanksgiving in Utica, NY this year I stopped at the Amtrak station. Anytime I go to Utica I drive to the station first, and I have written about the former NYC station here. Because Amtrak's schedule usually has a train arriving around noon, it is usually a good time to catch a train before Thanksgiving dinner.

It was cold this year but I did walk around and took a couple of pictures. While my photography skills leave a lot to be desired, I think I managed to capture something special this year.

The train farthest in the distance is an Adirondack Scenic Railroad passenger train being led by #1845, a Montreal Locomotive Works (subsidiary of ALCO) RS18u built in 1957. This would be considered a second generation diesel locomotive. Trailing that is #1502, an ex-Metro North Railroad Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) FP10 built in 1947. This would be considered a first generation diesel.

The Amtrak train in the center is being pulled by Amtrak #714, a General Electric (GE) P32AC-DM built in 1998. This would be considered a third generation diesel locomotive.

Finally, the steamer in front is a NYC steam locomotive #6721, a B-11k 0-6-0 class switcher built by Alco in 1913. This would be a pre-diesel generation locomotive. This poor engine was subject to a vandal-caused runaway freight car collision in 2015 but thankfully it looks better now.


While the definitions of "first generation", "second generation", and "third generation" diesel locomotives and their cut-off dates isn't always clear, I think I can broadly say that this shot shows three generations of diesel power plus the pre-curser steam locomotive. Four locomotive builders are also represented: Alco, MLW, General Electric, EMD. Not too bad for one photograph.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Then and Now - North Albany CP train

Here is a shot of a northbound train passing through North Albany on August 10, 1991. The large gray building in the background is the Central Warehouse (served by the NYC). The shorter light gray building directly above and behind the second and third engines is the former Albany Tomato Company. I don't know what it was being used for in 1991, but it certainly wasn't tomato red anymore! The brick building behind the lead engine is more puzzling. Ten years ago when I was researching the area it was a tire dealer and a warehouse for party and event supplies. But what was it in 1984? That is a puzzle. In his excellent book Bridge Line Freight 1960-1983, author Dominic Bourgeois opined that it might have been once part of the F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company. 

Not much has changed with the exterior of the building. Here is a shot I took on April 20, 2005. This Norfolk Southern locomotive was actually pulling a contain train. Can you imagine seeing containers snaking through the buildings? I believe that the containers were all single-stacked, but it still made for an unusual sight. And one that hasn't occurred in nearly a decade now that the container cranes were replaced with the oil terminal.

And if you are wondering what those windows are that are facing the tracks, here is a better shot of the building from July 05, 2010.

Friday, December 10, 2021

D&H flanger / caboose #35824 (1984)

Here is a neat image of a D&H caboose taken April 12, 1984 in Colonie Yard. It looks like a transfer caboose but to my knowledge the D&H never owned cabooses specifically set up for this purpose (transfer cabooses are utilitarian to the extreme and are essentially mobile offices with a desk, bathroom, stove, and not much else). Instead, this appears to be an old flanger which originally had steel blades mounted underneath that scraped ice away from inside the rails. There is a lot of open space visible below the deck so I would guess the blades have been removed. I don't know if the D&H used it as a caboose anymore or if it just sat and decayed on a yard track. Online pictures show it staying in Colonie through at least the end of the decade.

I purchased this slide with the idea of scratchbuilding this model, though it looks so ugly that I am not sure I could see myself putting in the effort to finish it. 

Monday, December 6, 2021

D&H Shark #1216 is moved!

Here is a movie of a recent (December 02, 2021) move of Delaware & Hudson RF-16 shark #1216. 

As D&H fans know, their two sharks (#1205, 1216) were built for the New York Central Railroad, then traded in to GE and later sent to the Monogahela Railway. Sold for scrap, the D&H purchased them in 1974 by exchanging $12,000 worth of metal scrap boxcars for the pair. Under the care of President Sterzing and maintenance of Chief Road Foreman of Engines Marv Davis, they worked various jobs including excursion trains, the Slatepicker, and road assignments. 

In 1978, with the D&H under new management, they were sold to the Castolite Corporation (a leasing company) and ended up on the Michigan Northern Railway. After #1205 was damaged in a snow accident, the pair were sent to the Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad. They have been there for over 40 years, and owner John Larkin has kept them hidden (and protected) from the weather, vandals, and a scraper's torch. He announced in 2020 that upon his death they would be sent to museums for future preservation.

We all have dreams for what we would do if we won the lottery. One of mine has always been to purchase and restore these two engines. I don't know why... they were retired and hidden away years before I was even born and I have never seen them run. My favorite steam locomotive is Arcade & Attica Railroad #14, a Baldwin ten wheeler that I rode behind once or twice as a child before it too was locked up in 1988 in an engine house for protection and perhaps future restoration. And who did the A&A buy it from in 1963? Ironically, it was the Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad. 

So, if I won the lottery (and my wife let me) my money would go to restoring several engines that passed through the E&LS railroad's roster. Small world, eh?

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Wrecked D&H boxcar (1976)

We all have bad days. The D&H was no exception. No idea what the story is behind boxcar #23060 but it looks like it derailed and the end was impacted by the other car it was coupled to. In this March 10, 1976 shot in Oneonta it is clearly grounded so perhaps they were using it as a storage shed.