After four years as President, Don Buesing was succeeded by Tom Rhodes.  Don Buesing became Secretary/Treasurer for 1988 and Frank DeSantis remained as Vice President.

As a safety provision it was unanimously voted in January 1988 that henceforth all trains carrying passengers on ALS trackage will include a brakeman.

A major topic in 1988 and 1989 was the engine house.  A fund for its construction was raised.  This being a serious and costly undertaking, much time went into its planning and development.  Operating Rules for Enginemen were adopted.  It was noted that there were six to eight inches of snow on the ground at the March 1988 meeting of ALS.  During 1988, upgrades and improvements on the main line were performed including relocation of the switch under the vehicle bridge (over which ran the driveway to the stationhouse).  Additionally, the stationhouse itself received the final “tune-up” including installation of the large double “freight doors”, wafer board interior wall covering, loft storage area, and electrical service.  Numerous below ground conduits were installed to buildings with electrical service.  On October 8, 9, & 10, 1988, the first annual meet was held at ALS.  The station house and all facilities operated satisfactorily.  Meetings of ALS came to be regularly scheduled on a monthly basis at the stationhouse.  Stan Cardish, a regular member of ALS expired during 1988.  The following notice appeared in the October 1988 issue of Whistles in the Woods, “On Monday, November 21st, Stan Cardish’s home shop will be open from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. for all those interested in purchasing items from our late friend’s inventory…”.  His name appeared as a regular member on the first membership list of record on April 30, 1983.  He was frequently mentioned in Whistles in the Woods as a contributing and working member.

During the winter of 1989-90, panel parties took place and the work of assembling track panels in wintertime continued on (and has since to the date of this writing – 2000) in most years.  During very early 1989, the following appeared in the February issue ofWhistles in the Woods,

“The steel bridge given to us by the New Jersey Club was recently delivered to ALS by Don Buesing.  This bridge is the sister (brother) to the one at Dittman”s Gulch, both of which were sturdily constructed by George Rateau and put to use on his now abandoned Ramapo Valley RR which was in Northern New Jersey”.

Although it was the first bridge(s) to be “imported”, it was not the first structure to be so acquired (see page 3).  During this period of time, due to a broadening area of responsibilities, organizational development necessarily kept pace.  Hence, more varied areas of responsibility were developed.  This development manifested itself as the years passed by with more committees on an increased scope and number of topics being created.  Eventually, certain offices were divided into two categories by changes in the bylaws. ALS would grow in size and scope during the ‘80’s and ‘90’s.  August 10, 1989 saw the death of Dan Crabtree, Associate member, and a member of Pennsylvania Live Steamers.  Of him it was said, “[without Dan’s]…sharing his experience with the development of PLS, we might still be wandering rather than whistling in the woods, and ALS still just a dream.” (9/89 issue of Whistles in the Woods)  No sooner had ALS completed its second annual meet on October 7, 8, & 9, 1989 than ALS attended and had an exhibit for the first time at the Great Train Extravaganza in Albany on December 10, 1989.  Twenty-one persons expressed an interest in ALS at that show.

The officer line was extensively revised for 1990. Bruce Rauch was elected President. He was the first president of ALS who was not a founding member of the club (see Appendix B).  During his term(s) of office in 1990 and following, he utilized executive leadership to guide ALS to grow in the coming years.  A committee system was developed to spread responsibility for work among the members (see Appendix C).  A May date for membership was instituted for the purpose of showing ALS to serious candidates for membership.  Such “leads” were developed in large part from the club’s presence at the Great Train Extravaganzas in Albany, for which Bruce had been instrumental in creating the ALS display and encouraging member participation.  He contributed regularly and extensively to the “President’s Page” in Whistles in the Woods in which he set goals and exhibited encouragement for their attainment.  Boy Scout Troops were encouraged to visit and camp on ALS grounds.  1990 saw grade level changes to the main line, thereby resulting in improved operation of the line (completed spring ’91).

