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Allegheny & Western
What's New at the West Island Model Railroad Club?
Below you will find periodic updates on the status of our new layout

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WHAT’S NEW FOR JUNE 2020

GOOD NEWS!  WE’RE STARTING TO REOPEN

We will be reopening the club on a limited basis, with the following rules in effect:

·       The club will be open on Tuesday and Friday evenings and Saturdays (late morning / afternoon)

·       Attendance at  these times will be limited to just 10 members

·       Members who wish to attend on any one night must sign up by contacting VP Joe Lynch, who will be keeping the list

·       Masks MUST be worn while at the club

·       Social distancing is strongly recommended

·       Club general business meetings and other Ops events – In-house, Island Ops, Invitationals - are still on hold for now.

With that said, we were able to keep the model railroad flame alive through emails on various topics:

·       Various members shared photos of what they were working on at home.  These were cars or structures that are ready to be placed on the layout as we reopen.

·       There was some discussion as to whether we could experiment in painting clouds.  Instead of trying it right away on the backdrop, Ken M got Scenery Chairman Al W. to agree to test ‘cloud making’ on the wall that runs along Allentown Yard, with the caveat that if they don’t look good, then we can simply paint over them without disturbing any part of the layout proper.

·       Ops Chairman Ron W. proposed a project to establish standards for our caboose fleet.  This would involve setting up a numbering scheme based on the configuration of the various types of caboose – center cupola, offset cupola, bay window, etc. – as well as a paint and lettering standard.  We will be repainting, lettering and numbering some of the cars currently on the layout.

·       The discussion about caboose standards spawned a discussion on the use of 4-wheel ‘bobber’ cabooses.  It is planned that when we have more of the upper level operational, we may dispatch coal-hopper-only mine runs using these bobbers.  Something to look forward to.

We’re looking forward to gradually getting back on track, doing scenery work, construction work and generally learning how to run trains again.

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WHAT’S NEW FOR APRIL 2020

DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, THE CLUB IS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

While we aren’t able to go to the club and work on the layout, here’s what we were in the middle of when we (temporarily) closed our doors:

·       We recently conducted a review of whether we should continue construction of the upper level.  A mail-in poll was conducted of the membership and the results were that we will continue to construct the upper level as planned.  This will mean laying track west of the already installed portion at Wilkes-Barre to an upper staging yard. 

·       Before the shutdown, Jim S. and Al K. had already started to do the necessary surveying work to build the track that would run to the upper level from Easton.

·       At Easton, Frank D. has been working on modelling the station there.  It is an unusual configuration, with the station building underneath the tracks and only the platform shelters at track level.  He’s done a very good job reproducing the distinctive look of the face of the station along with the concrete supports for the roadways the traverse under the tracks.

·       Also at Easton, Ken M. has completed work on the coal dock that stood there. 

·       The scenery around the curve for the Lehigh Gorge was progressing under Alan W.’s foam sculpting and Mike B.’s use of a new type of scenery base for the Gorge itself. 

·       John R. had done some scenery work to fill in areas between the track and the front fascia at various points around the layout, including the riverbank at Bethlehem Steel.  Ken M. was also working on this area to add vegetation to the rock work the John had put in.

·       For Operations, we had compiled a binder that laid out all aspects of how Operations are done at the West Island.  The document is available online for anyone who is interested.

·       Since we had decided to continue work on the upper level, which would be where our major coal operations would originate, the Ops committee started to work on how to handle the blocks of hopper cars that would be used.  Bob C. had started work to inspect and prep many of the hoppers we had in storage to get them ready for this traffic.

Despite the requirement to social-distance ourselves, many of our members have managed to keep up interest in model railroading, working on projects that we’d always meant to get to, such as rebuilding freight and passenger cars or constructing a structure for the layout .  When we re-open our doors, there will be a rush to get back to work, so look for a green signal and a clear board in the not-too-distant future.

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October 2019 ...

With the summer over, we’ve accomplished a lot but still have a lot coming up.

