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Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 18, 2020, 01:41:42 PM »
Saturday Report - July 18, 2020

The Board of Directors met promptly at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, July 17, 2020, instead of July 18, 2020, because the Babe had her monthly hair appointment in Mount Dora on the 18th.  The discussion centered around the decals being finalized and mailed to the A&S Maintenance Department.  Arrival is expected in a matter of days.  Soon the famous name will be emblazoned on boxcars, steam locomotives, and streamlined passenger cars.

The newly shopped and painted Southern Ms4 2-8-2 looks great!  The mechanism is perfect.  Unfortunately, there is some sort of glitch that causes it to stall frequently.  The A&S maintenance department will look into the problem this week and make adjustments.  Seems like brass engines all have a down-side glitch when they just come out of the shop. 

We are growing more and more concerned about the effectiveness of the "Keep-Alive" feature on WOW Sound decoders.  Your reporter has suggested a call into TCS for an explanation of why some of our locomotives tend to stall on turnouts. 

When the Director's meeting was over, we calibrated and made adjustments on five engines that had new decoders recently installed.  Old 1516, an ACL P-5a Pacific, is back in service.  Two SAL E Units were tested and two ACL FP7's were put through their paces.

Curt Webb arrived in time for an informal bull session and lunch.  We had lunch at the local Red Lobster.  That was the first real restaurant your reporter has entered since March.  Your reporter's apprehensions about social distancing were satisfied when it became apparent that there were only four other people in the joint.

After lunch, we returned to the shed for a short run of the Pennsy K-4s and a ride on the Jacksonian before we called it a day.

This week's story is a little different.  The idea about surplus airplanes came from my childhood when these aircraft were actually being sold.  The rest of the story is a combination of my own imagination and the humor of Al Capp.  Here goes. . . .

                                                                                                         TRANS TAHOPE AIRWAYS

     One day, in the summer of 1951, the feral cousins, Newt Fisher and Shortstack Turner (See Inhabitants of Eaton's Curve, Page. eight), were resting near the river in The Bottoms when Newt suddenly had an idea.  Newt, who had almost done something several times in his life but had always failed, suggested they branch out from their activities as vagabonds and start a business, or as Newt said, "Bid-ness." 
    Shortstack, who was tending the Mulligan Stew, said he read an article in the Tahope Daily Blatter announcing that the federal government was selling war surplus C-47 airplanes at Orlando Air Force Base for $2500 each.  Shortstack thought they could make some money "if'n they bought one of them-thar airplanes" and started up a cargo airline.  They became partners in the venture and decided to call the airline Trans Tahope Airways.  The venture would provide cargo service from Tahope to surrounding cities in competition with the Atlantic & Southern Railroad.
     There were two problems: (1) neither of the partners could fly and (2) they had no money to purchase an aircraft.
    Fortunately, for our would-be entrepreneurs, a recent arrival to The Bottoms was an older gent who identified himself as a WWI German Air Ace named Wilhelm Ludwig Von Outhausen.  He claimed to have been a member of the Red Baron's fighter wing, which was known as "The Flying Circus."  He convinced Newt and Shortstack that his bonafides stretched back to the court of Fredrick the Great of Prussia and assured the two would-be tycoons that he could fly any airplane anywhere and would "join up" as the airline's pilot if he could have an advance of $500. 
    Newt and Shortstack made an appointment with the president of the TAhope State Bank, J. Pierpont Forrest (Great, great grand-nephew of General Bedford Forrest) , who incidentally is the step-father of Peaches Weaver, girlfriend of "Tater" Cartwright, who is the Assistant Roundhouse Forman of the TAhope Steam Service Facility and Roundhouse.
    Mr. Forrest listened to the business plan proposed by Newt and Shortstack and said he would look into it.  He found out that the government had money available to guarantee loans made for war surplus purchases and made arrangements for the loan of $3000.  He delivered a bank check for $500 to Shortstack and said the balance of the government loan would be available as soon as the FAA licensed the enterprise.  Shortack gave Baron Von Outhausen the %500 check to retain his services and awaited approval of their application to the FAA. 
    Upon further inquiry, Mr. Forrest learned there was a catch involving the purchase of the C-47 Aircraft.  The purchase price was $2500 per aircraft, but they had to be bought in groups of ten.  The bank was unwilling to loan that much money to Newt and Shortstack, so the deal fell through.
    About that time, Officer Poovey told  Mr. Forrest that Baron Von Outhausen was a fraud who had a fugitive warrant out of "Jaw-ja." and he had vanished from The Bottoms on a drag freight with the $500.
    "Well," said Newt, "I've almost done something a whole bunch of times and this is one of them."  And Shortstack thought of an alternative plan and said, "Why don't we buy a truck?"  "Naw," said Newt, "you can't compete with the Atlantic & Southern Railroad with a truck."

