April 28, 2013

ProRail 2013

On Wednesday I drove to Northwest New Jersey to attend ProRail 2013. ProRail is a group of layout owners that focus on prototypical operations. They hold an annual get together at varying cities to operate layouts. It started with Chicago and Kansas City and has spread to other US cities. There are many such groups in the US and Canada. They spread by word of mouth. Chances are if you have a serious operating layout, you know of this or some other round-robin operating group.

For Prorail 2013 I operated on Tom Piccirillo's  O scale Somerset County Traction Company, Harold Wertheim's HO Scale Erie, Perry Squire's HO Scale Pittsburg, Shawmut and Northern and had a brief run on John Rodger's On2 Sandy River and Rangely Lakes RR. All of these layouts are basement filling empires with exquisite scenery, good running trains and interesting operations.

A special shout out to Perry Squire's PS&N layout which ran flawlessly with excellent sound.  It is especially amazing given that he runs tiny 1920s era steam engines.  For example, check out this video clip of a 0-6-0 operating in St Mary's yard on his layout.

Tom's layout also ran extremely well utilizing overhead catenary wire for power! Here is a link with more info on Tom's layout. This layout is also complete, an amazing accomplishment given the size and detail he has included.
Tom stands near the ferry terminal at Lambertville.

Harold Wertheim's layout has been featured in several national magazines. It is a vast layout spanning multiple levels and rooms. It absorbed 20 plus operators with no trouble. A highlight of this visit was a chance to chat with Harold. He is now 91 years old and doing great. Keep it up!

John's Rodger's layout is a relatively new
(L-R) Dave Adams, Jim Kern, John Rodgers
project and he has made amazing progress. His layout features a fine collection of brass On2 engines and cars as well as a standard gauge Maine Central RR that interchanges with the SR&RLs.

Like most O-scalers John has a complete metal shop with lathe and milling machines. Tom Piccirillo has an even more extensive shop, but that is somewhat to be expected as he is the President of Micro-Mark, a hobby tool specialist company. I guess you can't be an O Scaler without a metal shop.

One of the best parts of a weekend like this is the socializing that occurs in the hotel and over meals. It was great to catch up with many friends.  It is amazing how friendly and generous model railroaders can be.

I was especially gratified to hear many people say they enjoy this blog. If you are a regular reader, please join the list of followers and don't be shy to comment.

I delivered the coal dock model to Ted Pamperin. He was very happy with it. Several others commented on how much they liked it and I got orders for a couple more.

Finally thanks to all the hosts and helpers for running a great weekend.

My Prorail weekend was bookended by visitors to my layout.

On Tuesday, Milt Martin from Austin, TX,  and my brother Rob visited the layout. Milt is not a model railroader, as he enjoys car restoring and collecting guns. He had a chance to try the layout.  He said he may try some model trains after the visit. Lets hope we have a new convert.
Marshall with Whiton pushing cars on the nose.

On Sunday, Marshall Stull from Michigan visited. He is building a small HO Scale layout depicting Illinois Central in the Mound City, IL area. You can find more about it here.

I gave Marshall a switch list asked had him do an op session on the Road Show. He spent about 45 minutes working the layout. He used the front draw bar on the engine to do some switching as he started where Chuck, Keith and Jack left off last Monday and the engine was facing east with a cut of cars behind.   I did not tell Marshall about the rule regarding  the front coupler bar, so he went ahead and used it. It worked well. It tends to have trouble on tight curves, or long cuts of cars, but on this layout works pretty well.

Overall the road show layout worked well, though we noted that the engine derailed on the west crossover. This is the second instance of a derailment there. In examining it we concluded that the guard rail to the frog was not long enough. I added a section of guard rail to extend it and it worked flawlessly after that.

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