1994 Annual Report

      B&O Railroad Pass from 1933       ORW Pass for 1913          

While the ice and cold of the winter of 1994 was a burden and sometimes a pain (if you slipped on the ice), it also provided numerous opportunities to work on the railroad. While progress was made rebuilding the west return loop, I did not meet my target date of restored operations by St. Valentine's Day. I did, however, have service restored by St. Patrick's Day. It wasn't much, but trains were running again. Then, I turned my attention to building new control panels and installing Circuitron Tortoise turnout machines. I am pleased with the performance of the Tortoise machines--remember, this is O scale. Normal operations were possible by mid-summer and since Labor Day, I have been adding industrial sidings and scenery to the rebuilt loop.

The new control panels were drawn using MS-Word and MS-Draw for the schematics. After printing on a laser printer at work, I mount the paper on colored card stock and face the drawing with plexiglas. I drill through the plexiglas and paper for the holes to mount the electrical switches and LEDs. The panel is mounted on the layout fascia which is luaun plywood. I think that it is very attractive and much easier than the chart tape I used for the older panels. Anyone want to make an offer on various colors of quarter inch chart tape?

The Weaver USRA 0-6-0 that I acquired last year was professionally repainted as P&P #67. I have adopted the B&O engine classification scheme, so the engine is class D-30. Selecting a painter was an interesting experience. One thing that I did that I recommend is I responded to everyone who sent me an offer in response to my inquiry or solicitation. I also indicated why I chose not to use their services.

While I did not feel competent repainting a brass steam locomotive, I did activate the air brush this fall to weather some box cars and covered hoppers. I sprayed an assortment of cars with diluted grime and mud. As most of you probably already know, this approach seemed to work best when dilution was at least 8:1 diosol to floquil. An earlier experiment with india ink and alcohol was most effective on tank cars and open hoppers, less so on box cars.

The P&P made no major sales or acquisitions of locomotives this year although a number of locomotives remain available for sale. Contact the president or the engine terminal foreman for detailed information.

The major event of the year was a journey to Scotland and England in August. Although the trip was not intended to be a railfan tour, I was able to see the Glasgow Museum of Transport, National Railway Museum (York), and London Transport Museum; to ride the Embsay and the South Devon Railways (both operating under steam); and to chase trains on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. A real highlight was a tour and demonstration of a switch "tower" operation, one evening along the line between York and Harrogate. This "tower" is a single story building and the switchman also has to close the roadway crossing gates.

While in London, we rode the Underground extensively and the Docklands Railway (light rail). We also rode a commuter line into Glasgow. I visited club model train layouts in York and Buckfastleigh. While in York, I had an interesting visit to Puffers, an English model train shop. I should note that we also visited numerous castles, Roman baths, stately homes, and gardens. We even learned to drive "English style."

The Fall MER Convention in Hagerstown, MD, was quite enjoyable. I finally saw Marv Kershner's and Art Selby's layouts after innumerable invitations from both of them to visit. I also chatted with Bob Schildt. If you were there and I missed you, I am sorry. I plan to attend the Spring MER Convention at York, PA, and the NMRA National in Atlanta, GA. Atlanta may be a family event. As I was inviting my father to accompany me, as he did to Pittsburgh and Columbus, my mother said that she would like to see Atlanta, too. Chris, my wife, will go to keep my mother company. I have a suspicion that the presence of our wives will impinge somewhat on my father's and my full participation in the convention activities.