Friday, August 13, 2010

Update - August 2010

It's been a slow August concerning trains - I was planing on a big push to get some projects done for the 2010 Steel Mill Modelers Meet coming in a few weeks.  The prospects for this were good as if you remember, last August I managed to scratchbuild the US Pipe Complex and module in just a month.    Unfortunately, economics have caught me at a bad time - I've had a flood of side-work opportunities which I have been trying to complete in the time I usually use for model railroading - nights and weekends.   This sacrifice is needed thanks to a number of things, including my daughter's college that doesn't seem to flinch increasing tuition by $3000 a year during  a recession that as either unemployed or at least financially affected most folks.     Scaling back plans for the SMMM I am focusing on finishing the pig caster for once and all so I can display that, and pulling out the module, cleaning it up, and making a few improvements where needed.   I also need to finish getting together my presentation for the event.     Overall, if I can unbury myself from side work by then, this fall should be interesting.  Besides the SMMM I am signed up for a tour of the old US Steel Carrie Furnaces complex in Pittsburgh in October.   Hopefully I will be able to parlay the trip out there into a more comprehensive tour of the Mon Valley, and throw in Johnstown, Altoona, and East Broad Top RR while I'm at it.    
An interesting aside - My daytime job with Cipriani Builders has taken me across the Delaware to the Main Line area just north of Philadelphia to manage a project.  The long daily commute takes me through the city and some prime industrial archeology sites.  A by product of this commute is that I finally have been able to figure out the geography of the the old Pennsy, Reading, and B&O lines through the city.    For years this was a gray area for me,  although an hour drive with a map would have cleared things up.   In the digital age I shoot photos of anything I see while driving - some areas I will go back sometime in the future, hopefully with someone else driving and actually get out of the car and take some shots.   In the future I have plans for dabbling in larger scale (1/32 or 1/24) scratchbuilt models of urban environments, so I have been shooting interesting street scenes and buildings also.   For those of us living in the "light rail" age, we tend to forget the original light rail - the trolley.  I'm not sure how many cities still operate their original trolley lines, but Philadelphia still has at least one running on Girard Avenue.   When I was little the trolleys were one of the things I looked forward to visiting Philadelphia from my home in New York, so it's nice to still see a remanent of this system and even nicer with my son.  Jimmy has been working with me this summer and it was neat to see his reaction to seeing a real trolley for the first time outside a museum.  When we have some time down the road,  we plan on actually riding the trolley.   

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