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Topics - Judge

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Tom Langford
February 02, 2022, 02:52:47 PM
I spoke with Tom this afternoon.  He says he will post an update here tomorrow.  Looking good!
Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Winter in Sanford, Florida
January 30, 2022, 12:26:00 PM
Well, for the first time in four years Central Florida has had a freeze.  The temperature was 31 degrees when I got up this morning at 6:00 a.m. and at 12:00 noon, it has climbed up to 51 degrees.  Not to worry.  It is supposed to be in the 80s by Thursday.   

The "Freeze of 1983" was the worst in my lifetime.  It killed all the citrus trees and the growers decided it was more profitable to sell their land to developers than to replant orange trees.  They not only got the price of the land but also participated in the development profits - all without investing (risking) a dime. Anyway, the days of driving through Orange and Lake Counties and seeing miles and miles of orange groves have been over since 1983 and any citrus that is left is being grown in South Florida.

I live in Sanford, which is north of Orlando on the St.Johns River.  It used to be an agricultural center that was famous for vegetables, mostly celery.  The farms have long ago been sold to developers.  This has resulted in increased traffic and, since the developers never fully pay for their impact, local taxpayers have picked up the tab. 

It is not all bad.  Sanford is on the shore of Lake Monroe, which is really not a lake at all, but a wide spot in the St. Johns River.  It is a large lake and the city has taken care to keep it attractive.  I have attached a link to show you what the lakefront looks like. 

We live in the "historic district" which has homes built from the 1880s through the 1920s (the "Florida Boom" ended at the end of 1929, like everywhere else.)  We did not have to cover our plants to protect them from last night's freeze because our property is shaded by several giant oak trees that are over 100 years old and they provide sufficient frost protection.

I spoke with Tom on the phone yesterday.  He says his nurse (who visits periodically) is confident that his progress is ahead of schedule.  Tom is not one to complain, but he says he has discomfort due to coughing (coughing is good).  He found he was able to get some sleep by sitting in a recliner - too early for sitting upright or fully reclining.  His spirits are good and he looks forward to getting back to the shed.  I will keep you posted on his progress. 
Baggage Car - Daily Chat / lGood Morning on MLK Day
January 17, 2022, 07:00:52 AM
Well, its 48 degrees here in beautiful Central Florida at 0630 hours.  Rain yesterday as part of the nastiness further north.  Today should be bathed in Florida sunshine with a high in the mid-60s.  It gets warmer later in the week - low 80s.

I will be doing a little light work today. 

Yesterday, I ran through the horn sequences on a new TCS WOW Sound decoder and discovered three new Baldwin horns.  TCS upgrades their decoders for a minimal charge if you send the old one back to them.  I will probably send the decoders for our Sharks, Centipedes, and an S-12 back to TCS.

Meanwhile, I have been waiting for delivery of Rapido's PAs for nearly two years and I am told they are "in transit."  That means they are in a container somewhere off the California coast.  As the followers of the adventures of the Atlantic & Southern will remember, we acquired an 11-car passenger train of California Zephyr vintage several years ago and added A-B-A lash-ups of D&RGW F3s and CB&Q F2s.  We justified this extravagant purchase to create a leased Gulf Breeze section of the Pensacola Zephyr.   I know, it was a stretch, but the cars and the western diesels look good speeding through Sanlando.  Anyway, I decided that a set of D&RGW PAs would round out the train so they were ordered. It may be 2023 before they are delivered. Here are a couple of "run-bys" for illustrative purposes.



Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Tom Langford Recovery
January 14, 2022, 10:50:43 AM
I spoke with Tom on the phone yesterday - He called me.
He is making progress daily.  He is trying to walk four times a day, but it is too early for distances more than a few yards.  Fatigue is the problem.  And that is normal, especially for those of us who are no longer teenagers.  He has cleared the post-op cough and he is glad of that.

He has a therapist visit three times a week.  He thinks it will be four to six weeks before he is able to get to work in the shed.

Morale is high!

We are going to talk on the phone several times a week and I will keep you posted. 
Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Tom Langford Recovery
January 11, 2022, 07:58:29 AM
Word from "The Babe" is that Tom's physicians have decided to keep him hospitalized for another day.  All appears to be well.  He is very upbeat and morale is excellent.  I can't believe someone would be released from the hospital so soon after open-heart surgery.  But they move them out quickly nowadays.  "The Babe" reports that his in-home recovery will take several (4-6) weeks.  I do not know about rehab yet.  Howsumever, I expect he will be building HO scale structures before the fourth week is up.  I will wait a few days before arranging a visit so he can get used to his situation. 
Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Tom Langford
January 07, 2022, 06:43:14 AM
Thank you, Greg, for the update.  They have this open-heart surgery down to routine nowadays.  It is still an ordeal and I imagine recovery time will be a slow ordeal.  Especially when you are in your 70's instead of your 20's.  However, I expect Tom will kick it as much as he can and we will be working on the railroad again within four to six weeks.   
Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Tom Langford's surgery
December 07, 2021, 04:48:33 PM
The Babe advises that Tom's open-heart surgery has been postponed until Thursday due to a minor infection that is being treated at the hospital.  So, Tom is out of circulation for at least 10 days.  I will try to keep you posted on his situation. 
To my loyal readers:  I have added a couple of photos to this week's Saturday Report illustrating the icing process for reefers before mechanical refrigeration. 
Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Wednesday with Elsa
July 07, 2021, 08:14:01 AM
For those of us who are Florida natives, this tropical storm Elsa is a wus.  The temperature in Central Florida is 75 degrees and is supposed to reach the low 80s by noon.  It is raining - sort of a drizzle - and there is no wind.  I suspect things will get more interesting further north but for us, it is just a rainy day in the summer. 

I ran across some videos of model railroad train wrecks.  I think Tom and I have experienced every one of these at one time or another on the Atlantic & Southern.  Now that I think about it, most wrecks are the fault of operator error and not structural defects.  Of course, there are exceptions, mostly bad track work, which is not a problem on the A&S.

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / May 7
May 07, 2021, 06:55:49 AM
Well, today is my 78th birthday.  I don't feel a day older than 75.  Physical therapy this morning and a former student and her main squeeze over for dinner tonight.  HBD to me!
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.
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.
Layout Tours / The Atlantic & Southern Saturday Report
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.   :)


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