Sunday, January 26, 2014

WEEKEND GETAWAY - Rare Alco, with a steel lineage - Morning Sun books - etc

A bit of an update on trains and life how it affect them.   Usually the holidays are a slow time for my type of business, however, for us it was not so - we were working like crazy right through them, and just when it looked like I might be back to just normal work days, a project installing all the moldings, doors, and trim in a large (6500 sf) custom home, materialized in the space of a few days.  Since our days were still extremely busy I told the builder that we could only work nights on it, so my days have been going like this - 7am-5pm our scheduled projects, hour dinner break, and then 6pm-12 installing trim.    The good news is that I have had the past two weekends off- my first in four months or more.   Last weekend I was part of the local NMRA New Jersey Division layout tours.  I wasn't able to get much done before the tour as I usually am able to, however, I was forced to clean up and organize the basement, something sorely needed down there.  We had about two dozen visitors.  This weekend my wife and myself did a quick weekend get away.  We usually try to do these things every month or two, but with my business we haven't gone away since last July.   We were going to do the Lehigh Valley as we usually have a fun time there, however, at the last minute we decided on the Lancaster, PA area.  Nice mix for both of us as usual - a few train stores and the PA Railroad Museum for me,  outlet stores for her, and antique stores for both of us.
Monongahela Connecting 701 - a rare Alco C-415 at the PA Railroad Museum.   Monongahela Connecting was the in-plant railroad for J&L Steel in Pittsburgh.  This exact locomotive is featured in the Second Diesel Spotters Guide
Behind the Museum is a narrow gauge shunter locomotive - not sure where it came from, possibly a Hulett facility, although I thought I read somewhere it came from the ore docks in Philadelphia.  
One thing I like about the PA Museum, and also with the Strasburg Train Shop (located in the Rockvale outlets now) is their vast selection of Morning Sun books, but more importantly, they have "Store Copies" unwrapped and browsable.   As you know from my recent disappointment with Steel Mill Volume 5 or 6, forget already, I'm always bothered by the expensive gamble you take buying one of these books.  There were four volumes that I was planing on purchasing, that after leafing through, I'm glad I didn't.  The book I did buy, that wasn't even on my radar, was the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie in Color, Vol 2 by Richard C. Borkowski Jr.    This volume covers the P&LE from 1956-1976 (Volume 1 covered the post 1976 P&LE, after they became independent of NYC/Penn Central)    The book has many shots of steel mills from Youngstown to Pittsburgh to Monessen.    Excellent captions throughout with lots of information on train movements, mills, etc...  Best of all, NOT the dreaded locomotive money shots over and over and over - there are plenty, but that's to be expected, put also plenty distance shots with facilities and industries included.  Gives you a much better sense of the environment around which the railroad operated.   I realized after reading through the book for the first time, that the author is the same as for my favorite, the Union Railroad Morning Sun Book.  

Since the area is a destination for plenty of railroad enthusiasts,  the antique stores seem to have an above average amount of railroad related items.  I picked up a Morning Sun, Bessemer and Lake Erie for a modest $25,  and also a number of other railroad books and magazines.  

1 comment:

Mike McNamara said...


Sorry I could not make it over for the open house - I had planned to but my afternoon following the Division Meet got away from my control! Anyway, just wanted to say hello. Hope Jimmy is doing well too. Miss the chance to catch up and talk trains during Free-mo events!

Mike Mc.