Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Beers, burgers and bros... GSD Summer Meet."

If you are a member of the Garden State Division or any neighboring division, you are probably aware of the much-anticipated meet this Saturday, August 1st. But here's a reminder for all.

The GSD is featuring something different for the summer, crossing into Pennsylvania to visit the slate industry in Bangor, including the opportunity to have a nice lunch at the restored Broadway Pub, plus New Jersey layout tours including those of Harold Werthwein, Tony Koester and Ed Suhy.

The very spry 93 year old Harold Werthwein's basement empire features the Delaware Division of the Erie RR. It was featured in Great Model Railroads 1999 and is amazing.

Tony Koester's Nickel Plate Road is well known to readers of the hobby press and is nearing scenic completion. It's as close to the real thing as possible. Now, you can see it in person.

Ed Suhy's HO scale Sante Fe layout is under construction and features a helix, large classification yard and detailed scenes like this one.

The Paulinskill Viaduct is one of the prototypical attractions in the region near the layouts.

Bangor, PA is the center of the slate belt and offers the Heritage Center Museum, nearby quarries and piles of slate slag debris along roadsides.

The Broadway Pub is in the heart of Bangor, PA in the restored Colonial Hotel. Ample public parking is available. Pick-up free, self-guided tour maps here from 11 am - noon.

The general area for all of these attractions is just off of Interstate 80 in the northwest corner of New Jersey a few miles east of the Delaware Water Gap. If you live within a couple of hours of here, take a nice scenic drive for the day. As of now, we know that groups from New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania are joining many Jerseyans for the day. Check out all details here . Hope to see you.

Did you know? Harold is still expanding his 85' x 30' layout and fine-tuning existing areas including the fabrication of hand-built turnouts.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Serenity now!... and other summer highlights."

Boy, did I need a break from this blog. Totally bonked. Hit the wall and the wall hit back. Blogger Eric Hansmann warned me about this. So please allow me to ease back into this slowly as I am suffering from post-Tour de France withdrawal. Nevertheless, my July has been filled with some of life's precious little moments. And some actually have railroad tie-ins. Herewith a sampling:

The morning of July 4th  began with Stormy and Duffy denied their independence by an intruder in our yard who would not leave until all select foliage was consumed. My attempts to frighten the vandal were comical including the throwing of scraps of wood left over from my bench work. Apparently I've lost a lot off of my fastball. I pray the neighbors weren't watching. Storm and Duff were less than impressed. Their incessant barking sounded something like, "Give us liberty or give us treats."
My daughter and I visited hulu's  Seinfeld exhibit in New York celebrating their purchase of all rights to the series. Larry Thomas who played the Soup Nazi, is interviewed amidst such props as David Puddy's Devil jersey and Jerry's puffy shirt. Nothing beats waiting 90 minutes in the blazing sun to get in. But isn't it every dad's dream to end up standing directly behind two scantily clad 'performers' from one of Manhattan's fine gentlemen's clubs who felt compelled to talk shop? Tough to say who was more uncomfortable... my 21 year old or me. Good times.

Near the Seinfeld exhibit was the NYC High Line, an elevated park along the old New York Central right-of-way running from just below 14th street to 34th street on the west side.

The high line has become an amazing oasis worth visiting for anyone visiting Manhattan.

If you wait long enough here, you will inevitably see someone try to throw the turnout. The 2015 issue of Model Railroad Planning has an article on  modeling the high line.

A college kid backed into my wife's car causing considerable damage. After weeks of inconvenience and frustration with the local police, insurance companies, rent-a-car dealer, leasing company and auto dealer, we were assured that the car was ready to be picked up, "good as new." ... OH COME ON, GUYS! REALLY?

What's more American than waiting at the local DMV for a new digital driver's license? Nothing says, "U-S-A, U-S-A,"  more, than a three hour wait with several hundred of  your closest friends. Hey Mr. absent-tee gov-en-ah, we were packed into a room clearly marked for a maximum occupancy of 64. Good job! Just telling it like it is, right, gov-en-ah?

But just down the street from the service-challenged New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission is the former Rahway Valley station in Springfield. Although the right-of-way is long gone, the structure has been preserved and now serves as home to a chiropractor. Nice.

That's the highlight reel for now. Sorry about the lack of railroad motif, but we'll get back on track shortly, so to speak. No worries, I won't be going all Facebook. Thanks for the emails of concern, but all is well, big picture-wise. See you soon.

Is there an update available on the layout?

A) "Oh, it's actually finished, but I lost the photos."
B) "There have been a few minor glitches that experts are studying." 
C) "Asking for an update seems rather forward, doesn't it?"
D) "What layout?"