Friday, September 30, 2011

Summer is over.

In case you haven't noticed, the postings lately have been a tad on the light-side so-to-speak. In case you were wondering, I did take a little time off enjoying summer.

I know it is blasphemy for a true model railroader to dare venture out of doors when there are perfectly good things to be done like building more boxcars, building/laying track, etc.

To me, summer is a time where it is better spent outdoors in the clean fresh air & sunshine. I know this concept might be a little hard to understand for those who live in places where the temperature never dips below 60 degrees but up here in New England, we are generously allowed 3 months of good warm weather to do silly things, like oh say... enjoy it.

Once summer ends, we are blessed with 2 months of cool, mostly wet weather. Starting in November,  nature is done playing with us she unmercifully plunges everything into the Arctic deep-freeze for a seasonal helping of snow, cold, & darkness for 4 very long months. If this were not punishment enough, we are given a reprieve from the the worst & rewarded with a follow-on of 2 more months of cool rainy weather. Mind you, during this time, the snow & cold can return at any moment just to tease you with a foot-or-more of wet snow that I swear each shovel full contains a microscopic Black Hole.

Those of you who are keeping count on both hands (and a foot),  yes, I did leave out 1 month. The one month that tosses everything weather-wise into the air is: May.  For those who live in the Bay State, May is a very odd month indeed. It has been known to snow, freeze, or for those of you who enjoy torment - be 90 degrees one day with freezing rain the next. Of course, the only saving grace with May is that during all the turmoil the world does come back to life for us. The bleak grayness is replaced by the technicolor of spring. With May, we grin & bear the curve balls nature throws at us because we know that soon, summer is right there waiting to save us from its grasp.

What does this blathering have to do with Model trains you ask? I'll get to it in a moment.  Bear with me for a little bit longer while I  make a lame excuse for lack of posting  tell you what I have been up to for the last 3 months.

Summer means that I need to take care of outside of the house just like the rest of you. This includes care of all the plants, lawn, house & yard repairs, and of course, whatever the significant other declares needs to be done RIGHT NOW. Failure to comply ensures swift justice on her part & eternal misery on my part.

When I am not toiling in mortal servitude to the dear woman, I enjoy another hobby that is almost as dear to me as model railroading: that hobby would be sailing. One advantage to living 1 mile from the ocean is that you typically have access to 2 things: boats & water - lots of water. This dovetails nicely with my sailing hobby as it fulfills 2 of the most needed requirements to enjoy this hobby.  Of course, boats can be very expensive to own & operate. If I owned a sailboat, I would be pouring money into it rather than pouring money into the layout - a major no-no for model railroading. With this in-mind, I do the next best thing: I crew on a sailboat.

A 30ft Racing Yacht to be exact.

We spend the season from June through September on the racing circuit here in Buzzard's Bay Massachusetts competing with other boats in our class. As this is a summertime passion for many people in the area, there are many-many races to compete & test our skills against. Typically, we have at least 1 race per week.  In many instances, we have 1 race during the week & another on the weekend. Between this & keeping the little woman happy with completed chores, I have very little time for other endeavors so something has to give. Dare i say it ? Prepare yourself but........

The trains go into the closet.

Yes, with such a busy schedule, I dialed-back the model railroading to the point where I did not accomplish anything for weeks-at-a-time. Did I give it up completely during the summer ? Well, no. Not completely. During the summer, I did accomplish the following:

Conducted research in downtown Boston on South Station @ several locations.
Built a #8 Double-slip switch with movable center frogs. 
Received new electrical components for the layout including the DCC system.
Received more digital drawings for South Station. 
Found Original drawings of the South Station lift Bridges.
Aerial photographs of downtown Boston along the B&A & New Haven Railroads.
Interior shot of the South Station ticket counter during the 1940s.
Found some articles online from 1899 discussing the Station & its magnificence.
Discovered 50 Photographs of the Construction of South Station - including the train shed.

 As you can see from the above list, the project did not stand still. I did manage to get a lot accomplished even with the summer distractions. What I didn't get accomplished is writing the articles that go with all the activity here on the blog. I will try to muck through them as fast as I can since  I have a considerable amount of new data to share with you all.

Now that the racing season & summer are both over, it is time once-again to get back indoors where all us New Englanders go when the days get shorter & the leaves begin to turn.

Back to Model Railroading.

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