May 6, 2014

ProRail 2014 and Dan Toomey Visits

Mike's layout combines great scenery, elegant design, prototype signals and operation
I operated the west end of Clifton Forge yard. My main duties
were weighing coal hoppers as they came in at this
work station. A seated job that was fun.
Last weekend I attended ProRail 2014. I had the chance to operate on three  HO scale layouts. The first was Mike Burgett's C&O James River Division depicting the 1960s in Virginia. It is an amazing layout with beautiful scenery and ├╝ber-prototypical signal system.  Mike is a professional signal engineer for CN railway, but he has been working on RR signals since he was 19. Mike's layout has to rank in ten top 10 of all layouts I have visited. It is world class in every category, and beyond world class in some others.

Main yard on Buck's layout

A view down one of the aisles
Next I operated on Phil Buck's modern era UP layout set in Kansas City. The layout is just two years old, but is already fully operational. He and his helper Kevin (sorry, I forgot his last name)  plan to add a full signal system and then add a complete scenic treatment. It is a fun railroad to operate with a variety of jobs from unit sulphur and coal trains that I ran in the morning  to the Kansas City Terminal Switcher job, which I ran in the afternoon.

Part of Toledo harbor

Massive Jeep Plant
On the last day I operated on Doug Tagsold's latest layout, the Toledo Terminal. It is a very large depiction of the myriad railroads that operate in the Toledo area. I never realized that Toledo was such an important industrial city with a very busy port. It was the biggest coal destination on the C&O. Doug's layout includes ships, grain elevators, a steel mill, massive Jeep plant and lots of smaller industries. He built it in 4 years, but plans to tear it down and build a new narrow gauge layout. Amazing.

Monday, Dan Toomey, author of "The War Came by Train," and guest curator of the B&O Museum Civil War exhibit, visited the layout. He returned the models that were on loan, got a chance to inspect my various layouts and to discuss future projects for the museum. It was a fun visit.

I did a book review of Dan's book a few months ago. I really recommend it. It is a very good read.

Dan's great great grandfather was an engineer on the B&O during the war. So we agreed we would name one of the loco engineers on the layout Toomey.

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