Monday, November 26, 2007

The day after...

(Train sightings on 11-23-07.)

Thanksgiving was a rather cold and blustry day to be trackside. Before my fingers became too cold, I was able to record what trains would pass by my locations. By time sequence,the trains seen passing through Manville on the Trenton and Lehigh Lines were as follows:

8:30 CSX Q409- CSX 5117 (AC44CW) and CSX 647 (AC60CW) would bring this train of mixed freight west and then south on the Trenton Line.

9:10 CSX yard engines CSX 2795 (GP38-2, ex-CR 8234) and CSX 4452 (GP40-2, ex-CR3403) shuffling two muncipal waste container cars on the ex-Reading Line.

9:35 NS 212- NS 8831 (C40-9), NS 9714 and NS 9466 (C40-9W) was the motive power on this mixed train of auto racks and intermodal cars.

9:55 NS 18G- had a rather short mixed freight with NS 9134 (C40-9W) and NS 2508 (SD70) as its power consist.

Hope that this day after Thanksgiving doesn't find you saying "Ohhh... I shouldn't have eaten that last piece of pumpkin pie!"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Norfolk Southern Dash 9 40C, locomotive was manufactured March 1993. Picture taken 22 Nov, 2007, 11:15 AM on the Leigh Line at CP Potter.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

A Saturday morning surprise...

was CP's 38T appearing on the Lehigh Line just east of Manville, NJ around 7:51. Actually, another website had said that 38T's schedule had changed on November 12 from a Monday-Wednesday-Friday to a Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule. Since Saturday morning's weather forecast called for some early morning sun before the clouds rolled in, I thought perhaps I would see what was running while the sun was out. I was hoping perhaps, just perhaps I might be lucky enough to get a glimpse of this train. A distinctive horn to what is normally heard was the first hint this oncoming headlight was something other than a NS train. The motive power lineup was a trio of SD40-2's, CP 5763, CP 5664, CP 5593, and SOO 6021 (SD60). For me, not a bad way to start this morning off since seeing 38T was something I didn't anticipate seeing.

Monday, November 19, 2007

BLACK FRIDAY - Christmas Shopping at The Big Little Railroad Shop

Avoid the crowds at the malls by coming to the Big Little Railroad Shop in downtown Somerville on "Black Friday." We have all sorts of wonderful model railroad items from full sets to individual cars, locomotives, track, buildings, scenery supplies, etc. And if you don't know exactly what to get your modeler, we have gift certificates. We also carry books, videos, and calendars. We have items in all the popular scales: G, O, HO, and N. And, if we don't have what you want in stock, we probably can order it for you.

In addition to a full line of model railroading “stuff,” The Big Little Railroad Shop is now carrying plastic model kits for airplanes, ships, automobiles, and military vehicles. We also have some RC (radio control) items.

For our address and phone number, visit our web site at:

For your holiday shopping convenience we are open the following hours through Christmas:

Tuesday – Wednesday 11 AM - 7 PM

Thursday - Friday 11 AM -8 PM

Saturday 11 AM - 5 PM

Sunday 12 noon - 4 PM

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Train Of A Different Color

The following pictures are of an ACELA wrapped in ads for The History Channel. They were originally posted on 11/15/07 on by Chuchubob.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Last call for fall foliage...

(Train sightings on Veteran's Day, 11-11-07.)

started off with NS 212 going in the passing siding at CP 64 and coming back out on to the main at CP 62 without stopping around 8:40. Power for 212 was NS 9235 (C40-9W), NS 8759 (C40-8) and NS 2721 (SD70M-2).

NS 24V would follow at 9:53 on to the passing siding at CP 64 and be held there for no apparent reason as there were no westbounders forthcoming. At 11:20, it would then pass through Stanton Station and be held at CP 51 for 11J, whose power was not seen, and another westbound, symbol unknown.

That second NS westbound would have a combination of TOFCs and empty spine cars. Motive power for this train was NS 2744 (SD70M-2), NS 9690 (C40-9W), NS 9125 (C40-9W) and a unknown fourth NS diesel (I couldn't record that fourth diesel's numbers as this train was moving!).

Once the westbounder cleared, NS 24V would finally pass through Three Bridges at 12:10. On the point was NS 9386 (C40-9W) and NS 2614 (SD70M)to take in on to the Roycefield Running track.

What was nice for me was being able to photograph the 24V in good sunlight amidst a backdrop of fall foliage at Pattenburg and Stanton Station. Not able to include those scenes here as they were shot on film as I wanted to capture some of fall's fading color on film...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Video of Steamtown excursion to Tunkhannock Viaduct

Here's a link to a nice video produced by a Scranton TV station. Look in the list of titles for "Steamtown Excursion over Viaduct."