By spring of 1991, the layout plans were generally completed and a proposed route was staked out late that spring regarding the proposed Mountain Division, with some minor routing revisions later that year. 1991 saw the first sale of tee shirts and other items with the ALS logo placed thereon.  On February 19, 1991, Walt Snyder, a regular and loyal participating member of ALS died.  Through the years, and 1991 was no exception, many ALS members privately gave of their bounty in large and small amounts to finance various projects taking place at the time.  Without this generosity, much of that which had been accomplished would simply not have been.  This generosity has continued from inception in 1983 to present date of the writing of this history – 2000.  In a census of engines belonging to ALS members, 26 were totaled by reported and defined count in the April 1991 issue ofWhistles in the Woods.  The annual Spring Membership/Mini Meet was instituted in 1991.  Among the accomplishments of 1991 were the following: new bridge and grade reduction at Dittman’s Gulch, mile posts installed (the first on record), ballast car rebuilt, Bylaws rewritten to conform to actual practice, Rateau Yard built, second lead to turntable installed, excavation of cut for Mountain Division, pouring of foundation slab for engine house. Nine committee chairmen were appointed in 1991 to oversee different activities and projects.

In 1992, the Mountain Division was actually started.  Of interest is this item which appeared in the July 1992 issue of Whistles in the Woods, “With the summer under way, let us not forget the track fund.  If you are looking forward to running/riding or just watching trains run on the new Mountain Division, please remember that it is being built with borrowed money, generously loaned to the club for our rail purchase.  Please return the favor of that generosity with your contribution to the track fund so we can quickly repay the loan”.  The meets continued and attendance gradually grew, but very gradually. What made the Mountain Division so difficult to build and complete was the extensive number of switches (10) that had to be built as well as a large amount of grading and preparation.  In the fall of 1992, ALS members attended the Glens Falls Model Train Show as well as the usual Great Train Extravaganza in Albany.  1992 saw the Spring Invitational Meet and the Membership Day split apart.  A much needed storage building was built in 1992.

The George Rateau loan was cancelled as satisfied by him in January 1993.  A revision to the plan of the Mountain Division was effectuated with the construction of a unique diamond crossover and switches in the winter of 1992-3. Their use was explained in the February issue of Whistles in the Woods as follows,

“THE DITTMAN EFFECT – Early in the planning of the Mountain Division, Don Dittman asked if it were possible to so construct a set of crossovers such that Tanglefoot Curve would function as a reverse loop no matter from which track you approached. The intent was that a single train could run the entire route, first in one direction, then the other, without stopping to throw switches.  The answer was “yes”.  The west xover switches are sprung, always lined with the main.  The east switches are hand thrown spring switches. Once lined for the reverse position, operation will proceed.  The key is the installation of the diamond style double xovers”.

Additionally, 24 feet of trestle deck had been completed.  All this would be installed to make a fascinating original concept of operation and enjoyment.  ALS was expanding its horizons not only in terms of additional right of way and trackage but developing something of interest and beauty that no other similar train club had!  The Spring Meet and Membership Day continued as separate events in May 1993 and 1994.

No less than five bridges were placed on the Mountain Division alone in 1993.  They included a small steel pony truss, donated by George Rateau, over a drainage gully; the Deadwood Trestle, six feet high by 68 feet in length; West Bridge (with a span of 24 feet) across Cardish Canyon, a Howe truss donated by George Rateau; as well as Bossert Bridge, a steel Pratt style truss (with a span of 21 feet 8 inches) also over Cardish Canyon.  A “farm gate” was installed across the main driveway to keep out trespassers and curiosity seekers who had no intention or interest in joining the club.  Such “visitations” were made when no member of ALS was present.  Security was becoming a matter of concern.  During May and June, diligent and persistent effort on the Mountain Division was exerted.  By mid June, one track laying gang, under the supervision of Marcel Zucchino, was in sight of the other track gang, under the supervision of Bill Ott, coming the other way. At the 1993 Fall Meet, 31 locomotives were present!  Word was getting around about the accomplishments of ALS.  1993 saw the death of Don Marshall, regular member, active leader, safety expert, past ALS Vice President, and prolific locomotive builder.

