The calendar page has been turned to the new month of September and our first ops of the month happens to be of the standard gauge variety.
Thanks to Chris and Jonah for bringing out this New York Central beauty. It is our understanding that it will morph into a Canadian National switcher over the winter.
Paul's CP unit holds down the job at Ralph Yard in Firgrove.
Garry's CN Geep has the run of the railroad aboard Train 302 on this day.
Lawrence's B&O road unit addes a splash of colour.
George's CN switcher will get a twin brother once Chris and Johah's New York Central unit hits the paint shop off season.
No paint needed on this handsome puppy. She's weathered enough already and well-liked by all! Hehehe! This is my CN road switcher.
Another look at Paul's CP unit.
Brian has his HATX leased unit out again this Saturday.
Seanna and Steve brought along their beautifully painted Algoma Central diesel engine.
I've spotted a new piece of rolling stock on the railroad.
The blue tankcar is in Northland.
But she will be shuffled out eventually.
Lots of great logos along the line.
From some great domestic railroads.
Spanning the globe.
A provincial line.
Serving our nation.
An American friend.
Another Canadian looker.
You've got to love black boxcars.
In the early morning sunlight, this lassie appears grey.
A different provincial railroad.
Doug and I both thank Steve for offering to dispatch so that Doug and I could crew a train together.
We rarely get the chance to do so as Doug and I take turns dispatching the railroad on alternate Saturdays.
So, here I am with skipper Doug in behind me. I'm the engineer on our first run of the day and Doug is the conductor. We will switch rolls for the second run and then again for the third run of the morning.
So, thanks again, Steve! Here's a look at Steve and his lovely wife, Seanna.
Seanna crewed with Doug. Yes, we have two Dougs, two Pats, two Steves and two Pauls in our operating group!
Moe sets out his diesel as he will crew with Garry.
Garry is the lad on the right posing for this picture with Bernie, the Craig Leigh yardmaster.
A father and son team run the passenger trains, Chris and young Jonah.
My good buddy, Bill, poses with Chris and Jonah down in Rat Portage.
Where Bill and Pat are busy switching out the RP&M industries.
Paul is all a-smile.
Because he has a great crewmate in Lawrence.
The other Paul holds down the fort in Firgrove.
While Henk and George keep real busy in Nelson Yard...or do they?
Brian will crew an RP&M train. I hadn't snagged a shot of Brian this past weekend so this one from a few weeks earlier will suffice.
Set out time pre-ops.
Henk examines car numbers to determine the appropriate placement of said cars.
Lawrence digs out his locomotive from the carrying case.
Cars in Stuart Yard at Bell.
The interchange track is chock-a-block full.
As is the Hamer Manufacturing Company down in Rat Portage.
Pat and Fred enjoy a chuckle.
"No! Not the outside of the bell, Mike!" Fred hollers out.
Of course, Mike was just having fun at Fred's expense.
The bell rings and the pre-ops meeting is called to order.
Doug, Bill and Moe are in place already.
As are Jonah and his dad, Chris.
Why are they looking to Starboard?
Brother Bill has a tall tale to tell!
Henk, Lawrence and Doug look on.
Hey look! Grant is paying us a visit from his home in western Canada! Welcome back, Grant!
Henk pays a visit to the crew lounge while Bob, George and Paul observe.
George, Paul, Doug and Brian take in the action.
Let's get to the train action. Chris and Jonah have Passenger #2 safely underway.
We catch them just east of Watkins Siding.
Later, on the grade up to Spruce.
Anticipating their arrival at the lovely depot in Spruce.
Here they come.
That's a beautiful train in front of an equally beautiful station!
A slow stop.
For the passengers on the tail end.
Passenger #2 meets Train 301.
We then check in on Train 302 which is 301's counterpart in the opposite direction.
302 arrives Peter's Pond where it meets 327.
Looks like 302 has work to conduct up the Cedar Rock Branch.
Later, they find themselves arriving Mercer Siding.
Safely tucked in the siding.
302's crew now mans Train 312 out from Nelson Yard now in Spruce.
That's Garry and Moe (to the right) working eastbound 302.
Later we find Train 318 battling the long grade out of Blockhouse.
With Paul and Lawrence in charge.
Lawrence checks the turnouts to ensure they are tucked safely in the siding.
Much later, they back their train onto the main to allow 301 to enter the Spruce siding.
They then depart for Ironwood.
The crew works the trailing sidings in Ironwood.
Lawrence keeps an eye on the track ahead.
As he heads up to the main to run around his train.
In the distance we spot the crew of 327, Doug and Seanna as they assemble their train in Glen Hammond.
They eventually reach Peter's Pond where they travel up the branch into Cedar Rock.
They plan out their moves.
Lots of switching up here.
With some stock cars in behind the locomotive.
A nice triple domed tank car meets and greets them.
Back down in Peter's Pond they back onto their train and tuck themselves safely onto the main.
For a meet with an eastbound.
With the meet complete, they will gain clearance up to Bell and eventually their final destination of Firgrove.
301 appears to be a shorter train on this morning.
Pulled by Mike's CN RS3.
Custom painted by our good friend, Bill Sn3 Scobie.
It turns out that 301 does not depart Craig Leigh with a consist of three revenue generating cars. The three cars on the siding above are also destined for 301's consist. Bernie, the Craig Leigh yardmaster came up with this cool idea to give the crews departing his yard a little extra work.
