July 14, 2019

Epilogue 2019 NMRA Convention

UP consist dragging coal empties eastbound at the lower Gilluly Loop
On the last day of the NMRA convention, Alicia, Susan, and I played a round of golf at the Lake course at Wasatch State Park. It is one of our favorite courses and we all played well.

L to R Me, Adam, Brian at the National Train Show
Then Alicia and I took a trip to Mapleton, UT to visit Adam Pinales' layouts. Adam and I have been corresponding via email since 1999, when he was just 16 years old. This weekend was the first time we met.

He told me today that he learned to fire a steam locomotive before he learned how to drive a car. He has worked as a locomotive engineer for the Heber Valley RR, Utah RR, and BNSF. He is now a conductor for Amtrak.

Adam has three model railroads and numerous other projects underway. The first railroad is a F scale loop in the back yard with DRGW rolling stock. He also just started building a 7.25 inch gauge layout on his property. Inside his house, he is building an N scale layout depicting the DRGW on the western slope of Soldier Summit. It's a complex layout that spans several rooms in his basement. And he plans to take over more bedrooms later as his kids grow up.  He runs 60 car trains on this layout using code 55 rail and hand laid turnouts. There are several helixes on the layout using Kato uni-trak.
One of the layout rooms for Adam's N scale layout. He has multiple helices.

Since we were close to the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon, we decided to take a quick trip so that Alicia could see the Thistle slide area.  The sightseeing plan rapidly morphed into a train chase as I spotted a empty coal drag heading east near Adam's house.

The chase was on.

Since the sun was low in the west, getting good light on the train was difficult. So we drove up to Gilluly Loop where I knew the train would reverse direction and head west for a while.   We got there with plenty of time for me to scout a good photo spot.  I got some nice video and still shots using my iPhone (see lead photo  and the shots below).
Eastbound MTY rounds the lower loop at Gilluly

Since I was with Alicia, chasing the train further east would have expended more marital brownie points than I had in stock. So we headed back west with Alicia driving just in case I couldn't resist. As I was examining my photos Alicia said, "Look another train." I just barely had time to get a shot out the passenger window of a second eastbound empty coal train.

Seeing two trains on the Soldier Summit line these days is extremely rare. UP, BNSF and AMTRAK use the line on rare occasions, while the Utah Railway is practically gone.  The railfanning gods were kind to us today.

Eastbound coal MTY approaching Gilluly Loops



Second eastbound shot from the moving car.

One other neat thing we saw was a new rest stop on the otherwise desolate Rt 6 between Gilluly and Thistle. The rest stop is designed as a DRGW round house and station complete with a water tank and mock turntable.  Behind the rest stop was the DRGW/Utah Rwy mainline (sorry I can't call it the UP mainline).  Even Alicia thought the rest stop was cool.
Highway 6 rest stop



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