Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chasing the Forney

Following a nail-biting series of monsoonal thunderstorms sandwiching long bouts of drizzle, Flagstaff has dried out enough lately to allow for train running without major track cleaning efforts. It was a good test to see what the railroad could handle, including three extreme downpours with hail and the requisite lightning that treats ponderosa pine trees like match sticks (and, incidentally, knocked out our garage door opener, a problem still to be solved). Before the railroad's appearance in the back yard, I had always welcomed as much rain as we could get, given our consistent drought throughout the Southwest. Now I find myself torn, intently watching the right-of-way out the window to see how much ballast is floating away during a downpour. Even after all that, I re-ballasted a few sections and shored up some poorly contained areas last week, and the railroad is in great shape. Sections of it are even showing signs of being embedded into the landscape with an overgrown appearance, which is what I was hoping for in certain areas. Tonight provided a relaxing opportunity to run a couple of trains in a leisurely way before the sun went down. The action tonight featured the newest addition to the Ponderosa Lines' roster, an 0-4-4 Forney with its two-car set and an added G&RGW coach. The battery for the Forney's power is in the trailing passenger car behind the tender - a required feature due to my decision to rely on battery power rather than track wires. I am waiting for my first fusion generator, but for now I need to rely on traditional batteries. As for the sun, I noticed quickly that the lighting was great tonight, so I grabbed Linda's camera phone nearby and did some railfanning. Here are the shots.

Click on the photos for larger images. Click again on the larger images for the full-size photos, if you dare. The first image below is the actual map of the Ponderosa Lines Railway, as it now exists with place names.)

Above: Just beyond the trestle for Palmer Gulch

Above: Getting close to Viterbo in the late evening sun, making the final run back home to Paradise.

Above: Station Stop at Blumenthal, one of two passing sidings.

Above: Rolling up Angel's Flight, toward (the other) White Pass

Above: Exiting White Pass (the highest point on the line, hence the name), through the "forest".