Monday, October 5, 2009

NEFFPMM - Lots of Letters

Last week was a busy  model railroad week - not much work on my own stuff but interesting never the less.   We did get a chance to work on a bit of the old code 70 track that we are reconfiguring on the coke works branch of the railroad.  We aren't doing anything within the coke works but we are rebuilding a yard to serve the rolling mill that will now be next to the coke works.    
Some of the week's highlights - 
Wednesday - we were invited to visit a fellow steel mill modelers layout.  I had been a fan of his layout and he was a reader of my blog - turns out we live about ten minutes from each other.  His layout turned out to be far more impressive in person than what I had seen of it on the internet.  The track plan was well thought out and flowed nicely, with plenty of room to view things.  The fit and finish of everything was neat and precise.   Best of all, at least 60% of the layout is an integrated steel mill - Harsco Steel - a fictional mill (although there is a real Harsco)   There are blast furnaces, open hearths, a coke works, a BOF, rolling mills,..etc.   The railroad is operated by a crew of 8 or so periodically with extensive mill operations, in addition to the through and local trains.  
Friday - Jimmy and myself have started attending a weekly operating session that alternates between about five or six south Jersey layouts.  Jimmy has been especially excited about running trains on these layouts and the group has been most welcoming.  I do like running trains, but I think I like talking trains with the members of the group just as much.  
Saturday - The NEFFPMM -  What the heck is that?  It stands for the Northeast Fallen Flags Prototype Modelers Meet.   It was the second year this event was held in Highbridge, NJ.   It is a one day event and my first year.  I enjoyed myself a great deal - the seminars were all excellent, very nice models on display, and a handful of vendors.    About half the seminars had to do with modeling New York harbor rail-marine operations.   One presenter is building a layout that represents New York Central/Erie/and Lehigh Valley Manhattan freight terminals on the Hudson River between 28th and 31st street.  It's a very interesting subject as the New York Central was the only trackage connected via the west side line to the rest of their system.  The Erie and LV both received cars via barge and interchange with the NYC. He also is making excellent use of large photo-shopped building images for his backdrops.    Another modeler spoke on specifically the Walther's Diesel Tugboat Kits.  Using this kit as the basis he modified it where needed to represent a half dozen different railroad tugs.   My friend Sam Reynolds gave an outstanding presentation on the New Jersey Zinc's Railroad operations in New Jersey and PA.   It was eye-opening for me in that I hadn't realized the scale of operations of this company.  It is really something you would almost expect to see out west - the mining of a non-ferrous ore (in New Jersey) and the processing of it (in PA)    There may also be some tie-ins with the steel industry as unknown before to me, NJ Zinc manufactured ferro-manganese, presumably for the steel industry.    This industry also used modified covered hoppers and other rolling stock to move their ore and their finished product.

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