Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Delmarva Timetable
News of the Delmarva Model Railroad Club
February 2009
Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held Wednesday, February 4, around 7:30pm in the club meeting room.

Note about the front doors
When exiting the building, please make sure the door at the top of the stairs is unlocked and the front door is closed and locked securely.

Library News
Jeff Shockley, Librarian

This past month saw some big changes in the library. The table in the center of the room was shortened when I took out the two center leafs. I then turned it 90 degrees to make it parallel to the door. The carpet was given a thorough vacuuming. Adam donated a couch for members to use when they want to read in the library.

Open House Attendance Totals
Sat., Dec. 6 470
Sun., Dec. 7 325
Sat., Jan. 10 522
Sun., Jan. 11 404

Sat., Jan. 17 487
Sun., Jan. 18 348
Total Attendance 2556
Average Per Day 426

Thanks to:
Ed Stogran for, once again, volunteering as our “Mr. Conductor”. It was a big hit with everyone. Mary Deeter for running the Welcome counter and pushing those raffle tickets. Everyone who helped at the front table for your help with the Raffle sales. Finally, to everyone for helping with the layouts and keeping things running smoothly.

Raffle Prize Winners
Speaking of Raffle Tickets, the winners of the train sets are:
3rd Prize (N-Gauge Set) – Rex Mears
2nd Prize (H-O Gauge Set) – Sam Geiser
1st Prize (O-Gauge Set) – Noah Reynolds

License Plate Frames
These fit over an automobile license plate. Available in Black or Chrome. The top has “Delmar,
Delaware” engraved on it, the bottom has
“Delmarva Model Railroad Club”. Price for members $15.00, non-members $20.00. Custom orders are accepted.

Club Shirts
Bill Shehan is accepting orders for club shirts. Two styles are available and come in sizes Small to 4XL. Styles, Sizes and Prices are:

Golf Shirts (Short Sleeve Only)
S, M, L, XL $22.75
2XL $26.25
3XL $28.75
4XL $31.25

Broad Cloth (Long and Short Sleeve)
S, M, L, XL $25.00
2XL $27.50
3XL $30.00
4XL $32.50

Railroading News

Railroads sue to stop safety program
From staff reports
January 1, 2009 Shreveport Times Shreveport, Louisiana

The railroad industry in Louisiana is suing the Public Service Commission to prevent implementation of a railroad safety program authorized by a unanimous vote of the Legislature earlier this year.

The program, called the Federal Railroad Safety State Participation Program, is in place in 30 states and is jointly administered by the Federal Railroad Administration and participating states.

In December, the Louisiana Railroad Association asked the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge to stop the PSC from starting the program in Louisiana because it unfairly targets the railroads to solely pay for the program, which also will cover nonrailroad entities and facilities. Furthermore the suit, filed on Dec. 18, states the PSC is not authorized to "tax" the railroads.

"This lawsuit is a last-ditch effort by the railroads to obstruct a safety program that is saving lives in 30 states and is badly needed to save lives in Louisiana," said Foster Campbell, of Elm Grove, PSC member from north Louisiana. "Louisiana has one of the worst records in America for accidents at railroad crossings. When this safety program was heard in the Legislature, not a single member voted against it."

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, Louisiana ranks ninth out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia for overall railroad accidents in years 2004-2007. Preliminary data from 2007 show that Louisiana ranked second last year in the number of fatal accidents at rail crossings per 100,000 people.

The safety program adopted unanimously by the Legislature authorizes the PSC to hire five inspectors and a supervisor. They would receive Federal Railroad Administration training and work alongside federal agents in routine safety inspections of the railroads.

"At grade crossings, where these tragic accidents are occurring, these safety inspectors are able to ensure that warning devices are working properly and tracks are in good shape," Campbell said.

The new program will not require state funding. To carry it out the PSC will collect fees from railroads operating in Louisiana.

"When I was in the Senate I overcame the opposition of the railroads to simply require them to cut the grass at crossings," Campbell said. "The railroads are virtually unregulated in Louisiana and rail traffic in our state has more than doubled since the passage of NAFTA.

"By filing this suit the railroads are obstructing a unanimous vote of the Legislature and the Public Service Commission. This program will save lives and property and prevent tragic accidents, and is vitally needed."

Boy, 15, held after taking assault weapon on train
January 1, 2009 Los Angeles Times Los Angeles, California

SANTA CLARITA - A 15-year-old boy carrying a semiautomatic weapon was arrested on a Metrolink train from the Antelope Valley, authorities said today.The boy, whose name was not released because he is underage, was toting the assault rifle in his backpack Tuesday and bragging to passengers about the gun, said Sgt. Dean Currie of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
A passenger who saw the firearm told the conductor, who called deputies at Metrolink, Currie said. The boy was arrested when the train pulled into the Santa Clarita station at 2:45 p.m., he said. The gun was not loaded and its serial numbers had been scratched off, Currie said.

The boy, who lives in the Antelope Valley, told sheriff's deputies he was headed to downtown Los Angeles, but he did not say why, Currie said.

Investigators did not know why the boy was carrying the gun or where he got it. The boy, who has had run-ins with the law, was booked into Sylmar Juvenile Hall and will soon face illegal weapons possession charges, Currie said.

Descendants of engineer killed in wreck still searching for details
1903 train crash a mystery
By Morris Stephenson – Staff Writer
January 2, 2009 Franklin News-Post Franklin, Virginia

On Jan. 3, 1903, a head-on train crash in Boones Mill killed two engineers, but little is known about the wreck other than the details passed down through relatives of one of the men killed.

Saturday marks the 106th anniversary of the train crash, which happened at 5:33 p.m. on an isolated trestle north of Boones Mill on a section known as "The Pumpkin Vine" that ran from Roanoke to Winston-Salem, N.C.

Two grandchildren of one of the train's engineers marked the occasion with an informal gathering Tuesday evening in Hardy.

Their grandfather, Arthur Tilton Spencer, 26, of Roanoke died 25 days after the crash from burns. Another engineer, C.M. Willey, was killed instantly.
Lillian Howell, 89, of Hardy and her cousin, Thomas Tilton Meador, 88, of Moneta and five other relatives gathered Tuesday at Howell's home to review and discuss the known details of the crash.

Howell and her son, Tom, have spent four years trying to reconstruct the accident.
For some reason, that perhaps will never be known, the two could not find any newspaper accounts of the wreck.

In searching The Roanoke Times archives, all the pair could find was their grandfather's obituary. "Because he was so young, doctors first believed he would recover from the burns, but he didn't," Lillian Howell said.

The obituary reported, "While it was known that Mr. Spencer was in critical condition, the news of his death came as a surprise to his many friends, as owing to his age and splendid physical condition. It was hoped that he would recover."

The obituary also gave them some insight into the wreck, but there were no details of that dark, snowy night's pile-up that sent Spencer's train off the trestle, while leaving the other sitting on what is still known as Wright's Siding.

It is known that the second train, a work train, had arrived in the area first and was backing into the siding when Spencer's freight train, running ahead of schedule heading to Roanoke, barreled into it.