Late in 1993, Don Buesing resigned from the ALS Board of Directors due to pressing business and personal responsibilities. Appropriately, below is a copy of a portion of President Bruce Rauch’s letter of November 10, 1993 to Don, accepting his resignation,

“As the founder of ALS, you have been like a parent watching his baby grow up.  You were there in ALS’s infancy, doing all the jobs just to keep it alive.  The club was as dependent upon you as the baby is on its parents.  You have helped that baby grow.  You warned it of the mistakes it could make and tried to prevent it from getting hurt when it started to have a mind of its own.  As your child grows and matures, it no longer requires the firm grasp of its parent.  For a period you may even detect that the child is rebelling against parental authority.  Whether they want to admit it or not, all children are always dependent on their parents for support in one way or another.  We all are deeply indebted to you for your vision in getting us started. I hope it will not be too long before you are able to get back to us on an active basis.”

At the close of 1993, provisions were made for the purchase of roofing material for the new engine house.  Although leaders had been lost in 1993 by death and resignation, ALS would witness progress and growth in the years to come.

The first annual Family Day was inaugurated on September 4, 1993.  There were now four annual events on the ALS yearly schedule, Spring Meet, Membership Day, Family Dan and Fall Meet.  Opportunities to enjoy our facilities and the trains that operated over them by and with members, their families, friends, and with those of similar interests were now abundant and inviting.

A personal word at this time, if I may: My son Mark and I attended the Great Train Extravaganza in Albany in December 1993.  We expressed an interest, in writing, with ALS at that event.  Some time passed and then we both received an invitation to visit the ALS site, in the town of Wilton, on Membership Day.  At that time we were taken on a tour of the facilities and track.  Our questions were answered fully and without hesitation. Throughout the afternoon we both became even more interested, to the point that when we asked, “How do you join?”, we were each given an application blank with instructions for its completion and submittal.  Soon thereafter, we were both accepted into associate membership (later to be upgraded to regular membership).  No one made us feel that our membership was desired only to fill club coffers with some money.  It was indicated to us that much effort went into building, maintaining, and improving club property, that each gave whatever he could feel comfortable with, as well as of his (or her) talents, aptitudes and abilities.  As for myself, in approaching my senior years, I feel free of the viscitudes and problems of everyday life for a time being, within the embrace of a green forest curtain, and doing what I really like to do amongst true and valued friends.   Now, back to the history of ALS.

Engineers Operating Rules and Track Usage, Passenger Loading, Special Rules Governing Meets, Bi-directional running, and ALS Equipment Standards were formalized.  Additionally, the Mountain Division was at long last completed after eight(?) years of blood, sweat, and tears.  During the Fall Meet, on September 10, 1994, a gold spike ceremony was held to commemorate the completion of the Mountain Division. Another milestone in the history of ALS was struck. Bruce Rauch and Ray Dwyer represented ALS at the Glens Falls Train Show.  Violent windstorms and unusually turbulent weather in the summer impaired track and outdoor work measurably in 1994.  During 1994, about 90% of the work on the overhead doors, and clerestory windows and louvers was completed on the engine house.

1995 saw a major revision of tasks to one of maintenance and repair of existing structures, including the new engine house which already needed “touch up work” done on it.  The ballast dump body and loading ramp needed some heavy TLC, which was done mostly under the supervision of Frank Pierson.  Signal system units were replaced and upgraded.  Additional improvements were added to WestBridge and BossertBridge on the newly completed Mountain Division.  In 1995, additional land was purchased from Hank and Alice Buesing, which resulted in a 150% increase in acreage from roughly 900 x 300 feet to 2,200 x 300 feet.  The financing of the purchase was gererously provided by Marcel Zucchino through a three year, interest free loan.  An immense, varied, and interesting area had been opened up to development and use. ALS now would own property on both sides of Hank’s Creek.  Additionally, ALS now owned frontage on the access road and a large parking field.