My conductor, Doug, has me picking up those three cars off the siding.
Here I am backing onto my caboose before departing Craig Leigh.
Our first stop along the line is Mount St. Helens.
Doug choreographs the moves here.
There still are some remnants of volcanic ash remaining around the area from the Mount St. Helens eruption of May 18, 1980.
We later find ourselves in Spruce. An ardent railfan sent me this image he snapped from a hovering helicopter.
We use the siding to drill the two facing spurs.
Then we run around our train and head on our way westward to Nelson Yard.
We breeze by the flagstop that hasn't seen a patron in years.
Around the big curve.
Brakes are squealing...
...as we descend the grade where we will eventually bottom out at the pedestrian crossing just east of Blockhouse.
Let's see what kind of trouble our RP&M crews are up to. When Bill and Pat get together, you know there are some kind of railroad antics brewing.
Oh no...forgive me...it's Pat Brennan...not Pat Brewer...the brewer of some of said antics! Hehehe!
Looks like they are working the Hamer industry.
A single car setout.
And...a couple of lifts.
Nice van on the tail, lads.
Chris marches by behind them in Firgrove.
My buddy, Bill, watches on.
Chris follows his passenger train...out of sight in this image.
While Bill and Pat run back around to the front of their train to continue back to Nelson Yard.
George lends a hand upon their arrival to the yard.
Judging by this bright blue beauty, I know that Brian is in the vicinity.
Here he is aboard Rat 70 crossing the junction of the two railroads.
Returning back to Nelson Yard.
Taking a rest.
Back at it switching out the local industries at Anderson.
With Nelson Yard in the distance.
That blue locomotive is a real gem, Brian.
Bob is in command of the ore train.
At Watkins Siding.
He will eventually have some work to conduct at Ironwood Brick.
Grant oversees Bob's run.
Rounding the bend at Lilly.
On approach to the trestle.
Through the iron.
Classic railfan shot.
In Glen Hammond.
A lower angle shot of the same location.
Later on, Bob finds his way to Bell.
Then into Peter's Pond.
Over in Craig Leigh Bernie has Douglas Yard well organized.
Say Hi, Bernie!
Bernie's TH&B Geep.
Bernie, Lawrence and Paul.
Share a laugh.
Then kibitz for the rail photographer.
Bernie communicates with an incoming train.
OVer in Firgrove, Paul works Ralph Yard.
He also oversees the terminating trains.
Putting a run together.
Paul chats with Chris.
As he goes about his business.
With his great looking CP diesel.
George assists Henk at Nelson Yard.
A view from a distance of Henk hard at work.
Trains above and below.
George's switcher handles the duties admirably.
Bob seeks permission to enter the yard.
Things get busy.
Then there is a lull.
But you never know when things will get busy again!
Henk ponders his movements in the yard.
Rolling stock review. This tanker adds colour to its surroundings.
The spurs near the junction.
Nicely weathered trucks on this reefer.
Another newer car to the fleet.
Train 303 is ready to depart Craig Leigh.
With Paul and Lawrence as crew.
They've reached Nelson Yard.
Where Lawrence confers with the yardmaster.
Nice new "go-fasters" Paul!
Paul shades my locomotive.
Paul and Lawrence discuss the trackage up in Cedar Rock.
Garry and Moe run 312 at Spruce.
With Garry's CN beauty.
Garry is in the distance with Moe nearby.
But they keep their line of communication open.
I spot Seanna's diesel near the interchange at Bell.
While Doug and I drill the brewery spur.
Seanna and Doug have 327 arriving Firgrove in the distance.
Seanna and Steve's diesel in front of the facility named after them.
Seanna and Doug talk over their moves in Cedar Rock.
Much later they are spotted on the spur track in Spruce.
While Doug and I bring 301 closer to its destination of Nelson Yard.
Coming into the yard.
Now aboard 311, Doug and I rally for the crossing.
John, hailing from Burlington, is in Ottawa visiting his sister so he popped over for a visit. So great seeing you, John!
Doug and I have 311 westbound in "The Corners."
Through Watkins Siding.
Rounding the bend near the interchange area.
Along "the Ledges."
While Chris and Jonah arrive the depot at Spruce.
They are aboard the Pool Train and bring their consist to a stop at Pratt's Bottom.
Then into Glen Hammond.
For another station stop.
Where they have some switching business to attend to.
Later, they take Passenger #1 out of Craig Leigh.
A father and son crew.
Before I leave you, I want to share my summer HO scale project with you.
Tim Warris and Fast Tracks bought out Mt. Albert Scale Lumber and he asked me to build the Lumber Yard they are now releasing in HO Scale, a kit that had only been available in the larger O-scale.
Included in the kit is this Sylvan 1936 Chevy truck that I had to paint and assemble. The great thing about the Sylvan vehicles is the fact that you can have the front wheels glued on at any angle you desire, something you do not see in the standard HO offerings of vehicles. Too much fun!
While Pat and Fred share a laugh...
...we catch the tail end down in Rat Portage...
...and we close the door at Brunt's Brewery while closing the door to this week's blog posting. It's "Back to School" for me as I begin my 39th year of teaching!
Have a great week everyone! Mike Hamer, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada