Thursday, May 2, 2013

Traveling but never far from trains

It's been awhile since I've posted anything here.  We did a cross country road trip from California to New York and back that covered almost the whole month of April.  While I wasn't able to work on any of my hobby projects while away, I was able to enjoy some prototype railroads both past and present.

The primary purpose of this trip was to visit family in Ithaca, NY and to make some repairs to their house after an upstairs water pipe had burst during the winter and caused some damage to a downstairs room.  That's why we drove, so I could bring all the tools I would need.

Their property borders on what used to be  a Lehigh Valley Railroad line.  From what I have read, it was most likely abandoned around 1976 after Conrail took it over.   Many miles of the abandoned right of way in this area of New York state have been preserved with plans to develop a system of  walking / bike trails that will connect some of the state parks.

This is the view of the house from the RR right of way to give you an idea how close it is.  That's Lake Cayuga in the background.

This is the right of way where there had been a Lehigh Valley track between Ithaca and Geneva that ran close to Lake Cayuga.  I walked about 1/2 mile of this route and could not find any evidence that this had once been a railroad.

In the city of Ithaca itself the old station still stands and appears to now be used as some sort of financial institution.  Next to the station are several LV passenger cars and a caboose that appear to be in good shape, and an old engine of some type that is not.  Also near the station building next to a road bridge over a canal is thru girder railroad bridge that appears to line up with where the tracks would have been near the station.  For photos check this link:

On the trip back the weather was better and we took some extra time to make a couple of sight seeing stops.

I had seen the ad for the Golden Spike Tower in Model Railroader magazine and that was my pick for a place to stop.  It is just off I-80 in North Platte, Nebraska.  That's our 13 year old Chevy Silverado in the foreground that took us on this long road trip with no problems.

This view of the locomotive facility is just a small part of what can be seen from the tower.  There are both enclosed and open observation decks with many displays posted to help explain what is going on.

During our visit, there was a retired UP employee available to answer questions.  There are 2 hump yards that can be clearly seen.  It was all very interesting and I'm glad we stopped by.  If you have a chance to go here, I suggest bringing some binoculars and a telephoto lens for you camera for seeing / photographing up close.  For more information about the Golden Spike Tower visit

Hopefully now I can get back to making some progress on my modules and other projects.