During April and May, framing of the interior walls of the new engine house was completed.  The Spring Meet, June 9, 10, & 11, resulted in a wide variety of motive power including Diesel, electric, and trolley cars, in addition to steam power.  The meet was growing in popularity so that it was becoming of the same status as, although not surpassing, the Fall Meet.  The suggestion first appeared (of record and by Pete Petrillose) that maintenance of track be done by sections, much as it is done on the “big” railroads. This suggestion took root and later we will see how it was later enacted.  A speed chart was published in the July 1995 issue of Whistles in the Woods.  Using the chart, you could now accurately determine your actual and scale speed in miles per hour by timing how many seconds it takes to travel between a given pair of consecutive mileposts (see Appendix D).  This chart was devised by Bruce Rauch in consultation with Tom Rhodes.  Tom has drawn up countless maps, surveys, sketches, etc. over the years, which provided the bases for construction and operation in many instances.  The Fall Meet was dampened by rainy weather. Nevertheless, thirty-two engines were present, including twenty-three steamers, five Diesels, and a few electrics. Night operations were fast becoming more popular.

In 1995, the property tax was increased from $200.00 to $1,200.00 per year as a result of reassessment.  This made imperative the obtaining of tax exempt status under IRS section 501(c)3.  Over the winter of 1995-6, this was done through the joint effort of Ray Dwyer, Glen Armitage, and Marcel Zucchino.  Upon receipt of the letter from the IRS granting exempt status to ALS, Bruce Rauch was able to get the club a similar exemption, for sales tax purposes, from New YorkState.  Tax exemption certificates could now be issued to suppliers to avoid paying sales tax on materials purchased by the club.  Donations to the club were now tax deductible for both state and federal purposes.

Work on completion of the new engine house was furthered over the winter, with Richard Dean installing electric lines. 3,300 feet of 7 ¼ inch gauge track were now in operation.

In passing, it should be noted that through the years, Whistles in the Woods has contained not only ALS news and announcements, but many articles on our companion live steam clubs, steam engines – their overhaul, maintenance and operation on sites off ALS location, safety rules and advice, and personal interest articles in the area of not just steam, but railroading in general.  Over the years, membership in ALS has become so dependant on Whistles that, if circumstances do dictate an issue or two be skipped, there is quite an uproar and expression of discontent.  This could readily be muted if more complaining members could possibly arrange some time to contribute, in some measure, to the composition, publication, and distribution of this all important publication.  Over the years, Don Buesing, Tom Rhodes, Pete Petrillose, Bruce Rauch, the various Presidents, through the President’s Page, and a few others have steadfastly and persistently kept this publication going.

Fifteen engines were run at the 1996 Spring Meet. Many runs were double and triple headed. Additionally, some trains were operated with rear end helpers all the way from the station house to BossertBridge.  During May, June, and July, extensive work was done around the new engine house to enable it to become operational.  This included Richard Dean installing decking between the rails of the transfer table, from the high line to the far end.  Bill Siem and Don Buesing excavated the foundations and poured concrete around the poles to support two additional steaming bays, each thirty feet long. Dick Hosmer, Bill Siem, Don Buesing, Frank Pierson, and Ray Dwyer installed additional Unistrut, support arms, and shelf track in the engine house.  Five stalls had been readied for use with more on the way.  More signal installations were made by Tom Rhodes. Grading work had begun on the new Western Division.  A deep cut was excavated between Twilight Park Trestle and the proposed William P. Ott Tunnel.  Pressure treated timber retaining walls were immediately installed by Dick Hosmer, John Camerota, Tom Rhodes, Don Buesing, Bruce Rauch, Marcel Zucchino, and Bob Hosmer. The tunnel was timber framed in late November, with work continuing into the dark of night with the aid of lights from a backhoe.  Before snow fell, grading was completed on the 300-foot long area between Ott Tunnel, below TwilightPark, to the site of the first truss bridge, beyond the site of the old utility line.  1996 ended up with much digging, cribbing, grading, and all kinds of rough dirt work in progress.  A week before Thanksgiving, George Rateau, ALS charter member, died.  During the winter of 1996-7, an immense number of track panels were manufactured under Marcel Zucchino’s guidance at his ENCORE building location on Rt. 50.  The panels were for straight pieces, curved sections of various radii, and even a couple of switches.  Two panels could be assembled at one time on separate forms, almost like a production line. The completed panels totaled 1,500 feet +/-.