For Operations:

·       Our Operations Plan seems to be holding up well.  We’ve developed a core group of operators who are competent and enjoy running.  We’ve had various people learn new tasks (not without some hiccups), so that filling the more demanding jobs gets easier.  

·       Mark L. has been educating himself in the complexities of running the Steel Mill as the Steel Boss.  We’ve developed detailed Operations References Summaries for how to operate the Hot Metal job in the mill.

·       Plainfield is online for Ops and is just awaiting cars to be inspected and Waybill’d for destinations there.  We’re busy getting cars out of storage for this, getting them inspected and putting resistors on the wheelsets.  Jim S. and Bob C. have been instrumental in this, with Al M. providing tech support for the resistor part.

·       Engine Foreman Ben L. has continued adding sound to engines and standardizing the A&W motive power in terms of specific types of diesels.

·       Finally, our last Ops session for this year will be an Invitational, scheduled for Sunday, October 27.  These events have been a success, bringing in a good number of dedicated operators.      

For Scenery:

·       The slag dump at the Steel Mill has been completed thanks to Ken M. 

·       Al K. has continued work on the Palmerton scene, adding a hand-built stone wall around a graveyard, which is complete with a burial taking place.   Possibly the pollution from the zinc plant there has shortened the life expectancy of the Palmerton citizenry.

·       Al A. has finished adding a scene, complete with structures just east of the Allentown Station.  The detail work is impressive

·       Bill H. has installed a plastics factory in Bayonne and has done some fine detailing of the nearby refinery area.

·       Vince L. has completed an accurate model of the Bayonne passenger station.

·       Al W. has been adding foam and hard-shell scenery base for the Lehigh Gorge.  We hope to have scenery there for the Open House

What’s Coming Up:

·       All work on the layout is geared toward getting ready for the annual Open House.  This year we’ve moved it up a week to start the weekend before Thanksgiving.  It will still be three weekends (Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday afternoons), starting November 22, 23 and 24; then Thanksgiving weekend – November 29, 30 and December 1; and lastly December 6, 7 and 8.  Hope to see you there!

What's New For May 2019

The big news is that our session for Island Ops on Sunday, April 28, was a great success:

·       We hosted 30 guests and were able to fully staff all positions on our railroad.  Club members helped out, either acting as ‘wingmen’ to assist guest operators or holding down critical jobs.

·       The layout performed beautifully, with few, if any, failures.  Plus, our Operations scheme ran well, with qualified and experienced guests manning several key positions.   

·       We were able to have a live podcast sent out during the session, with followers experiencing in real-time the thrill of seeing our layout in full operation.

Here’s what’s new on our layout:

·       At the Steel Mill, the slag dump, under the hands of Ken M. is progressing well.  We also updated and expanded the Operations instructions for the various jobs in the Mill itself. 

·       The track around the aisle end at the Lehigh Gorge was re-laid by VP Jim.  That, combined with his work on the Wilkes-Barre portion of the upper level means that we will soon be able to extend operations there.

·       Mike B. has been hand-laying a section of track at Plainfield.  This is a painstaking job but one that shows off his skill and patience.    

·       The signal system is virtually complete for the entire lower level.  This includes full Dispatcher control of signals and switches in the staging yards.

·       Al K. has completed two lines of company houses for the Palmerton zinc plant.

·       Al A. continues work on the area just east of Allentown station.  He’s added two houses and a road that meanders off into the backdrop.

·       Ben L. as Road Foreman of Engines is working on a plan to completely equip all club engines with sound decoders.

Here’s what’s coming up:

·       We’re considering reworking the plan for Sparta Junction on the upper level, changing it to Warwick.  This will involve changing what was originally slated to be Warwick into either Greycourt or Sugar Loaf.  

·       As Plainfield comes online for Operations, we’ll be sending trains there from Allentown.  We’ll distribute cars to local industries and dispatch locals heading east and west from there.

·       A small corner of the layout will be reworked as part of an interchange with the Pennsylvania Railroad.  This will include detailing the scene to show some of the PRR track being torn up.

