It’s amazing I might add…

I might add that over the 3 1/2 years I’ve had this website up, these 200,000 plus visits have been from 87 different countries all over the world! I know most of this is surely from WordPress followers and bloggers, but I also know some of these visits are from fellow modelers, so again, a big thank you to all the visitors and followers…👍

Another big thank you!

As you may notice the visitor counter has just gone over 200,000 views. This within a 3 1/2 year period since I started this website. I’d like to say welcome to recent visitors to this site, as well as a huge thank you to all those who have visited over this time period! I’m pretty humbled, grateful, and gratified all at the same time over the response, as well as the comments and compliments.

Many modelers love large basement layouts, some double decked, while some are triple decked. Some oooohh and aaahhh over these, heck I do as well over a large beautifully built and executed layout. For those modelers that have such layouts, more power to you.

However, many more modelers don’t have the space, the time, nor the funds available to build such large layouts. Even my layout was started in 2012 and has taken this long to build with having to plan and purchase according to a strict budget. Being retired on a fixed pension or income means budgeting even more so. A young person just starting in the hobby must budget as well, especially with today’s prices.

Even more limiting is the amount of space one has to work with. Those in apartments have to chose between a smaller layout, smaller scale, or no layout at all.  If you have a garage as I do, it makes things a bit easier, however, it still limits your amount of space, especially if you’re leaving room for a vehicle. Even if you’re not factoring in a vehicle, a garage is still only so big.

As I’ve posted in this blog before, I was limited in my space, and funds. I needed a workable small layout that hopefully would expand around the walls of my garage, and now I have my dream that’s almost complete. I have enjoyed running 120 car trains on several club layouts, (one in particular), and have enjoyed running smaller trains on huge private layouts and one museum layout. I myself however wanted a switching layout that would take hours to work. I now have one thanks again to several people, one in particular.

Again however, with starting this website and posting on social media, I wanted to show what could be done with a smaller layout, one that could be expanded into a round the wall shelf type layout, and I hope I’ve done that. I wanted to show how much fun could be had with this type of layout. I know I’ve had fun, and hopefully soon will be able to show others through operating sessions.

I won’t elaborate further on the dangers of social media however, as I’ve already posted my thoughts previously. I have through this website enjoyed receiving comments and compliments that I have either helped another modeler either start their own layout, or inspired a modeler to finish a layout, or both, or through some tips in posts that I have helped a fellow modeler. That’s been even more gratifying than building this layout.

So for all those that have followed, or now follow this website, for those comments and compliments, I say THANK YOU….!

Recently on the Hitop…

This last week we awoke early for a good breakfast one morning and decided to catch a run we hadn’t followed in awhile: the mine run to Morris Fork.

While we weren’t in time to catch him coming out of Dickinson, we were able to catch him just turning onto the branch proper at Spring Street as shown below:

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We saw he was running caboose light up the branch to simply pick up loads apparently from the mine. We took off and caught him a short time later starting upgrade outside Hitop:

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Up to Morris Fork we went, finally pulling into the hardware and farm supply lot where I climbed a trail up the hillside and caught the turn going about its business below, also picking up an empty Southern forty foot boxcar from the hardware. I managed a close up shot of GP7 5628 from on top of the hill as well:

As you can see, I was looking into the sun starting to come up over the far hills. It took sometime to finish his switching at Morris Fork and run around his train to head back to Dickinson, so we had plenty of time to head back ourselves. We finally caught the turn coming back into Dickinson yard at the end of his run:

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This week on the Hitop…

This week we were able to get out both in the valley and up in the hills to follow the Penn Central action. We started out on a foggy summer day driving up to Nitro where we heard the Nitro job working.

We were able to get close enough to catch him working the industries around Nitro as shown below:

We then followed him up to Spring Street where we caught him working his inbound loads after taking a break for lunch. Photos below:

We were going to follow the Nitro job back to Nitro , but we heard action going on in Dickinson yard, so down the highway we went to catch this action.

We were lucky to catch the Hitop mine run about ready to leave for Hitop, so we snapped these photos:

After departing the yard, we followed the mine run first to Spring Street where the branch proper starts, then followed the run all the way to Hitop:

After snapping these photos we headed for home. Some may ask, “who is the we in here?”. Well, the “we” is myself and my best friend and companion: my wife!

Yesterday on the Hitop….

Yesterday we were out and about along the Secondary. We thought we’d check out Spring Street yard first to see if we could catch the Nitro job, and we did. We caught him just departing the yard headed back to Nitro with a PC 40 ft. boxcar and one scrap gon for Paxton Salvage:

We lucked out today seeing the old NYC transfer caboose bringing up the rear of the train. We hopped in the car and followed the turn back to Nitro.

Along the way, we caught the Nitro job stopping at Holsum Baking to switch. In talking to the friendly crew, we learned they were going to spot the empty PC boxcar at the loading door for loading with scrap cardboard and pallets. Before they could spot the boxcar however, they were to move out three empty hoppers from track 1 to be picked up later going back to Spring Street, then pull the two empty syrup tanks on track 2 to also go back to Spring Street on the return trip. Photos below of this activity:

When the crew was finished with Holsum, they proceeded west to Nitro to switch Paxton Salvage. Unfortunately we couldn’t get close enough today to get any photos. In the meantime, we heard over the scanner some activity in Dickinson yard, so we raced back east to catch this action.

When we arrived, we caught the old battered 5628 ready to depart westbound with a solid train of chemical tanks for Allied Chemical, which would of course be dropped off in Spring Street for the Nitro job. In the middle of the consist however were two brand new “beer can” AE Staley tanks bound for Holsum Baking. AE Staley is a huge processing plant in Decatur, Illinois, served by several railroads including Penn Central. Photos below of the Spring Street turn right before departing:

That’s it for today. Stay tuned!