The 1997 season saw the installation of the track panels constructed during the previous winter.  The track was laid from the switch at the access road grade crossing near the station house to and through Ott Tunnel, continuing under Twilight Park Trestle and beyond to a temporary  “dead end” just short of the future Pierson Yard.  Almost 1,000 feet of track was installed.  Dick Hosmer and Frank Pierson continued making switches into April and May.  The real reach into the back areas of ALS had begun.  Work trains were organized to carry tools, ballast, track panels, and supplies over what was becoming a relatively greater distance than that incurred in the initial right of way construction.  We were beginning to work like railroaders did, although in smaller scale, of course.  Extensive bulldozing work was done by Frank Pierson, including channeling, filling, grading, and all, in a drive to reach Hank’s Creek.  During the Fall Meet in September 1997, special dead end excursions were allowed to slowly run over the completed portion of the Western Division to the dead end referred to above.  This opened a window as to how exciting it would be when the Western Division was completed.  Even junior members helped their dads, uncles, and grandfathers install the track.

Guests had brought their engines in all shapes, sizes and types to run on our trackage from as far away as Canada, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New England.  They came to experience a unique combination of exemplary engineering, long and hard labor and unique vision which had developed an exciting and varied location into a most enjoyable experience for every fan of the railroad ever to encounter it. All this was done while maintaining all building and structures, and in some instances, improving them, a status which has continued to this date, 2000.  In late 1997, the trusses for the big bridge across Hank’s Creek were delivered. On November 14, 1997, after the piers were put in place (no small task in the wet and cold conditions) and the first snow had fallen, a large crane made its way to the “shore” of the creek.  From some distance away, an amazing sight would behold the onlooker.   Above the snow covered pine forest, emerged the crane’s boom pointing ever higher into the heavens.  Finally, a truss was lifted into view and gradually swung over the creek. The truss was swung about and slowly lowered onto the mounting pins on each of the two piers on opposite banks of the creek.  This operation went as smoothly as fitting a glove onto a hand.  Each pin was exactly where it should be.  Talk about accurate engineering and exacting construction; ALS had it all the way!  Once again, Richard Dean was always there with construction expertise and muscle work, and so ably joined in these efforts by Frank Pierson, John Camerota, and others.

The rest, such as it was, in the winter of 1997-8 was interrupted by more panel building in January and February.  This time, the assembly was done at the law office (of all places) of Glen Armitage.  Glen was in the process of winding down his practice to retire.  Consequently, the offices were quite empty.  There was ample room to construct and store the panels. Switch panels were made, rails bent and drilled in the office garage.  Over seventy-two panels were produced, of which forty-one were tangents (straight panels).  In late March, all panels were moved, over ten miles, to be placed on site locations at ALS.

1998 saw the assembly of eight new picnic tables and the procurement and placement of five double bench seats acquired from McDonalds.  These came in mighty handy, especially during the meets and special event days whenever increasing numbers of guests were visiting.  During the summer, Phantom Tunnel, HanksCreekBridge, and the long 47-foot bridge (to be named Dean’s Bridge) were completed.  Painting of the bridges was commenced.  All of these structures represented progress toward completion of the Western Division. Myron Rappaport rebuilt the tool house floor, which was badly rotted.  The whole building became more secure and usable as a result.  Jim Thomas, a regular member since 1990, passed away June 9, 1998.  Despite a long illness, he helped establish food service procedures for our meets.  He also installed all the outside lighting at the station and tool house.  In the August issue of Whistles in the Woods, it was noted that the Western Division outer loop was now in service.  A slow order took effect for the “break in” period of the new track.  A car barn committee was formed to look into the design, location, and building of car barn(s) in anticipation of future demand, as member owned rolling stock increase in number.  During 1998, much signal overhaul, maintenance, and new installations were accomplished.  Emporium sales of ALS logoed and other items boomed at meets.  Due to increased numbers of dues paying members and generous contributions by members and guests, the ALS fiscal status was improving to the extent that all remaining loans and obligations were paid off.  ALS was now reaching financial solvency!

