1993 began with a commitment to install the industrial Anacostia Branch. Progress was made through mid-May. Additional benchwork to carry the branch over the mainline return loops was installed. Subroadbed was added and a gate to bridge between loops was completed. The gate eliminated the need for constantly ducking-under. In some sections, roadbed was laid and ties glued in place. The Code 125 rail and turnouts were acquired from Old Pullman.
In May, the local governing board decided to replace the ancient power plant (heating system boiler) that dominated one end of the train room. The board also decided to change fuels, from oil to gas, thereby eliminating the need for the fuel oil tank in the corner. Previously inaccessible areas of the district, i.e., basement, became available. Track plans danced in my head. I flirted with the idea of starting over completely, but was persuaded to save the east return loop and the freight yard. A teardrop loop that circles the new gas boiler and relocated hot water heater replaces the former tight west loop. The new design eliminates a nasty kink that existed on the old mainline and offers a roomy operating area. The downside is that I have to replan the industrial branch which will be shorter.
Before beginning railroad construction, I carpeted the train room and relocated my study (which shares the train room). The new benchwork is in place as is the subroadbed for mainline. Homabed, Code 148 rail, and turnouts are ordered or on-hand. All the new, visible track will be hand-laid, but I intend to have trains running again before Valentines Day.
Valley Forge Express was an enjoyable experience. I had great success at the silent auction, but numerous items are still available, send SASE for list. I worked the registration desk throughout the week and saw some great O scale layouts. I met a number of the members of the Private Road Name Modelers SIG at a gathering on Thursday night. Best of all, I hardly bought anything.
There have been some significant motive power changes this year. I sold an AHM 4-6-0 (kit), an AHM 0-8-0 (kit), and a Williams L1s (2-8-2). Acquisitions include Weaver FA2/FB units in B&O livery and a Weaver USRA 0-6-0 in NYC livery.
There is a story associated with the Weaver switcher. I was thinking of a first generation diesel switcher. I saw an add for a brass Alco S-2, but neither Art Selby nor I could decipher the manufacturer. A fortuitous phone call from another O scaler (who was inquiring about my list) solved the mystery, but by then the locomotive had been sold. The dealer did have several Car Works' Baldwin switchers. I wanted to think about it. After discussing the offering with Bob Schildt, I resolved to acquire one on the next business day. Before going to sleep that evening, I was idly leafing through Jack Speer's catalog that had recently arrived. The USRA switcher was tucked in between a pair of $1000 locomotives. This time when I called, the locomotive was still available. Steam still rules on the P&P. The switcher will be repainted and redecaled for the P&P. I'm thinking seriously of having a professional do the painting.
My parents gave me the book‚ Reflections of the Capitol Dome, last Christmas. The photographs and narratives are excellent. Tucked inside the back cover is a graphic depiction of the B&O manifest freight timetable in 1972. From this, I was able to extract the schedule for trains traversing the Alexandria Subdivision in and out of Potomac Yard. With minimal changes, I can use this schedule to add realism to the movement of B&O trains across the P&P. Each train will now have an authentic name and destination. While the schedule is from 1972, other material indicates that the pattern of operation was long-standing. I am excited. I should explain that in my world, the B&O uses trackage rights over the P&P to access Potomac Yard. The Alexandria Subdivision belongs to the P&P, not the B&O. Of course, the B&O holds a large amount of P&P stock and sits on the board of directors.