The obituary goes on to report that Spencer had been "in the employ of the railroad 11 years, having entered the service when he was but 15 years old. For some time, he held the position as fireman, but for the past six years he has been an engineer on the Winston-Salem division."

"Mr. Spencer, like many other engineers, has been in wrecks on several previous occasions, but the fascination for the work was such that he continued. He was one of the most popular men in the train service, both here and along the line of the road, and was a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, in which he was insured for $3,000," the obituary reported.

That was the only mention of the wreck, leaving the Howells to rely on accounts of the wreck passed down over the years by their widowed grandmother to her children and then on to them.
The obit also noted that Spencer's father, known as Zach, was one of the oldest engineers in service at N&W.

All of the information and photographs they have gathered have been placed in a large framed board, which will be presented to the Franklin County Historical Society at a later date.

The Howells, despite 106 years since the wreck, have recorded all the information they have collected and have been told.

They have an old photograph that N&W gave their grandmother after her husband's death. They also have a copy of the train's schedule from that date. They also have a copy of an old photograph of Arthur Spencer's father, Zacharian or Zachary, sitting in his old wood-burning locomotive.

The photograph is identified as "N&W locomotive that hauled the first train through Franklin County in 1892."

The story goes that Arthur Spencer, a dashing young man with dark hair and a heavy moustache, was trying to get back to Roanoke early that night because it was his wife's birthday. She was the former Essie Tench of Boones Mill, according to Howell.

She recounted the story told to her that the work train had arrived at the siding early, and the conductor had walked up the track with a lantern to see if Spencer's train was approaching.

The conductor was walking back to the work train as it was backing into the siding when Spencer's train came around the curve "balling the jack," according to Howell.

The impact of the crash sent Spencer's locomotive off the high trestle and onto the ground below, apparently rupturing the train's boiler. The escaping steam apparently scalded Spencer badly. It is not clear if the engineer who died at the scene was in the locomotive with Spencer or was in the work train.

Howell also pointed out that A.C. Needles, president of N&W, was an honorary pallbearer at the funeral. Needles later went on to establish the Phoebe Needles Center at Callaway.

Howell said it was during the funeral that relatives learned Mrs. Spencer was pregnant with the couple's third child, who died two months later. He was survived by two daughters, Reba, who was 3, and Mamie, who was one year old at the time of their father's death.

The third child is buried at the father's feet in the Fairlawn Cemetery, off Orange Avenue in Roanoke. His tombstone, paid for by N&W, features an elaborately-carved locomotive and coal car atop the stone, and underneath it is a trestle.

The Howells recently visited the cemetery to see the tombstone.

"Acid rain has eroded some of the finer details of the locomotive and coal car, but it is still a piece of work," Tom Howell commented.

Other relatives attending the gathering Tuesday night along with their spouses were Tammy Meador Webster, granddaughter of Tilton Meador, who now lives in Columbia, S.C., and her daughter, Brittany Michelle Webster; Marie Meador DeLong of Moneta; Author Tilton Meador, son of Tilton, who also lives at Moneta.

While the search by the Howells to get the Pumpkin Vine train wreck did not produce all the details they had hoped, they do have many more facts and accounts from family members to enrich the Pumpkin Vine Room at the Franklin County Historical Society.

Other relatives who were unable to attend Tuesday evening include Dr. William "Ron" Howell of Franklin County, Ann Taylor Lapata of Maryland and Susan Heidorn of Burnt Chimney.

Grant to help G'burg railroad
By ERIN JAMES - Evening Sun Reporter
January 2, 2009 The Evening Sun Hanover, Pennsylvania

A Gettysburg-based rail line is getting nearly $330,000 in state money to improve its tracks.
The upgrade will increase train speeds from 10 to 20 mph on the north end of the Gettysburg & Northern Railroad Co. line, which runs 25 miles from Gettysburg to Mount Holly Springs.

Increased speeds will provide more competition opportunities for rail service because the line is a link between two nearby railroads, CSX and Norfolk Southern.

Gettysburg & Northern Railroad Co. - owned by Pioneer Railcorp - will be upgraded to a Class 2 railroad when the upgrades are completed, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

According to Pioneer Railcorp's Web site, the Gettysburg railroad primarily transports canned goods, pulpboard, soda ash, grain and scrap paper. In addition to Gettysburg and Mount Holly Springs, other stations along the tracks are in Biglerville, Aspers, Gardners, Peach Glen, Hunters Run and Upper Mill.

The improvements will begin in Gardners and continue to Mount Holly Springs.

The competitive grant was awarded as part of $38.5 million the state recently invested in Pennsylvania railroads.

Officials at Pioneer Railcorp did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Contact Erin James at ejames@evening

Model railroad entertains inside retired train car
By Karen Gardner – Staff Reporter
January 5, 2009 Frederick News-Post Frederick, Maryland

Model railroad fans and owners alike have something to celebrate each new year, and that's the opening of the Catoctin Central Railroad, a miniature train layout operated by the Frederick County Society of Model Engineers.

Each Sunday in January and the first Sunday in February, FCSME opens the doors of its genuine rail car, at the rear of 423 E. Patrick St. in Frederick.

Inside the 1940s Chesapeake and Ohio horse car is a model layout, much like the tracks the horse car would have traveled during the train's heyday.

The FCSME consists of 20 members, mostly male, many of whom remember when trains were a main form of transportation in this country.

Children pressed their noses to the glass in front of the model train layout Sunday, watching the HO electric model trains circle through mountains, over bridges, past farms and into large rail yards.

Bob Embrey, a member from Leesburg, Va., greeted visitors at the door. In the first hour, 78 people filed through the rail car to see a bit of bygone American culture.

Embrey explained the rail car was the last of a series that hauled thoroughbreds from racetrack to racetrack. "The car would house six horses, their handlers, feed and hay," Embrey said. Makeshift stalls were formed with still-visible poles.

The club bought the car in 1972 for its scrap value of $900 and had it hauled to East Patrick Street. The model layout has been inside ever since. In 1992, the rail car was shifted a few hundred feet to make room for the Carroll Creek Flood Control Project. Since 1972, the model has entertained and educated children and their parents on the American railroad industry.

The HO designation stands for Half-O, which is the size of the model.

HO is about an eighty-seventh of actual train size, while the scale of an O-gauge train is approximately one-quarter inch to a foot. The layout has two tracks, which each circulate about 120 feet, plus another 100 feet of tracks in rail yards.

A digital command control keeps everything operating smoothly. A steam train chugs along, while a diesel train glides silently over the tracks. There are a mix of local and national train lines, including Western Maryland, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National, Genesee Wyoming and CSX.

Brad Eaton, a past president of the club, has been a member since 1989, but became fascinated when he first saw the model many years before that.
"Something always changes," he said. "What you see is a fraction of what we have."

Outside, a G-scale train, or the largest of the traditional model trains, circulated on an outdoor track. FCSME built the garden-sized railroad track for the club's summer gatherings, when it is too hot to stay inside the rail car.

Copyright 2009 The Frederick News-Post. All rights reserved.

History, perception, art part of model railroading
By Sarah Deeth – Staff Writer
January 6, 2009 The Peterborough Examiner Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

There is much more to model railroading than watching a miniature train travel along miniature tracks. It's combining history, perception and art in a realistic, three-dimensional form that accurately captures a town or rail line as it stood decades ago.

