Sunday, October 7, 2018

Session #19 - We Are Thankful

Our 19th session of the season falls on our Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.

The gathering of trains is of the narrow gauge variety.
Remember, you can enlarge the images by clicking on them and return to the default page by clicking outside them.

Indeed, we have so much to be thankful for.

The tree on my boulevard this morning got me to thinking how thankful I am that no one lost their life during our recent violent storm that spawned a multitude of tornadoes, an event unheard of in this region.

Driving over to our train ops session got me to thinking how thankful I am of having such a great friend as Fred who is willing to host us each week for our train sessions.  That's my good buddy, Bill, next to Fred holding his coffee cup.

I am especially thankful that my colleague, Casey, our kindergarten teacher, is progressing so well after the horrendous watercraft accident that nearly cost her her life on Canada Day.  We are hopeful to have her back in the classroom early in the new calendar year.  You go girl! (Image courtesy of the Ottawa Citizen.)

I am thankful for these three colleagues of mine who work closely with Casey in the kindergarten area of our school.  They are so supportive!  (Now you fellas know why Mike doesn't wish to retire!)

I am thankful for my great staff at the elementary school where I teach.

I am thankful for all the children in my class even though you only see nine of them in this picture.

I am thankful for my lovely wife, Lisa, and my daughters, Karen and Alison...all contributing members to society.

And of course, Lisa has put up with me through thick and thin over nearly 40 years of marriage...yikes!

I am thankful for all my music buddies even if we looked funny back in 1980.

Finally, I am thankful for your indulgence at this special time of the year...and now, back to the train ops session.

This weekend's operations...

...finds steam locomotives ruling the day.

Although, a diesel or two made an appearance.

And shared the dance floor with the steamers.

Some fine looking examples were in evidence on this day.

Toiling along the mainlines and in the yards.
Malcolm sent along his great video work from the session.  It can be viewed by placing the address below into your browser.

Pre-ops is when we meet and greet and set out the equipment.

The lads enjoy each other's company as Henk, Moe, Bernie and Bill prove so eloquently.

Moe, Bill, George, Mark, Pat and Paul (seated) listen attentively to every word Fred utters.

As do Steve and Brian.

Ditto for Lawrence and Pat.

Let the games begin!

We find Lawrence aboard Passenger #2 at Bellamy.

Then uphill on his approach to Spruce.

Lawrence makes a station stop.

Even if the station is not there.

She's a beauty of a train, Lawrence.

Passenger #2 passes 318 in Ironwood.

Here's Lawrence in miniature.

Over in Mount St. Helens we locate Steve aboard westbound 301.

He drills the facing sidings.

Here's Steve!

301 in Spruce.

With Steve in the shade.

Towards the west, Train 302 departs Firgrove bound for Bell.

Mark is in charge as the conductor.

While I drive the train.

302, on its approach into Bell.

Passing the large Brunt's Brewery.

We spot our caboose on a siding near the interchange.

Mark gains clearance to Watkins Siding through communications with the dispatcher and we are eastward out from Bell.

While holding the siding at Watkins, we turn around to see Don and Pat aboard 318 in Ironwood.

With their "yet to be lettered" steamer.

318 is protected in the siding as Lawrence with Passenger #2 swings by.

Two very different looking locomotives in Ironwood.

A glorious sight to behold.

At least Don thinks so.

Pat and Mark do too.

Meets and passes are this railfan's "eye candy!"

The conductor aboard Passenger #2 calls "All Aboard" and the train is underway slowly out from the station.

Let's catch up with the crew aboard 327 out of Glen Hammond.

Brian and Pat have arrived Peter's Pond.

They head up the Cedar Rock branch.

Later, they return back to "The Pond."

At another time we spot Brian in Nelson Yard aboard 314.

314 lays down some sand to tackle slippage on the grade up into Spruce.

Mark looks on as Malcolm has his RP&M train crossing the shared trackage.

Here's Paul!

Malcolm returns to Nelson Yard where he turns his locomotive on the "Armstrong."

Paul smiles from across the small yard in Glen Hammond.

Moe and Doug commandeer the other RP&M train across the shared trackage.

They make their way into Rat Portage.

Moe peers off into the distance.

His crew mate, Doug, ensures all of the correct moves are addressed.

The yard in "Rat."

They switch out the Hamer facility.

An interesting load, indeed.

That's a lovely little switch engine Moe has.

Looks like the ore train is making its way down to Bell from Firgrove.

Rounding the big curve.

On into Bell.

Then, later into Peter's Pond.  What's this?  A flying maneuver?

When Paul arrived Peter's Pond, his caboose decided to spend more time at Watkins unbeknownst to Paul...not Paul's fault...just a minor service interruption along the line.

The ore train arrives "The Pond."

Where it meets 318.

Checking in on Craig Leigh we find yardmaster Bernie with assistant Steve (in orange).

