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Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: April 02, 2021, 06:46:00 AM »
There will no doubt be loud huzzahs tomorrow as the Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report resumes with a new story about the adventures of that whimsical railroad.  Check it out after 3:00 p.m.

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Re: The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: March 11, 2021, 06:03:17 PM »
To the followers of the Saturday Report  - Greetings!

I am recovering from spinal fusion surgery and let me tell you its a lot easier to recover from major surgey when you are 19 instead of when you are 77.  My nurse removed my catheter this morning and, believe me, it makes a world of difference morale-wise to have it gone.  I have an appointment with my surgeon Monday morning at 11:00 a.m. to discuss my progress, which I believe is excellent.

I hope to continue the Saturday Report. probably in a week, although I doubt I will be in shape to actually drive to the A&S layout.  But who knows, things might improve.

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Covid Vaccination
« on: December 31, 2020, 02:00:04 PM »
Florida's governor decided that old folks needed vaccine more than intensive care nurses, so doses of vaccine have been made available to anyone over age 65.  Since there is no statewide (or federal) leadership on the distribution of the vaccine, Florida's 67 counties are distributing the vaccine 67 different ways.  In South Florida they decided to distribute the vaccine on a "first come, first served" basis.  That means a bunch of old folks started standing in line about 4:00 a.m. and caught cold waiting.  Once the medical facility opened, it took another three or four hours to get vaccinated. 

I live in Seminole County, which is just north of Orlando. Seminole County has the second-highest per capita income in the state (Palm Beach County is first) and the Republicans who run the county pay attention to their constituents.  In Seminole, the county health department rented space in one of our almost abandoned shopping malls, opened a web site, and made the vaccine available on an appointment-only basis.  The downside to that was the schedule rapidly filled up.  However, more juice is on the way and we are assured there will be slots available on the schedule after January 1. 

Meanwhile, I went online and found two cancellations.  So I got vaccinated today and Cindy will get vaccinated Saturday.  It all went smoothly.  My appointment was at 12:30 and I was out of there within 30 minutes - and that included the 15 minute waiting period to see if you have a reaction to the vaccine.  I received my second appointment date on the way out and all is well.

There were about ten tables with medical and EMT personnel in attendance waiting to give us the shots.  My EMT said he can vaccinate about 25 people an hour.  Part of the reason he vaccinates so few per hour is the paperwork.  (They had to make sure we were over 65, not sick, and a resident of Seminole County.)  I jokingly suggested they should bring in a company of Army medics and the number per hour would at least double.  (Those of you who have military experience will remember the shots assembly lines.)  Still, 250 vaccinations an hour ain't bad.

I guess it all depends on the will to get organized.

This damn virus is nothing to sneeze at and it will not go away.  Just ask Tom Langford if you don't think it is serious.  So, get vaccinated and stay safe.     

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Pennsy videos
« on: October 01, 2020, 04:23:13 PM »
There are a number of Pennsy videos out there.  Here's one on steam engines.  Wonder why nobody thought to make videos of ACL rail action in the 40's? 

Anyway, Curt, this is for you.

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Thursday August 20, 2020
« on: August 20, 2020, 10:37:34 AM »
Today is a beautiful day in Central Florida.  There isn't a cloud in the sky and the temperature is a mild 84 degrees at 10:30 a.m. with a high today of the low 90s.  It is also my wife's birthday.  Big celebration later on.

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / May 7
« on: May 07, 2020, 11:40:34 AM »
Happy Birthday to me!  77 today!  No party planned due to current pestilence.  My Wife is making a "brownie cake" with lots of gooey chocolate.  My long time friend and fraternity brother from Tampa is traveling up to Sanford for the festivities. 

Beautiful day here.


Layout Tours / The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
« on: January 05, 2019, 03:59:09 PM »
  There is no formal Saturday Report today because the A&S has been shut down due to "the Babe's" monthly hair appointment in Mount Dora.  No one knows how Mount Dora got its name.  The highest spot in the city can't be more than a foot above sea level.  Never-the-less, Mount Dora natives drive cars with bumper stickers that say "I climbed Mount Dora."

    Since there has been some enthusiasm for my Saturday Reports from Forum members, I have decided to occasionally provide information about the Atlantic and Southern Railroad to those who care to learn about it. 
    I have to admit that many of my stories had their origin in a book my father gave me years ago entitled "A Treasury of Railroad Folklore."  I have tried to change the stories to fit the particular circumstances of the A&S, but some of the information necessarily contains direct quotations.  I am also limited by the format limitations of the Forum.  It would be much easier if it were Word compatible. 
    I understand this first tale has some truth in it involving the purchase of the Hudson River Railroad by Commodore Vanderbilt in the late 1800's.

                                                                        HOW THE ATLANTIC & SOUTHERN WAS ACQUIRED

     The previous owners of the Atlantic & Southern were all members of the Bixbie family.  The patriarch of that family, Alphonse (Big Al) Bixby, found smoking to be offensive and prohibited it on any of his trains.
     One day, Commodore Vanderbilt happened to be riding on the A&S in order to connect with the ACL on his southern jaunt to Palm Beach.  (Flagler's FEC was enduring one of its many labor strikes at the time.)  The Commodore decided to take a trip from his stateroom to the baggage car and smoke one of his famous black Cuban cigars. 
     The A&S conductor happened into the baggage car just as the Commodore was lighting up.  The conductor tapped him on the shoulder and said, "There is no smoking allowed on this train."  "That is what I understand," the Commodore replied, and continued to smoke.  The conductor became more forceful and threatened to remove the Commodore from the train if he didn't put out his cigar.  The Commodore stated, "Do you know who I am?"  The conductor replied, "I don't care who you are, I am here to enforce the rules of this here railroad."  The Commodore replied, "You know, I like you.  You know how to enforce the rules.  I think I may just buy this railroad."  And, wouldn't you know it, the Commodore bought the railroad.  Shortly afterwards, he realized he didn't really want a railroad that wandered mainly through a Florida swamp and sold it at a loss to the present owners, who have relaxed the rule prohibiting the use of tobacco by providing spittoons in every passenger car.  Oh, by the way, a condition of the sale required the A&S to keep the Conductor on his post.   :)


Baggage Car - Daily Chat / WOW Sound by TCS
« on: June 06, 2017, 07:54:17 AM »
Good morning! 