What’s New for February, 2019

 

Now that the Open House and the holidays are behind us, work at the club is starting up again.  We’ve picked up some new members and we’re hoping to get them involved in working on the layout, whether in scenery, trackwork, signals or Ops. 

As for the latest, here’s what we’re up to:

·       For Scenery:  

o   In Allentown the street grid is gradually being filled in with distinctive buildings and more are planned thanks to Al A.  The scene east of Allentown station is coming along nicely, with the stream, bridge and hillside looking good under the direction of Scenery Chairman Al W.

o   The zinc plant and company housing at Palmerton on the upper level are taking shape thanks to Al K.  Some of the details there are a new roof being applied to one of the company houses, along with an old pickup being offered for sale (don’t know if it runs, though, lol). 

o   In the Bethlehem steel mill yard Ken M has laid a new track for the plant’s powerhouse and has made a cut in the plywood to model the slag dump.  This will be ready for snowbird Jim L. to start work on when he comes north from Florida.  

o   Vince L. and Mike B have been busy working on the Bayonne / Greenville area, installing the distinctive station there and the backsides of buildings along the tracks.

o   Bill H. has done some nice work on the oil tank / refinery area, including adding a photo backdrop there. 

·       We reconsidered the track arrangement in what will be the Lehigh Gorge, and decided to move the curve that went around the whole end of the aisle there.  This allows more room to model the scenery of the Gorge.  VP Jim S. has been doing most of this work which meant that his work on extending the upper level tracks past Wilks-Barre was put on hold.  

·       We’ve installed a number of LED strips to light the lower level tracks.  This had made a big difference in what can be seen and how it will affect the scenery there.

·       For Operations:

o   A new position – Engine Foreman – has been created and filled by Ben L.  He is working on standardizing our fleet and distributing sound-equipped engines throughout the layout.  During Ops sessions, Ben will be in charge of the Allentown engine terminal as well.

o   We experimented with having the phones placed at interlocking locations around the layout rather than having the crews carry a phone with them.  The experiment   

o   Vic G has been upgrading the Dispatcher’s displays and improving the CTC program to include Train Tracking – a feature that shows a train’s ID on the CTC displays.

o   We’re getting ready for Island Ops, which will be the last weekend in April.  Our layout’s session will be Sunday morning, April 28.  If you’re interested in Operations, don’t miss this chance to operate on some world-class layouts (in addition to ours, of course).  Go online and check it out – islandops.org 

 

 

What’s New for August, 2018

 

Now that summer is over, we’re getting back on track, so to speak.  Work is continuing on the layout and we’re getting ready for two major events.

Work on the upper level has advanced to the point that almost all of the tracks for Wilkes-Barre and the Huber Breaker at Ashley have been laid, thanks to VP Jim.  These will be getting their power connections soon.  Once that’s done, the necessary switch machines and their controllers will be installed. 

The scenery backdrop painters, Al A. and Al W., have started to follow the upper level track gang, producing artist-quality paintings of the Pennsylvania hillsides.  Accuracy was especially important as we’re modelling the zinc smelting facility in Palmerton (thanks to Al K.), that had just about completely denuded the hillside there of vegetation, producing a brown, lifeless moonscape.

The experiment of layout lighting using LED strips was a success.  We will be adding more lighting strips in the near future.

Scenery work has also been moving ahead on the Bayonne / Jersey City section of the layout.  The Newark Bay bridges have been detailed (thanks to Marshall J.) and are getting prototypically correct lights.  The oil refinery is being built up thanks to Bill H.  At the end of the aisle, Vince L. is putting in an accurate scene of the station that once stood there.

Signals – Vic G. and his crew have been installing signals and control connections in the main staging yard.  This means that the Dispatcher will now have visibility (via his computer screen) to all of the staging tracks, along with the ability to set routes into and out of staging. 

Operations – we’ve experimented with new ways of setting up Ops sessions using a checklist and a train log that is created prior to the start of a session.  This helps the Trainmaster and the Dispatcher keep track of the trains as they are scheduled.

