1st Operating Session & Subsequent Improvements

In October, the Aspinwall Belt hosted the first “official” Operating Session.  For the uninitiated, this is essentially a bunch of grown men pretending to run a real railroad, when obviously it isn’t.  But that’s the last time you’ll hear me admit this. I set up some documentation for the group, including an overall train plan, […]

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Conrail 8110 GP38-2 in HO

After the baby was born, I received the most awesome of gifts from a close friend of mine: a Life-Like Proto2000 GP38-2, painted as Conrail 7993.  These engines are wonderfully detailed, out of the box, and they run really well.  Well, I’m modeling the early-mid 1990s, and by then, this particular unit was returned to […]

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Conrail’s Aspinwall Belt track expansion

In August, I posted an outline of the so-called “temporary layout”, Conrail’s Aspinwall Belt.  I thought I would share some layout progress and additional thoughts.  As I mentioned last time, the goal of this layout was to quickly get to the point where the kids and I could run some trains.  This way, Dad can […]

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The Aspinwall Belt

I have always been troubled by having too many hobbies, and never time for all of them.  Consequently, I go through various phases… As a kid, HO scale model trains (along with a few military aircraft for good measure).  High school was mostly music, with a bit of railroad photography; college was about the same.  […]

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Heritage locomotives in Pittsburgh

As of late, many of Norfolk Southern’s famous Heritage fleet of 20 locomotives – modern diesels painted in historic liveries for 20 of NS’s predecessor railroads – have been passing through Pittsburgh.  Many of these have been making long-distance trips from the Bakken Shale (in the Dakotas) bringing crude oil east to refineries in Delaware […]

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Trip Report – Position Light Signals

It’s been awhile since I’ve sent any sort of trip report, as it’s been awhile since I’ve been on any sort of trip.  With baby Allison now at 7 weeks, my wife was ready to get me out of the house.  I greased the wheels by cooking some good food, and making sure my wife […]

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Scanning slides

I recently acquired a collection of approximately 8000 railroad slides, mostly Kodachromes, spanning the late 1960′s to sometime in the 1990′s; these were taken by a longtime friend, Peter McGilligan, upon his passing in October, 2012. After giving it some thought, we bought a Pacific Image PowerSlide 5000, and am now scanning 100 slides at […]

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My own railroad signal…

After years of lust I finally sought out my very own signal. I wanted a dwarf signal – usually used in junctions and yard where clearances are minimal – because, well, let’s face it. I can put a small one in the house, and not need a crane and concrete to stand it up.  So […]

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Cadiz Yard, Eastbound

The sun’s been up for awhile, and it’s hot enough for March – but we’re enjoying the parade of eastbounds passing through the small interchange yard at Cadiz, California along BNSF’s Needles Sub. While I never got to see the “real” Santa Fe in action, it was good enough for me to watch trains follow […]

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Ash Hill, Westbound

A bird (hey, I’m a railfan, not an ornithologist!) is perched atop a telegraph pole, while a BNSF crew gives a quick blast of the horn to the signal maintainers standing by in their trucks, as we hear the squeal of 85-foot flatcars hustling Schneider and Hunt trailers to their west coast destination.

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