Dave -About that old cow. . . . she walks, she talks, she's full of chalk. Etc.

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 12, 2020, 09:30:20 AM »
Jerry - The arrival at Union Station in Jacksonville back in the days before AMTRAK was an experience in itself.  The trains backed into the station, but the lead track was several miles long.  it seemed like it took forever to get the train spotted for demarcation.   The ACL, Seaboard, and Southern all had trains coming and going. 

The reference to "back ends" was inadvertent.  I passed your comments on to Maggie Hussy and she remarked that she always gets compliments about hers. 

Thank all of you who commented on this week's story.

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 11, 2020, 04:31:34 PM »
Saturday Report - July 11, 2020.

The Board of Directors of the Atlantic and Southern Railroad met promptly at 8:30 a.m.  The main item on the agenda were decals.  Our decal source sent us samples and we are very pleased.  We will soon have decals for steam engines, freight cars, and passenger cars.  The A&S logo will be in a diamond shape like the AB&C's logo (The AB&C was a railroad that ran up into Alabama from Florida - the ACL acquired it in the early 1900's.)

The Southern MS4 Mikado is ready for the final touches.  Hopefully, it will be ready for its trial run next week. 

We ran the Pennsy K4s in the morning session.  We decided to make a video of the Jacksonian after lunch.  The Jacksonian is a complete train leased from the Pennsy.  Originally, it was to run from St. Petersburg to Jacksonville and back daily.  However, the schedule is a little too tight for that and the train will run from Tahope's Sanlando Depot to Jacksonville with stops in Sanford, Deland, and Palatka before arriving in Jacksonville.  Unfortunately, the video of the K4s did not turn out to our satisfaction.  Why is it that model trains that have never given any trouble, stall on a turnout, derail, and lose sound as soon as a video camera is turned on?  Better luck next week, as they say.

Since we were running Pennsy trains, we brought the Broadway Limited up from the Bottoms and gave it a spin.  Readers might remember the A&S has a historic connection to the Pennsy and, since it is our railroad, we envision the Broadway Limited to make infrequent turns southward in order to take up the slack of the thousands and thousands of orange juice drinking tourists that invade Florida in the summer.  We made a video after lunch.  It is pretty good.  it shows the Broadway making a whistle-stop at Sanlando.  Only one passenger got off.

This week's story has its origins in the October 1938 Trains Magazine.  There used to be a section each month called "True Tales of the Rails."  I don't know how true these tales are, but this edition had some stories about dangerous situations.  The story I have adopted could be a movie if John Wayne were still available to star in it.  Oh, It forgot.  It's 1938 in the story so he would be available.

                                                                                                    WHEN LUCK FOLLOWS THE TRAIN
The Jacksonian is an A&S daily passenger train that was leased from the Pennsy, including the only K4s to have ever graced the A&S rails.  The train runs from Tahope's Sanlando Depot to Jacksonville, with stops in Sanford, Deland, and Palatka.  It returns to Tahope in the afternoon of the same day. 

The regular conductor on the Jacksonian is Ralph Tinker and the head shack is Bud Millstone.  Both of these seasoned employees are prone to a little practical joking at each other's expense every now and then. 

One summer day in 1938, the Jacksonian pulled out of the Sanlando Depot on time and headed for the trip up the Ovalix to Summit and the Jacksonville Union Station.   

The Jacksonian rates a helper up the constant 1% grade on the Ovalix, so ACL's P-3 Pacific, Number 451 coupled onto the observation car at the end of the train.  As the train climbs slowly towards Summit, Tinker and Millstone perched themselves on the observation car platform and enjoyed the ride. 

