October 29, 2012 - Blow Down Meet
With rain forecast for the weekend some folks came early, arriving on Wednesday and Thursday. The weather was beautiful through Friday evening. Rain Friday night. There was some moisture on Saturday but it didn't dampen enthusiasm. Sunday was colder and wetter and miserable (at least for the old guys). The Cub Scouts (and their boosters) served delicious hot food Friday evening and Saturday. They also slept in tents (brrrr).
This appeared to be the biggest meet of the year with 16 operating steam locomotives (and a few more that weren't operating) plus many diesels, electrics, etc. The track was in really good shape with very few derailments. Many of the smaller locomotives made it up the logging line with little or no difficulty. The track maintenance-of-way crew got the leaves off Thursday so there was very little slipping on the grades Friday. Saturday was a bit more challenging as many of the locomotives slipped on the wet rails. It was not uncommon to see engineers setting on the diesels to increase traction (didn't see any engineers setting on steam locomotive hot boilers). On one occasion a slipping NYC diesel with a long train was observed being pushed by a Heisler with a long log train up Sand Hill through Wilson Siding and on into the tunnel. Apparently that diesel engineer was too skinny to help much with the traction.
The beginning of the slideshow (click to run) shows the maintenance-of-way crew getting the track ready on Thursday (we often forget all the work required to keep the railroad operating smoothly). Most the photos were taken on Friday as the photographer was busy running equipment on Saturday. Many of the photos show the unloading operation --- a big part of the meet. Those operations also seemed to go smoothly this time.
Construction of the mainline extension is underway as is planning for next year so continue to check for updates.