For people like Larry Murphy, a member of the Lindsay Model Railroaders Club, there's a certain joy in the tireless collection of maps, historical documents and pictures that eventually lead to the successful completion of a model railroad.

Murphy was one of many model railroaders at the Canadian Canoe Museum yesterday afternoon, proudly showing off his work and answering questions during the museum's open house event.

Murphy had created a model of Fenelon Falls, as it stood in the 1950s.

Everything he used, from the homes to the model cars that lined the miniature streets, was to scale and reflected the era.

"We've let everything go, historically," Murphy said. "People can see, at a glance, how it used to be."

Most of his buildings on his railroad are made from scratch. His projects always begin with a large amount of research, and as many photographs as he can find. "And if I can't find them, I go knocking on doors, to see if anyone else has photos," he said.

Sometimes he's successful, he said. Sometimes, he finds someone he can speak to about what the area used to look like.

Ted Rafuse is fascinated by rail lines, and has written several books on the subject.

His model railroad depicted two eras. One side showed Cobourg as it stood in the 1880s, the other Rice Lake as it looked in the 1850s.

"This is all long gone now," Rafuse said, gesturing to the sparse beginnings of the town.

Part of the rail track was once designed to travel over Rice Lake, he said. But within a week of the rail line opening, the track was washed away by ice.

Rafuse is a retired education, and once taught Canadian history.

For him, model railroading is another tool to teach people about Canada.

He's designed his railroad to be portable, so he can bring it to events.

He's been interested in trains for most of his life, he said, beginning when his uncle gave him a Lionel train set.

"The only time I wasn't interested was in adolescence, when I discovered football and girls," he laughed.
He's met fascinating people through his hobby, he said.

Jim Burchell, host of the event and a member of the Peterborough Model Railroaders Club, greeted and chatted with fellow enthusiasts while explaining the complex hobby to curious onlookers.

Most model railroad enthusiasts have been interested in trains their whole lives, he said, except for a brief period that covers college and the first few years of marriage.

"But once we became established the trains came out again," he said with a smile.

About three years ago the model railroaders were invited to the Canadian Canoe Museum's open house to bring something a little different to the day, he said.

The response from the public, he said, was overwhelming.

"All of a sudden, instead of a couple of hundred people, there were 1,500," he said.

The Peterborough club showed off a model of Ontario in the 1950s and 1960s, so they could run both steam engine and diesel-powered trains on the track.

The trains traveled down the middle of the two-foot wide display, and along a looped, 16-foot track.

It was designed that way, he said, so people would get a sense of peering through the trees, the buildings, and the rocks, just as they would in reality.
"It's as realistic a model as possible on a miniature scale," Burchell said.

Anyone looking to start a model railroad should get in touch with a local club and find a good hobby shop, he said.

Members of the Peterborough Model Railroad club will go to a new member's home and help, he said.

You also need to ensure you have lots of room, he said, because your railroad will inevitably expand.

Locomotive horn stolen from parked train
Associated Press
January 15, 2009 Chicago Tribune Chicago, Illinois

UNION MILLS, Ind. - Authorities believe it may have been a railroad buff who stole a large horn from a locomotive parked in northwestern Indiana. The horn consists of three aluminum trumpets and weighs 10 to 15 pounds.
Chesapeake & Indiana Railroad operations manager Don Wantola says whoever stole the horn had to climb on top of the train engine and remove several half-inch bolts.
LaPorte County police say the theft occurred sometime over the weekend. Footprints were found in the snow around the Chesapeake & Indiana locomotive, which was parked near Union Mills, a rural area about 30 miles east of Gary.
Wantola says a collector of railroad memorabilia was the likely culprit because there were other items on the train with higher scrap value that were untouched.

Information from: The Times,

Utah County railroad club keeps chugging along
By James Davis
January 11, 2009 Deseret News Salt Lake City, Utah

OREM - These folks are always going around and around in circles.

But if you think their meetings never get anywhere, think again. They're members of the Ophir, Tintic and Western Model Railroad Club in Orem.

The club, which has existed in Utah County since 1990, focuses its attention and skill on N-scale and HO-scale model railroads.

Larry Carter, club president for the past decade, said his club is a forum for hobbyists to gather and share their talents and interests. It gives members the opportunity to have model railroad discussions with like-minded people.

The club began as an HO-scale club but later expanded to include N-scale model railroads enthusiasts. At Ophir, Tintic and Western, club members individually create a table with a model railroad scenes on top. The tracks on the surface of each table, or module, conform to specific national standards. With each a track entering and leaving at a set place, club members can connect their tables together.

"Because of the structure of our club, having a module — a four-foot table that we make up and then join it with everyone else — it appeals to those people who don't have a home unit," Carter said.

People with setups in their homes don't get into a club setting as much because they don't have to rely on others to bring their tables to complete a full railroad circle.

A few times a year, Carter said, available club members will gather their modules to participate at any of a number of railroad shows throughout the state.

"Say I spend 100 hours building it," Carter said. "Then it's always nice to have a forum to display it."
Just as recently as November, the club participated in a show in Salt Lake City. Shows in 2009 are scheduled in Lehi, Ogden, Helper and Evanston, Wyoming.

"They just issue invites, and if we can get enough people to have some free time during that time," Carter said, "we'll take a group down and assemble them in a circle and have some fun."

In addition to the railroad shows, the club helps maintain a permanent railroad scene at the Orem Heritage Museum at the SCERA Theater.

The scene depicts 1940s life in Orem. And while the club doesn't own the layout, it provides upkeep and maintenance of the set. The club meets on the third Thursday of every month in the theater's board room.
One member of the club, Doug Lamb of Payson, sets up a model railroad display at the historic Peteetneet School in Payson just before Christmas every year.

Carter said Lamb is usually good for a few modules whenever the club puts on a show.

"He will bring 15 of them if we wanted him to," Carter said.

While the members of the Ophir, Tintic and Western Model Railroad Club may not be celebrities, their hobby certainly features one.

British singer Rod Stewart and his 23-by-124 foot model railroad layout were featured in the December 2007 issue of "Model Railroader" magazine, which called Stewart's layout one of the finest in existence.

On Jan. 23 and Jan. 24, the club will host its annual railroad show at Thanksgiving Point. For more information, visit

Those interested in learning more about the Ophir, Tintic and Western Model Railroad Club can visit its Web site at

One man's passion for the railroad takes his hobby to the next level
January 19, 2008 WWAY Channel 3 Wilmington, North Carolina

There is something enchanting about the railroad that draws people to make it a hobby with model trains. For one Brunswick County man, he's taken that hobby a step farther than most, making it a big part of his home.

It may look and sound like a railroad yard, but it's really Billy Medlin's bedroom, and his living room and dining room; filled with his passion for model trains.

Back in December 1937, when Billy saw a man burning off along the train tracks that ran nearby his home, the five-year-old had an idea.

"I decided I would burn my right of way off. Of course, I caught on fire," said Medlin. He landed in the hospital for Christmas; a stay that would change his life in a couple of ways.

