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Strasburg Railroad Building Percy Replica

Train Tuesdays

Thomas's Best Friend Percy

Thomas’s Best Friend Percy

Strasburg Railroad has announced they will have a Percy replica debuting this September at their Day Out with Thomas events:

America’s favorite little blue engine is chugging and now talking his way into town with pal Percy by his side.

Join Strasburg Rail Road™ for a special Day Out With Thomas as Percy travels from the Island of Sodor for his national debut in Strasburg – September 13th through the 21st.

According to a discussion thread on the Railway Preservation News Interchange, Percy may be a non-powered “locomotive.” Therefore, Percy will only be able to lead trains with other motive power in the train. This would be unlike the real operating Thomas that Strasburg already has, an ex-Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal 0-6-0T.

See Also: Day Out With Thomas at Strasburg Railroad

Look Out Mama

Music Mondays

Song of the Week is Look Out Mama by Hurray for the Riff Raff. Links below to the song and album…

Norfolk Southern News

Train Tuesdays

NS Raises Quarterly Dividend

Norfolk Southern Corporation announced that its Board of Directors today voted to increase the regular quarterly dividend on the company’s common stock by 6 percent, or 3 cents per share, from 54 to 57 cents per share… [More]

21st Century Steam Hiatus

It is with great regret that we must announce that there will not be any mainline excursions this fall. Norfolk Southern made the announcement the other day, citing increased traffic levels and a lack of available operating crews. [from TVRM 630 Facebook page]

Norfolk and Western 611 Update

FireUp611 reports that the 611 restoration is on schedule. 611 will be a part of Norfolk Southern’s 21st Century Steam program next year:

…The first step was to bead blast the boiler. Bead blasting is a high-pressure cleaning system that “blasts” small particles on the boiler’s surface to dislodge buildup that accumulated due to water scale buildup. It took the mechanical volunteers several days to remove the hundreds of pounds of small particles and residue from the bead blasting.

On July 11, Scott Lindsay, chief mechanical officer, and crew hooked up the stoker to a compressed air system. After sitting idly for 20 years, it turned on air — more evidence that the motor was not frozen. With the tender and locomotive separated, the rebuild crew will continue to inspect the drive shaft, universal joints and auger system that deliver the coal from the tender to the firebox.

On July 12th, the locomotive and tender were separated. The crew used a hydraulic ram assembly to compress and remove the buffer springs. The safety and service drawbar pins were then removed and the locomotive was pulled away from the tender. The locomotive was then moved into the roundhouse.

“Moving the locomotive into the restoration bay was a major milestone,” said Preston Claytor, project director and Fire Up 611! Committee Chariman. “The roundhouse (at the North Carolina Transportation Museum) allows for a controlled environment for our work to continue. It also gets our team out of the weather.”

Having a great shop to work in allows us to understand what a fully equipped mechanical facility can mean to the long term care of 611, he added. (The Virginia Museum of Transportation is still raising funds to build the preservation and maintenance facility.) [Excerpt from email update - see FireUp611.org to support]

Southern 4501 Update

The Southern 630 and 4501 Facebook Fan Page has pictures of 4501 nearing completion. The locomotive is expected to run this fall at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum and be ready for the Spring 2015 Norfolk Southern steam schedule.

Office Car Special

The NS Office Car Special rolled out from Altoona, PA to Atlanta, GA yesterday and today. I managed to get a couple photographs of the special at Front Royal and Markham, Va.

NS Office Car Special  7/21/2014 - Front Royal Golf Club

NS Office Car Special 7/21/2014 – Front Royal Golf Club

NS Train 956 passes the old depot in Markham, Virginia

NS Train 956 passes the old depot in Markham, Virginia

How to Cancel Cable

A difficult call to cancel Comcast cable was in the news this week. Here’s a recording of someone’s attempt to cancel Comcast cable:

In this instance, I think the caller’s desire not to state a reason for cancelling prolonged the call. While it should not be necessary to state a reason for cancellation, I think he would’ve been better off saying:

  • “I can’t afford it.” or
  • “I want to try [alternative]. I’ll come back if I like Comcast better.”

One free alternative I strongly recommend instead of cable is an over-the-air antenna.  Sure, you’ll miss out on some channels, but you might very well be able to pick up stations from the major broadcast networks.  I pick up ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, PBS, along with some other channels.  So you should still be able to watch TV, but you won’t have hundreds of channels to waste your time.  If interested in trying to get off cable/satellite, there are a couple of indoor antennas that I recommend:

If you also use cable for Internet, you may feel trapped. However, there may be slower, but adequate DSL Internet service available through your land-line provider as an alternative ISP.

The best part of going to an antenna TV solution is no more monthly cable/satellite bill!

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Jack is Back

Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in 24

Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in 24

24 was my favorite TV show for some time. The show plots are very exciting and outrageous in a good way. This season, 24 returned with the 24: Live Another Day series. The finale will be on-the-air Monday.

24 is a free broadcast television show, available over-the-air. Recently one of my friends asked about cancelling satellite/cable tv and inquired about alternatives. I continue to recommend the Mohu Leaf Paper-Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna – Made in USA which is nice because you just pin it to the wall. We also have the Terk HDTV Indoor High-Definition Antenna for Off-Air HDTV Reception on a different tv which doesn’t look as nice and you have to have a place to sit it, but is good because you can adjust it for reception.

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