Two handsome lads.

Bernie is working the Northland Ore Dock.

While Steve keeps him suitably entertained.

A nice little switching move here.

Where a single spur opposes the four yard tracks that make up the ore dock.

This adds to the operational interest for the Craig Leigh crew.

Here's Bernie.

Steve's locomotive.

Taking "stock" of the situation.

The colours in these ore cars are lovely.

The cars generate quite a bit of revenue for the railroad.

Over in Firgrove, Ralph Yard is pretty full.

Nothing like a bunch of rolling stock for this railfan to drool over.

George is the capable yardmaster at this location.

George's locomotive.

Nelson Yard changes its appearance every ten minutes of so in a session.

RP&M crews assist the yardmaster.

Garry, in the leather jacket, runs the show here.

He's got quite the audience.

Looks like everyone is having a ball.

As is Bill "number one."

And Bill "number two."

That makes for "Bill squared!"

And a good looking dispatcher he is!

Having too much fun.

And...that's why we come here!

Lawrence and Bill in Craig Leigh.

Lawrence engages a young lad who runs the locomotive for him.

We've lost our dispatcher!  Oh, there he in the distance coming out of the house!

I encourage the young lad to assist me with my train in Spruce while Bill observes.

The youngster is a darn good engineer!

While in Spruce, I look across "the aisle" to find Lawrence eastbound between Ironwood and Mount St. Helens.

I particularly enjoy this location for photographs.

Lawrence's engine.

Making the grade.

Aha!  Lawrence is spotted once again, this time with a train of another colour!  It's Train 15, the Pool Train, and it's heading west through Ironwood.

Then out from Spruce.

Earlier, 301 had arrived Spruce where he met an eastbound counterpart.

301 passes by the station that has been razed.

Later, Steve continues on his westward journey, this time aboard Train 311.

We catch up again with the ore train in Spruce.

Unit trains are breathtaking in my books.

What's this?  Four trains in a single image.  Say it ain't so, Joe!
Over by the fence is my crew mate, Mark at Watkins Siding.  Once our meet there is complete, we will head east to Peter's Pond.

There's our locomotive in the distance.

At a location I dub "The Corners."

Me and my loco!

Passing beneath Mount St. Helens.

Arriving Peter's Pond we must consider our moves up the Cedar Rock Branch carefully seeing as their is no opportunity to run around our cars at the end of the branch.

Mark and I have our train ready for the journey up the branch.

The two tank cars are destined for a "facing" move in relation to the direction the train is travelling while the hopper will be a trailing move when we arrive Cedar Rock.

Mark is trackside and ready to choreograph the movements.

With our setouts complete, we have a few lifts to make.

The pond is relatively tranquil on this day.

Then it's back down the branch with our lifts.

For these two happy railroaders.

I'll let Mark do the bending over.

He's younger than me after all!  Hehehe!

Lawrence radios in to dispatch while Pat watches a train proceed into Mount St. Helens.

Pat had earlier been in Ironwood.

Drilling the facing sidings.

An artsy shot of Pat and Don.

And...a happy shot!

Brian and Pat will have 304 coming into Spruce shortly.

First, 318 must depart.

With the other Pat in care of that train.

Here's Pat and Brian.

They are eastbound.

While it would appear that there is about to be a "cornfield meet" between two trains, rest assured...such is not the case.  The train closest to us, my train 319, is simply pulling its consist off the siding in Mount St. Helens and will back onto the main there in order to offer free access to the siding for 318.

Pat ensures that all turnouts are thrown accordingly back in Ironwood.

Here comes Pat.

Bill looks on as Brian checks the state of things in Mount St. Helens.

Pat is handsome in that "moustache."

Malcolm railfans their train.

Back at Nelson Yard, we find Paul.

He's standing on the opposite side of Glen Hammond.

His crewmate, Malcolm, points out some moves in the big yard.
We note the empty ore cars.

Well, those ore cars are now fully loaded and traversing the line.

On into Mount St. Helens.

Then back again as empties.

With Paul's beautiful looking CP diesel holding the honours.

Between the Mount and the Iron.

Past the Ironwood Brick facility.

Through Ironwood.

Into Spruce.

For a meet with my train.

A great railfan shot.

My railfan partner climbed a train to gain this vantage point.

As always, Nelson Yard hops... the beat of many trains.

As do the Craig Leigh employees.

Train 31/30 is the short jaunt down from Craig Leigh to Mount St. Helens.  Steve has things under control here.

Garry ensures trackage is lined up for incoming and outgoing crews.

Here's the affable Nelson Yard yardmaster...Garry himself.

Rolling stock review.

A new tank car on the layout...and a pretty spiffy one at that!

The icing track.

In Craig Leigh.

With its overflow of reefers.

They do make a colourful splash.