"Santa Claus brought me a couple trains while I was in the hospital," Medlin said. This included a wind up model, sparking a romance with the railroad; especially the names of the rail lines. "The Great Northern, Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, Northern Pacific, Western Pacific, ATS&F, Burlington."

And of course the Seaboard and Atlantic Coast that rode the rails he grew up near. While serving in the Coast Guard in the 1950’s, Billy's passion for trains was rekindled during a visit to a Baltimore bar. "The bartender on his bar had a Baltimore & Ohio steam locomotive with a coal tender and a couple of flat cars that he'd bring you milk or beer down to you."

Nowadays, Billy has his own version of the B&O running under his bedroom ceiling. He started hanging tracks with the help of a carpenter in 2006, shortly after his wife died. Now he keeps them on display for all to enjoy, including his daughters.

"I think they think I'm nuts some times," said Billy. His brothers come over and play with them, too; reminding them of treasured childhood memories. "It was just good to live by the railroad," added Billy.

Bowie man creates his own world with model trains
Ever-changing display a staple at senior center
By Andrea Noble – Staff Writer
January 22, 2009 -Maryland Community Newspapers Online

In Ted Tuck's world of model trains, nothing is dated past 1958, the circus is always on its way to town and any street or shop he chooses is named in tribute to his friends and family.

The 69-year-old Bowie resident is an avid model train collector and railroad builder who has been displaying his wacky world annually since the early 1990s, first in his front yard and for the last seven years at the Bowie Senior Center.

"The problem is I live on a cul-de-sac, so nobody saw it except my neighbors," Tuck said.

But now hundreds of people come to the center to see his trains. They have become a hit, prompting seniors to bring their grandchildren multiple times to see each unique display, said center director Kathy White.

"The seniors look forward to it every year," said White, whose husband has his own barbershop in Tuck's latest creation.

Tuck said that like many people his age, he first played with model trains as a child. But joining the Air Force and moving around the world kept him from amassing any sort of train collection.
It was after he retired that he discovered the Washington, Virginia, and Maryland Garden Railway Society, a group that constructs large scale train displays around the region, and returned to the hobby.

"You get to create your own world," said Tuck of the draw to model train displays. "I do my own zoning here. My streets are as wide as I want."

There are also no codes regulating pirate bars or preventing King Kong from hanging out on rooftops, two attractions featured in the current display.

For the last seven years at the center, Tuck typically begins construction the day after Thanksgiving but he returns every few weeks to change up the displays to keep people intrigued. This year the display will remain up through February.
Already Tuck has cycled through a Christmas display and circus train, with a fire department parade and finally "love train" for Valentine's Day rounding out the themes. He modifies everything from the buildings to the railroad tracks for his displays, shaping the tracks to make them fit the 5-foot-by-15-foot space he has at the center. His trains are even emblazoned with his own logo, white letters AWRY on a black oval, which stand for the Abyss Western Railway.

"It's really fascinating, all the variety," said senior Lola Royce of Bowie. Royce said her daughter has brought children she babysits to the senior center several times this year to see the train displays.

"When you start watching [the trains], you sort of get stuck watching them," Royce said.

E-mail Andrea Noble at

Eight decades later, model railroads keep hold on man’s attention
By Alexia Lang, Special to The Star
January 23, 2009 Kansas City Star Kansas City, Missouri

Childhood dreams sometimes become lifelong passions — at least that was the case for one Prairie Village man who says he has a bit of “railroad fever.”

Some boys want to be baseball players and grow up to be lovers of the game. Bill Foster wanted to be a railroader as a child and instead he grew up to be a Presbyterian minister who now runs a railroad in his back yard — a garden-scale (G-scale), model railway that is.

“Every dream of a boy is to be an engineer,” 82-year-old Foster said. “I got my first set of trains when I was one year old and I still have it. So I have been doing this all my life.”

It wasn’t until about 15 years ago, when Foster retired and moved in with his daughter near 95th Street and Mission Road, that he thought of moving his train sets outside.

“He had filled up my dining room with a Dickens Village and his trains,” said daughter Vickie Sisco. “One day he announced he couldn’t build onto it anymore inside so he offered to give me back the dining room.”

Foster then asked permission to take over the back yard and begin what he calls a never-ending job.

Foster excavated earth and carefully laid the tracks along the fence line of the yard watching closely to maintain the three percent gradient he wanted. Over the years, he has built intricate towns and villages that his trains — the Foster and Sisco Railway — wind through.

He has more than 20 buildings scattered about the yard. Some of the favorite structures include the hobo village, the lumber mill, the farmyard and the school building. Foster purchases all of his moving stock pre-built, but tries his deft hand at building some of the structures found in his garden. While some come in kits, others are built from scratch, as are the fences.

Foster said one problem with constructing the buildings from scratch is that squirrels seem to like the glue and tend to nibble on the wood.

He said a lot of maintenance goes into keeping everything nice. All of the trains are put away and some of the buildings are stored indoors for the winter, giving Foster the chance to get things back into shape.

“Weather is very hard on them,” he said. “I could paint all of the buildings one winter, put it out all summer and they would need it again the next winter.”

“And I know how to be a real railroader,” Foster said, offering pictures of his model towns flooded after storms. “I even have floods and other natural disasters to deal with.”

He has his own little workshop in the basement where he plans his additions and assembles and repairs the various pieces of his railway.

“It’s the planning and building that is my favorite part,” Foster said. “And being able to share it with the kids.”

Foster said being a model railroader isn’t an inexpensive hobby.

He said he pays around $700 per locomotive and then installs a $700 rechargeable, custom-made battery because he does not have an electric system.
The various train cars run anywhere from $40 to $80. And the assembly-required buildings cost from $150 to $200 apiece. He has four locomotives, approximately two dozen cars and three cabooses.

“You do the math,” he said. “It’s not cheap but I do it because I love it.”

The art of building model railroads has become something of a family hobby for the Fosters.

“If you are around, you are most likely going to be out helping dad with the trains,” Sisco said.

Amtrak train is essential link
By Kevin B. Jones
January 24, 2009 Rutland Herald Rutland, Vermont

The Rutland community has come together and shown an extraordinary level of support for preserving the Ethan Allen Express, our daily Amtrak service. The Rutland Chamber of Commerce, local legislators from throughout the county and both sides of the political aisle, the ordinary citizen, Rutland aldermen, Killington Resort, and rail advocates have turned out at rallies and public hearings to collectively voice their support for this essential transportation link.
Importantly, the Rutland Herald through both its eloquent editorials and serious fact-filled news reports has once again demonstrated the relevance and necessity of our independent family-owned daily newspaper to both the Rutland region and Vermont.
It was over a decade ago that as a Rutland alderman I got excited about the idea of daily train service to Rutland as a result of the advocacy of former Rutland Rep. Curt McCormack. Through Curt's tireless advocacy, growing support locally and in Montpelier, and the federal funds that former U.S. Sen. Jeffords was able to bring home, the Ethan Allen Express became a reality.
When train service was finally initiated, I was then working in Manhattan and through good luck rode the first train into Rutland to a welcoming crowd, connecting me from my meeting in Albany to my now second home in Rutland. Over the coming months, I would at week's end make the mad dash from my office to the subway to catch the train back to Rutland for the weekend. More recently I have reversed my commute, returning to live in Chittenden, and earn my living through being connected to the outside world. Of great importance to this connectedness is transportation, especially that which allows one to work, rather than focus on the road.

