Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cocoa Beach 2014

As always, the modeling New Year was kicked off with the Prototype Rails meeting in Cocoa Beach, Florida, this year on January 9–11. And as always, it was an excellent meeting. In my view, this get-together has gradually gotten to where I now believe it is a better meeting than the “old standard,” Naperville in October. This is a great credit to Mike Brock, Marty Magregian, Jeff Aley, and the rest of Mike’s committee who do all the behind-the-scenes work to make this event run as smoothly as it does. Here’s a photo of Mike in a rare relaxing moment in what, for him, is a perpetually hectic several days. (It was taken in the temporary bar facility our Hilton hotel arranged because of a major renovation underway.)

     As always, there were a whole bunch of fine talks, some by familiar hobby names, some by newcomers. Here is Bill Darnaby, who spoke about interchanges and their operational possibilities in layout operation, about to begin his talk.

Among the other fine talks I managed to attend were by Tom Madden on design for 3-D printing, Bill Welch on Fruit Growers produce shipping, Mont Switzer on modeling highway trucks, Fenton Wells on Southern Ry. freight cars, Bruce Smith on maintenance equipment, and especially the paired presentations by Andy Sperandeo on train orders, and Steve King on T&TO (timetable & train order) operation. The usual fine Shake ’n’ Take project was presented also, by John Greedy and Greg Martin, a USRA double-sheathed box car rebuilt with steel sides.
     I gave a talk too, about the Pacific Fruit Express company and its operations. (The handout for a similar but not identical talk can be found at this link: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2013/10/my-handout-on-pfe-operations.html ). Richard Hendrickson took this shot of me, about to start the talk. I am of course wearing a “Friends of the Freight Car” shirt.

      And of course we had the usual excellent turnout of model displays and vendors in the hotel ballroom. Here’s an overview from within the model tables.

      Many of those models were really excellent, and I will say more about them in a future post.
Tony Thompson

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