Sunday, November 04, 2018

Walter Gretzky Visits Mike's Model Railroad

What a thrill it was for me to host Walter Gretzky to my model railroad about a year ago now.

Along with Walter came, from left to right, Jacques (former NHL trainer), Walter, me and Charlie Henry, former NHL scout and chief executive.  To view the images in larger format simply click on the picture.  To return to the default setting, click outside the image.

We're in the train room.  How did this visit come about, you may be wondering?  Well, over fifteen years ago, Charlie's grandson was in my class as a grade 4 student.  He visited my model railroad when the class came by on a Saturday morning in June.  The young boy showed some pictures of the layout to his grandpa (Charlie) and Charlie simply had to visit the next time he would be in town.  Well the next time came about ten years ago, but on that Saturday I was out of town giving a clinic at an SLD/NMRA meet down in Smith's Falls.  Walter would have accompanied Charlie at that time.

Well it took a number of years, but the rain date materialized this afternoon.  My wife, Lisa didn't really want to get into a picture, but Walter insisted!

Walter turned 78 the day after his visit to my place.  He suffered a stroke a while back, but, boy oh boy, is he still "sharp as a tack" keeping Lisa and me in stitches all afternoon long with stories from way back.  He told us how his family came to Canada.  He mentioned how proud he is of his five children, 14 grandchildren and one great grand-child.  He certainly kept me on my toes asking a series of historical and geographical questions.  Lots of fun!

Joanne Henry, Charlie's daughter and the mom of that young lad who visited my trains when he was in my class was thrilled to make it over.  A great thrill for me was having Michael Allan Henry (that young grade 4 student of mine who is now 25 years old) telephone from his home in British Columbia during the visit.  Joanne still insisted on calling me "Mr. Hamer" and not Mike.

The gang got to see the Maine Central ply B&M rails.

They railfanned a 40-car outbound B&M manifest train.

They were keenly interested in the scenery making.  It was Walter's birthday the following day.  I explained to him that when you step into my model railroad room you go back in time to the day I was born, May 27, 1958.  Yessirree, I model New England as it would have appeared on that day in history.  I tell the school kids who visit my model railroad that I'm always happy to enter the room as it's always my birthday!

Before I got to say to Walter and Charlie what an honour it was to meet them, they beat me to the punch, both saying, "Mike, what a thrill and an honour for us both to have finally enjoyed the opportunity of meeting you and seeing this marvel of a railroad you have."  Indeed...salt of the earth people!  Thank you for allowing me to digress away from the garden aspect of things...well, not entirely...for you see, almost all of the trees on my HO scale railroad were made from the flowers of shrubs in my garden...spirea, hydrangea and sedum!  All the best,
Mike Hamer, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Saturday, November 03, 2018

B&M Train N6 "The Newsboy"

The local North Dover crew has blocked the traffic for inbound B&M train N6.
Click on the image to enlarge it and click outside to return to the default setting.

They've placed the cut of four cars on the North Siding in town.
Cars blocked are flatcar PRR 469617, boxcar BM 75161 and two tankers.

The switching order indicates the cars to be found in the yard and blocked.

The local crew moves out of the way.

They will park the switcher on the South Siding in short order. 

In due time, Train N2, "The Newsboy" approaches town.

They cross Stanley Bridge over the Salmon River.

Hitting the Boundary Road crossing, the locomotives are now in the state of New Hampshire with the remainder of the consist back across the river in the state of Maine.

Rounding the big curve in North Dover with the Holy Spirits Distilleries complex towering above the yard.

The SFRD reefer will be the first car in the cut of cars to be removed from the train.

The train orders for the crew of Train N2 upon arrival at North Dover.

This will be an easy movement with four cars being dropped and four lifted.

The cut is made behind the PRR flatcar.

The gondola heads up the remainder of the train.

The engineer guides his train on to the North Siding where they have grabbed their lifts.

They pull their lifts from the siding.

Then bring them along the main to the rest of the train.

Uncoupling the setouts from the train.

Spotting the setouts on the North Siding.

Almost there.

Setouts complete.

The crew of N2 has performed their brake test and are now underway.

We say good-bye to the buggy as the train enters the tunnel beneath the main street of town.

The four setouts to the siding include the Santa Fe reefer, a B&M boxcar, the B&O hopper and the PRR flat.