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PHOTO ESSAY: Running Standard Gauge Trains At The Manassas Candy Factory

by Clem Clement

December 21, 2006

Happiness is a standard gauge layout and some kids! Engineers include: Allen Crotts, Dan Danielson and Bill Bushmeier. Note the presence of Stomper (green homemade locomotive.) She howled and howled as she circled the layout to the delight of the kids.

Last year was our first year. I designed the layout, such as it was, and forgot that standard gauge doesn't like reverse curves. We used regular radius curves and only the short cars would negotiate the dog bone's reverses. This year we used wide radius curves and extra tables. The 402s loved the room to run.

And of course there are the stories. I just love 'em. One fellow said "I have the same set at home." Since I know the 392E did not come with the 400 series Mojave cars, I had to wonder. When he was finished speaking, I asked what color his cars are. "Two tone green," was the answer. "And the engine?" "Black." That is all he could remember. I'm guessing he has a late 1835 with three 300 series cars.

Note that here we are pullin' two, count 'em two, 402s lead by a 392E. "And the lights went down in Manassas." Notice also I'm using a 1929 -200 series 390 T behind the 392E. It matches well with the 400 series passenger cars. I run it that way at home. The crowds loved the rumble of standard gauge.

The Manassas Candy Factory is a restored three story building set along the rail road tracks across from the famous Manassas station. We look down from the 3rd floor directly at the station and the tracks. I can tell you that the AMTRAK Crescent was full both Monday and Thursday nights as she passed through on the way to New Orleans. The steaks in the diner looked good to us! There were the sounds of real trains mixed in with our tin tunes.

Such was our week of playing trains in the Manassas candy factory!

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