Well…we are one month away from putting 2020 behind us all. I can’t say enough about this. With all that we’ve gone through as Americans this past year; and the previous 3 years with it…the light is certainly at the end of the tunnel. I certainly hope that is the case for the CV19 Virus. I hope that we can all put it in the rear-view mirror in 2021. It has resulted in long days and work weeks so I have limited time right now for hobbies. I didn’t even put up Christmas Decorations. Why bother? Right?

Despite this…significant progress has been made on the branch to Freeman Number four. The bench work is 3/4 completed. I have the grade crossing for the Corinth Road crossing in hand too…Logitech’s Grade Crossing Pro-Infrared. I rode these trains a couple of times and remember waving to cars that were stopped in both directions…but I also remember a few coal trains crossing at this location while visiting my grandfather in the late 1970s…Especially when traveling the old “Johnston City Road”…we’d cross two tracks that led to Zeigler 4 and also connected to the BN/CB&Q’s line to Old Ben Number 9 as well…near the Johnston City Lake.

This area is ripe with memories of my family and friends…and these keep me motivated when my focus attempts to fade or gets distracted with other areas of the Joppa Sub. With my family all gone…it’s just memories and the trains have long been an interest for me…as I remember people like Basil Crain; Hubert Spears; John Piper; and so on…that worked for MoPac…as well as my Father; Mother; Brother; Grandfather; Aunts and Uncles on mom’s side and dad’s side…now all gone. It makes the recreation of West Frankfort and the moment in time even more special. I have a few years to work…and I eagerly await sending the photos in for monthly contributions…but mainly enjoy the memories of these people as I lay each piece of track…and switch every coal hopper under the tipple.

I pulled four GP38-2’s from storage and put sound in them…and have speed matched them for use…I am still trying to find time to put the first new GP15 together…as well as an ICG GP10. I started priming the frame for the GP10 and GP15 a couple of weeks ago. Been too busy to work on anything else. I purchased an OMI MP EV caboose off eBay…I’m not giving up on Athearn…but while I wait I at least wanted to have one EV caboose. So, I’m set. ExactRail didn’t put their coal hoppers on sale this year; so I’ll pass on them for now…and await the next run of them.

The ExactRail 3737 is so important to me and the area that I am depicting…it’s like candy. If ExactRail reruns their 3483 hoppers…I’ll get some of those to cut down into 3209 hoppers…I’d love to have a fleet of 100 of them or so too…but maybe someone will do the Bethlehem 3209 in HO? Fat chance…you say? Well, I NEVER thought I’d see a state-of-the-art model of the Bethlehem 3737/3716 quad hopper either…so who knows?

I’ll add a new photo section of the layout as it progresses…I am waiting on track boards that were CNC’d. I am saving all these photos for an article in RMC. The track will be Micro Engineering Code 70. That should give a nice ‘light rail’ look; especially after I paint it and ballast it.

I would like to send Holiday Wishes to all and I hope our future is brighter come January 1. I know it will get a lot better 20 days into the new year.

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays.

Categories: Uncategorized

Thomas Austin

I am a Southern Illinois Native. I am a fan of nostalgia, and the history of Southern Illinois. Model Railroading has been a large part of my life; and it helps serve that interest. Through this interest I have learned much about the region; the people; and the industries that gave us all hope of building a life beyond our formal education. Small Towns in the Midwest built this nation...and this site aims to share that fact with the world.

1 Comment

William Irwin · December 13, 2020 at 1:03 pm

Thanks for filling in a geographical area that is under represented due to not being in the NE or West Coast

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