On Tuesday night, our friends Paul and Linda Dolkos came over. They live in Virginia, but took a detour to get here – arriving via Vancouver on board The Canadian. It was a short stop in Toronto – Paul and Linda were flying home the next morning – so I’m flattered they made time to visit and it was great to see them both.
Paul was quite enthusiastic about my layout It’s always nice when someone as accomplished as he is in the hobby says nice things about my efforts – and to its credit (and my relief), the layout performed flawlessly.
I’m really glad I did all of the new trees, too. (In case you missed it, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve finished 49 wire armature trees. Yes – I counted the trunks.) They made a huge difference to the layout’s presentation, and helped convey to Paul the story of steam-era railroading in southern Ontario…
Paul was very interested in the various operations aids that I’ve employed on the layout – including my large-scale handbrakes and air hoses, the large-scale switch stands for turnout control, and the pull-out work desks for conductors.
Paul is well-known in the hobby. I first met him in the late 1990s, when we were both modellers of the Boston and Maine Railroad. He’s now modelling several railroads in the Baltimore area and like his old B&M layout, this new one has been used to illustrate several stories in the Model Railroad Planning annuals. He’s also a regular feature writer for Model Railroader and one of the company’s go-to guys for layout photography.
I too moved on from the B&M – first, in 2003, to model the Maine two-footers in On2, then to a flirtation with Proto:48 before embarking on my current project (well documented on this blog) in 2011. But Paul and I have kept in touch through the changes and see each other occasionally – with or without our wonderful wives.
It’s always a great time when we get together and swap tales of layouts that we’ve visited and hobbyists that we’ve known. (I’ve been a huge beneficiary in this regard. It was through Paul that I had a chance to run trains on the On3 Denver South Park and Pacific layout built by Andrew Dodge. That session, in 2007, introduced me to the idea of using a working telegraph network to OS trains – something I’ve finally been able to incorporate into a layout. And I’ll forever be in Paul’s debt for arranging an operating session, back in 2002, with John Armstrong on his legendary Canandaigua Southern layout. It was John’s many superb features and books that fostered in me a lifelong interest in layout design, so that was an unforgettable day.)
We toured the layout while waiting for my wife to get home from work, Then the four of us walked up the street to enjoy a lovely dinner at The Boulevard Cafe – a nearby restaurant that’s become a neighbourhood institution over the past 35 years.
Thanks for visiting, Paul and Linda – I look forward to visiting your new layout at some point!