As the train neared Summit and was making about 10mph, MIllstone grabbed Tinker's hat and waved it over the tracks as if he were going to toss it onto the roadbed.  Tinker reached over the guard rail to recover his hat about the same time Number 451 cut off for the return to the Midlands.  When 451 cut off, the train jerked forward with increased speed.  This caught Tinker off balance and he fell from the platform onto the roadbed below.  Although 451 had cut off from the observation car, it did not lose its forward momentum.  The twenty-foot distance between Tinker and the cowcatcher of 451 began to rapidly close. 

Tinker rolled onto his back and grabbed the front of the cowcatcher as 451 passed over him and the train dragged him along the roadbed for quite some distance until 451 came to a stop.  Fortunately, the engineer on 451, "Fatso Johnson," saw Tinker fall and he set the brakes and opened the sander.  When the engine stopped, "Fatso" and his fireman dropped to the ground to tend to Tinker, whose shirt and pants were pretty much shredded and his backside was skinned up. 

Tinker, happy to have avoided further injury, asked "Fatso" if he would give him a lift to Summit Yard so he could catch up with his train.  "Fatso" was happy to oblige.

The conversation between Tinker and Milstone that occurred when Tinker caught up with his train is not reported.  However, those who knew them say very little practical joking took place thereafter.  Tinker did not bother to report the incident since it caused no delay and the Jacksonian backed into the Union Station on time.


                                                             This here video is of the Broadway Limited as it eased through Sanlando and let off one passenger. 

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 11, 2020, 03:19:26 PM »
Larry - Where do you get those checks?  I'll change banks if necessary to get them. 

John - WOW!  That is going to be one heck of a roundhouse.  I can't wait to see it finished.

Kit Building / Re: FSM #130 - Ezra Coopers Garage
« on: July 10, 2020, 11:06:38 AM »
Greg - I just caught this thread.  The build looks like it's coming along.  I will follow this with interest. 

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 09, 2020, 05:08:49 PM »
Larry - Thank you for pointing out that lignite does not come from Pennsylvania.  The A&S gets its coal exclusively from the Keystone State and we are appreciative of it. We order bituminous coal and that is what is in our coal hoppers, no matter what Butts says.


Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 05, 2020, 09:42:39 AM »
Jerry -The nineteen other hopper loads were indeed reduced to mud.  I understand there is some sort of use for that stuff.  Can they make coke out of it? 

Bob - I have always assumed the A&S used bituminous coal because that is what all good Southern Railroads used.  But I could be wrong.  All I know is the pop valves on the engines running on the A&S pop regularly. 

Greg & Curt - Thanks for reading and responding. 

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 04, 2020, 04:18:50 PM »
Saturday Report - Independence Day, 2020.  Hot and humid today with temperature in the 90's and thundershowers in the afternoon.

The Board of Directors of the Atlantic & Southern Railroad met promptly at 8:30 a.m.  The motive power department was given a cheer for repairing the Pennsy K4s and the C&O K3 Mikado.  Both engines had to have the "chuff" adjusted so there would be four beats to the revolution of the drivers.  This takes some doing.  It is not hard to time the "chuffs" but patience is needed.  Locomotives have different size drivers and sometimes it takes a few minutes to get it right. 

Speaking of drivers, the roundhouse crew replaced the drivers on the K4s with brand new ones.  (The "new" drivers are actually about 40 years old, but they have never touched a railhead.)  This engine was the property of Richard (Dick) DeWitt, who owned the hobby shop in Orlando.  When he passed, the A&S inherited several Pennsy locomotives, including some spare drivers.  Who would have known?  Anyway, this particular engine must have run several thousand actual miles on Dick's store layout and it was time to switch out drivers as long as the boiler was lifted off the frame for installation of a new motor.  The motor that was mounted in the engine was the original motor and it was shot, to say the least.

We ran the K4s and the K-3 to test them and made a video that is posted on Tom's K-3 thread.  Next week we will produce at least two more videos of Pennsy passenger trains on the A&S.  It is hard to believe the Pennsy would meander south to a Central Florida Swamp, but the blame goes to Dick DeWitt, who was an avid Pennsy fan.  Anyway, its our railroad.  Your reporter has explained the unusual relationship the A&S has with the Pennsy in prior reports and, for those interested, they are still part of this thread.

Lunch was at Smokey Bones because Del Dio's was closed for the 4th.  We were the only customers in the place - a Covid moment.

After lunch we made two more videos (see below) and called it a day.

