Wednesday, January 19, 2022

2021 Year In Review

2021 Year In Review - Session #3 & #4

Hey folks.  Now that we've recovered from the "record snowfall" for January 17th in Ottawa (This past Monday) I felt it time to boost your spirits with a trip back to warmer climes!

This lookback will showcase both Narrow Gauge operations and Standard Gauge ones seeing as we rotate on a regular basis.

While we may not count the days until we can gather outdoors at Fred's place...I know I am counting the months!  Big grin!

Session #3

Remember:  You can enlarge images by clicking on them.  You can return to the default look of the page by clicking outside the enlarged image.

We love the semaphore as it hangs inside the living room at Fred's place.


We also love this "specialty" car created by our good friend, Lawrence.  Such a creative genius!

Let's check in on Session #3 held back on July 24th.

These cars indicate that it is a narrow gauge morning.

The Douglas Yard switcher awakens and is ready for the day's tasks.

Robin shakes hands with a special visitor to the railroad.

This previously shared image just begged to be posted once more!

Train 327 holds the main at Peter's Pond as Passenger 2 sachays by!

Chris is in control of our passenger train while Robin and Pat handle 327.

Some video footage of the meet.

Bernie and Pat have 302 slipping down the grade at Watkins Siding.

327 lugs some cars out from the trailing sidings in Cedar Rock.

It's a locomotive "sandwich" for the moment.

Across the way in St. Helens cars wait patiently for train crews to arrive.

Up in Firgrove, George gets down to work.

With Passenger 2 and 302 out of the way he focuses on making up 304.

Nice video of George's efforts.

While a short distance away RP&M 65 arrives Rat Portage.

Some interesting rolling stock on Moe's train.

Video of Moe hard at work in Rat.

The ore train pounds the rails in Ironwood.

A handsome looking CN diesel hog.

318 is spotted passing Blockhouse.

Looks like recess time from train running!

Or...perhaps just waiting for clearances to next locations.

It must be a warm day as folks tend to gather in the shade.

Chris is on his second passenger run having departed Craig Leigh.  He is spotted westbound at Mount St. Helens.

Through the Fred Mills Trestle in care of Mike's locomotive.

Leaning into the curve at Lilly.

Let's check out the video reference!

The ore train pierces Ironwood along the main.

Busy, busy Bell.
Special Note From Mike:  Fred has mentioned in the past that Bell is named after the locomotive bell we ring before each Saturday morning session.  While the bell is now located out front in the "Rust Garden", it used to hang on a post in the area of the property where Bell is located.  The only problem was that the post holding the bell stood in the aisleway between Bell and Glen Hammond and it soon became a nuisance when it came time to expand Glen Hammond.

Two of the three stooges.

It would appear they do not require the services of the third stooge as these two can handle anything.

301 handles a car on the team track in Ironwood.

Doug has his train safely protected for the arrival of the passenger run.

Paul is Doug's mate aboard 301.

Let's watch the video of this action!

Paul has arrived Bell with RP&M Train 67 later in the morning.

The view looking east at Spruce although the trackage runs "railroad west" here.

We glance at the many colourful billboard reefers at Brunt's Brewery.

While it takes greater effort for the various companies to paint these specialized cars...

...the advertising must work or they wouldn't spend the money the "extra effort" costs.

The western side of Bell.

327 meets 302 at Watkins.

Pat's steam locomotive sure is a beauty.

Video of the meet.

To the east in Craig Leigh Paul orchestrates the moves of the many trains that arrive and depart here.

Marcel commandeers the ore train at the Northland Ore Dock.

Let's examine the video.

302 continues its work at Cedar Rock.

Bernie and Pat have things well in order.

Let's watch the video action here.

Train crews, train crews and more train crews!

Barry and Doug are hard at it in Spruce as Bernie and Pat do likewise in Cedar Rock.

Sid enjoys the action.  Sid is a former pilot who now spends his time with trains.

Let's check in on the video action here.

The ore train steams into Ironwood from the east.

She's a tidy consist.

301 ensures a clear main for the arriving train.

Video fun.

Later in the day at the same location we find 314 on its third leg of the session.

The short hop from Firgrove has now arrived Bell with trains  holding on Track 4 and Track 3.

This would be Train 328.

The crew is also on its third trick of the day.

Love to follow the action of the Ralph Yard switcher as it wanders the IPP&W down to Bell.

Looking good little fella!

Barry has arrived St. Helens with Train 318.  Bernie looks on as a passenger train drifts into the station.