These are the two major events we have coming up:

Operations Invitational – we’ll be hosting an event on Saturday, October 20th.  We invite all interested people to come and help us operate our layout like a real railroad, assigning jobs and scheduling trains.  Despite the name, we welcome anyone who might want to operate with us.  If you’re interested, contact Ron Weismann – rweismann8@gmail.com for an invitation.  

Open House – our annual open house will be held three weekends  November 30, December 1, 2  December 7, 8, 9. and December  14,15,and 16.  As always, we look forward to having the children (and eager adults), run our trains.  More and more of our engines are now sound equipped, which makes sounding the whistle, horn or bell even more fun.  Even if you’ve visited us in the past, come see all of the changes we’ve made and all the new things we’ve added.  

What’s New for May, 2018

Island Ops – we hosted the session for Sunday, May 6.  We had almost 30 guests and about 20 members participating.  We received a number of compliments on the high quality of our layout – track, engines, rolling stock and signals.  This is especially gratifying to all our members who have worked so hard on the layout.  Some of the highlights:

  • It was exciting to see all parts of our layout functioning, with the various trains weaving in and out of the scenery in an intricate dance, orchestrated by the Dispatching team of Charles K. and Chris L.
  • All the activity kept Phil M., the Allentown Yardmaster hopping, but he said he enjoys that kind of thing.  The yard crews were able to handle over 7 trains an hour during the 4 hour session, quite an accomplishment!
  • On the other end of the layout, Staging Yardmaster Mark S. was able to handle all of the trains coming offstage after their star turn on the mainline.  All went smoothly there, including marking up the Waybills for the mainline freight trains that arrived there to ready them for their next appearance.  (We won’t talk about which direction is East and which is West, Mark)  
  • As the locals were sent out from Reading to work the various sidings along the main, mainline passenger and freight trains would take crossovers to move smoothly around them.  Our CTC system proved its worth as all the action out on the layout was controlled from the Dispatcher’s desk with just a few clicks of a computer mouse. 
  • The steel mil at Bethlehem had a full crew working under the direction of Dave M., despite a recalcitrant spring switch that made dumping the unit train of ore and coke a major headache.  As per procedure, this problem has been written up and the maintenance crew will soon be on the job fixing it.
  • Even though we were concentrating on getting ready for and then hosting Island Ops, work has not stopped on the layout:      
  • Easton – plans have been approved and Ken M. is starting work to lay track for the coal dock and freight house.  The scene will require building the multiple bridges over the Lehigh River where it joins the Delaware River.
  • Lebanon PRR interchange – a plan has been submitted by Ron W. to extend the interchange track, providing space for more cars.  The plan will include a dummy PRR switcher sitting at the end of the interchange.   
  • Greenville – a plan has been submitted to scenic the space between the tracks and the backdrop.   Vince L. will be developing this area with the backsides of the houses adjacent to the tracks   
  • Bayonne – plans have been approved for the oil refinery and the industry for plastic pellets loadout.  Bill H. will be our new ‘Oil Baron’ to work up this scene.    
  • Wilkes-Barre – construction will be continuing under the supervision of Superintendent Jim S. on the tracks surrounding the Huber Breaker.  We will be making this a ‘signature’ scene – one that follows (as closely as modelling license permits) what was once the center of anthracite coal production in the region.  It will also become an important part of our Operations scheme.
  • We have been experimenting with LED strips to light both the upper and lower levels of the layout.  Turning on the lights makes a big difference in what a lower-level scene looks like – what was in shadow because of the upper level valance now comes to life (and light). 
 
What’s new for April 2018

 

As previously mentioned, we took some time off during the holidays, but now we’re back with a lot work already accomplished and a lot more planned.

