Sunday, September 1, 2013


Visiting my local train store (Sattlers - Wesmont, NJ) to pick up the latest Steel Mill Morning Sun Book - Steel Mill Railroads Five, I was happy to see the arrival of the new H30 covered hoppers from Bowser.   These are available in several PRR schemes in grey and red, along with yellow PRR MOW,  Penn Central Green, and a Norfolk and Western version.  The local NMRA Division is releasing a PRSL version lettered for the sand mining operations of South Jersey.   It's a very nicely done car, and good addition to the early covered hopper selections available in HO scale.  Previously you needed to build an F&C resin version or shell out some $$$ for a brass version.     A word on the new SMRR #5 - well done as usual with a nice mix of engine, rolling stock, and mill subjects.  Most of this volume concerns the Ohio and Western PA mills, with a few photos from further afield.    It will probably be my last purchase of a book in this series, despite another several forthcoming - the simple reason is - I'm bored with them, or maybe the mills to the west are just more boring.  Most of them didn't use narrow gauge systems, and also, had plenty of real estate to expand.   The cramped old eastern mills are easier to replicate in HO scale I guess.    Most of the photos are on the modern side of what I model.    
We decided to take the train into NYC on Saturday for some shopping and walking around.  (Actually two trains - NJT Riverline Light Rail into Trenton and then NJT Northeast Corridor into NY Penn Station.    One of those things I've been meaning to do for some time is walk the Highline - New York Centrals old elevated freight line from 34th street into lower Manhattan.  If you don't know the interesting history of this branch, look it up online.   Ron Parisi has also written some excellent, very long articles about the outstanding model he built of part of this branch in the New York Central Modeling Magazine - it's a free online journal, part of the New York Central Historical Society.  
The southern end of the Highline.  It was multi-tracked but they have managed for the most part to leave one track in place for most of it's length.  Historical interpretation of the railroad function of the structure is almost non-existant, however, there is plenty about every foo-foo artist that added some idiotic sculpture here and there, including the super-idot that put a tape recorder repeating single unrelated words under the water fountain and called it art.    The history of the preservation of the structure is similar, with years of preservation calls from SIA folks like Tom Flagg and Gerry Weinstein and others,  but only after Actors and Gallery Owners got involved, was anything done.    Now it is a major attraction in the city and construction of mega expensive apartment buildings lines the route, formerly lined with factories and meat packing plants.

HQ of the New York Central Railroad

Another bucket list thing of sorts - revisit the Red Caboose Hobby Store.  This is the last survivor of what was once three model train stores on 45th street between 5th and 6th avenue.  I used to hit all three back to back while a teenager and in college, but haven't been back much since.  The Red Caboose is the last survivor and has actually moved from its original location, across the street to it's former competitors store.    This is one of those dirty, disorganized train stores that I love.  The owner is unique for sure.  My usual rule when afield is to only buy items that are unavailable through my local store - usually older kits.  I picked up a Westerfield PSC ore car kit - these have been recently re-released, but this is an older version.  It was without instructions, so if anyone has any I would appreciate a scan.  The other kit is a Gloorcraft wood and metal covered hopper kit.

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