The operating crew (a round-robin group) participated in six operating sessions in 2009. We continue to run five trains during each operating session: Port Shepherd Job, Uniontown Turn (U-Turn), Twining City (TC) Switch, Second Port Shepherd, and the B&O Coal Extra to the Potomac Electric plant. For the last operating session, I reactivated the car forwarding system that I had been using. I missed the sense of cars coming on and going off the railroad with a purpose.
Between operating sessions, the scenery at Uniontown was completed. This included electrifying Sanitary Grocery and installing the loading dock; refurbishing Moms’ Diner; adding Abbey –Etna machine shop as a see-through structure on the edge of the layout; creating a lumber storage shed for Fractured Furniture and a storage shed and watchman’s shanty for Patriot Metals. Power poles, earth and ground foam, and trash were added to enhance the urban, industrial look.
Late in the year, I decided that something had to be done about the dark, driverless vehicles sitting on the streets of Uniontown and Twining. I added headlights, drivers, and passengers to seven vehicles. The headlights are only in vehicles with metal bodies. Some non-illuminated vehicles are placed so that they cannot be viewed from the front. Other vehicles have drivers, but are now in parking lots or driveways.
The engine shops changed the wiring of the twin, vertical motors in the Baldwin VO-1000 (Weaver) from parallel to series. This change improved the low speed operation of the switcher. The railroad also acquired a partially assembled brass B&O prototype 4-6-0 (Babbitt).
In June, the railroad hosted open houses for about two-dozen attendees of the Scale O National Convention (SONC) being held in Towson MD. We were open Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon.
By early June, sub-roadbed, homasote and cork roadbed, AtlasO flex track, and AtlasO O-54 switches were installed and electrified for the 3-rail display layout. My dad’s 1930’s-era train was running during the convention open house. By mid-August, installation of 2-rail track and turnouts was completed, but electrification is still to come.
Before I could complete the east return loop for the display layout, I had to install the Zanesville (west end) track for On30 tabletop railroad. And, before I could do that, I needed to revise the track plan for Westfield because of unforeseen clearance problems. I shared two alternative designs with the Shepherd Branch operating group. A modified version of one of the plans, created using CADRail7, printed full size, was used to position track and turnouts. Roadbed, track, and turnouts for the staging tracks and Zanesville loop were installed. I, also, cut the hole for the turntable inside the west end loop. To avoid having to soldier feeder wires to pre-weathered, code 83 track, I soldiered feeder wires to rail joiners, then laid track.
In August, I attended B&O Railroad Historical Society mini-convention in Brunswick MD. During our lunch-break, I toured the Brunswick Railroad Museum, which is undergoing renovation.
In mid-September, I embarked on my Indiana Odyssey. Although headed for Indianapolis, my first stop was Bellaire OH, eastern terminus of the OR&W. From Bellaire, I tried to follow the old railroad route to Westfield, Summerville, and eventually, Zanesville. I was able to photograph some bridge piers and oil wells, while getting a feel for the area. Once in Indianapolis, I attended my second Indy O Scale show. Besides the train show, clinics, and open houses, I was able to revisit the Indiana Transportation Museum in Noblesville. While in town, I also visited the Indy 500 Hall of Fame Museum, the Eiteljorg Museum, the Indianapolis Zoo, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
After the convention, I spent some time with Chris’ niece, her husband and two children. On Monday, I headed north to spend a few days with my nephew who lives in Akron IN. Over the next two days, we toured the Grissom Air Museum in Bunker Hill, the National New York Central Museum in Elkhart, and the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in Auburn. At the NYC Museum, we were able to surreptitiously climb into the cab of a decrepit GG-1.
Next Stop—Seymour IN for the B&O Railroad Historical Society annual meeting. The focus was on the Indiana Division of the former B&O Southwestern. Over two days, we traveled by bus from Aurora on the Ohio River to Vincennes on the Wabash River. We visited a variety of former B&O facilities; some still in use by CSX; others converted to museums or libraries; and some just derelict. The evenings were a steady stream of presentations on past and present railroading in southern Indiana.
The Mid-Eastern Region (NMRA) held its annual convention in Hagerstown MD in mid-October. I focused on operations by taking the Timetable and Train Orders Clinic and Lab. Steve King, a talented and experienced TT/TO operator, conducted the clinic. Bill and Mary Miller, both MMRs, were hosts for the lab session conducted on their On3 Colorado & Southern Railroad. I also operated on two other railroads and attended a couple of clinics.
About a dozen Capitol Area O-Scalers accepted an invitation to tour four O-scale railroads in the Gettysburg PA area on a Saturday in November. Our hosts were Rich Randall modeling the Milwaukee; Brian Scace modeling the NYC; George Eschbach modeling the Pennsylvania; and Art Selby modeling the C&O/PRR in the Blue Ridge. Some of us even had time to stop at Main Line Hobbies before heading home.
2009 was a very busy year for the B&O Shepherd Branch, the Potomac & Patuxent, and the Ohio River & Western. In 2010, Shepherd Branch management will focus on improving the operating sessions and adding scenery at Shepherd Junction and Twining City. P&P management will focus on making the display railroad fully operational.