As do the passenger cars.

The siding at Bellamy.

What a life saver this one is!

A nice assembly of tank cars in Ralph Yard.

Ralph Yard is named after the late Ralph Dipple.

I think we already checked this car out...but it didn't want to be bottled up, so here it is again!

Love the loads on this little puppy at Ironwood Brick.

Our dispatcher in the far distance.

Moe and Bill.

The other Bill, the young lad and me.

A mom holds a conversation with Steve.

Bill and Pat...the comedy duo from across the river.

We find Passenger #1 at the depot in Bellamy.

Through the junction.

Meeting Train 319 at Mercer.

At another time in the day, the passenger train served the folks of Glen Hammond.

Bill and Lawrence discussing routing of the train.

Lawrence brings the passenger train on the track that skirts Nelson Yard.

He rounds the big bend.

At a place I call Lilly...that's two "l"s for my puppy dog and not one "l' for the lily plant.

The passenger train is eastbound in front of the Ironwood Brick complex.

While 313 is tucked in below and behind.

313 along the fence line.

Through Watkins.

Seanna arrives and assists hubby Steve.

Earlier in the day, 302 was at Mercer Siding.

With clearance given to proceed through the junction.

Then on into Nelson Yard.

My crewmate, Mark, alongside Garry.

The Nelson yardmaster uncouples the caboose from our arriving Train 302.

He pulls back.

Then he hands the caboose over to us.

Aboard our new train, 312.

We arrived Nelson Yard as 302 and depart as 312.

We pass the Fallentree Mine.

Tiptoe onto the trestle.

On past Blockhouse under the watchful eye of the engineer.

We conquer the hill up to Spruce.

Give a wave to the engineer.

Then meet 303 at Spruce.

Following 303 is our meet with the ore train.

With work completed in Spruce we take the curve into Ironwood.

Mark and I conduct our business in Ironwood.

In the meantime, we find the ore train of empties back at Nelson Yard.

Paul is our ore hauler on the day.

The other trestle over the chasm acts as a lead into Fallentree Mine.

By the Blockhouse.

A cool looking structure it is.

Paul pushes the empties into the mine.

We take a final look at Train 312 as it battles the grade up to Mount St. Helens.

With my little Annie doing the work.

Passing the pickups.

On into Mount St. Helens.

Mark ensures all of our moves will be made.

Later, Mark and I arrive the outskirts of Craig Leigh.

Where Steve and Bernie await our arrival.

Less light in behind showcases the handsome lads.

Bernie instructs our moves at Northland.

As we deposit two cars in the trailing siding.

Mark has enjoyed the work traversing the railroad aboard trains 302 and 312 and Steve has enjoyed being Bernie's assistant in Craig Leigh.

I back my locomotive over to the wye in order to turn my locomotive for its final run aboard Train 319.

Lawrence and a young lad observe our moves.

Seeing as my crewmate, Mark, had to head home before we could start our third run, my good buddy, Bill, took over as conductor.  Ya did a great job, Bill.

When our train reached Spruce, the young lad asked to take over as engineer.

Boy, did he ever learn the throttle's capabilities in no time at all!

So...I handle the throttle over to the youngster and "off we go!"

Back up to Glen Hammond.

Around the bend at Lilly.

Arrival in the Glen.  Great job, young lad!

Unsung heroes are our lads like Doug who put that extra effort into packing up the railroad post ops.  It's really great having you with us, Doug!

Thanks to Moe for being head chef all season!  We are so grateful.

Seanna and Steve watch as the other Steve packs up his locomotive.

He carefully straps her in.

An overall look at the property showcases the lovely garden to the lower left.

The main table area.

Where the crew loves to tell stories.

As well as kibbitzing around!

Malcolm, Steve and Paul enjoying table talk...

...from skipper Bill.

Moe in his STP cap.  I've always seen this insignia but only knew that it had something to do with petroleum.  Thanks to Don I now know that the initials stand for "Scientifically Treated Petroleum."  Indeed, we are all lifelong learners.

Here is Pat in another hat.

Ah yes, the good old Rocky Mountaineer Train through our Canadian Rockies!

Paul's mode of transportation on this day.

Our mode of refueling on a cool, cool morning.

Yes, the gloves help out.

My garden gloves came in handy.

Thanks to Bill for dispatching the line.

Thanks to all the gang who, like Pat, have such a positive attitude always.

The Drover caboose tells me it's soon time to wrap of the coverage...

...from our narrow gauge ops.

So I can get home and play some ball with my puppy, Lilly, who I am thankful for.

Again, thanks a ton Fred, for hosting the gang on this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.

As Fred waves good-bye in the distance, on behalf of all our OVGRS family, we hope each and every one of our Canadian friends enjoys a joyous Thanksgiving weekend...and ditto to our American friends when their weekend comes around.
Mike Hamer, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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