Over the last decade the working world has changed dramatically allowing many people to live where they choose, connect through technology, and travel to the central office or client when necessary. Places like Rutland County with an outstanding quality of life when connected with good technology and good transportation (e.g. the Ethan Allen Express) have and can continue to benefit economically from this change. Replacing our daily train service with bus service will go against this trend, is economically shortsighted, and would demonstrate a major disconnect between legislative leaders and the future of our region. The Rutland community has come together and demonstrated our support. It is now up to leadership in Montpelier to respond and we will be watching the outcome closely.

Young train victim recovering from injuries staff report
Monday, January 26, 2009 Houston, Texas

HOUSTON – Houston doctors say that the little girl who lost her legs in a train accident is still in critical condition.

On Friday, 11-year-old Giselle Marroquin and several friends were grabbing onto a slow-moving train near I-10 and the Beltway in Channelview.

Witnesses said the kids were dangling their feet and that’s when Giselle slipped.

The train severed her left leg and partially severed her right, said authorities.

Giselle was rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital but doctors weren't able to save either leg.

As the girl recovers, an effort is under way to get a program called “Operation Life Saver” into the Channelview ISD.

The idea is to have volunteers go into schools in the area to inform students about the dangers of trains.

Train your eyes on Nuremberg’s rail museum
By Michael Abrams
January 27, 2009 Stars and Stripes - European Edition

Boys of all ages supposedly have a certain fascination with trains. Many a tale has been told of fathers who buy electric train sets for their sons, only to refuse to hand over the controls once the trains get rolling.

In Nuremberg, Germany, there is a place where fathers and sons — and the rest of the family — can get their fill of railroad lore. It is the DB Museum, dedicated to the history of the German railway system. DB stands for Deutsche Bahn, meaning German rail, and the museum traces its story from its beginnings, through World War II, to the reunification of Germany.

The exhibits begin on the ground floor with the early history of the rail system and the railroad during the Third Reich and the time immediately following. Uniforms are on display, as are maps and official documents pertaining to the Holocaust. After a little history, visitors arrive at the first hall with real trains.

Germany’s fastest train, the ICE 3, which can reach speeds of 205 mph, is on display. Next to it is a 1952 replica of its earliest steam engine, the Adler. It was manufactured in England in 1835, and then transported in pieces by boat and mule to Nuremberg, where it was assembled.

Two opulent railway carriages used by King Ludwig II of Bavaria are among the museum highlights. Parked next to them is a salon car that once ferried Chancellor Otto von Bismarck across the German Empire.

The museum’s second floor features a giant model train set that an engineer runs once an hour on the half-hour. There are smaller models that, with a push of a button, you can set in motion, and you can try your hand at being an engineer on an engine simulator.

Also on this floor are exhibitions on the railway from 1945 to 1989, and the history of train stations.

Across the street there is another hall with electric and steam engines, and an outdoor exhibit that is open from April 1 to the end of October.

Admission to the premises is a two-for-one deal, for on the top floor of the building is the Museum für Kommunikation, or communication museum.

Originally this was a postal museum, as the German post office once ran the mail and telecommunications.
At the entrance to the museum is a post office counter from 1910, and then a walk-through leads past vintage mailboxes, horse-drawn post coaches and even an electric postal delivery van from 1922, showing how the mail was once delivered. As in early America, mail and people once traveled together — think stagecoach here. Farther on there is a telegraph display, with Morse key and telegraph machines.

Interesting exhibits are the mid-20th century telephone operator information desk, the World War II-era switchboard and a large collection of telephones. Check out the Mickey Mouse and Garfield phones, and one with the telephone dial at the bottom of a Coca-Cola bottle.

An Internet station, where visitors can check out sites on the Web, brings the museum into the modern world.

For A Laugh (emails from internet friends)

How to call the police
George Phillips of Meridian, Mississippi was going up to bed when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window.
George opened the back door to go turn off the light but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things.
He phoned the police, who asked "Is someone in your house?" and he said "no".
Then they said that all patrols were busy, and that he should simply lock his door and an officer would be along when available.
George said, "Okay," hung up, counted to 30, and phoned the police again. "Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people in my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now cause I've just shot them all." Then he hung up.
Within five minutes three police cars, an Armed Response unit, and an ambulance showed up at the Phillips’ residence. Of course, the police caught the burglars red-handed.
One of the Policemen said to George: "I thought you said that you'd shot them!"
George said, "I thought you said there was nobody available!"

Bubba Applies For A Job
Bubba applied for an engineering position at a Lake Charles refinery. A Yankee applied for the same job and both applicants having the same qualifications were asked to take a test by the manager. Uponcompletion of the test, both men only missed one of the questions.The manager went to Bubba and said: "Thank you for your interest, but we've decided to give the Yankee the job."

Bubba asked: "And why are you giving him the job? We both got nine questions correct. This being Louisiana, and me being a Southern boy I should get the job!"
The manager said: "We have made our decision not on the correct answers, but rather on the one question that you both missed."
Bubba then asked: "And just how would one incorrect answer be better than the other?"

The manager replied: “Bubba, it’s like this. On question #4 the Yankee put down; ‘I don't know.’ You put down, ‘Neither do I.’”

5 Miles a Day
I went to the doctor for a complete physical. His only concern was my weight and told me I should walk 5 miles each day. I quit after the first week because I ended up 35 miles from home.

Revenge – Woman Style
An old man and woman were married for many years, even though they hated each other. When they had a confrontation, screaming and yelling could be heard deep into the night.

The old man would shout, "When I die, I will dig my way up and out of the grave and come back and haunt you for the rest of your life!" Neighbors feared him. They believed he practiced black magic because of the many strange occurrences that took place in their neighborhood.
The old man liked the fact that he was feared. To everyone's relief, he died of a heart attack when he was 68. His wife had a closed casket at the wake. After the burial, she went straight to the local bar and began to party as if there was no tomorrow.
Her neighbors, concerned for her safety, asked, "Aren't you afraid that he may indeed be able to dig his way up and out of the grave and come back to haunt you for the rest of your life?"
The wife put down her drink and said, "Let him dig. I had him buried upside down."

Sarah and the Pope
Sarah Palin decided that she needed more exposure to world leaders. She set up an audience with the Pope in Rome.
The Pope took her on a boat ride on the Tiber River where they discussed world affairs cruising down the river.
Suddenly a wind came up and blew the Pope's hat off and it flew into the water. Without missing a beat, Palin took off her high heel shoes and stepped overboard. She proceeded to walk on the water over to the Pope's hat, in full view of the press corps. Returning the hat to the astonished Pope, she continued the discussion as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
The next day the networks and the NY Times reported "Palin can't swim!"

The dangers of drinking
Bud and Jim were A couple of drinking buddies who worked as aircraft mechanics in Philadelphia. One day the airport was fogged in and they were stuck in the hangar with nothing to do.