Note: It is also known as the Nicholson Viaduct, as that is the small town that lies underneath; but I think the DL&W called it the Tunkhannock Viaduct after the name of the stream that runs under it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Black River Railroad Historical Trust Newswire

Time certainly does fly when you're having fun! It's hard to believe our regular passenger season is over for the year, but October is over and it's time to get ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

For the first time ever, the Black River & Western Railroad is sponsoring free train rides on November 17'th for anyone who brings a donation for the Flemington Area Food Pantry. Come get into the spirit of the holidays by making your donation, and enjoy a free train ride! More information is available on our website

Also coming soon are the Santa Express and North Pole Express trains. This year's North Pole Express trains are sure to please our passengers with a special experience they won't soon forget. We've been working hard to make improvements over last year's program and provide an enjoyable evening for all our passengers. Tickets are by reservation only, so visit our website soon to buy your tickets!

If you can't make it out to the railroad in the evening for the North Pole Express, you will certainly enjoy the regular Santa Express trains on our standard weekend schedule. You'll meet Santa and his elves and receive a tasty treat too. No reservations are required.

Upcoming Events - Schedules, Fares, and additional information for these events is available at

November 17 -- Stop Hunger Express -- It's Thanksgiving, so come help the Flemington Area Food Pantry with your donation and enjoy a free train ride! A minimum donation of two non-perishable food items is required per rider. At the end of the day we'll take the train into Flemington to deliver the food!

November 23, 24, 25, December 1, 2 -- Santa Express -- Take a ride to Ringoes and visit Santa on the way! Santa and his elves will be on board the train to meet each child and give them a candy cane. Once the train arrives at Ringoes, there is plenty of time for photos with Santa.

November 23, 24, 30, December 1, 7, 8 -- North Pole Express -- Our last event of the year, the North Pole Express, is a special experience for the entire family. Come board this evening train for an exciting journey to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. Santa's elves will lead a sing along of familiar Christmas carols on the brightly lit train, and Santa himself will give each child their "first gift of Christmas". Reservations are required for this train. Buy your tickets now at


Work continues on several projects including the overhaul of our steam locomotive #60, construction of a museum in baggage car #420, and the rehabilitation of a hand operated railroad crane. Visit for pictures and more information on these projects!

About Us

Based in Ringoes, NJ, the BRRHT's mission is to preserve the heritage and history of railroading while educating the public about railroad safety. To fulfill this mission, the BRRHT operates seasonal passenger excursion trains on the Black River & Western Railroad. Other activities include hosting special events in partnership with the railroad, working towards the creation of a small museum at the Ringoes rail-yard, and ongoing acquisition, restoration and preservation of historic railroad equipment. The BRRHT is constantly seeking out individuals with an interest in railroading or railroad history to become a part of our organization. For more information on how to support the BRRHT email or visit

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Picture of me

People are always giving me grief about not having my picture on the web site. So, here is a portrait of my "real" self along with my store mascot, Pennsy. Pennsy was literally an angel. She had her costume on all day long.

Dusting off the "E" archives...

The date is October 10, 1982 as NJT's 4251 passes by what was CP West Portal on the Lehigh Line. It is on its way back to Newark after taking passengers on a sixty-five mile trip to view the fall foliage in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This round trip journey passed over eight bridges, including two separate crossings of the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers and through the mile long Pattenburg Tunnel. The trip would also take passengers through CR's Allentown Yard, CR's Bethlehem Engine Terminal and Bethlehem Steel Company facilities.If you are wondering what the price of this excursion was back then, it was $28 per person.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Last call for fall foliage...

(Train sightings on 10-28-07.)

as Saturday's wind and rain washed out what autumn leaves were left along the Lehigh Line in Manville on Sunday morning. There were enough trains passing by my location though to not ponder the question of what happened with this year's colorful foliage. In time sequence, those trains were as follows:

8:25 NS 212- had NS 2581 (SD70M) and two C40-9Ws, NS 9310 and NS 9330, as power.

9:05 NS 64J- had PRR 8438 (C40-8W, ex-CR 6262) as its leader followed by NS 9277 (C40-9W). I noticed that on this train there were the shorter COFCs mixed in with the waste containers. This was something I haven't noticed in the past. Previous 64J were solid trains of the blue waste containers.

9:28 CSX K706- more garbage as FURX 3049 (SD40-2, ex-SOU 3245) was sole power on this trash train.

9:41 NS 18G- this mixed freight would have NS 9662 (C40-9W) and NS 9419 (C40-9W) for power.

9:45 MA2- with PRR 3048 (GP40-2) heads east on the main. It would return at 10:45 with seven tank cars. A roster shot of one of those tank cars for the modelers has been included.

11:03 CSX Q300- with CSX 5228 (ES44DC), CSX 597 and CSX ???? for its power. Coming off the Trenton Line, because of all the orange cars near the front, my first thought was this was the juice train. Imagine my disappointment when I saw they were the orange municipal waste containers. My 'ol eyes are just not as sharp as they once were.

Just as a reminder that daylight savings time will end next Sunday (November 4th) at 2 AM. That is another sign that this fall is fading fast...