  • Work continues on our upper level.  The Scenery Boys (no, that’s not a new rock band), conducted an ongoing workshop on painting backdrops at Lehighton / Palmerton.  This gives members a chance to learn techniques under the expert instruction and supervision of Al W. and Al A.
  • Also on the upper level the tracks at Ashley / Wilkes-Barre are almost all in thanks to VP Jim S., with plans to extend the tracks all the way to Coxton - the upper level rear staging yard.
  • We’ve reinvigorated our planning process, with the Planning Board chairman enticing a number of new members to get involved.  As part of this effort, we loaded 3DPlanit, the layout planning software onto our club computer, along with the complete plan for the layout.  Now we can work with any part of it, printing out portions for tracks to be laid or plans to be submitted for scenicking.
  • As for plans, anyone interested in working on a section of the layout, whether it’s six inches or six feet, can submit a plan, explain it to the Planning Board for their approval and either do the work themselves or even team up with others to accomplish it. 
  • Based on this new spirit, Bill H. is looking to detail a portion of the Bayonne branch with an oil refinery and tank farm and Vince L. is planning to further detail the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ down near the Greenville car float.  And Marshal J. has been working on detailing and adding lights to the Newark Bay bridges, along with adding scenery to the banks on each side of the waterway.
  • The signal team has been installing switch control panels along the lower level, from Reading to Lebanon and Hershey.
  • Our Ops Training Session in January was a success, with members taking on new and challenging tasks.  A reduced scheduled allowed the newbies to handle the railroad without the pressure of feeling that if they made a mistake they would be ‘fed to the wolves’.  Training sessions broaden the pool of qualified operators and provide a way for members to try learning something new.  We hope to repeat this in March, adding more complexity to the mix of trains.
  • On the horizon, we’ll be gearing up for Island Ops.  This is a 3-day event, held May 4, 5 and 6 this year.  It features Operations sessions on a number of individual layouts on Long Island.  Our part will be on Sunday May 6.  Even if your’e not a member of our club and want to see what Ops is like, contact them at info@islandops.org.   

What’s New for November, 2017

What’s New for January 2018

 

  • Our annual Fall Open House was a big success.  Our guests were treated to a continuous cavalcade of trains, many with sound-equipped engines.  The layout performed flawlessly and the signal system was a fan favorite.  As always, our practice of allowing children (and even some grown-ups, too), to run the trains put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces. 
  • While we take break from many layout activities during the holidays, we won’t be completely idle.  We use this time to start planning projects for the new year – working out budgets, enlisting members for specific tasks, etc.  Here’s some of what we’ll be doing next year:   
  • The city of Allentown and the continuing saga of its construction will be front and center for the Alan A.,Alan W. and the rest of the Scenery Committee.
  • Ken M.’s corner scene near the city of Bethlehem, along with Rick L.’s steel mill materials storage yard will have their plans reviewed, approved and given the go-ahead to start work.   
  • More track will be laid on the upper level, led by VP Jim S. and his crew, pushing to complete the part that runs back into staging
  • For Operations, we’ll be having a ‘training’ session in January that will allow members to learn new jobs as part of the Ops team. 
  • On the horizon at the end of January is our annual trip to the Amherst Train Show in Springfield, Massachusetts.   This is probably the premier model railroading event on the East Coast.  We meet at the club and travel ‘in convoy’ to the show.  Afterwards, we gather for dinner to discuss what we bought before driving home.    
  • Further down the line, we’ll be participating in Island Ops on the first Saturday in May.  This is a weekend event that enlists our club, along with many individuals on Long Island, to open their layouts to a group of Operations fans.  For us West Islanders, it’s a chance to see our layout operated at full throttle       

 

What’s New for January 2018

 

  • Our annual Fall Open House was a big success.  Our guests were treated to a continuous cavalcade of trains, many with sound-equipped engines.  The layout performed flawlessly and the signal system was a fan favorite.  As always, our practice of allowing children (and even some grown-ups, too), to run the trains put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces. 
  • While we take break from many layout activities during the holidays, we won’t be completely idle.  We use this time to start planning projects for the new year – working out budgets, enlisting members for specific tasks, etc.  Here’s some of what we’ll be doing next year:   
  • The city of Allentown and the continuing saga of its construction will be front and center for the Alan A.,Alan W. and the rest of the Scenery Committee.
  • Ken M.’s corner scene near the city of Bethlehem, along with Rick L.’s steel mill materials storage yard will have their plans reviewed, approved and given the go-ahead to start work.   
  • More track will be laid on the upper level, led by VP Jim S. and his crew, pushing to complete the part that runs back into staging
  • For Operations, we’ll be having a ‘training’ session in January that will allow members to learn new jobs as part of the Ops team. 
  • On the horizon at the end of January is our annual trip to the Amherst Train Show in Springfield, Massachusetts.   This is probably the premier model railroading event on the East Coast.  We meet at the club and travel ‘in convoy’ to the show.  Afterwards, we gather for dinner to discuss what we bought before driving home.    
  • Further down the line, we’ll be participating in Island Ops on the first Saturday in May.  This is a weekend event that enlists our club, along with many individuals on Long Island, to open their layouts to a group of Operations fans.  For us West Islanders, it’s a chance to see our layout operated at full throttle