Bud said, 'Man, I wish we had something to drink!' Jim says, 'Me too. Y'know, I've heard you can drink jet fuel and get a buzz. You wanna try it?'So they pour themselves a couple of glasses of highoctane hootch and got completely smashed.

The next morning Bud wakes up and is surprised at how good he feels. In fact he feels GREAT! NO hangover! NO bad side effects. Nothing! Then the phone rings. It's Jim. Jim says, 'Hey, how do you feel this morning?'

Bud says, 'I feel great. How about you?'
Jim says, 'I feel great, too. You don't have a hangover?'
Bud says, 'No that jet fuel is great stuff – no hangover, nothing. We ought to do this more often.'
'Yeah, well there's just one thing.'
'What's that?'
'Have you farted yet?'
'No '
'Well, DON'T, 'cause I'm in DENVER!

Up-Coming Shows in the Area

Timonium, MD – Great Scale Model Train Show
January 31 – February 1, 2009 – Maryland State Fair Grounds The Great Scale Model Train Show

Annapolis, MD – WB&A Chapter TCA “Winter Train & Toy Meet”
February 14, 2009. Annapolis National Guard Armory, 18 Willow St., Annapolis. 9:00am – 2:00pm. $5 Contact: Art Tate 410-974-0373

Seaford, DE – Seaford VFD Toy & Train Show
February 28, 2009. Seaford Fire Hall.

Wilmington, DE – Nur Temple Train Show
March 1, 2009 – Nur Temple Hall

Hartly, DE – Hartly VFD Spring Model Train & Toy Show
March 14, 2009. Hartly Fire Hall. 9:00am - 3:00pm $3 (Under 12 Free) Contact: Allen Metheny, Sr 302-492-3755.

Edison, NJ – Greenburg’s Train & Toy Show
March 14 – 15, 2009 – New Jersey Expo Center
Greenberg's Train & Toy Show

Severna Park, MD – National Capital Division TTOS Swap Meet & Train Show
Earleigh Heights VFD, RT 2 & Earleigh Heights Road. March 15, 2009. 9:00am - 2:00pm. $5 (under 12 free). Contact: Bill Dyson 301-621-9728.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sunday 1/18: Open House

(Sorry it took so long to get this up.)

On Sunday we had 370-ish people. Thanks everyone.
Every thing was OK. The O Gauge had a transformer blown saturday, but they borrowed one from a person up in Dover. Thanks to that person, they were able to run all their tracks.

N scale went down again on Sunday morning, but we got it fixed before we opened.

HO scale had a great day, too.

Tinplate had some electrical issues, however, they fixed the problem Wednesday night.

To the three winners of the raffle, congratulations who won either the O, HO or N scales train sets.

Stay tuned for more info.

If there is any info you want to put up send it to the club's email


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Curtis Wells' Shay #5 on W&PC RR bridge from Weiland to Logging spur. Photo by Rowland Ritte 1/10/09.

January 17, 2009: Open House

Today was a hit: We had 480 people

The HO group took care of the ghost switch problem by disconecting the switch. A big thanks to Bill and Elmer

The N scale group had little problem with their system today. Thank goodness it was late the afternoon. Matt got it running after two hours of working on it.

From what I could tell, the O-scale and the tinplate did well, too.

Photo taken by: Toby Schramm

Monday, January 12, 2009

January Newsletter

Delmarva Timetable
News of the Delmarva Model Railroad Club
January 2009
Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held Wednesday, January 7, around 7:30pm in the club meeting room.

Library News
Jeff Shockley, Librarian

I am just about finished with the reorganization of the magazine collections. I have completed the task of sorting all the magazines, removing any duplicate issues on hand and putting them in the White Elephant collection for sale at the Open Houses. A total of 15 boxes of duplicates were given to the White Elephant table. This includes a 40-year collection of Model Railroader that was donated to the club, of which I was able to incorporate 2 issues into our collection.

I found several 3-ring binders and page protectors in the clean-up and I am currently getting all the paperwork I find organized. I am cutting and pasting some newspaper articles onto 8-1/2” x 11” paper to fit into the binders. Once this is completed, I will go back and sort it all by date.

Bill Deeter has the computer up and running. Still having a couple of issues with it, but they are minor and the computer is usable. It can be used by the HO and N scalers to program their DCC locomotives. I will be using it to catalog the books, magazines, videos, and other items in the Library.

Layout News

With Open House season here, I am going to forego the individual scale reports and just say all layouts are progressing with scenery, track work and other general maintenance.

License Plate Frames

These fit over an automobile license plate. Available in Black or Chrome. The top has “Delmar,
Delaware” engraved on it, the bottom has
“Delmarva Model Railroad Club”. Price for members $15.00, non-members $20.00. Custom orders are accepted.Open House Schedule

The Open House schedule for this month is:

Saturday, January 10 11am – 5 pm
Sunday, January 11 Noon – 5pm
Saturday, January 17 11am – 5pm
Sunday, January 18 Noon – 5pm

For December Open Houses, Saturday saw 470 guests come in and Sunday had 325.

Club Shirts

Bill Shehan is accepting orders for club shirts. Two styles are available and come in sizes Small to 4XL.
Styles, Sizes and Prices are:

Golf Shirts (Short Sleeve Only)
S, M, L, XL $22.75
2XL $26.25
3XL $28.75
4XL $31.25

Broad Cloth (Long and Short Sleeve)
S, M, L, XL $25.00
2XL $27.50
3XL $30.00
4XL $32.50

Railroading News


Santa Claus visits kids at scenic railroad
Children tell jolly old St. Nick their Christmas wish list during Santa in the Caboose
By Patricia A. West-Volland
December 12, 2008 Zanesville Times Recorder Zanesville, Ohio

As the wind whipped the snow around, Santa sat snugly in the caboose greeting children who arrived with their wish lists.

Clay Bradley, 5, asked for a hamster and his sister, Cassidy, 2, was reluctant to talk with Santa. But their cousin, Paige Bradley, 5, had a long list of things she wanted for Christmas. She named several things, including a hamster and a Hannah Montana doll, when she looked at Santa and said, "I can't remember everything."

The children assured Santa there would be cookies for him when he arrived at their house and Clay said there would be "cookies and chocolate milk and reindeer food." Paige assured Santa "I'll put the oats (for the reindeer) on the roof."

Marla Bradley, Clay and Cassidy's mother, saw the Santa in the Caboose event in the newspaper and wanted to take them to visit Santa on a train. "Clay watches the Polar Express everyday even in the summer. He loves trains so this was for him," she said.

Santa gave the children candy canes and as they were about to depart, Paige turned to Santa and said, "I like your colors."

The Zanesville & Western Scenic Railroad hosted the Santa in the Caboose and is currently holding a membership drive, too. The group is working to establish scenic train rides from Avondale to Glass Rock in Perry County. They hope to have the first section of the track open and running by next summer.