The idea for this week's story comes from one of the 1938 Railroad Magazines.  Coal is something Floridians have forgotten about since he passing of steam engines.  Few, if any, Floridians used coal for heat in the "winter."  So, your reporter was facinated twith the problems that come with lignite.

                                                                                  THE LIGNITE EXPERIMENT - INDEPENDENCE DAY 1950.

In Central Florida each summer, between late June and early October, it rains nearly every afternoon.  Many of these cloudbursts are accompanied with thunder and lightning.  Orlando has been designated as the country's lightning capital.

The City of Jacksonville is famous for its fireworks displays on Independence Day every year so the president of the A&S Railroad scheduled a special train for a trip from Tahope to Jacksonville on July 4, 1050, so his family and friends could watch the show.

Ethan Douglas drew the right-side job for the trip and a new fireman named Wayne Shoemaker was assigned  to handle the firing duties.  The motive power for the trip was a ACL 1401, a mountain type of USRA design.

The Pennsy delivered daily to the A&S at the coaling tower near the Tahopy roundhouse.  The coal salesman convinced Assistant Roundhouse Forman Tater Cartwright to accept several hoppers of lignite coal, which was considerably less expensive than the regular bituminous shipment.

Twenty hoppers of lignite were delivered on the morning the president's special train was scheduled to make the trip from Tahope to Jacksonville.  A hostler moved 1401 to the coaling tower and filled the tender's coal space with lignite. 

Engineer Douglas ran 1401 light the short distance from the coaling tower to the ready track and Steve Carpenter coupled switcher Number 71 to the eight-car passenger consist and shoved it into 1401. 

The Special left Tahope on time at 1:00 p.m. and steamed towards Sanlando.  Wayne began firing the engine as they pulled out of the ready track and over the Tahope River Bridge.  He had never seen lignite before and wondered at the smallness of the coal.  He managed to keep the fire hot enough to steam fro the first few miles, but then a Florida couldburst came and the lignite in the coal bunker turned into so much mud.  The engine began to lose steam pressure and Ethan Douglas hollered for more steam as the train crossed the St. Johns River Bridge.  The pressure continued to drop as Wayne shoveled fine grain mud into the firebox. 

The engineer brought 1401 to a halt at the station in Deland.  By that time steam pressure was so low the engine could make no headway.  Douglas put his hand to the water glass and it was cold to the touch.  He shouted, "Dadgummit, what the heck happened to this fire?"  Or he said something like that.

About that time Conductor Melvin Hatter climbed into the cab and surveyed the situation.  "Better call for another engine," he said.  But all the available engines had been fueled with the recently delivered lignite.  The SAL came to the rescue and provided a GP-7 to haul the Special to Jacksonville and back.

The president returned to Tahope the next day.  He went to the roundhouse and had a set-to with Tater Cartwright.  He said, "Tater, you bonehead, don't you ever order another load of lignite for the A&S!"  And Tater became known as "Bonehead Cartwright" from that day until this.  Except his girlfriend, Peaches, still calls him "Sweetie Pie."  And nineteen hoppers of lignite were shipped back to Pennsylvania.


                                                                                          Independence Day Special leaves for Jacksonville


                                                                                                Independence Day Special Returns to Tahope

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 04, 2020, 03:31:52 PM »
Thank everyone for commenting on this thread.

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 03, 2020, 11:27:26 AM »
John - We have dumped several locomotives into the Great Divide.  Fortunately, they were diesels (who cares about them?) and no permanent damage was suffered.   I think the idea of installing some sort of fail-safe device is a good idea.  I will take it up with the board tomorrow.

Layout Tours / Re: PRR Bellevue Sub Build
« on: July 03, 2020, 11:22:47 AM »
Curt - Very impressive bench work. I will regularly stop by and view the progress.  Will there be a dock for submarines?   

Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: July 01, 2020, 05:56:28 AM »
Bob, Curt, Greg, James, Jeff, and Jerry -  Thank y'all for taking the time to comment on this week's Saturday Report.  The A&S management uses the Report in lieu of corporate minutes, so we try to make them accurate.  You never know when the ICC or the State Railroad Commission might poke around.


Layout Tours / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: June 27, 2020, 04:42:26 PM »
Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report, June 27, 2020  - It's summer in Florida.  The temperature is over 95 degrees and the humidity is over 85%.  You get drenched with sweat just walking from your house to your garage.  Not a good time for y'all to visit, especially with the pestilence among us. 

