Simply Running Trains

This week’s post is simply about the pleasure of running trains.  As well as public shows, when we take our layout around the country to exhibitions, we also try to meet up about once a month in the local village hall.  These ‘Running Meets’ are used to set up parts of the layout to fix any issues, work on any problematic areas, and test new stuff.  But once that’s done, we use the rest of the day to run trains.

This weekend we were testing some modifications we have made to our yards so the only scenic section was ‘Solent Summit Station’.   This gave us a layout in the shape of a bowtie.  Although our yards can store up to 238′ of trains each there is still only one track in and out.  This is because our layout is based on the one track system with a single track mainline and passing places.

Recently I have been trying to find ways to take better videos with my camera phone.  So I have invested in a tripod and phone mount hoping this well at least alleviate the wobble.  So needless to say I took a lot of video over the weekend and I want to share some of that with you.

To start with I finally got round to repainting and weathering up my Model Power 4-4-0 as Yosemite Valley Railroad no 22, well Steve at Model Railway Solutions did, as he is much better at weathering than me!


The log cars are unique to the Yosemite Valley Railway and were used on their 88% incline to bring huge logs down from the mountain.  These cars are 3D printed and you can find them and more about them here.

No 22 still has some paint on the wheels to clean off but she did okay hauling a short train around the layout as you can see in the video below, which, if you click on the link will take you to Videscape where I’m now housing all my videos.

The Union Pacific had a big presence this weekend and as usual they also had the biggest engines.  Below is a video of UP Bigboy No 4006 with an empty coal train drifting through town.

UP Bigboy with a coal train through Solent Summit

Later in the day a rather grubby-looking No 4006 was seen hauling a boxcar train through Solent Summit.  These freight cars were also weathered by MRS and you can read about them here.

Not to be outdone the UP diesel department sent through a long freight headed by five EMD locos.  A GP35 upfront followed by a GP7, two GP20 and a massive DD35.  The DD35 is also 3D printed and you can find out about it here and by searching this site for DD35.

But when it comes down to sheer length of trains BNSF had it topped with a very long coal drag headed by a leased SD90MAC, two AC440CWs and tailed by two more.

This sort of heavy traffic plays havoc with the track and BNSF had a GP39M out on maintenance of way duty.

BNSF GP39M with maintenance of way train pulling into Solent Summit

A visitor from just over the border was a Canadian Pacific RS3 with a short propane train.

CP RS3 with propane tankers

We also had a visitor from the other border.  N de M or (Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México) México’s state-owned railway’s Baldwin Centipede made an appearance with a train of Harriman coaches.

N de M Baldwin Centipede with Cross Country Passenger at Solent Summit

Southern Pacific got a look in with a gleaming set of A-B-A Alco PA’s hauling the Morning Daylight.

SP Alco PAs with Daylight Leaving Solent Summit

The UP was still thundering up and down the line with long freight trains but this time with a change of power.  This train is headed by an A-B-A set of Alco C-855s.

UP C-855 Set with a freight train through Solent Summit

The C-855s are 3D printed shells on modified Con-Cor U50/Turbine chassis and you can find out more about them here and by searching for C-855 on this site.

UP C-855 Set with a freight train at Solent Summit

Santa Fe was also spotted rumbling through town with a train of brand new Cat excavator equipment.  The three SD40-2 have all been weathered by MRS; the lead loco, painted in the proposed colors for the failed merger between Southern Pacific and Santa Fe, could do with a good clean.

SF EMD SD40-2s with Cat train Leaving Solent Summit

Amtrak passed by with its combined Super Chief and El Capitan.  Clearly it has not been long since Amtrak took over as some of the rolling stock is still in the former Santa Fe colors.

Amtrak F7 with a combined Super Chief and El Capitan

Burlington Northern had a few trains working the line.  The first was an SD40-2 with a local freight.  This locomotive was the only one to be painted with the tiger stripe front.

BN other train, also hauled by SD40-2s was a loaded coal destined for the power station.

BN SD40-2s with a loaded coal train through Solent Summit

Former Norfolk and Western J class 4-8-4 No 611 was also in town this weekend as part of a steam excursion.  It passed through a few times with a mix of heavyweight coaches.

No 611 was later joined by a SP Hudson No 2486 and together they worked the train over the summit.

N&W J Class No 611 & SP Hudson No 2486 with excursion train

Lastly the Northern Pacific passed through with an A-B set of F7 and a very familiar set of weathered boxcars!

NP F7 with freight

And that is just about it for this week. It’s always a good weekend when there’s no issues to fix and you get to simply run trains.

Next week is the NMRA (BR) annual convention and I will be there.  This year it’s taking place at the The Best Western Plus Manor NRC Birmingham Hotel, Meriden.  And as usual I will be there from Friday to Sunday.  This year we are not taking a big layout, just a few modules to form a switching layout.  If you are coming to the convention please come by and say hello.