8th Army – Gearing Up For Luzon

Pacific Paratrooper

Gen. Eichelberger (C) w/ Gen. Swing (R)

21 January 1945 – Gen. Swing announced to his 11th Airborne Division that he was ordering up a review as they were transferring to the 8th Army and the reviewing officer would be none other than Gen. Robert Eichelberger.  Swing had received Field Order Number 17 which gave him the order to prepare for Luzon.

Luzon was the most populated, most highly developed and the historical island in the archipelago.  It was a land of wild boars, birds, snakes, reptiles, feral dogs, tons of insects and an enemy hiding within the cogon grass at every turn. (the plant had coarse spikes with “silky” hairs that made your skin feel as those hundreds of critters crawled beneath it.)  There was always a threat of dengue fever, that is contracted from a mosquito and if left untreated resulted in bleeding and death, and we can’t…

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Another Title for New Year!

Our “host” for the last 13 or 14 months has been WordPress. They are great providing statistics on how well you do, who looks at you, and many other things.

Well! The most “clicks” on our WebSite and Blogs for 2017 was

New England, Berkshire & Western

Model Railroad Society at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

For us, this is a great honor!

My boss is a “Larry” (a St Lawrence University graduate) but always speaks highly of ice hockey rival RPI: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

So we must be doing something right to get the attention of their Model Railroad Society!

To quote from their WebSite: Since 1972, The Rensselaer Model Railroad Society has been constructing and refining an exhibit depicting the Delaware & Hudson and Rutland Railroads. Set in 1950, the thirty-five by 120-foot layout represents life in Troy, New York and points north in the Hudson and Champlain Valleys. The 1950s were a period of immense change for American railroads and the places they served. The transition from steam to diesel power marked a massive reduction in railroad employment. Growth of automotive culture shifted the center of town away from the tracks and downtowns. The exhibit captures the tail end of the railroad era – a time when railroads were the main movers of people and products and when most institutions were within walking distance of the tracks.

Great Going RPI: Hope we meet your expectations in 2018!


Is Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Utica Avenue Brooklyn subway extension dead?


Too many transportation studies championed by numerous elected officials are nothing more than placebos designed to placate demagogues.

Here is why The Regional Plan Association release of their fourth annual master plan which included calling for construction of the Utica Avenue subway will never leave the station. At the request of Mayor Bill de Blasio, the MTA allocated $5 million in funding under the $32 billion Metropolitan Transportation Authority 2015 – 2019 Five Year Capital Program to initiate a $5 million feasibility study for this proposal to build a Utica Avenue subway extension. The Utica Avenue subway was originally proposed by NYC Mayor Hyland in 1922! The concept would construct extensions for both the #3 & #4 original IRT subway lines in East Flatbush Brooklyn. It would be built along Utica Avenue from Eastern Parkway to Avenue U. Costs for both the first phase of Second Avenue & #7 subway line extension averaged $2 billion plus per mile. One can only imagine how many billions would be required to do the same along Utica Avenue.

Two years later, the MTA had yet to issue a Request for Proposals to hire any engineering consulting firm to perform this study. This contradicts the RPA report which states that “an assessment should be forthcoming.” It is a clear sign that the MTA is really not interested in pursuing this project. This proposal may represent a waste of taxpayers’ dollars for yet another transportation feasibility study.

Too Bad! Great idea. Look at the riders! All YOUNGS!

New London rail bridge stuck, five Amtrak trains delayed

The Day

Extreme cold weather is being blamed for a stuck Amtrak bridge in New London that caused delays Thursday night for at least five  trains.

The Shaw’s Cove Bridge would not close and, as of 10 p.m., caused delays for Amtrak trains 179, with its 192 passengers; 94, with 293 on board; 2172, with 73 on board; 178, with 289 on board, and 67, with 135 on board. Some Shoreline East trains also were affected.

Amtrak engineers were working to close the bridge as quickly as possible so that service could resume, Amtrak spokeswoman Beth K. Toll said in an email earlier in the evening.

Before service was restored about 11 p.m., stuck passengers were venting their frustration on social media.

“Amtrak northeast regional train #94 is delayed in New London with no est time to resume,” Twitter user Sandra Mehlmann wrote in a tweet.

On the same train, Arielle Smith, 32, of Manhattan said she was comfortable, despite the temperature hovering around 9 degrees outside, but bored.

Amtrak’s official Twitter account urged them to call the company’s customer service after their trip.

Smith said she was on her way to Boston to visit family for the long holiday weekend when the train stopped about 8:20 p.m., and she and her fellow passengers had been sitting for nearly two hours waiting for the bridge issue to be resolved. She said the trip from Penn Station in New York City to South Station in Boston, which she has made many times, usually takes about four and a half hours to make by train. She was scheduled to arrive at the Route 128 station in Boston at 9:50 p.m.

About 10:30 p.m., she was still waiting for the train to get moving again in New London. “We are still an hour and a half away from my stop, at least,” she said.

Rail staff were keeping the passengers informed of the situation, she said, and they had handed out snacks and bottled water. “The WiFi is working. Bathrooms are working. Everyone is friendly,” she added.

Things were not much better for those who were awaiting passengers scheduled to disembark and those hoping to catch a train in New London.

All but three people were left at Union Station in New London at 10 p.m. because of the protracted delays. The 7:38 p.m. Shoreline East train had yet to leave the station.

Most people had left, opting to buy a ticket for another day or finding an alternate means of transportation, said Rachel MacLellan, who was still waiting for her 8:24 p.m. train to Boston.

“I have to work in the morning,” she said.

MacLellan waited with her mother, Lorraine MacLellan of Niantic, and were keeping tabs on the phone updates from Amtrak that did not appear to be accurate. At 9 p.m. she received a text that the estimated time of arrival was 9:06 p.m.

The two planned to stick it out, hoping that the Amtrak attendant did not kick them out of the station at 10 p.m. An unidentified Amtrak employee, who declined comment, could be seen locking the doors but made no movement to order the trio out.

About 10:56 p.m., Toll sent an email saying the bridge had been closed and locked. “There may still be some residual delays as the trains get moving again,” she said.

At 11 p.m., Smith sent a jubilant text from her train to The Day, “Second train just passed. And we are moving!”