The Board of Directors met promptly at 0830 hours this morning.  The C&O K-3 is nearly ready to be put into service, but the test run revealed some mechanical problems that the A&S Maintenance Director, Will Fixer, must attend to this week.  There were some other minor problems, derails due to turn-outs not being correctly thrown, etc.  Some minor adjustments also had to be made to the new ACL ten-wheeler.  That engine also had a close call, which will be further explained by Tom after this report is posted.  We need to hire a bridge tender for the Great Divide.  Bridgett, who watches over the bridge that spans the Sewanee River Lagoon, can only do so much.

Greg deMayo and Curt Webb arrived after 10:00 a.m.  Greg's recently acquited 2-8-0 is out of the paint shop and needs a coal load before being placed in service.  Curt brought some recently acquired Athearn Genisis Pennsy F-3's to test run.   His models have high fans on the roof.  I thought F-2's were the diesels with the high fans.  But then, I can't tell the difference between a GP-7 and a GP-9 and wouldn't know a Uboat if it slipped up on me.  Any engine manufactured much after 1950 can't hold my attention.

We adjourned for lunch at 11:00 and journeyed to Del-Dio's Italian Restaurant.  There were only two customers there beside us so we waived masks and chowed down on salad, pizza, and other goodies.

After lunch we ran the Pennsy F-3's leased by the A&S and gave the ten-wheeler another run - more about that later.

The meeting broke up about 1:30 and will reconvene next weekend. 

This week's story has its origins from the August 1938 Railroad Magazine.  The facts have been changed and the names are different, but so is the story so enjoy it.

                                                                                       BRAKING AT THE ROUNDHOUSE COALING TOWER

    The steam locomotive service facility at Tahope has a coaling tower.  The tower has a loading track that passes under the tower and has a pit below where coal hoppers are emptied.  The coal is lifted from the pit by the coaling tower elevator.  The empties are switched onto an adjacent track for later pick-up. 
    Ralph Clark had been braking for the A&S for over a year since he graduated from Tahope County High School and he had gotten really good at his job, which was to brake cars in and around the steam service facility. 
    Ralph had an admirer, a sweet young thing named Lily Packer, (most of the "wimmins" raised in Tahope are named after flowers or plants) who was a senior at Tahope High that year and whose father owned the grocery store in Tahope.  Lily liked to watch switching operations when Ralph was braking and admire his "skills." 
    There were daily deliveries of coal to the coaling tower.  Shifter Number 71 would back up two or three hoppers down the loading track and release them on the fly.  Ralph would position himself on the lead hopper and ride it to a stop over the coal pit.
    Now, it takes teamwork to successfully accomplish spotting the hoppers over the pit.  The speed of the loco must be just right.  If the hopper is uncoupled from the loco too early, it will stop before making the spot.  If the loco is going too fast when the hopper is uncoupled, it will pass the spot and run into the wheel stops at the end of the loading track.  Engineer Ethan Douglas had made this move numerous times and Ralph would ride atop of the hopper to the spot without having to manually work the hand brake.
    One afternoon, Lily came to watch the action (and to watch Ralph) as the hoppers were being shoved into position under the coaling tower.  Ethan Douglas called in sick that day and was replaced by Steve Carpenter, who had never worked the coaling tower tracks.  Ralph positioned himself on the coal pile of the lead hopper.  Steve backed into the loading track and kicked three hoppers at over 20 mph.  Ralph was relaxing and watching Lily Parker when he realized the cut of hoppers was moving too fast to stop before running into the wheel stops.
    At first, Lily cheered Ralph on as he sat nonchalantly atop the hopper's coal pile, but the cheer turned into a squeal when she realized the hopper was not stopping.  Just as the hopper passed under the coaling tower, Ralph jumped for his life while the hoppers continued on their way and ran into the wheel stops with a loud crash.
    Seeing Ralph was uninjured, Lily ran to his side, grabbed him by the ears, and planted a big, wet kiss on him. 
    Later, in the roundhouse, Steve apologized for misjudging the speed of the cut of hoppers.  Ralph, who was still recovering from Lily's enthusiastic shower of affection, said, "Steve, do you think you could bid for that roundhouse switching job?"

                             No. 71, Steve Carpenter, Engineer                         
                                                         Backing up to the pit               

                                                     Ralph on his perch on the lead hopper

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