 

  •        

 

  • What’s New for January 2018

     

    • Our annual Fall Open House was a big success.  Our guests were treated to a continuous cavalcade of trains, many with sound-equipped engines.  The layout performed flawlessly and the signal system was a fan favorite.  As always, our practice of allowing children (and even some grown-ups, too), to run the trains put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces. 
    • While we take break from many layout activities during the holidays, we won’t be completely idle.  We use this time to start planning projects for the new year – working out budgets, enlisting members for specific tasks, etc.  Here’s some of what we’ll be doing next year:   
    • The city of Allentown and the continuing saga of its construction will be front and center for the Alan A.,Alan W. and the rest of the Scenery Committee.
    • Ken M.’s corner scene near the city of Bethlehem, along with Rick L.’s steel mill materials storage yard will have their plans reviewed, approved and given the go-ahead to start work.   
    • More track will be laid on the upper level, led by VP Jim S. and his crew, pushing to complete the part that runs back into staging
    • For Operations, we’ll be having a ‘training’ session in January that will allow members to learn new jobs as part of the Ops team. 
    • On the horizon at the end of January is our annual trip to the Amherst Train Show in Springfield, Massachusetts.   This is probably the premier model railroading event on the East Coast.  We meet at the club and travel ‘in convoy’ to the show.  Afterwards, we gather for dinner to discuss what we bought before driving home.    
    • Further down the line, we’ll be participating in Island Ops on the first Saturday in May.  This is a weekend event that enlists our club, along with many individuals on Long Island, to open their layouts to a group of Operations fans.  For us West Islanders, it’s a chance to see our layout operated at full throttle       
    We’re getting ready for our annual Open House!  This means prepping the layout and the club room to host what we hope will be a large number of people.  Our members are busy putting their personal trains on the layout, so you’ll see some varied and unusual trains making their running debut.  The event runs for three weekends – November 24, 25, 26 (Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend), and December 1, 2, 3 and 8, 9 and 10.  If you’ve been to one of our past shows, stop in to see the progress we’ve made.  There are new scenes that have been installed, along with new signals as well.  If you’ve never been down to see us, we’re one of the few organizations that encourages children (and adults who love trains), to help us run our trains.  We’ll also have a child-height wooden push-toy layout for the youngsters to play with.
  • Our Operations Invitational, held in October was a big success.  With upwards of 25 people attending, we were able to fully staff all jobs and run all parts of the layout – the steel mill, the car float, all the yards and local jobs.  The dispatching team was up to the challenge of getting a record number of trains over the road.  Our main yard at Allentown was really humming!  It was exciting to see the layout that we’ve put so much effort into building come alive.  Now we’re looking forward to next year with Island Ops, a weekend devoted to operating on our layout, plus a number of individual layouts here on Long island.  It’s scheduled for May 4, 5 and 6, 2018.
  • Even though we’ve concentrated on Operations, work on the layout did not stand still.  Progress was made in laying a significant amount of track on the upper level, from Palmerton to Wilkes-Barre.  The Hill-To-Hill scene in Bethlehem was finished off with the addition of a power house there.  Plans are in the works to extend the Bethlehem scene with a ‘forced perspective’ portion, using N scale buildings set in what will look like a distant hillside.  Also, there are plans to detail the part of the steel mill at the rotary dump to show the piles of raw materials and the distinctive crane that worked to supply the blast furnace.  