I received my July edition of Model Railroader three days ago and noticed an article about installing TCS's (Train Control System) WOW Sound decoder in an old Life-Like E6.  The article itself was not all that interesting.  Tom Langford and I have had WOW Sound installed in some of our old Life-Like diesels with great success.  The main problem with those old diesels was replacing the broken axels in the engine trucks.  The part of the article that was of interest to me was discovering that CTS has settings for sound synchronization in diesel units that have dual prime movers.  It is possible to set the decoders so the two prime movers realistically sound out of sync when the throttle is notched up.  It all has to do with setting multiple CV's.  TCS has a "Diesel Programming Guide" on its web site as well as a "Comprehensive Programming Guide 2015."  These two manuals have a wealth of information in them.  The last page (pg. 26) of the Programming Guide contains the chart for Prime Mover Delay.  The MR article recommends that a one or two second delay is appropriate for a model.  In order to achieve the two second delay it is necessary to set CV 201 to 4, CV202 to 22, CV203 to 0 and CV 204 to 4.  The CV settings should be made in that order.  For a shorter, one second delay, set CV 204 to 2.  The default setting for CV 204 is 5 and I have found that setting not to be very satisfactory.

The article also has a chart showing the colors for the NMRA DCC Wiring Code.  Very useful for those who have not tried decoder installation.

I had an old guy on one of my juries years ago who was a retired Coast Line engineer.  He had worked during the steam era and had run ACL's Pacifics and the R-1 4-8-4's.  His run was from Jacksonville to Sanford.  HE told me that when the new diesels came in, there were problems.  They used to lash up three or four E6 units in hopes that two or them would be on line.  Fortunately, Tom and I haven't had that problem, with our E units, at least not regularly.

Tom and I have replaced the factory sound systems in almost all of our diesels with TCS WOW Sound.  We are very satisfied with the upgrade and are still learning about all of the various adjustments that can be made to customize sounds for individual engines.  Just selecting horns from the 40 or so choices keeps your interest up and pushing one button changes the horn or bell without having to put the engine on the program track.     

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Cengral of Georgia
« on: May 26, 2017, 03:59:02 PM »
When I was between ages 9 and 14, I used to spend at least two weeks each summer visiting my mother's sister and brother who lived in Millen, Georgia.  Millen was a small South Georgia town that owed its existence to farming and being the junction of the Central of Georgia's routes from Atlanta and Augusta.  The main street had stores on one side, including my Uncle Charlie's grocery store, and the railroad tracks on the other.  I remember the C of G had big, dirty, steam locomotives that had unusual smoke stacks.  I later learned the unusual smoke stack was actually a coil type Elesco feed water heater. There was a huge coaling tower located across from the storefronts and coal dust would blow up into the bottom of the coaling tower when the fireman filled the tender on a locomotive. Anyone within 50' got covered in coal dust.

The C of G had a passenger train that ran through Millen each day in route from Atlanta to Savannah with a night return trip.  In 1951, the train was powered by a 4-8-2 and only had about five cars, all heavyweights, whose prime days had long passed.  There was a baggage car, a combine, which was reserved for colored passengers in those days of segregation, and two or three coaches.  This train was later upgraded with a flashy E7A diesel, but in 1956 it had the same old combine, and four streamlined coaches.  It was called the Nancy Hanks.  Strange for a Georgia railroad since that was the name of Abraham LIncoln's wife, and I can assure you the War of Northern Aggression was not over in Jenkins County, Georgia in 1956.  However, a famous race horse had that same name and the train was named after the racehorse, not the woman.

Folks called my mother's brother "O. K." and he owned a dairy farm.  There was a clay road that ran through the farm that had been the road from Atlanta to Savannah during the civil war.  There was a slave shack along the road that was stil inhabited when I was a little boy.  The door to the shack had a pistol ball embedded in it and the story was that Sheman's troops marched down that road on the way to Savannah.  Somebody fired a shot at one of the mounted staff officers and he returned fire, hitting the door to the shack.  Sherman commandeered the farm house as his headquarters for the night but departed the next day, leaving the house and occupants unharmed.

My first time in Millen was when I was 4 years old.  I was having a fussy day and one of my uncle's colored servants, whose name was Queen, took care of me.  Queen had been born a slave on the farm and lived in a shack in the pecan grove near the farm house.  Queen was a very kind soul who lived into her 90's. 

I did not visit Millen from 1957 until 2017, when my wife and I took a day trip there during a weekend stay in Savannah.  The main street is still there.  Uncle Charlie's store is long gone (so is Uncle Charlie), replaced by a dress shop. The Jenkins County Courthouse has not changed, other than the addition of air conditioning.  The Confederate monument has not moved.  The train station is still there but the coaling tower is gone. 

I have attached (I hope) a photo of a C of G 4-8-2 (courtesy of Richard Prince), a photo of Millen's coaling tower, and a photo of the train station. 

I hope everyone enjoys Memorial Day. 

The Judge

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