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Allison, Suzi, and I went back east for a weekend to visit the parents, and (finally) have Suzi meet some of her eastern relatives and family friends. Naturally, I made sure that part of the weekend included an operating session dad's Woodland Railway. He's got a group of fairly regular operators who gather once a month or so over the summer, and I made a point to invite a bunch of other MLS'ers who I knew lived in reasonable driving distance.

The day's operations weren't quite as structured as they had been at other times, with dad reverting to our older "tab on car" system of operations in lieu of the computer-generated switch lists he's used in the past. In truth, the day became more of a typical train meeting/bull session with many just running their trains on the rails just to enjoy seeing them run.


Things got going fairly early, with Bruce Chandler showing up with his model of the EBT's M-3, kitbashed from a Bachmann rail truck. Suzi took particular interest in it. Bruce put sound in that thing, and boy does it run smooth.


Here's the M-3 running up from Willow Flats (the western terminus of the railroad) up to Woodland Junction.


Unfortunately, the M-3 ran into a bit of a snag in the tunnel leading into Woodland Junction, and managed to get itself wedged pretty much smack-dab in the middle. Now, the tunnels on dad's railroad break the fundamental rules of tunnels, in that they're fairly long (10 - 12'), often curved, and not easily accessible. But technology is our friend.


Dad brought out the inspection car he uses to check the interiors of the tunnels every spring to assist in finding out what was going on.


Such is the way with things, by the time the crew got the camera car out on the line, Bruce had retrieved (most) of the M-3--a little battered, lacking a front pilot, but otherwise intact. That's dad looking at the lap top while Ben Bates pushes the camera car into the tunnel.


Here's a shot of the camera dad uses. It just hooks to the laptop via a USB plug. Note--when using the USB cable to pull the car out of the tunnel, make sure to tape the USB extension to the camera's cable. Nothing's worse than getting your inspection car stuck in the tunnel.


With that excitement out of the way, the first freight of the day could get ready to move. The cars headed east wait at Willow Flats.


Each car has a painted penny on it, letting the operator know which town the car goes to. Each town has a color scheme close to the penny's color, so it's fairly easy to tell.


Bruce and his wife Jean decided to take the eastbound freight. Suzi determined fairly early in the day that Ben had a lap suitable for sitting, so he kindly obliged.


I've mentioned in the past that dad's railroad was built prior to the 1:20 equipment becoming available. As such the clearances tend to get just a bit tight--sometimes too tight. Bruce's Shay was one of a few locos which tried squeeze into tight spaces. (Bruce, I recovered a hose bracket. I'll mail it to you.)


Unable to fit through the gap, Jean ran the Shay up the grade light to investigate other potential clearance issues.


Meanwhile, Ben handed Suzi back to me so he could start heading west out of Tall Oaks.


With the large 1:20 Shay unable to make it between rocks and through tunnels, Brian Donovan (altterrain) took over with his kitbashed Dunkirk.


Brian's loco features the name of his railroad and the Woodland RY's Pinetree logo. Brian also owns an ex-WRY caboose, which he brings to run on its home rails.


Later in the day, another eastbound freight, led by WRY #16 (an Accucraft C-16) heads up the 5% grade between Woodland Junction and Hemlock Hills.


And leaving Hemlock Hills, for Tall Oaks, with a very short train. WRY combine #18 (ex EBT) brings up the rear.


Passenger service was well represented, too. Dave Beckstein and Dusty Suit admire the WRY's "spit and polish" mogul at the head end of the daily passenger run. It's just left Tall Oaks, heading towards Strongton


The passenger train has just left the Hemlock Hills passenger depot while the local freight busily switches out the freight yard. The building on the far right is the coal mine. They take their architecture seriously in Hemlock Hills.


The normal operations were occasionally interrupted by specials. Jack Thompson (Big65Dude) brought his Inspection engine (along with some other goodies) to run. Alas, this--too--was a smidge too tall for some of the tunnels. It's posed here on the WRY's iconic trestle leading into Woodland Junction.


The inspection engine started its trek up at Strongton,


winding its way down through the river gorge, rounding the curve into Woodland Junction.


Jack's Climax spent most of its time between Tall Oaks and Hemlock Hills, where the only tunnel is undergoing renovation, and had been raised to accommodate the larger locos. The gondolas behind the Climax are Bachmann's tiny 20' gondolas. They clean up very nicely.


It would, however, be inaccurate to say anything larger than 1:22 won't fit on the WRY. Brian Donovan's 7/8" (1:13.7) "Rail-Tractor Enterprise" ran very well over the line. Captain Picard didn't even lose his hat.


Most of the day was spent much as seen here--just sitting around in the shade, talking. From left to right: Dave Beckstein, Jack Thompson, Mike O'Malley (lownote), his daughter Francis (who spent most of the time playing with Suzi) is the little one in the photo. Mike's wife (forgive me, Mike, it's late and your wife's name is lost in my brain) is examining the flora on the extreme right, and my mom's head is in the lower corner.

***
Finally, some random shots of stuff worthy of mention...


I mentioned the tunnel at Tall Oaks that was being renovated. The new interior was built from cement brick, then sprayed with brown fleck-stone paint to give it a darker look without being totally even. The tunnel interior is taller than the portal. (In fact, Jon Munson--dad's neighbor, fellow train nut, and the braun behind lots of the heavy work lately--rebuilt both portals on the spot Saturday so that the taller equipment can pass.


One thing I really enjoyed was seeing the work of fellow MLSers in person. The photos--while excellent in themselves--still aren't as impressive as seeing things in person. I do tip my hat to Bruce Chandler, for going above and beyond in the weathering department. When's the last time you saw anyone model cracked paint like that??? Sometimes accidents work out.