"It depends on how fast we get money and volunteers. Everything's done on everyone's free time," said Art Ruck of Shawnee.
The Zanesville and Western ran on the same tracks in the 1800s and was nicknamed the "zigzag and wobbly," Gallis said. "This was a major freight line."
While the line will no longer be a freight line, it will carry passengers through some of the small towns of Muskingum and Perry counties, such as White Cottage, East Fultonham and through to Glass Rock.
"We'll have one of the most scenic railroads in Ohio," said Charlie Thomas of East Fultonham and the group's train master. "Eventually we hope to have a turn-around at every station."

A small group from the old Buckeye Scenic Railroad in Hebron formed the new organization and has about 50 members now, but more working members are needed. A person can be an honorary member for a day before becoming a member. Membership levels are $20 associate, $30 adult, $25 youth for ages 13 to 17 and $10 for 12 and younger. Family memberships are $60. All memberships include free train rides.
Currently the train consists of four passenger coaches, one open-air gondola, one locomotive, two cabooses and other equipment.

Mark Smith took his daughter, Jenna Smith, 9, and a friend, Dakota Dilly, 11, to visit with Santa. It was not Jenna's first visit with Santa this year. She has been to the mall and other locations to visit with Santa and leave her wish list.

"We heard about it from a friend ... and she (Jenna) was excited to see him," Mark said.

Jenna's list included an American Girl doll and a karaoke set.

Santa listened to each child's wishes and parents were giving a slight nod or shake of their head, too.
"I played Santa Claus years ago. It's a tough role to play when you realize you're carrying these kids' hopes and dreams. You have to be careful what you say," Santa (Ed Gallis of White Cottage) said.
The Green Shades Garden Center and the Maysville Regional Water District sponsored the Santa in the Caboose.

Children can visit with Santa on the Caboose from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 13 and 20. The train is located at the intersection of Ohio 93 and Crock Road in Avondale with parking in the Green Shades Garden Center. Admission is $3 and includes a photo of the child with Santa that will be e-mailed to the parents.
Additional information about The Zanesville & Western Scenic Railroad can be found at

Homeless campers asked to leave railroad property
December 15, 2008 Des Moines Register Des Moines, Iowa

Around 10 people living in tents on private railroad property south of downtown Des Moines will be asked to leave the campsite.The action, generally taken on an annual basis, comes from railroad officials, Assistant City Manager Chris Johansen said. "It's not a city-initiated process," Johansen said this morning. "It's no different than any other private property owner enforcing their property rights."

The homeless people have reportedly been living in tents on railroad property near the Raccoon River, Johansen said. The action comes about two weeks after city officials told around nine men to leave an encampment along the Des Moines River on the city's north side. City officials said the huts assembled from pallets and scrap lumber were fire hazards because they contained wood-burning stoves. A homeless man who was sleeping inside one of the shacks sustained minor burns on Dec. 1 when the structure caught fire after a propane heater was knocked over and set the hut ablaze.City crews moved in Thursday to tear down five shacks that remained at the site. Johansen said he does not believe the campsite on railroad property includes any huts similar to the ones the city tore down last week.

Model railroading still building steam in East Texas
By Jamaal E. O’Neal
December 16, 2008 Longview News-Journal Longview, Texas

Among the rows of boxcar construction sets, model train kits and racks of model train magazines, Gregg County Court at Law Judge Alfonso Charles reminisced Thursday about his childhood at Homer's Railroad Supplies and Accessories.

"I used to play with trains when I was younger," Charles said as he examined a Santa Fe boxcar set. "It was really fun when I was a kid."

Though Charles' fascination with model trains has diminished over time, his son's interest appears to be picking up steam. Charles and his wife were looking to purchase a Thomas the Tank Engine train for their 6-year-old son. The toy train comes equipped with a smokestack that blows smoke and lights up when started.

"I used to play with trains when I was a kid," Charles said. "(Our son) told us that he wanted Santa to get him this train. It kind of surprised us."

But according to Homer Fleischer , owner of Homer's on Methvin Street, their son's interest in model trains should not come as a shock. Since Disney's 2004 blockbuster hit "Polar Express," a magical Christmas adventure of a young boy who boards a train to the North Pole, more people are getting into the model railroading hobby, Fleischer said. Technological upgrades in model railroading, such as digital devices that allow simultaneous control of up to 99 engines, have also contributed to the hobby's growing popularity, he added.

"Little kids, and even some adults, are drawn to trains because of the motion," Fleischer said. "Looking at trains as they race by is fascinating to some people, and they want to have a smaller version of it in their homes."

Fleischer admits having an obsession with model railroading. For 79 years, the hobby has been an outlet from his daily pressures and keeps him active during his retirement years.

"I still have the first Lionel Train my parents bought me when I was 6-years-old back in the 1930s," Fleischer said as he pointed to the well-preserved, polished silver train displayed on the top shelf behind the cash register. "(Model) railroading keeps me young."

Fleischer said the many facets of model railroading make it an ideal hobby for families. For children, model railroading is a gateway to careers in engineering, design and art, which has kept the hobby growing for years, he added.

"There is something each family member can do together when model railroading," Fleischer said. "There is a good bit of electrical work, scenery design and layout design that's enough to keep everyone busy."

For the Pleasant family, model railroading has never lost its steam. Traveling through Longview on their way back home to Fort Worth, Bruce Pleasant said he and his son Joshua, 12, have grown closer as a result of model railroading.

"I have a 20-by-20 building with 40 plus locomotives and 300 to 400 boxcars," Pleasant said as he purchased a model railroading magazine at Fleischer's store. "I just love the power and motion of trains, and so does my son. My little girl is getting interested in it too. It's just a hobby that never gets old."

See model trains at Kings Mountain museum
December 17, 2008 Gaston Gazette Gastonia, North Carolina

The Kings Mountain Historical Museum presents the opening of the Sixth Annual Trains, Trains, Trains Exhibit on display through Jan. 4.

The Piedmont Division of the Atlantic Coast ‘S' Gaugers will have their interactive trains running for everyone to enjoy. Several train collectors from the area will exhibit their prized possessions along with great railroad memorabilia.

Moravian Cookies and Cheese Straws from Old Salem are available at the Gift Shop during the Train Exhibit.

The museum is located at 100 E. Mountain St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and Sunday, from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, call 704-739-1019 or visit

Open House Showcases Historic Train Station
By Greg Gross
December 20, 2008 York Sunday News York, PA

The Stewartstown Railroad Station was once again buzzing with activity Saturday.

But, instead of passengers milling about until their train arrived, people checked out the station during an open house hosted by the Friends of the Stewartstown Railroad.

The interior of the station -- which sits at West Pennsylvania Avenue and Hill Street in Stewartstown -- is almost exactly as it looked when it was opened in 1914, said Ray Reter, a member of the Friends' board.
Before the invention of modern shipping companies such as UPS and FedEx, the station served as a post office of sorts.

"If you have a package to send, you brought it to the local train station," Reter said.

Packages that were dropped off at the Stewartstown station were loaded into box cars and shipped west to nearby New Freedom, where they were sorted and once again loaded into cars to be shipped anywhere in the country via a main rail line.
Reter said the roughly seven-mile Stewartstown Railroad line was also used to ferry passengers and freight.

The link offered rural farmers the means to transport their goods to markets in York and Baltimore.

