CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Sunday, October 30, 2022

An Autumn D&H scene with #5003 (1987)

Autumn reminds me of a lot of things. Watching the trees in the northeast change colors. Watching baseball playoffs on the television. Getting the last bit of railfanning in before winter forces me inside. And, frequently rainy weather. This image dated October 1987 captures all of those elements together.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Batten Kill Railroad - 40th Anniversary

The Batten Kill Railroad recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary. I spent some time years ago railfanning it for a day, and I also started building a model of its old excursion train. I spent a wonderful afternoon up in Cambridge, NY, listening to slide shows, taking pictures of FOUR operational Alco locomotives, and meeting some great people. I also bought a souvenir placard which I had signed. 

I wrote up a nice blog post about it... which the internet suddenly caused to be deleted. So, instead of rewriting it I am just reposting some pictures with minimal commentary.

The long-lasting RS3 #4116 was set up next to the freight house so people could take a look inside the cab.

Info banner alongside engine:

Newly unveiled BKRR #5015, an Alco RS36, made for quite a show of color. It was based on the notorious D&H "experimental" scheme which was only used on one locomotive and never repeated.

Info banner alongside engine:

This lightning-striped engine has been used quite a bit at the BKRR over the past year or two. It is another Alco RS36 painted up for the Southern New England RR #5012.

Info banner alongside engine:

Hal Raven's Alco switcher and caboose were also at the events.

Info banner alongside engine:

The weather was perfect to go outside and walk around the trains, which all looked in perfect shape (except venerable #4116).

Multiple interviews were also conducted by Ken Karlewicz of people associated with the BKRR, perhaps for inclusion in his upcoming book.

There were many interesting slideshow presentations throughout the afternoon. I made sure to get a front seat for them. They weren't presented in order, and I missed the last one.

Bill Taber, current owner of the BKRR (see in the gray plaid shirt) was present to answer any questions that came up. He clearly remembered details from 40+ years ago!

Admittedly, I didn't stay for the last presentation as the day was growing long and I had to head home. But, it was a wonderful experience and I thank all the people involved who helped make it great.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

R.I.P. Dick Elwell (10-21-2022)

I learned last night at our monthly NMRA meeting that Division member Dick Elwell had passed away that morning after a long battle with cancer. It hit me hard. His Hoosac Valley layout was, in my opinion, the nicest layout I have ever seen in my life. And frankly, it should be, considering he spent more than 50 years working on it (in multiple locations... it was moved to his new house). I have visited it several times and operated on it in 2011, which is when most of these pictures were taken. I was scheduled to operate on it again only three weeks ago but sadly he had to cancel due to illness. 

His attention to detail, his fantastic colorful fall scenery, and his focus on modeling New England scenes have directly inspired me to achieve those goals myself on my next layout, which will be O gauge and set in New England in the fall. 

There are a lot of pictures in this post, but they don't capture even half of what he managed to accomplish on his layout. He was featured on the cover of many different modeling magazines. In 2011, when I visited him, he was the cover story for R.M.C. but they had never sent him a copy of the issue and he wanted to know how it turned out. I reached out to an old friend, Otto Vondrak, and arranged for a few copies to be sent to Dick directly. It was the least I could do for him.

He, and his magnificent layout, will be missed. I will let the pictures do the talking...