The car shops were busy this year. We acquired two cabooses, two box cars, a stock car, and repainted a gondola.
MTH Premier Line Steel Side Cupola Caboose (3-rail); stripped and repainted as B&O C-2528, Class I-5X; converted to two-rail with Kadee couplers; (fictitious class and number since the B&O never had a steel-sided cupola caboose, but it looks so good).
MTH Premier Line Bay Window Caboose (3-rail); touched up paint on B&O C-2858, Class I-17; converted to two-rail and Kadee couplers (needed to fabricate coupler pads which the other caboose had).
Innovative Model Works Box Car kit; B&O 465731, Class M-55; added steel wheels and Kadee couplers.
(Old) Atlas Gondola; stripped and repainted a P&P car as B&O 264382, Class O-63.
Mainline Models Turn of the Century Box Car (Wood Kit); NYC 94086; installed truss rods and added Athearn Archbar trucks, steel wheels, and Kadee couplers; (some difficulty matching Floquil box car red; color seems to have changed in the nearly 30 years since the sides of this car were painted).
Locomotive Work Shop Stock Car Kit (formerly Athearn, then Reynolds Railroad Products); this kit was acquired at the 1987 National O Scale Convention; construction required some creative adaptations; detailed as NYC 28240, Class SC. (Decals acquired from kindly modeler through O Scale Yard Sale.)
The engine shops attempted to remedy the erratic operation of the Weaver VO-1000, but the locomotive was damaged during a test run. The subsequent investigation determined that the locomotive was operating at an excessive speed which caused it to leave the rails and tumble down a steep embankment (i.e., fell to floor). The motor shafts were damaged in the crash. New motors are not available from Weaver.
Scenery construction continued at Port Shepherd with the placement of “Potomac Marine” in the foreground. The Quonset hut and steel storage shed are card stock structures based on plans acquired from Clever Models.
Since the MOW crew has not been able to fix the kink in the Twining City crossing, management is allocating resources to totally rebuild the crossing. Hopefully, operations will not be adversely affected.
The operating crew (a round-robin group) participated in seven operating sessions in 2012. 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. A special session was run in May at the request of a local model railroader who had out-of-town friends interested in urban, industrial railroading. The session went well.
In November, the railroad acquired a Weaver FA2/FB set (3-rail) from the Union Pacific. The plan is to swap shells with a B&O FA2/FB set (2-rail) that is not run very often. If the swap is successful, I will attempt to sell the resulting 2-rail Union Pacific set. Otherwise, exhibitions trains were run occasionally for visiting dignitaries.
During the year, the OR&W purchased a flat car, gondola, tank car and stock car. Current inventory includes three steam locomotives, two box cars, a caboose, a flat car, two gondolas, a reefer, two stock cars, three tank cars, a combine, a coach, and an observation car. Railroad management continues to monitor the used car market for additional rolling stock.
In October, I was appointed chairman of the MER budget committee. I have served on the committee since 2001. The committee met in December to formulate the 2013 budget that will be presented to the board of directors in January. I am also chairman of the MER audit committee. We examined the treasurer’s records through December 2011 in March. I have been MER audit chair since 2003.
The B&O Railroad Historical Society held its National Convention in Somerset PA in early October. We spent two days exploring the Somerset & Cambria Branch between Rockwood and Johnstown PA. We were also allowed to get close to Pinkerton tunnel, one of the sites on the mainline that CSX is day-lighting in order to haul double stacks from Baltimore to Pittsburgh and west.
The annual MER Convention was held in Sussex VA in mid October. In addition to attending the board meeting, I was able to operate on Chuck Davis’ Lehigh Valley themed, HO-scale railroad. The rest of the time, I attended seven clinics and toured the Suffolk Visitor Center and Railroad Museum, located in the former ACL passenger station.
In 2013, Shepherd Branch management intends to repair the Twining City crossing, then, initiate an assessment and overhaul of the branch’s steam and diesel locomotives. P&P management will focus on improving the operation of the display railroad. Ohio River & Western management continues to look for bargains on rolling stock.