Chris brings the passenger run to a stop.

With clearance, the train will continue west with a stop in Ironwood next.

Mount St. Helens video footage.

Work continues in Bell.

Our little CN endcab is up to the task.

We check out the video action.

Doug and Paul depart Bell for Firgrove aboard their second run of the morning on Train 311.  (You may have noticed that the many images in this blog posting may not appear in chronological order throughout).

A closer examination of Doug's locomotive.

Video footage of "said" train.

The Berkshire Valley is located south of the border in Massachusetts.  Mike tells us that his Boston and Maine railroad plies a route through the Berkshires although he models a different area of the railroad.

Some nice photos from Bell.

This is a busy location.

328 rests on Track 4.

Looking good.

328's crew works the interchange tracks to the west of Bell.

Our passenger run ascends the grade at Watkins... 

...and takes the station track approach.

The trackwork here accommodates multilpe crews.

A steamer meet!

Our engineer aboard #27 is enjoying this fine summer morning.

We pull further back to gain an overall look of the proceedings here.

303 rounds the curve out from Ironwood with Spruce in the crew's sight.

Another glance of the passenger train at Watkins.

Looking across a very clean Nelson Yard and Glen Hammond Yard we spot two crews over in Bell.

Craig Leigh comes alive once more.

This locomotive is taking the lower leg of the wye.

Paul keeps an eagle eye on the action in his territory as Pat wyes his locomotive.

Robin and Pat in conversation.

Douglas Yard in Craig Leigh.

Pat and Sid verify the cars in their consist.

This will be Train 319.

Pat radios dispatch for clearance out from Craig Leigh.

With clearance granted 318 gets underway.

Barry has Train 303 in Spruce.  He has run around his train to get a car on the headpin that will be spotted on one of the facing sidings...or...this car may have been a lift that will be sent to the rear of his train in short order before he departs town.

Doug and Paul have 328 up in Cedar Rock.

The trailing sidings in the Rock.

The addition of these siding sure added to the workload here in a wonderful manner.

Gondolas and hoppers are the cars of choice here.

Soon Mike will drive his locomotive into its carrying case as the session draws to an end.  Even though he dispatched the session, the locomotive was brought out in the event someone would require its use.

The folks gather around the crew lounge for lunch.

Moe and Paul will have everything under control.

The lads enjoy conversation...

...and camaraderie.

Head chef Moe!

Henk is all smiles as he and Marcel will have a good appetite following train running!

Jean has arrived the scene.

Pat offers a wave from the back row.

Indeed, everything is well managed, just like the railroad itself!
Thanks for checking in on Session #3.  Now, onto...

Session #4

Before we begin our review of Session #4, we catch this image of our very own Steve McKenzie volunteering his time at Vintage Wings.

You may recall Steve's Christmas note to us using this image of the Willy McKnight Hurricane now restored.

The club can't wait to see her airborne in the spring of 2022 Steve tells us!

Steve tells us he has been working on this project "off and on" since 2006 with the group.  Thanks for these great images, Steve!

Season #4

Our fourth session of the season took place on the final day of July, the 31st.

Almost twenty operators were present for the proceedings.

So far in the season there hadn't been a postponement due to the weather.  Yeah!  We did, however, delay the start of the season by over a month.

Sid's locomotive tells us it is Standard Gauge.

Train 302 is one of the earliest to get underway as Doug has brought the train down into Bell from Firgrove.

Lawrence has Rat 70 on the go with a high green through the junction.

The UP diesel tells us Marcel is in town!

He arrives Bell.

Then performs a back-up move.

Let's check it out on video.

Pat acts as an assistant in Nelson Yard on this morning.

He is readying the cars for the imminent arrival of the ore train.

Let's see that on video!

We know that Len is on the property as we find his CP RS3 having reached Bell from its home in Firgrove.

CP father meets CP son!

Video review.

The ore train finds daylight.

The train threads the the needle near the tunnel opening.

327 is on the main as our ore train passes eastbound.

Here's the video of the meet.

Mike's locomotive is brought in for the passenger run.

Robin handles the passenger trains on this morning as Mike dispatches the session.

Let's see the video of the train.

Mercer is visited by this lovely unit train.

He's got a high green to enter the junction.

On a slow order through the crossing.

Then it will be on to Nelson Yard as the video points out.

Seanna and Steve, our husband and wife team have 318 in Ironwood.

Steve is conductor...

