The name of my railroad, for those who don’t know, is the Ruptured Duck and Dafler Railroad. The last part does not need any explaining, but the Ruptured Duck part, probably does. I believe that our nations veterans need more than what any of us can give them for their service. I also believe that the greatest generation were those who lived and were part of World War II. Now before some of you want to stand up and argue, remember this, the war not only involved our nations men, but it also needed our mother’s and father’s, our brother’s and sisters. Anyone who could lend a hand was put to work. They may not have been on the front lines facing a three fold enemy, but they were fighting just as hard back here at home, making sacrifices that many of us can only imagine. Any bit of excess food was put to work while many of those back home did without. Even our animal and plant fats were put to use. Oleo, or as many of us know it more familiarly, margarine, was developed to take the place of butter. Powdered milk, powdered eggs, instant cocoa, and many other items came into being out of necessity, to take the place of foods that could not withstand the days and weeks in transit to get the stuff our GIs needed on the front line.
Our nations, soldiers, marines and airmen were not just gone for 6 to nine months, but many were away from home for periods of years at a time. Those who were going to invade Europe left home a year or more to begin preparations and training for the invasion. Then they endured the invasion and slow fighting advance to take Germany. They faced Normandy, Belgium, Battle of the Bulge and the fight to take back what they lost and then keep on going. Many of these servicemen did not see their homes for years before they earned enough points to begin coming home after Germany’s surrender, only to find out that some of there were being reassigned to fill in gaps for troops being amassed for the most extensive invasion the world would see: the Invasion of Japan. These people also faced IED’s like our servicemen faced in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they did not have the quick access to emergency medical care and died before they even got to a EVAC hospital, much less the modern medicine that can save lives that were not even dreamt of years ago.
The name Ruptured Duck comes from the nose art that was displayed on a B25, Mitchell Bomber used during World War II. This airplane was the focus of a book written by the pilot who flew this bomber. The name of that book, “THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO” was also made into a movie that had a host of stars. This bomber and 15 others like it, flew off the deck of an aircraft carrier, some of the earliest versions of such a warship, in just 500 feet of deck. This was never tried before and no one knew if it was going to work. On top of this, the fleet of ships traveling with aircraft carrier, were sighted 200 miles before they reached their final position for take-off of these aircraft, the two hundred miles these aircraft were going to need to make it to China for refueling. Because of this many of these aircraft ditched in places all over China when they ran out of gas. With the exception of two aircraft, all were rescued by the Chinese, some of whom died before they would divulge where they were. The “Ruptured Duck” tried unsuccessfully, to land on the Chinese coast, injuring all the crew except the crew chief in charge of the maintenance on this aircraft. He rescued the injured from the aircraft and brought them ashore where they were rescued by the Chinese. The pilot had injuries so severe to his one leg that they later amputated it to save his life from gangrene. He eventually made it back to the states. The heroism displayed by this crew was my inspiration for my choosing to name my railroad in honor of these brave men.
The fact, coincidentally, that I broke my back, literally, at about the same time I first saw this movie had no small role in selecting this name as part of the herald for my HO railroad. During my recuperation at my parents’ home, my early days of beginning to get around without the aid of walkers, crutches or canes, I looked like a big question mark all bent over like I was. My dad, trying to lighten the mood of my suffering, told me that the way I was hobbling around I looked like a big ruptured duck. My only comment to this was “Ha! Ha!” Very funny! However, I got the last word in when I put two and two together. I also got the last word when I named the bathrooms here at trackside, “Pegleg’s Privies.” There is another little joke here where my mom got the last word in with my dad before she passed away. My dad did not know it until he saw what I named the bathrooms and why.
Now you know the reason for the Ruptured Duck and Dafler railroad, let’s get down to the specifics. This railroad has about 4,500 of mainline track, with several passing sidings and two switchyards. It is confined to a space of 140 feet wide by 1300 feet long. The track has reverse loops on both ends with a minimum radius is 42 feet, with a maximum grade of about 1 1/2 to 2 percent on both sides of the top of the hill where the socializing takes place. The track consists of #6 turnouts in the switch yards, #8 turnouts at the passing sidings, and #11 turnouts at each junction where the reverse loops begin. There is always bi-directional running between east and west junction, that begins the reverse loops at both ends. You be the judge about two-way radios. If I were you, I would bring them because on two occasions were actually had a dispatcher and everyone needed radios to play along. At the top of the hill are the transfer table, turntable, steaming bays, space for RVs, the meeting area, and bathrooms.
The transfer table has a lateral movement of about ten (10) feet;
The maximum lift height is about four (4) feet, but hands are needed for holding the cars as the ramp is lowered to a safe operating level;
The minimum height is about eighteen (18) inches, also at an incline, and some equipment may ground out;
The maximum length is about twelve (12) feet (it will hold my SW-1500 Cow and slug);
The maximum lifting weight, I don’t know for sure as I have never reached it, but I would say at least a thousand (1,000) pounds. I say 1,000 pounds because that is the weight of my big, double engine. This is only an estimation, but I feel pretty certain it is very close to the actual weight. I have no means at my disposal to find out for sure.
The transfer table feeds two tracks from it, one is a lead right out to the main line, the other is a lead to the turntable. Since there is bi-directional running on my track, it does not matter how you off load since all trains will be running in the same direction as the others after just one revolution around the track.
The turntable is twelve feet, six inches (12’6″). The turntable can access 14 steaming bays, six (6) of which are ten (10) feet in length, and eight (8) are fifteen (15) feet in length. There are two (2) compressed air accesses, four (4) 110-volt electric accesses and three (3) accesses to water. There are three (3) floodlights installed over the turntable for night time operation for those who need it to work on their engines in the steaming bays.
The socializing area is the big barn in close proximity to the workshop, and where everyone assembles for meals and other activities. The bathroom are located in a small light gray building on the backside of my house. It has two separate flushing toilets with lavatory. There is also a small shower on the opposite of the entrance to the bathrooms. All have hot and cold running water and both have wheel chair ramps up to them. While it may be a little bit on the tight side, I think everyone can get inside with a wheel chair. As for a scooter, it may be close to impossible. Sorry, but bucks and space are both limited on this railroad.
There is space for about 6 small RVs and I have four ($) 30-amp outlets and two (2) 20-amp outlets for these RVs. The power comes from my house, so obviously, if everyone were to turn on all of their power at one time, some of these circuits may blow, so a little bit of conservation will allow everyone to have ample power. There are other areas for tent campers, with electrical outlets, so don’t let the fact that the RV area is full dissuade you, because I can always find you an area in which to camp. There are 6 outlets in which to draw water, but it all comes off of one outlet so if you turn on your shower, while someone else in another RV turns on their shower, there may be a drop in the water pressure. Speaking of pressure, the water pressure averages between 30 and 50 pounds, so you will not need a pressure regulator on the end of the hose.
Our water comes from a water well. I drink from it all the time and use it for just about everything except to fill batteries. While it is potable, I suggest that you do not drink it. The human body can react rapidly to water from a strange place. It can make some people really sick so I’ll let you be the judge of whether or not to drink the water. It is good for everything else, including cooking. The heat from cooking and kill any bacteria that may be in the water.