For those of you unfamiliar with Nscale.Net, one of the fun things we do at this forum is to send a piece of rolling stock from member to member (by a sign-up list), and each photographs it on his/her layout before sending it on. Also, folks tend to add some feature, maybe a load or a decal or weathering, etc. My turn finally came due for the 2011 boxcar (the 2012 business car will be arriving soon too), just in time for the all N-scale train show in Hilliard (suburb of Columbus, Ohio). Here is the tale so far:
I couldn’t wait for NSNX 2011 to arrive in, so I decided to go do some sleuthing and find it myself! I knew that there were no direct connections between KCS and N&W (at least not in 1971), so I figured that it would get hopped at least one more time. After some searching, I discovered that it might be in central Ohio, so I went there with camera in hand, and tracked it down.
It seems like every yardmaster along the way finds it to be his or her prerogative to assign this car to every industry they can! I tracked this busy little boxcar all over the Columbus, Ohio, area, until I finally saw it set out on a track for pickup on a freight heading east. I didn’t stick around long enough to actually see the car picked up, so we’ll see how long it takes to actually arrive in Winchester Yard.
So, here’s the photos I collected. First, I found it unloading at this small freight house. Not sure what they claimed, I couldn’t get any closer than this.
Later that afternoon, I found it at the CONTRAK Import/Export building, which gave me a clue as to its contents. I’m pretty sure that they would have been unloading N-trak module frames here. Come to think of it, that first small industry might have actually been loading up those frames! Maybe there’s some under-the-table LCL freight moving overnight, when the yardmaster sees a half-empty boxcar and a quick cross-town move, he just “handles it”… I don’t really have any proof of this, all speculation on my part. Just trying to figure out why this one car made so many short moves in one weekend, without apparently ever being fully unloaded.
The next morning, I knew I wasn’t going to have much time before needing to head back to Virginia, but I got lucky and found NSNX 2011 right outside my hotel room! I watched as they reconfigured the loads a bit with the forklift, as it appeared that they were trying to stuff a pair of fresh axles inside. I wasn’t sure why a gondola or flat wasn’t requisitioned for this, but as I alluded before, there seems to be a lot of unconventional dealings with this car. I had to hurry to get dressed so that I could run over towards these docks before they closed and locked the doors. I was able to ask the forklift operator why they were loading the wheelsets, and he said that he heard the yardmaster had noticed a potential flaw in one of the axles. Said it might plum come off! So the yardmaster didn’t want to send the car any further without a means to repair in the field, should the worst happen. While we were talking, the morning local showed up and added this car to her consist – sorry I didn’t get any more photos! But I had to hoof it back, pack my stuff, look all over the room for my belt (must have been rather tired when I took it off), check out of my hotel, and then chase down the local.
When I finally found the train, it was sans-boxcar, so I had a look at the map of the line between where I was and where I had been. There were a couple of places it could have been set out, but I knew right off that the brewery was where I should look. I didn’t bother trying to secure permission to go onto brewery property. I just managed to sneak in a shot of the car at the brewery dock.
It didn’t take them long, though, so by the time I grabbed my lunch at MacDonalds and came back, it was already moved from here. I knew that, eventually, it would be heading east, and so would I. I crossed my fingers in the hope that, as I began to leave the Columbus area, I might find my car in some interchange yard waiting for pickup. It was my lucky day! I found NSNX 2011 sitting, all alone, on this set-out track in front of some other industries. If I’d have had any more time, I might have pulled over to take a dip in that pond, and wait to see which train picked her up. But my car was packed and my daylight was burning, so regrettably I had to continue on. I figure I’ll catch up with her when she gets to northern Virginia, soon enough.
I’ll be sure to post more photos once I spot her on the Winchester Division. Meanwhile, you can check out some of the other photos I took in Hilliard.