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Good morning fellow Switcher enthusiasts. While I had originally waxed poetically for the intro, my phone erased everything when I briefly switched to another browser tab this morning.

For any new folks joining us Switcher Saturday Mark II is a long running alliterative titled thread where we highlight Switcher locomotives of all scales and gauges with an obvious heavy dose of 3 rail O gauge.   Mark II because I am the second regular recurring starter of the thread, and I was watching Iron man movies when I decided to step up.   All of his suits were mark - whatever number,  and it stuck in my head.

I ask that everyone be nice, stick to the forum rules on photos,  and have a great time.   The talent and diversity of collections seen here weekly are astounding.

For this week I have some real world photos to start off.  East Penn Railroad 1701 in it's usual spot, coupled to cut off cover gondolas. 20201013_182616

And a few high altitude shots of "the Montana lokie" at my workplace. This machine has moved literal mountains of coal.


So that's it for the kickoff folks.  I am off to work again this morning.   

And as a personal announcement,  I am happy to say that Mrs. Z and I are celebrating our 17 year anniversary tomorrow!

Have a great day everybody 🙂


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Last edited by jhz563
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Yay! SWSat is on track!

Happy Anniversary @jhz563!

We are off to a great start this week. I always enjoy the in plant shots @jhz563. Very cool to see some live steam switchers and German prototype very cool @Fendermain. Neat little electric switcher @FRENCHTRAINS. Nice D&H RS11 @RSJB18.

Here is a SW on a hold over waiting for assignment.  I found it in Thenderna, NY this summer it works for Adirondack Scenic.

Here are some process project shots of a 1870’s era New York Elevated Railway train I started scratch building this spring in lockdown. I paused for a few months but I think I’ll get going again on it. I just purchased a stereogram that shows a new angle that will help me refine it.


This stereogram I own and it is far older than any possibly enforceable copyright.  So put on your 19th century 3D glasses.

The engines were 0-4-0ST Steam Dummies. The car is a shadbelly. The low Center was to reassure skeptical and hesitant riders that the cars were stable and not top heavy. I guess if the car fell at least you would not fall as far. The car pictured is my still unfinished Mark 1. I based it on the one drawing I could find. Once I made it I compared it to photos of the cars and realized it was missing two windows a side. Oops. When I used to work in theater props we had a term “Built As Drawn” or “B.A.D.”.  
I am now making new Mark 2 versions of the cars as they were actually built.

Have a great weekend. Stay safe out there. I can’t wait to see what you guys post.


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Last edited by Silver Lake
@RSJB18 posted:

Hey @jhz563- I've gotten hooked on Virtual Railfan lately. I see those style hoppers go through Ft. Madison Iowa a couple times a week. Are they heading to your plant?


No sir, we have barely had coal deliveries this year.  We have a mountain of fuel on site right now. We bought really heavy a couple of winters ago for a polar vortex that never came.  I don't think its in the company's interest to put specific numbers out, but right now our stock pile is basically at full capacity.

The plant is in south central PA.  The fuel generally comes from Pittsburgh area mines so you may well have seen similar cars running thru Iowa, but not these ones. Compared to other coals I have worked with this stuff is rocket fuel.  12,500 btu/# and up.  Most plants can only wish about getting fuel with that type of energy density.  However we can also make full load on natural gas, so we look at daily $/MW values, transmission line constraints, weather patterns and a few other variables, and we come on line when there is money to be made. We burn whichever fuel is cheaper that day, which is typically gas.  During the winter months however the equation can flip upside down as natural gas is diverted to home heating use, which makes coal a more attractive option.

Getting the coal out of the hoppers is handled by the structures behind the lokie.  There is a rotary dumper and the long low building behind the dumper is the thaw shed.  Coal tends to freeze in railroad cars so its a building with lots and lots of electric heaters at track level to warm up the cars before dumping in winter time.

Here's a closer look at the engine before the PPL logo got painted over, and a look thru the dumper on a foggy morning.



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Last edited by jhz563

Hope all here are having a safe&happy SWSAT!

This AM found yesterday's pick-ups ready to head for Interchange:


Only three cars this trip:


At the Interchange Fiddle-Yard "switching has now been completed and today's switch job is ready to head for Town.

        IMG_1378 [1)

The consist varies from three to eight cars depending on which of ten basic switch-lists is being used.

This week I received an MTH PS3 SW1500 from Beth at Public Delivery Track so I took a couple pics during a road-test.

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Thursday afternoon was the time the Sun was far enough into the Southern sky this Fall to shine in the train-room window and illuminate the front side of the train:


This intense lighting played heck with the Tuscan Red, didn't it?


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Good morning fellow switcher fans!  Great info and pics everyone!  JHZ563 - thanks for getting us rolling this morning!  I really enjoyed your info about the power plant sources of fuel.

Today on the Free State Junction Railway are some pics of a Patapsco and Back Rivers ( a Bethlehem Steel Corp. railroad which their sprawling plant at  Sparrows Point Maryland just outside Baltimore ) doing some switching work .... also a Plymouth switcher at the brewery ... all of my B&O switchers in the yard, and never to exclude steam switchers, a Pennsy A5 doing its thing.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!   Be safe = Be well!IMG_5260IMG_2256fullsizeoutput_336fullsizeoutput_339IMG_2271fullsizeoutput_333IMG_5257IMG_9476


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The military vehicle consist has been added to the daily “Ayer job” in the B&M yard for the move to Ft Devens.  B&M RS3 no. 1509 has coupled on to the freight while shop switcherX-8688 awaits clearance to return to the B&A roundhouse.

Later in the afternoon, B&M 1509 passes by some troops training at Ft Devens.  The RS3’s engineer always blows a couple of quick blasts of the horn to show his appreciation for their service.4B422073-9C1C-48B7-9905-6B0A33536EF69224F1C8-A8A3-4149-9622-89474665EB59


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Well BJZ563 thanks for the back story on your plant, really interesting.  Happy Anniversary to both you and your wife !  My wife and I just celebrated hang in there man!.   Today I don't really have a "switcher" but its "small power" and I am assuming is OK to post iaw the rules you normally print (not today though).  Its a French Hornby PO type locomotive, this was their inexpensive model (note the rather crude representation of the photographs), and dates from about the middle 50's.  Her consist this morning is the French Hornby blue/white Pullman livery No 1 coach 's from the same time period.  She is electric with the post war 20V motor and runs really well.

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Happy SwSat everyone.



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@trumptrain posted:

The  Saturday switch crew of the Free State Junction Railway salutes Mr. Mrs. JHZ563 on their 17th wedding anniversary!!!!  Enjoy you special dayIMG_2243

Hey thanks Pat!!.  I showed this to the very train tolerant Mrs. Z, and she said asked me to say thank you.  ( Although she also said "and this is wedding related how again?"

She's a good egg that Mrs. Z.

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