We would be remiss if we did not here note that in the late 90’s, Frank Pierson did almost all of the rough grading not withstanding that, for a few weeks, he operated a large dozer with one leg in a cast.

The winter of 1998-9 passed with only a somewhat limited production of panels.  For the first time, Whistles in the Woods did not come out regularly in 1999.  Were we expecting too much of too few?  This is a standard circumstance that all clubs of similar interest go through at some time(s) or another.  The good news was that the new length was computed at 5,400 feet of track, including branches and sidings, “in the foothills of the Adirondacks”.  This represented a growth of 2,100 feet over the 3,300 feet previously reported.  Night rides became even more popular at the meets.  Perhaps, one of the most poignant and colorful descriptions of this thrilling experience was set out by G. Keith Motton of Canada.  Printed below is an excerpt of his guest article which first appeared in the Winter 1998/1999 issue of Whistles in the Woods:

Saturday night, we push the Crazy Canadian image to its outer limits as we hook up TS & PH 6500 Mogul, HCR 18 (now an 0-6-0), and CPR 983 Ten-wheeler, with nine cars.  Our crew consists of MLS President Denis Tremblay on the Mogul, myself on the Hullo Central, Francois Desaulniers on the D-10, and Vice-President Don Power running as rear brakeman, with most of the passengers being from the MLS contingent.  Three whistles sound the two-blast “all aboard” and we set out.  Cemetery Hill finds Francois and I on our knees on the tenders, leaning heavily onto the cabs in order to get a little extra tractive effort. We curve out towards TwilightPark, and, remembering rule #1, I open the firebox to add a shovelful of black diamond.  I hear a similar clink of doors both in front and behind me.  All three are slammed shut at the same time, and the forest lights up in orange as flaming embers are launched into orbit from all three stacks.  I make a mental note to pitch my tent another metre back from the right-of-way next time around.  You could probably run a Raritan for a week on what we threw away.  We roll down the West subdivision and through the first tunnel.  One of the cars picks a switchpoint here, and derails.  Ken goes back to flag the rear of the train, while some of the passengers attend to the offending gondola, and the three engineers sit on the blowers to raise pressure.  I check out some neat glow-in-the-dark mushrooms growing in the cut.  One natural resource this club has is a whole bunch of DARK.  With the cab lights turned out, you see nothing.  A voice at the back of the train calls out “All aboard,” which is repeated at the front of the train.  Each engine then whistles the “two-short” in turn, and we set out.  We roll over the bridge onto the island, and maintain the two-mile-per-hour bridge limit across the island.  This is such a peaceful place, and we take advantage of it by taking our time to roll through it.

Taking our time, that is, until the end of the second bridge, when the headlight of the Mogul picked up the ubiquitous sign: “Resume Speed: Steep Grade Ahead.”  Even Cemetery Hill does not warrant such a sign.  As soon as the pilot truck of the leading engine is on firm ground, all three throttles are pulled out into the coal-bunkers.  The engines were at the 2MPH limit on the bridge, true, but the caboose…(we are in America.  I can plead the Fifth.)  Our burst of speed is short-lived, before the reality described by the sign slows us down. With the dark of night, all other senses are intensified: the smell of the pine forest, the taste of the lasagna from a few hours ago, and particularly the sound of three stacks barking. They are in unison, then syncopated, as three different drive-wheel diametres give three different rhythms, then staccato as one engine or another slips.  Above all, they are getting slower and slower as more of our tonnage is on this temporary 2.6% grade.  The sandy ground is glowing with the orange photoflash as each exhaust bark is distinct enough to pull the fire to full incandescence, then dims down.  My stack is glowing orange as flames lick the full length of the firetubes, though none come through the stack-cap.  All my concentration is on the throttle and the horsepower being developed.  One more slip could mean a stall on the hill.  Steam locomotives cannot climb like diesels at 5 MPH, but they sure can pull at 0.5.  This is Live Steam at its finest. It is technical. It is challenging.  It is almost erotic.

