Motivated by the prototypical freelancing philosophy espoused by Tony Koesters among others, I have been looking for a terminal or industrial section of railroad, preferably B&O, that I could use as inspiration and guide. After spending many evenings studying Baltimore without success, I turned my attention to my "hometown." Eureka! Lying along the eastern bank of the Anacostia River within the District of Columbia are B&O and Pennsy freight lines that connect their respective "Northeast Corriders" with Potomac Yard in northern Virginia. Instantly in my world, the P&P owns that stretch of track and grants rights to the B&O and Pennsy. I am now attempting to identify industries and operations that typified the area in the late 40s and early 50s.
The P&P is partially operational and continues to develop. I have been running trains using a simplified card order system. The work of late has been focused on correcting installation errors mostly in the trackwork of Kearney Yard and adding scenery and detail. Kearney Yard is operational; the engine service area should be operating shortly, including turntable. I am kitbashing a four-stall roundhouse from the parts in the IHC Engine House. I intend to begin work on the industrial branchline this winter.
The railroad added its first diesel to the roster this summer. A Plymouth industrial, manufactured by Atlas, was acquired at the O Scale National, repainted and decaled for the P&P. I also restored three derelict tank cars to serviceable condition using Athearn trucks, Kadee couplers, and Champ decals. The most fun was assembling a reefer from odds and ends that I have collected over time, including card stock sides and ends, a wood block body, Reynolds underframe and brake detail, strip wood for the roof, Athearn trucks, and Old Pullman couplers. I even had ice hatch covers.
A Williams USRA Mikado was acquired this fall, 18 months after making a reservation. My first reservation was cancelled by the dealer when Williams initiated their "fire sale." I placed an order through a second dealer, but they were never able to get delivery. I could have acquired the B&O version that I wanted at the O Scale National, but passed it up thinking that I had a confirmed reservation at a lower price. Having seen one locomotive in June, I thought that my dealer would soon contact me about my loco. No such luck. This fall, I learned from another dealer that the B&O's were gone; long since sold out. So, I settled for an NYC Mike, paying more (with tax) than I would have at High Point. After all this, when I get the loco home, it doesn't run well at very slow speeds. After spending 2-3 hours in thought and test, I determine that the problem is caused by gobs of paint interfering with the electrical contact between the tender and its trucks. In general, this Mike does not run as well as my 4-year-old Williams Pennsy L1s.
I intend to reletter the 2-8-2 for the B&O (I already have the decals). According to the few photos that I have, the NYC Mike closely resembles the Mikes that the B&O received in 1918, e.g., B&O Q-3 4529. There is a small height difference in placement of marker lights, but headlight and bell are in right places. I do not yet know what the Q-3s looked like in 1949.
As noted above, I was able to attend the O Scale National convention in High Point, NC. Bob Schildt and I rode down together and shared a room. We saw some very nice modules and home layouts. Also, I had chance to chat with Art Selby about his new railroad. Art was armed with the scale drawings of his railroad empire.
Marv Kershner and I had a chance to "catch up" at Spring Dixie Division mini-meet; he's still doing great work kitbashing, painting, and decaling rolling stock. In fact, he won an award at the meet for an O gauge gondola.
1992 promises to be a busy year. I plan to attend the Spring and Fall MER conventions as well as the O Scale National in Chicago and the NMRA National in Columbus. Let me know if you are planning to attend any of these conventions so we can get together while there. I would also like to get some work done on the railroad this winter.