...while Seanna handles the locomotive.
Special Note From Mike:  Fred tells us that the name Ironwood was derived from the fact that there used to be Ironwood Trees located in the corner of the property.  One survived the ravages of time but stood in place "half-dead" for many a year.  Fred had to wait until his father passed away to cut the beloved tree down!

Their work as it appears on video.

Indeed that Algoma Central livery has to be one of the finest in the railroad kingdom!

Their work is interrupted as they are asked to assist the ore train with its lifts at Cedar Rock.

Bernie visits to check out the activity and he lends a helping hand.

While the "assist" by 318 is greatly appreciated by the crew aboard the ore train...and by the dispatcher, it does put 318's crew behind schedule somewhat.  But, such are the events that occur on a railroad.  Their assist actually helps to keep all trains on schedule and dispatch will ensure the crew aboard 318 receives some favours later in their day!

Video of 318 assisting with the ore car lifts.

Just in behind, Paul and Moe bring 327 into Wellington Lake after completing their work in Peter's Pond.

They meet 302 at Watkins.  302 had been held here while 327 worked the Pond.

Let's see that video!

We catch back up again with 318.  Seanna is the switch Marcel alludes.

Hubby Steve looks on as Seanna gets the turnout.

Let's watch that on video!

Back in Craig Leigh we follow Bernie working the yard at Douglas.

He has tucked into one of the three sidings here.

Then he radios the incoming ore train offering an opening to the ore dock.

The caboose hole.

Video review.

Like Nelson, Douglas Yard also evolves throughout a session.

See what I mean?  Two different vans now appear on the caboose track.

Some rolling stock reviews.

An REA car.

Some head end equipment.

We're here in Spruce where we locate this lovely CNR specimen.

The ON livery is quite splashy!

Love that Algonquin and Ottawa paint scheme!

Of course...

..the Drovers' Caboose always ignites enthusiasm around the railfan community

Pat is all smiles for the camera...

...even though he's been waiting around awhile.

The new safety devices in St. Helens.

We have a meet with two trains.

Let's catch the video here!

We thank Bill for painting and lettering this RS3 in company colours.

Indeed, we are "The Ironwood Road!"

Let's observe the crossing of Brennan Gap on video.

We head into Nelson Yard.

Henk barks out orders in a gentlemanly fashion.

Trains are arriving, trains are exiting and trains are being assembled and broken down!

312 exits the yard bound for points east.

Let's follow the action on video.

312 has found Blockhouse.

He encounters the pedestrian crossing.

The tail end.

More video.

George has assembled 304's cars and Paul has backed his engine on to the train.

With clearance given by dispatch...

...304 tiptoes out of the yard...

...hauling all sorts of lading...

...bound for Bell, Peter's Pond and Cedar Rock before arriving Nelson Yard.

Video of Train 304 getting underway.

Earlier in the morning we find 301 in the eastern sector of the railroad.

With work complete at Ironwood the crew heads toward Spruce.

A nice combination of rail cars make up his consist.

312 waited for 301's arrival before getting underway from Spruce to Ironwood.

Some nice video footage.

It's long hood forward for the crew aboard 303.

They glide down the slope at Clarke Hill.

From Clarke's Grade they will reach the pedestrian crossing then climb out of the valley past Blockhouse and up into Nelson Yard.

Some speedy video footage.

Rounding the bend at Lilly...

...and reaching the big trestle...

...with a smile from the engineer!


That's one happy video!

Let's check in on Nelson Yard once more.

Henk is clearly in control.

With able assistants like Paul, Pat and Lawrence, the day will be a "breeze" for him.

Check out the video.

Love the New York Central lightning stripe scheme with a lighter tone of grey on the this smaller unit.

More rolling stock.

Of course we are in St. Helens as we find a stock car hanging around.

Cars in Cedar Rock.


We catch up with Lawrence about to exit Rat Portage.

He is under way with the large Comber Chair factory in the background.

She's a real looker, Lawrence!

There's that "one of a kind" again!

Video enjoyment!

The session draws to a close as Bernie and Marcel keep each other well entertained.

My dispatcher's hut serves as a storage area between sessions.

Once again we are treated to a great tasting lunch thanks to Paul and Moe!

Henk gives the meal a "Pinky's Up!"  Big grin!

The lads are must be good!

Yum Yum!

Dig in lads...

...and lasses!

As always...a great big note of thanks to Friar Fred...the man who helps to make it all happen!
Check in next month when we review sessions #5 & #6!
All the best, Mike Hamer, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada