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Slim & Stumpy at Warren's
Slim & Stumpy Visit the Hungry Creek & Long Pass
© George C. Thomas 1999
(Photos taken by my good friend Phil Creer)

It happened the other evening, just as it had happened before. When the old gibbous moon was high in the sky and someone in Circleville, Ohio was playing “The City of New Orleans” on the radio, Slim and Stumpy entered the plastic-plasma phase and began to “connect.” Slim is a 1:20 figure on “Engineer” Jeff Saxton’s Winona & Thorny Mountain RR in St. Louis, Missouri, and Stumpy is a short 1:20 figure on George Thomas’ Lazy Acre Lumber Company RR in Delran, New Jersey. Just why the old gibbous moon and “The City of New Orleans” are important is unclear, but Circleville, Ohio, is about halfway between St. Louis and Delran. Perhaps that is explanation enough.

When Slim and Stumpy “connect” they plan to visit a great model railroad. They had already enjoyed visiting each others railroads, the Winged Foot & Western, the Toenail Ridge Shortline, and the Big Yawn & Overbite, so on this particular evening they wanted to choose one that was completely different.

“Let’s visit Warren Stirling’s garden railroad in New Zealand,” suggested Slim.

“OK, I hear the Hungry Creek & Long Pass is a great one, and I’ve never been to New Zealand before.”

So Slim and Stumpy went to North Auckland, New Zealand. They quickly found the Hungry Creek & Long Pass and walked along the track until they came to a trestle.

“Look,” said Slim. “Someone left some bungee cords here. Want to try them?”

“No thanks,” answered Stumpy. “You know I’m not too fond of heights.”

“Oh, that’s right. I had forgotten how scared you were going over the High Bridge on John Crandall’s Big Yawn and Overbite Railway in Denver,” laughed Slim.

“Well, if you’re so brave, why don’t you try it?” taunted Stumpy.

“Who me?”

“Yes, you. If you go bungee jumping I’ll go rock climbing. Ha ha.” Stumpy felt very proud of his “offer.” This would end Slim’s teasing, because there was no way he would...

“OK,” said Slim. “It’s easy. I’ve seen it done hundreds of times on TV.” Then, much to Stumpy’s surprise, Slim tied the cords around his ankles, stood on the edge of the trestle, and jumped. (Please note, web site readers, do NOT try this at home!) Naturally he survived. Otherwise this would be the end of the many Slim and Stumpy adventures, and that would be unimaginable. Slim worked his way back up to rejoin his shocked friend on the trestle. Stumpy looked around and found comfort in the fact that there was no rock climbing area nearby.

They continued walking along the track which, in time, became tracks. Soon a local freight, pulled by a beautiful Shay, came rambling along. (Is beautiful Shay redundant?) The engineer, a young man named Konrad, answered in the affirmative when asked if they could hitch a ride. The Hungry Creek & Long Pass had a wide variety of well detailed locomotives and rolling stock. That Warren Stirling was obviously a fine modeler.

The many tracks slowly merged and became one again as they left the yards and headed back into the countryside. The ride was smooth and the scenery was absolutely gorgeous. And then, to Stumpy’s horror, some steep rocks appeared just ahead, right next to the track.

“Stop the train,” yelled Slim. Konrad complied and Slim jumped off, followed by a reluctant Stumpy. They walked over to the rock area and found some climbing equipment on the ground.

“I don’t think we should take these...” stammered Stumpy.

“Nonsense,” replied Slim. “We’re only going to borrow them for a bit. Let’s get climbing, or are you chicken?”

There was no way that Stumpy could back down, so up he went, after putting on the safety gear. He figured the height would be no problem if he only looked up. Continuous laughter followed him; Slim was joining in the climb.

The “looking up” tactic worked while they were climbing, but the climb down would be a completely different matter. Stumpy froze! It didn’t take long for Slim to see the seriousness of the situation. there was no way that he could get Stumpy down to safety. Just then a group of climbers arrived on the scene.

“Help!” shouted Slim. Stumpy was silent; even his mouth was frozen with fear. They weren’t too happy to see who had their equipment, but the challenge of rescuing Stumpy replaced their anger. It didn’t take long for them to reach the novice climbers. One big fellow hoisted Stumpy over his shoulder and started down. It didn’t take long to reach safety. Solid ground never looked or felt better to Stumpy.

The big fellow, Tiny was his name, shared some brandy with them. It was delicious. Stumpy thought Bernard was a better name for Tiny, and that he should be held in high esteem by a certain religious group. But he kept this to himself for the time being.

Then Tiny and his friends let it be known that they wanted to begin their afternoon of climbing, so Slim and Stumpy expressed their thanks and said good-bye. They headed down the track. Slim turned around and hollered, “Thank you, Tiny!”

“Good-bye, St. Bernard,” whispered Stumpy. Although they knew it was wrong, they both began to laugh. First they had borrowed Tiny’s equipment without permission and now Stumpy was making fun of him. It was, indeed, time for Slim and Stumpy to leave the Hungry Creek & Long Pass and head for their respective homes. But saying good-bye was always difficult for these two railroad buddies.

“When and where will I see you next?” asked Slim.

“Who knows. It’s up to the moon and a beautiful railroad song. There are plenty of other fine layouts to visit.”

“You got that right, little buddy,” said Slim. “Until next time.”

And so they both vanished into the cool, thin air of New Zealand, heading back to Missouri and New Jersey. But rest assured, Slim and Stumpy will meet again to make another layout visit. So unbox your boxcars, web site readers, it could be yours!

Enjoy the next Slim & Stumpy adventure
Visit the Hungry Creek & Long Pass
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