Saturday, November 24, 2007

Trainfest in Milwaukee, WI - November 10th

Two weeks ago already, Chuck and I spent a few hours roaming around Trainfest in the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park. We go every year to see the layouts and new displays, view historical booths, and visit with our growing number of railfan friends.

There weren't a lot of people in attendance when we arrived on Saturday morning around 9:30 AM but before we left at 12:30 PM, the place was pretty lively. We like to go early and get a parking spot a couple of blocks away from the paid parking area when the weather is nice. And it was really nice on Saturday, November 10th.

It's great to see all the children having fun and watching the trains intently. The layouts are impressive enough for adults but the kids just love some of them. The Lego setup is always a favorite of the youngsters.

I've finally uploaded two clips to YouTube from our 3 hour visit to Trainfest and hope you enjoy them.

Trainfest 2007 Clip #1

Trainfest 2007 Clip #2

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Throttle Time at Monticello Railway Museum on November 4, 2007

Things never turn out the way we expect them to and Throttle Time at Monticello Railway Museum was just another example of this. Don't get me wrong... it was great fun for Chuck and he seemed happy to have the opportunity to operate the Illinois Central 8733 which is a 1980 EMD built GP-11 diesel locomotive currently in the MRyM collection. But it wasn't the Milwaukee Road NW-2 #1649 that he really wanted to get his hands on and that was a disappointment for me because this was my present to Chuck.

It was a beautiful day to be at Monticello Railway Museum
just outside Monticello, Illinois on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2007.

When I spoke to the museum representative on October 30th, he was very clear that there had been problems with the #1649 but he was pretty sure it would be in operation by Sunday, November 4th. The problems continued and so we were left with the IC #8733 for our Throttle Time adventure. It's just Murphy's Law in effect as usual.

Gorgeous Milwaukee Road NW-2 #1649 sits in the barn on Nov. 4th.

We arrived shortly after 9:00 AM as we had been told to report by 9:30 AM for Chuck's scheduled Throttle Time at 10:30 AM. No one else was at the museum when we got there so we roamed around near the depot and took a few images of the rolling stock and each other.

First to arrive at Monticello Railway Museum 11/04/07.

The wig-wag on the south end of the main museum parking lot.

Looking southeast toward the museum barns and yard.

Chuck on the platform to the east of the railway museum depot.

Me in a Milwaukee Road sweatshirt standing north
of the platform by the walk-through display cars.

Here's the ride for our Throttle Time run: IC #8733 EMD GP-11.

Chuck at the controls of the Illinois Central #8733.

The video I captured during Chuck's Throttle Time operation has been broken down into 7 clips and is being uploaded to my YouTube. As of right now there are 5 clips available. The rest will be up soon. Other videos will follow of our roam around the museum grounds.

After Chuck's time was up one of the museum crew took our picture on the front end of the #8733.

Happy railfans after completing Throttle Time.
It was so windy my hat blew off!

Chuck bought a few trinkets in the museum gift shop and then we headed over to the barns to see the Milwaukee Road NW-2 #1649 sitting inside as depicted above. We toured the yard and the viewed equipment inside and out. Although the museum was closed for the season we were able to roam around at will since we had participated in Throttle Time.

Chuck walking near the Monticello Railway Museum barns.

The caboose train to the west of the barns.

The 1916 Alco 0-6-0 Switcher #191 sits outside the barns.

More equipment sits outside in the small museum rail yard.

So much of their rolling stock is in excellent condition.

Soo Line caboose #99110 with recent lettering.

And the Soo Line caboose #99110 has a screen door.

A beautiful Milwaukee Road boxcar looking good
even with my finger in the image. Sorry about that!

So another great weekend trip from our home near Milwaukee has concluded. We started out with a drive to IRM to drop off a CD for a fellow volunteer and then headed to Rochelle, IL to meet up with our good friends Chuck and Jane.

It was another 2 hours or so down to Monticello where we stayed at a Best Western very near the museum. On Sunday it was just short of a four hour drive home by the toll-way around Chicago. We listened in astonishment to the Green Bay Packers' victory over the Kansas City Chiefs; what incredible luck they had! All in all, it was a very good weekend.