He, who shall not be named, will carry the burden of knowing why “Tram!” is the only title I could use. It’s in your court now.

Last Friday, before the morning’s sun came out, I parked the car, for the first time in a long time, at the Halifax airport and checked into my flight. I love how this first flight, “in years”, is the same reason for the last flight I was on before, well, you know why. I am thrilled to say: the folks at Porter are every bit as amazing to fly with as they ever are and I can not imagine how flying could be better.

Where to? Toronto. Thinking about who I know in the hobby, I think I’ve known Will Lawrence since the early nineties and, yet, it seems our paths only cross inside train shows. I like the idea that I may very well be imaginary so perhaps that’s why? Setting aside those sorts of questions for later, I’m thrilled that Will’s joining us for another Binbrook RPM. Equally, a massive thank you to Will for making sure things, that needed doing, got done.

Binbrook is Hunter Hughson’s gift. I love that it’s a thing and I doubt I’ll ever know enough of the words to relate how good it is and how grateful I am to be a part of it. Into the early days of thinking about last weekend’s events, coupled with the memory of the previous Binbrook, convinces me how this is a deep recharge for the creative soul. Binbrook just has this feeling of being a totally good place to talk about how we explore creative passion and what our work means, individually and collectively, and gives back, to each of us. Not so much a place to go but a place in which to be. It’s no wonder so much good work is here, on show, it’s evidence of what he’s fostering.

A thorough Friday encouraged a later formal start to Saturday’s ultimate plan. This left a window of time, for a trio of jet-lagged easterners to get some mileage on our car. First stop: Otter Valley. I’m a completely satisfied Otter Valley customer and recommend them. They’re a model of solid service and it was thrilling to visit the shop in person.

When I lived in Hamilton, regular visits to Dundas Valley were always a highlight. Not just for the fantastic inventory but that sense of welcome that washes over you on entering the store. I’m using the right words when I say “I love this store”. It’s been probably twenty years since I was last in the store but, of course, it still feels every bit as good. I could have only visited here and felt like the whole weekend was complete. It still feels like a visit with the fun family that never lasts as long as you’d like it to.

Looking back, if the service you’re getting isn’t like what Otter Valley or Dundas Valley are offering, every day to every person, you are just wasting your time and life is, frankly too short, to support anything that doesn’t feel this good to be a part of. Don’t settle for less.

You only need a bunch of model locomotives until you run one of these Bowser RS3’s. This thing is transformative. I didn’t take a lot of photos, this trip, because I just didn’t want to be distracted by my camera. By the time, I did, take this photo I’m most of a half hour into working some cars through International Paper’s trackage.

My train is some boxcars we’ve lifted and we’ve just finished dropping some chip hoppers. A few more moves and we’re ready to head out of town. As it is, here, the model is straight from the box. It’s already set just perfectly and feels like a tailored experience offered by someone who cares deeply about their work and how, what they offer, really is their signature. Sound? Perfect. Run? So good you just can’t even think. I’m so glad I tried this after we visited the hobbyshops because there are models I want but I think I need one of these in my life.

I have been wanting to talk myself into an invitation to Pierre’s Clovis Branch layout for a long time. Sunday morning that dream came true. I’m going to need a post to talk just about the layout and I’ll do that later. For now, I’ll sit here, daydreaming of solid blocks of orange reefers rolling through the California countryside behind simply stunning SP moguls. Sigh, how perfect is this.

You’d think that after three very long, intense days of travel and trains, and some spectacular wine and whiskey (“quantity and quality”), I’d be just trashed and useless but my imagination is just too powerful to harness and my heart feels so full.

Thank you for the invitation.

Thank you for the help.

And thank you Krista for making sure I didn’t talk myself out of this.

Categories: How I think

1 reply

  1. It was good to see you on Saturday. I can’t imagine why you’d have trams on the brain after our evening.

    Hopefully our next get together isn’t separated by as many years and as much chaos as our last two were!


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