Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Little Help From My Friends

Phil Hoffman and the "Coon Ass Grass Master" ready to apply some detail to the river scene.

One of the things that I really enjoy about this hobby is the opportunity I have to share it with some really great people. I'm almost hesitant to refer to the railroad up in the attic as "my" layout, because so many people have had a hand in it. David K. Smith was kind enough to use his many talents to create the track plan based on a few sketchy notes that I provided him. Brian Fons and Jerry Britton both decided that my effort was worthy of a couple of sizable contributions of track and turnouts.

When I throw out a request for some oddball bit or piece, there always seems to be someone out there who's willing to help me out, either with an outright gift, or with a significant discount to help me over the hump. Anything from a $2 electrical connector to a loaner $2000 camera has been offered, and gratefully accepted.

Then there's the consultants... Ed Kapuscinski, Dave Foxx, John Berger, Steve Hanlon, and many others have all offered advice and suggestions that will help the layout look more realistic, operate more smoothly, and just generally be better.

As the reconstruction has progressed, it's the worker bees who have really kicked it into high gear, and helped me to really start bringing the project to life. Back in February, Phil Hoffman and Dave Foxx braved one of our notorious snow storms (a light dusting was predicted) to help get the west end staging yard built and installed.

And today, Dave, Brian Carhart, Tim Alder and Gary Hinshaw braved beach traffic and tropical heat to help me make a big push on building the lines that will one day let the Western Maryland Railway hustle those black diamonds and Alpha Jets around my attic. (Phil would have been here, too, but he's an oceanographer, and a Louisiana native, so he's been called down to deal with the big BP oil mess).

Not only do these guys take time away from their families and their own trains, they drive up to two hours to get here, they bring along tools, materials and even a few beers, and they do an absolutely fantastic job. (I'm proud to say that part of my installation was performed by a NASA engineer!) Then, if that weren't enough, they even take me out for lunch.

There are guys out there that declare themselves "Lone Wolf" model railroaders. To me, that's too bad. They're missing out on some really good times building, detailing and running their railroads with other guys who share their interest.

I'm glad to know that my enjoyment of the hobby is infectious enough to attract the caliber of people I've come to know as a result, and I'm especially looking forward to returning a LOT of favors!

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