Thursday, May 6, 2010

General Update - 2010 Steel Mill Modelers Meet

I would post some modeling updates if I had any.   Between moving my daughter back from college, a super high pollen count making my bad allergies worse, and some other activities I haven't found much modeling time.  The work that I have fit in lately pretty much just involves building railings on the benzol coolers for the by-products plant - one stanchion and one railing at a time.  I've finished one side and all the hard round railings, so it's just a half dozen landings on the opposite side to do and we will be all OSHA approved.    In the meantime, a couple of other announcements - 
First - Happy Mothers Day to all, especially my mother, my mother-in-law, and the mother of my children.    You don't find a lot of mothers out there that are model railroaders.  Usually their interests turn to quilting, scrapbooking,..etc.    Something about trains and factories that just don't do anything for them.  When I was young there was even a model train store up in New York called HOBBIES FOR MEN.  That pretty much summ
ed it up, but if they tried that today they probably would end up on the news getting slammed by the PC intellectuals.   All that being said, women do have a big part in the hobby in the form of encouraging their children, or at the least, not discouraging them.  I'm sure "it's time to put the toy trains away and start acting your age"  as stifled many a potential model railroader.  I was fortunate to have two women in my life that encouraged my hobbies.  My mom's father, father-in-law, husband, son, and grandson were or are all model railroaders.  My wife just has to put up with the two of us descending to our man cave/basement/model steel mill.   I did make sure to break her in early as evidenced by the photo.  It shows her (my girlfriend then) at 18 holding  my favorite Alco RS-3.   
I hope to see many of you at this years SMMM.  As usual it's scheduled for Labor Day weekend and is once again being organized by John Glaab of Peachcreek Shops.  The link for Peachcreek is on my blog links  - all the info is there.   I will be giving one of the presentations there on my modeling.  John has also asked me to coordinate the Free-Mo module element of the event.  Anyone thinking of building a module or that already has one send me an email.  I would like to encourage people to build one - with Free-mo there are not to many constraints on size so you could build a 2x3 or 2x4 one even.  We built ours in a few weeks of occasional work last year.  The scratchbuilt structures took a bit longer (we started them in May) .  If you haven't ever been to this four day event I would suggest you give it a try if you can afford the cost and the time.  It is extremely well organized and very well balanced as far as layout tours, presentations, model displays, vendors,...etc.  
And just so we can feel MANLY again - a photo I took in the late 80s of the Bethlehem Steel (Lehigh)  Sinter Plant.   Unfortunately the Minsi Trails Bridge only had a walkway on the one side and I wasn't brave enough to stand in traffic for a better shot through the fence, but you can still make out some of the elements of the facility.  In front of the storage silos you can see the massive 10' diameter? gas main.  I don't know if the gas is moving from the blast furnaces to this side of the mill, or from the coke works to the blast furnaces? If anyone knows please email me.

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