Soon we are in Ott Tunnel.  This is a curved timber-lined tunnel, long enough to be dark at the centre even at mid-day.  Now, with the heavy load, the resonance of the three locomotives is confined to such a small space rather than rolling through the woods.  I wonder if WHMIS knows about this?  Even though currently it is a downgrade, the plans call for it to be 0.8% uphill when the line is completed.  We arrive back at the station, and Jim Leggett comes forward with some news.  “You left your Vice President in the woods back there.” ?!?  “Ken got off between the tunnels to flag the train, and you left without him.” !?!  “I turned around to ask him something, but all I saw was this little flashlight fading into the distance.”  We would have raced right back to rescue him, but, at this point, all three engineers were doubled over with laughter.  Ken hitched a ride back on yet another B & M diesel.

It was my first visit to ALS, but I can guarantee that it will not be my last.

A review of 1999 reveals that we were going through growing pains.  The tool shed was expanded to accommodate additional air compressors which more than doubled the availability of compressed air.  While not much right of way was laid in 1999, final grading and drainage pipe for the new Pierson Yard had been laid.  West end turnouts were installed through Riverside Crossing as well as the first feet of main and lead tracks.  Ballast was distributed and cleaned by the signal department as well as protective signal systems installed for both tunnels and AvalanchePass.  The bents for Horseshoe Trestle were completed off site and delivered.  This, together with a goodly number of track panels to be completed over the 1999-2000 winter, would provide an opportunity to complete the Mountain Division Inner Loop in 2000. Over the winter of 1999-2000, the yard lead and switches were removed and realigned to enable the fullest and most practical development of Pierson Yard and allowing extensive track to be laid.

Field work on the Western Division began early in 2000.  The inner loop curved (Horseshoe) trestle was completed early in the spring under the leadership of Richard Dean, with much help from many others.  The inner loop was completed including switches. Although the Pennsylvania truss bridge could not be installed as it was not yet manufactured, a temporary steel girder bridge was assembled, in place, out of salvaged steel beams.  Track was laid across the new bridge to complete the Western Division.  The location provides a spectacular viewing and photographic opportunity, as from a vantage point near the bridge, one can see no less than six tracks going in different directions over, under, and through some of the most scenic and beautiful sights to be seen at ALS.  The temporary bridge rests on wooden sills as it didn’t quite reach the immense concrete piers which were built for the permanent bridge in March and April of 2000.  For the first time, ALS track was used to haul not only ballast, tools, sand, and wood (as in past practice) but, long heavy girders as well!  More picnic tables were assembled.  The station house was increased by 30%.  John Pasquence was instrumental in the purchase, by ALS, of a 40 ft. shipping container that was converted into a “temporary” car storage facility.  Richard Dean did the welding work necessary to place a door in one end, and to place two levels of storage track inside.  What with the purchase of locomotives, cars and other running equipment, a crucial problem of storage was presenting itself.

On June 12th a 4th grade class visited ALS and learned much about steam engines, Diesel locomotives, railroading and its history.  One of the purposes of ALS was being fulfilled, exposure of our hobby to young people who will be our future members.  Family Day on July 9th was well attended and enjoyed by all despite a torrential downpour in the afternoon.  An impressive turnout was manifest at our Spring Meet, June 2, 3, & 4.  ALS Engineers Operating Rules, published in April 1999, are used at all meets.  The Fall Meet, September 8, 9, & 10, was a big success.  A record number of visitors and locomotives (over 40) were present.  Space in the steaming bays was at a premium.

Over 120 tons of crushed stone were delivered and spread as ballast, mostly by Skip Densing.  It was then tamped, the track leveled, and finished as the new main line or a siding.  This work was accomplished by members, old and cautious, young and vigorous (in their prime). These are but a few of the accomplishments of members of ALS in 2000.

The reader is referred to past issues of  Whistles in the Woods for more complete and detailed accounts of our efforts and progress over the years as well as a more complete list of members involved. In recent years, as more members are involved in the various projects, it is impossible to recall and credit all who have worked so hard in so many different capacities.