Celebrating a moment

It was a special day recently on Perry Squier’s HO scale Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern layout. He had been holding regular op sessions using the 1923 calendar. The most recent session coincided with the October 8, 1923, operating date. A one hundred year celebration was held to commemorate the moment. The first train ran with bunting and banners!

Before the session, Perry recounted the 1996 layout origins and noted the first op session was held in 1997. Of that first operating session crew, Tony Koester and Harold Oakhill were on hand for the centennial celebration. It was a festive session with sixteen crew members running the railroad.

Dave Ramos and Jack Trabachino kept busy sorting freight cars for upcoming trains in the St. Mary’s yard.

We don’t often think about the span of time between what we model and the present day. Perry’s session was a reminder of how distant that moment has become, how far his layout has progressed, and how many people have been part of the overall journey.

Jeff Ward switches the Hornell yard while Ralph Heiss works an Erie interchange train.

Ron Von Werder and Dave Abeles discuss a meeting of two trains at Prosser. To the right, Brian Schatz and Ted Diorio review action at the Angelica yard.

Harold Oakhill is busy pulling and spotting freight cars at the industrial customers just south of the St. Mary’s yard. He dressed as a proper 1923 conductor for the event, complete with a pocket watch on a chain.

Shawmut #53 rests near the coaling facility before another assignment over the road

In addition to celebrating the build and operation of a fine railroad, I felt it was a celebration of the friendships formed through operating the layout. While the landmark of Perry’s layout achievement brought this to the fore, it is something I take away from operating sessions on many railroads. I’m honored to be among such a talented bunch.

From left to right: blog reporter Eric Hansmann, Ted Diorio, Brian Schatz, Trainmaster Perry Squier, Jeff Ward, Mike Quinn, Tom Schmeider, Jack Trabachino, Ralph Heiss, Dave Abeles, Dave Ramos, Tony Koester, Harold Oakhill, Train Order Operator Dave Olesen, Ron Von Werder, Dispatcher Jim Schweitzer

The photo above captures the crew after a celebratory lunch and about to head back to work. There’s a railroad to run!

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