Lionel, MTH Near Deal

One of our customers sent us a link to a newspaper article about the current (10-26-07) status of the MTH vs. Lionel lawsuits. This prompted me to check the OGR Forum (O Guage Railroading Forum) for postings by "locolawyer," who has been the primary source for our previous postings on this topic. "locolawyer" is a lawyer and an O guage railroder who actually goes to the court hearings, reads the documents that have been filed, and summarizes the information in layman's language on the OGR Forum. FYI links to his most recent postings are given below, followed by the newspaper article.

Note: This is about the MTH vs Lionel lawsuits, not any Lionel vs MTH lawsuits. It is also about Lionel coming out of bankrupcy, which they cannot do until the lawsuits are settled.

The following is a newspaper article from the Houston Chronicle dated 10-26-07.

Lionel, MTH Near Deal in Toy-Train Rift

Houston Chronicle
Oct. 26, 2007

© 2007 The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Lionel LLC has reached a tentative deal with rival MTH Electric Trains to settle a long-running trade-secrets battle and to put the 107-year-old model train maker on track to exit bankruptcy by early next year, the companies said Friday.

The proposed deal, whose terms were not released, comes nearly three years after MTH's $38.6 million judgment against Lionel in a trade-secrets lawsuit forced its bigger rival into bankruptcy.

Pending approval, the deal would resolve "all MTH claims" against Lionel, Lionel said.

MTH has said Lionel owes it about $88 million, including $38.6 million awarded in 2004 after Lionel was found to have appropriated its rival's trade secrets. MTH also sued Lionel for $17.5 million for allegedly using its patented smoke-puffing technology and using it in its own Smart Smoke system for model steam engines.

"We're happy its over, it's been large drain on everyone involved," said Lionel Chief Executive Jerry Calabrese.

But Mike Wolf, founder of Columbia, Md.-based MTH cautioned that the settlement, which is contingent on Lionel raising new financing to fund its reorganization plan, among other requirements, could still be derailed.

"It's not a done deal, even though the monetary part has been finalized," said Wolf. "It could still blow apart."

Neither Wolf nor Calabrese would disclose the terms of the settlement. But in court papers, MTH has said the only thing holding up a settlement was a spat over the future use of certain model-train technology. Although MTH doesn't enjoy Lionel's brand recognition, the smaller company believes it has superior technology.

MTH previously proposed a $25 million settlement of its claims against Lionel. But last week, MTH's bankruptcy lawyer backed off that figure.

The settlement comes as Lionel moves closer to emerging from Chapter 11 protection.

On Thursday, Judge Burton R. Lifland of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan approved the outline of Lionel's reorganization plan, paving the way for the company to send its proposal to creditors for voting.

Lifland scheduled a confirmation hearing for Jan. 31 on the plan.

Calabrese said he's confident in the model-train maker's ability to obtain financing for its Chapter 11 plan.

"The only reason the company has been in bankruptcy for the past two years is this lawsuit," said Calabrese. "I think the business itself is the healthiest part of this deal, and we won't have any trouble raising the financing."

In 2000, MTH, then known as Mike's Train House, sued Lionel after its South Korean supplier reportedly stole some of MTH's train designs. In 2004, a Michigan jury awarded MTH $38.6 million, forcing Lionel to file for bankruptcy later that year.

But in late 2006, a panel of judges from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the verdict and ordered a new trial.

Lionel's proposal to emerge from Chapter 11 would pay creditors in full and pay MTH's claim in cash, as long as Lionel receives bankruptcy-exit financing, and the plan is confirmed and a final resolution of the disputed claims is reached.

Lionel recently pegged its value upon exiting Chapter 11 at about $100 million.

The privately held Lionel, based in Chesterfield, Mich., is owned by the estate of former Paramount Communications Inc. chairman Martin Davis and rock musician Neil Young. Ex-Lionel owner Richard P. Kughn owns a 5 percent stake in the company.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

After Friday's rains ceased...

Saturday morning's weather made it a good day to be trackside along the Lehigh Line in Manville, NJ. Three NS and one CSX would be the only four trains that passed by my vantage point during the ninety minutes I was there. In time sequence, those trains were:

NS 212 @ 8:36- would have NS 8815 (C40-9) and NS 2611 (SD70M) for power. It would take the passing siding at CP Bound Brook to hold for 21M and 11J.

NS 21M @ 8:50- had a interesting lash up of NS 9452 (C40-9W), BNSF 7515 (ES44DC) and "Operation Lifesaver" NS 9255 (C40-9W) as this train's power.

NS 11J @ 9:15- had PRR 8203 (C39-8, ex-CR 6006) and NS 9975 (C40-9W) bringing the autoracks west.

CSX Q300 @ 10:05- finished working Manville yard and headed east. Motive power was CSX 12 (AC44CW, ex-CSX 9111) and CSX 4566.

This certainly was a good way to take advantage of this nice weather.