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A recent photo excursion on the Tuscarora Railroad gives us a fresh look at the activities on that sleepy little railroad. The day started (as they typically do) in Neelyton, where the Shade Gap branch breaks off of the Blair's Mill to Burnt Cabins mainline.


Two of the locals take a moment to catch up on the latest gossip while waiting for the activities to begin.


The morning freight, led by Tuscarora Timber Co.'s #4 (A "paper" subsidiary of the TRR) crosses a grade crossing on the north leg of the wye at Neelyton, headed to Neelyton's depot. It will cross over Trout Run (immediately in front of the loco) then back into the siding to do its switching there.


The next town on the line, Shade Gap, is a bit sleepy today, literally. The station agent seems to prefer to take a break, rather than load the freight into the box car.


Fortunately, that box car is headed east, and our morning freight is headed west, so the the agent has some time.


We next catch the freight entering Blacklog, the western end of the Shade Gap Branch. This is where the TRR interchanges with the EBT, whose main yard is less than a mile further west, at Orbisonia.


While we're at Blacklog, we catch the mid-day passenger run getting ready to leave. On the point today is Tuscarora Valley's #5. The usual loco on this run (TRR #2) is down for repairs, so the TVRR is letting #5 fill in.


TVRR #5 departs Blacklog, crossing the grade crossing to turn on the wye before heading east.


Having turned on the wye, it passes on the east leg behind the depot.


Arriving in Shade Gap, we see that our station agent still hasn't gotten to the task at hand of loading the day's freight.


There must be some big goings-on going on, because the EBT's business car "Orbisonia" is tacked onto the back of today's passenger run.


The business car arrived on the EBT just a few years ago, and is rarely seen over the TRR's rails.


Leaving Shade Gap, our train passes by the spur leading to the tannery.


And another shot of the "Orbisonia," just for posterity.


Now, getting ready to cross over Shade Creek on its way east to Neelyton.


Having arrived in Neelyton and turned on the wye, the mid-day passenger train will shortly head back to Blacklog. (There is a second mid-day passenger run to handle the Blair's Mills to Burnt Cabins run.)


The freight has left Blacklog, and by this time has even finished the switching at Shade Gap. Headed back east, our freight prepares to cross Shade Creek. The steel span is relatively to the railroad, and should hopefully last quite a while.


Finally, the freight makes its way back into Neelyton, where it will continue south to Burnt Cabins before headed back north to Blair's Mills, where it interchanges with the Tuscarora Valley RR.


And one last quick shot of the freight as it passes by on its way south captures one of the East Broad Top's newest steel hoppers included in the train. The TRR owns no rolling stock of its own (just locomotives), so the EBT furnishes them all the rolling stock. Typically they get the "sloppy seconds," but recently, more and more of the EBT's newer stock has been gracing the rails.

This day brought two surprises. Not only were we fortunate enough to catch the "Orbisonia" on the passenger run, but...


A clerical mix-up forced a special evening freight run to Blacklog. Number 4 rolls into town as night has just fallen across the valley.


Rumors that the "clerical mix-up" involved a left-behind box of cigars from the big-wigs' earlier meeting are largely unsubstantiated...


And with that, we pack our gear and leave #4 at Blacklog, it's "clerical mix-up" now sorted out. As we left town, the soft smell of coal smoke seemed somehow laced with the sweet aroma of some really fine tobacco... Nah. Couldn't have been...

Later,

K
 

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Great photos Kevin. Thanks again for the open house. I really enjoyed it :)

The night photos are pretty cool! Did you "light up" your station?

Probably any photo you take could win a prize but I especially like the photo with the tree in the foreground with the passenger car behind. Since the tree and vegetation is to scale it makes it look even more like the real thing :p
 

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Is that like an EPA friendly smoke stack??
Good shots bud.
 

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What a great day on the RR. You've really captured a wonderful feel on the layout and the plants have grown in amazingly well! I would've liked to see #3 on the line, but we railfans are happy to get whatever we get! Maybe next time!
Chris
 

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WOW Kevin what a change from the orignal track design I saw just before it was torn up. Someday Ill have to get back out there to see the new track. You need to use one of the photos on the contest, they are all winners.
 

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Beautiful layout and photography!

That's not me!
(He's not wearing overalls.)


Love that back-woods trackage!
 

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Kevin,
Great pics, and what a wonderful layout! Thanks for taking us on a journey through your RR. Number 5 looks right at home after the GR project
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks, guys! It's those kinds of photos that really were the driving force behind building the railroad. It's taken 3 years, but it's finally grown in to where it's visually what I'm looking for. Now, I get to concentrate on the little details that bring the scenes to life, like our slacker station agent (Alas, the bosses were too busy smoking their stogies to notice) and other little scenes like that.

Jim, if you look on the very left hand side of one of the night shots, you can see the front of the flashlight I have pointed into the back of the building. :) Originally, my thoughts were to have the roofs removable, but then thought better. Instead, they're held on with silicon caulk, so I can remove them if necessary for maintenance, but not for any everyday kind of stuff. Shining a flashlight in the back window works great for photos, I just have to remember to crop the darned thing out next time. The rest of the light comes from ambient light in the back yard from the back porch light and the party lights I have strung along the back fence. They give a nice warmish glow, though I think I want to get some white LED christmas lights this Christmas to string along as well, as I think they'll give a cooler, more moonlit look in contrast to the incandescent or LED headlights of the locos.

Marty, the locos burn Broad Top "Smokeless" coal, so there's virtually no black smoke. Seriously--the coal that came out of both seams mined on Broad Top mountain well-known for burning very, very cleanly (and quite hot). There's a story I was told by one of the salesmen about how he stumbled across a guy who was cooking dog food in his garage with some rather lousy coal, much to the chagrin of his neighbors. He convinced him to try Broad Top coal, and his neighbors' complaints stopped almost immediately. At the time, the food was called "Alan's Products," We know it today as ALPO.

Chris, #3 pulled duty the next day, in front of the cameras there to tape it for next year's convention video. I would much prefer to run that than the Heisler, but for open houses, the Heisler has no front pilots to derail on the switches. Later in the day, I brought my video camera out for some shots, and #3 makes a brief lineside cameo as the passenger train pulls into Blacklog. I'm hoping to have that uploaded to YouTube in the next few days. Cool stuff shot from inside the passenger cars. Try that in N scale! :)

Later,

K
 

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Excellant photos Kevin. I finally get to see my bridge abutments. I especially like the night shot with the engine headlight shining on the rails.

Terl
 
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