Monday, June 28, 2010

Car Loads Along the B&M

There are many types of rolling stock that carry loads that can be seen by the railfan trackside. Above we have an elevated view of the Conley Lumber and Coal facility where a loaded hopper has just arrived and will be unloaded using the conveyer system just in view to the right.


During a train operating session, the Conley crew returns an empty hopper to North Dover where the North Dover crew will provide an "assist" as the two crews exchange the empty for a load. I enjoy watching as two crews work cooperatively to move freight along the system.


Here is an interesting load. Trevor Marshall made this flatcar model with its load of tractors which soon will be offloaded via the team track. A team track is such a valuable industry on any model railroad as a great variety of freight cars can be spotted beside the elevated ramp.

Flatcar loads are always fascinating to me. This Northern Timber Company flat was a gift from my good friend, Jacques Thuot. Jacques' layout has been featured in Model Railroader as well as Great Model Railroads!


Railfans along the Boston and Maine are pleasantly surprised when they spot an unusual car carrying an interesting load nestled in the consist of a long manifest freight and this B&M well bottom flatcar is no exception.

School Kids Visit Mr. Hamer's Model Railroad

At the end of every school year, I invite my students and their families to visit the model railroad. I fly the train banner outside the house as a landmark to make it easier for them to locate my house along the street. To say the least, the kids are thrilled to visit their teacher's home with their moms and dads and siblings.

Each student is given the opportunity to run a train around the layout. They learn to bring the train slowly into the station on a slow order and they learn how to blow the horn as a warning of the approaching train and to ring the bell in yard limits as a safety procedure.

I ask each student to bring the train to a stop at specific intervals so that I can instruct them about the different types of rolling stock. The parents take great interest in this as well.

They learn to blow two longs, a short and a long through the road crossings. Moms and dads (and some grandparents as well) are amazed at the level of detail...as many think that when they bring the kids over, they are probably going to see a model railroad on a 4x8 sheet of plywood.

Each child is given the opportunity to board the switcher and perform some rudimentary switching moves at the local industries.

Moms are just as keen as dads and the girls are as thrilled as the boys to run the trains. Each visitor signs the guestbook and I provide a lovely photograph from the layout for each visitor. Here we see two families with the moms. Dads come too, but they aren't as pretty as the moms! (big grin) While each group waits in the crew lounge for their turn in the layout room, I offer many model railroad magazines for them to peruse and there is a railroad DVD on the big television.

Yes, it is as much a thrill for me as it is for my visitors. I strongly encourage anyone with a layout to offer an open house for young people. After all, they are the future of the hobby!

I was thrilled to learn that my layout wound be featured in the 2010 version of the NMRA calendar, Canadian edition. The image shows Maine Central train #391, The "Oil Can" crossing Boundary Road on its approach to North Dover yard limits. The flare on the locomotive headlight is purely accidental. I took the shot with an ordinary point and shoot camera and the Athearn Genesis F-Unit has such a bright headlight! Yup, I am Mr. Month of May (which happens to be my birthday month). Two good friends, Chris Lyon (Mr. August) and Trevor Marshall (Mr. September) also appear in the calendar. To say the least, this was a big thrill for me as I am just a big kid at heart!