 

What’s New for November, 2017

 

  • We’re getting ready for our annual Open House!  This means prepping the layout and the club room to host what we hope will be a large number of people.  Our members are busy putting their personal trains on the layout, so you’ll see some varied and unusual trains making their running debut.  The event runs for three weekends – November 24, 25, 26 (Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend), and December 1, 2, 3 and 8, 9 and 10.  If you’ve been to one of our past shows, stop in to see the progress we’ve made.  There are new scenes that have been installed, along with new signals as well.  If you’ve never been down to see us, we’re one of the few organizations that encourages children (and adults who love trains), to help us run our trains.  We’ll also have a child-height wooden push-toy layout for the youngsters to play with.
  • Our Operations Invitational, held in October was a big success.  With upwards of 25 people attending, we were able to fully staff all jobs and run all parts of the layout – the steel mill, the car float, all the yards and local jobs.  The dispatching team was up to the challenge of getting a record number of trains over the road.  Our main yard at Allentown was really humming!  It was exciting to see the layout that we’ve put so much effort into building come alive.  Now we’re looking forward to next year with Island Ops, a weekend devoted to operating on our layout, plus a number of individual layouts here on Long island.  It’s scheduled for May 4, 5 and 6, 2018.
  • Even though we’ve concentrated on Operations, work on the layout did not stand still.  Progress was made in laying a significant amount of track on the upper level, from Palmerton to Wilkes-Barre.  The Hill-To-Hill scene in Bethlehem was finished off with the addition of a power house there.  Plans are in the works to extend the Bethlehem scene with a ‘forced perspective’ portion, using N scale buildings set in what will look like a distant hillside.  Also, there are plans to detail the part of the steel mill at the rotary dump to show the piles of raw materials and the distinctive crane that worked to supply the blast furnace.  

What’s New for September 2017

 

  • Work continues at Allentown, with the distinctive ‘Stream Under The Station’ taking shape, meandering into a newly painted backdrop, thanks to Alan A.  The access roads and station platforms have been detailed as well by Alan W.     
  • Another one of our signature scenes – Hill-to-Hill Bridge and its companion Switch-on-a-Bridge - has been completed.  Folks familiar with the Bethlehem area of Pennsylvania will be able to recognize the location due to some very creative modelling work by Ken M., Jim L.
  • The mill complex of Bethlehem Steel has had its operation scheme worked out and is ready to be part of our Ops sessions.  The Steel Boss and his crew will soon start the hot metal flowing.  We have a plan from Rick L. for modelling the distinctive raw materials yard and its overhead cranes.       
  • Plainfield is just about ready to come online, so to speak.  VP Jim S. has laid the track and Bill H. has made the power bus and the switch controller connections.  The new location will function as a satellite yard for servicing industries there and along the mainline on that portion of the layout.  As part of that effort, we’re doing research as to what industries were there in the 1950’s and what kind of railroad cars they would need.  
  • We’re continuing to lay tracks for our upper level, again thanks to VP Jim, pushing into the anthracite mining area of Pennsylvania.  The work requires accurate measuring from our master plan, building up the roadbed and finally securing track.   Pretty soon we’ll have mines in the area sending trainloads of coal down the Lehigh Valley to Harrisburg and Jersey City.
  • Also as part of the construction of the upper deck, Vic G. gave us a demonstration of an LED strip that we can use to light the lower level.  The light makes a big difference!  We’ll be experimenting with various combinations of LED’s in the overhead fixtures and possibly even use the strips to light to upper deck as well.
  • We’re looking forward to hosting an Invitational Operations Session on Saturday, October 28th.  We’ve got one more ‘tune up’ session on Friday, September 29th before the big event.  As we’ve mentioned earlier, Operations is a way of having fun with the layout, running it like a real railroad, with various jobs assigned and trains weaving their way across our imaginary landscape.  If you’ve ever wanted to see what Operations is like, come by and check us out.  No experience is necessary, since we’ll be happy to initiate you into this exciting part of Model Railroading!     


 

 

 

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West Island Model Railroad Club 2017