I was hoping that dad might have had the WRY's newest loco up and running by the time I got out there, but he's waiting on a Phoenix sound system to put in it. I did bring it out for some photos.


Yes, stainless steel does rust. It just takes it 20+ years. These are the rail joiners we use on the WRY. The joint bars are code 100 HO rail that we ground flat and drilled with a jig. The screws are 0-80 stainless steel pan-head screws. The difference between this and the prototype joint bar is that the joiners are only on the outside of the rails. The heads of the screws are thin enough to go under the head of the rail so the flanges don't hit them. The tie strips are old Kalamazoo tie strips, which aren't as UV stable as other manufacturers. They've gotten brittle over the years, and a recent attack of golf-ball-sized hail broke some of the spike heads off. New spikes were glued in with gorilla glue, and seem to be holding up quite nicely.


While on the subject of hail storms, the hail completely trashed all the diagonal bracing between the bents. One more project to work on. Many of the railroad's buildings are in pieces due to the storm.


Bruce Chandler's speedomoter/odometer car. The little computer is calibrated to 1:20.3, and his Shay crawled around at a mere 2 - 3 miles per hour. At one point, it got up to the breakneck speed of 5 miles per hour!


Alas, the day came to an end and we all had to pack up and head home. I wish I could get back east more often, but I guess the rarity of the event makes it even that much more memorable. It was (as it always is) an absolute pleasure to meet the great people we have on this list in person, and equally great to see old friends once again.

Later,

K
 

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What a lovely day!
 

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Great pics, K. It shows what a real photographer can do. It was great to meet you in person and see the other guys again.

-Brian
 

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It was a lovely day, although we came a little late and missed most people. I got to meet Jack Thompson and see some of his truly stunning work up close, and I got to see Kevin's downsized connie--in person it looks even better than the pictures. I got to meet Kevin and my wife (kathleen) and I had a delightful chat with Kevin's Mom

Jim Strong's railway is really charming. It's just beautifully situated and every angle looks like it was well thought out. The shade is great and the combination of rocks and evergreens really does give it a woodlands feel. The track plan is logical and yet has plenty of whimsy and the feeling of illusion. Although there are few maintenance issues--I can't keep up with them on my little layout--everything for the most part has aged really nicely. I especially loved the little cast concrete bridge, and the stone slab bridge, and the track between two trees. If there's a next time I've got to come up with something battery operated, so I can try running on it.

Thanks Kevin!
 

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Thanks Kevin for posting the pics of a great day! It looks like everyone had a splendid time running trains and enjoying the hobby.:D
 

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Wow, that is a grand layout! Nice spy cam. I like the penny idea for the operations; clever, simple and cheap. Looks like most things weathered the hail pretty well.

What's the big #2 sign for?
 

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Great documentary on both sites of a good event. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Most of the hail-damaged buildings were either inside for repairs or just not photographed. The castle looks like it has been under siege, and most of the Pola buildings' roofs came off or broke. Some buildings had been rebuilt and put back out. There were a few kinks in the track where the ballast had washed out from underneath and the hail crashed down on it. Nothing insurmountable, but still taking time to remedy.

The "2" is the bottom part of a milepost (milepost 82) from the old Colorado & Southern branch that ran north out of Ft. Collins, CO up to the sugar beet plants (or so I was told when I got it).

For those with back issues of Garden Railways magazine, dad and I wrote up our tab-on-car system in the June '94 issue.

Later,

K
 

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Yes, what a fun day. Great to meet some new folks!

Clearances were certainly tight. I THOUGHT that my Shay might make it, but it kept getting hung up on the rocks. I'm glad that you found the hose bracket, Kevin. (Now, if you find the step board for the light inspection car, or the brackets for the cow-catcher on the motorcar, let me know - I'll be right over! )


The Woodland Railway just looks neat. Everywhere you look, it's green and lush. We had a great day with a nice breeze and relatively low humidity. (Probably about twice what it was in Colorado, Kevin. ;) )


I barely caught Jack in this picture, but that's Jim running the passenger train.


Here, Ben, Jack, Ken, and Kevin discuss some weighty topic. Note the baggage car used as a temporary storage platform.


The motorcar did suffer a bit of damage; paint scraped, roof came off, fenders lost, cowcatcher lost some parts...that sort of thing. There's always something. When I ran up in Ottawa, it dropped the drive shaft and the universal joint after the front axle split. The drive shaft was quickly located, but the universal joint eluded me for quite some time - it's very tiny. Luckily, Ric found the universal joint for me. But the repairs to that made it run better. For now, the roof has been glued back on and new fenders are almost ready to install. Next, I'm investigating a better way to mount the cowcatcher. So, mishaps lead to improvements! ;)
 

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I guess a Dash-9 would be alittle out of place??
 
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Man I wish I could have been there! Put me in the back as the water and dr. pepper boy /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif
Toad
 

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Thanks for the Great Pic's Looks like you had a great day. I got some great Ideas from them.

Like you I savor the time spent with friends. I look forward to my trip to Marty's
 

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I am sorry that I could not have participated myself. I was at a wedding shower for my brother and his fiancee. Though I am glad to have at least stopped by before going to the shower - the "eastern" entrance to the tunnel-under-renovation needed a quick lift to allow that whopper of a Shay through!
 

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Kevin,
Just wanted to add my 'thanx for the pix' to the thread. Your Dad's layout is one of the classics, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who became inspired by it!
I was surprised, at first, about all the clearance issues that popped up. It is bemusing to realize how much the hobby has "grown" since the layout was built!
 

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Kevin,
Thanks for the excellent pictures. Wasn't the WRR written up in Garden Railways within the last couple of years? That is a very cool place.
Paul
 
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