Friday, January 4, 2019

Indoor Railroading

March of 2007 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the demise of the New York Ontario and Western Railroad.  Since the railroad had a major impact on Sidney, I felt that the occasion needed to be observed.  A display featuring HO models, books and maps was placed in the Sidney Library.

Sidney was also served by the Delaware and Hudson railroad.  Few are aware that the transfer of coal from one railroad to another took place in Sidney.

The two models are not correct representations for 1890.  The coal cars in use then were longer and lower.  I intended to build some of those but never got around to it.  The unfinished model shows how these models were built using scribed sheathing and structural shapes.

The second major commodity shipped by the O & W was milk.  A look at a map showing the flow of milk to New York City would clearly show the area served by this railroad as the major supplier.  The car shown is a replica of the ones actually used.  The departure from accuracy is the color of the lettering.  The prototype featured yellow lettering that was unavailable in decal form.  The plans for this model were based on actual dimensions and photos for each numbered car.

The story of my trip as a newborn from the hospital to home has been told many times.  We stopped at a crossing and my father held me up so that I could see the passing Lehigh Valley train.  For a time I considered basing my model railroad on the Lehigh Valley and this model was built from scratch.  This is the most detailed model that I ever built.

Local exposure to what was the NYO&W prevailed and this is the model that was intended to fill one end of the basement.  The kit built bridge shows terrain along the Willowemoc, the coal mine represents Pennsylvania and the distant trestle Sidney Center.  Also in view are the supporting framework, plywood roadbed, cardboard webbing, construction paper and some finished scenery.

The wall pictures show the third bridge built on this spot in Sidney Center.  My model has half of the number of supporting towers since available space was limited.

This scene is based on the Hawk Mountain tunnel near Hancock.  Construction of the four lane highway totally destroyed this tunnel and no trace of it can be found today.  The tunnel portal is cast as are the retaining walls but I just had to add some real stone walls.

This section is nearly finished.  Water needs to be poured in the river and bathers need to be placed on the beach under the bridge.

The future of all of this is in question.  I never planned to live long enough to experience the ravages of arthritis in my fingers and cataracts on my eyes.  Models like these are no longer possible for me to build and second best holds no appeal.  The layout framework was constructed in short sections so that its removal will be simple and leave the basement walls undamaged.  The Sidney Center bridge was placed on a short section of plywood so that it too can be removed intact.  Perhaps an auction and garbage man will clear all of this out as we prepare for what is next.

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