As Reter showed a time schedule from decades ago, he pointed out that some of the stations listed were merely the surnames of farmers whose land the train stopped at. The farm stations still carry the names they were given all those years ago.

"I guess whoever was there first got the honors," Reter said.

Outside the station, two old passenger cars from about the 1940s sat on aging rails. On another set of tracks, a crane train used to lift and replace rails and a self-propelled inspection car was hooked up to other maintenance cars.

The tracks come to an abrupt end at Route 851 within the borough. Decades ago, the tracks were connected to another line that ran east of Stewartstown.

Reter said the crane and maintenance train will be used to refurbish the line.

Kenneth Karlen of Shrewsbury said he'd like to see the tracks put to use someday. His property abuts the line.

"I'm hoping that they get it going again," he said.
The nonprofit Friends of the Stewartstown Railroad hopes to have the line open for excursion trains sometime in the future, Reter said.

For more information about the Stewartstown Railroad and the Friends of the Stewartstown Railroad, check out

Stuck on Amtrak, Stuck with Amtrak
By Jim Timmerman
December 25, 208 The Holland Sentinel Holland, Michigan

It’s tough on those of us who believe in the value of passenger rail service when Amtrak is your standard-bearer and sole provider.
The simple four-hour ride that turned into a 16-hour nightmare for passengers between Chicago and Grand Rapids Sunday and Monday encapsulated all that’s wrong with rail travel in America - poor customer service, restrictive labor rules and Amtrak’s lack of control of the tracks it uses.
Of those factors, customer service is the one under Amtrak’s control. Forget the blizzard - a company committed to service, which empowered its employees to make the decisions necessary to provide it, could have avoided the debacle or at least ameliorated the suffering.

The train could have been stopped at an earlier station and a bus called in to take passengers the rest of the way.

But the most glaring failure was the crew’s decision to push on from the Holland station aware passengers would be left stranded. Knowing they were within minutes of their 12-hour shift limit, the Amtrak crew could have given Grand Rapids-bound passengers the option of getting off at the Holland depot and calling their family members to pick them up. Instead, they simply followed the rules and transported the passengers a mile ahead and kept them prisoner in a rail yard for more than three hours.
Amtrak obviously has never had its employees attend the Disney University service school. Throughout the experience, Amtrak failed to communicate fully and candidly with the passengers or provide answers to the people waiting to pick up passengers. (Imagine how frightening this event might have been in a pre-cell phone era.) The TV pictures of passengers falling into two feet of snow on an unshoveled platform as they disembarked in Grand Rapids illustrated the fullness of the indignity.
The question of course is whether anyone in Amtrak cares. The Pere Marquette is not one of Amtrak’s premiere lines. It’s not the kind of scenic, long-distance route enjoyed by the rail aficionados who lobby for Amtrak. It’s not profitable, like the railroad’s busy Northeast routes, which also carry senators and congressmen to Washington.
No, the Pere Marquette is a mundane, short-haul line serving unglamorous West Michigan, and Amtrak has threatened many times to cancel if it didn’t get a hefty state subsidy ($6.4 million this year). The Pere Marquette is frequently delayed, due in large part to the fact that Amtrak controls only a fraction of the tracks on the route, and is at the mercy of CSX and other freight lines in the Chicago area, the nation’s rail bottleneck.
Amtrak does nothing to promote the Pere Marquette - that’s handled by a private consortium. Yet in spite of all that, ridership hit another record level this year, because riding the rails is - on most days - such a pleasant alternative to driving to and from Chicago.
America desperately needs an alternative to driving and flying for short- and mid-range inter-city travel. Rail service is the obvious option. Unfortunately in America, that means Amtrak. Amtrak constantly has to fight in Congress to keep its federal subsidy, which is simply a more direct version of the subsidies that air and car travel receive. Winning support is always a challenge in part because Amtrak keeps shooting itself in the foot with episodes like the Pere Marquette nightmare.
One last point: Yes, there was a blizzard Sunday. And of course safety has to be the highest priority. I’m not a railroad expert, but I do know this: Trains travel in Siberia. Regularly, and in far more brutal weather. I’ve ridden a train over the Alps from Rome to Vienna in a raging blizzard and arrived right on time. Is our rail stock in America that much worse than Europe’s? If so, why?
This week’s debacle was an insult to the people of West Michigan. But then working for Amtrak apparently means never having to say you’re sorry.

Model Train Exhibit Offers Big Dream On A Small Scale
By Kira Goldenbert
December 25, 2008

North Stonington, CT - Aside from the Jesus-themed artwork on the walls, everything else filling the community room in the Third Baptist Church relates to model trains.

Recent copies of magazines like Model Railroader and Railfan and Railroad were available. And multiple control panels full of switches and wires were erected to run trains around a network of tracks that crisscross one another in a rectangular space that, at 42 feet long and 16 feet wide, fills the room.

”It's a hobby,” Jim DeLany of Norwich said of the Mohegan-Pequot Model Railroad Club's annual Model Train Christmas Spectacular, which they spent seven hours assembling Saturday.

”Some people are into golf,” DeLany said, recalling former coworkers who spent all their spare time comparing courses and clubs.

”But from my perspective,” said North Stonington resident Larry Southwick, picking up his friend's train of thought, “walking around in the rain to hit a little ball in a hole seems silly. There's a lot of technology here.”

”It's accomplishing something when you start with just raw lumber and you build something that works,” Southwick said.

There are buildings, forests, bodies of water and even a 1-inch tall portable toilet resting beside a building. Giving the trains and tracks scenic context, it all evokes Connecticut in autumn during the early 1950s scaled to 1/87th of its actual size. And it was all built lovingly by hand.

Club members said at least 50 people came to see the display Monday and Tuesday, but things were quieter on Christmas Eve. This is the first year the club has assembled a setup in North Stonington.

Southwick, who hosts a weekly club meeting at his house, estimated the total price of the materials in the church to be about $25,000. The club's supplies fill his basement. Club members - there are 54 - take field trips together to observe trains and infrastructure throughout the country.

The Mohegan-Pequot Model Train Club's members will next showcase their skills at the Railroad Hobby Show in West Springfield, Mass., at the end of January.

The train display at the Third Baptist Church, 5 Rocky Hollow Road, is open from noon to 5 p.m. from Dec. 26 through Dec. 31 and then again on Jan. 2. Admission is free.

Experts Say Sequence of Signals May Have Contributed to Metrolink Crash
By Robert J. Lopez and Rich Connell
December 26, 2008 Los Angeles Times Los Angeles, CA

The position of trackside warning signals near the Chatsworth Metrolink station could have increased distractions for the engineer involved in September's deadly collision with a freight train, according to experts who cite the causes of a similar crash a decade ago.Several hundred yards and a few seconds before arriving at the Chatsworth station, Metrolink engineer Robert M. Sanchez passed a critical solid yellow signal that should have warned him to stop at the next light about a mile after the depot, according to federal safety investigators.

Placing the yellow light before a station, experts say, creates an opportunity for distractions for engineers -- who must bring the train to a halt, communicate with conductors and focus on passengers getting on or off. This is especially critical in places like the Chatsworth station, where the signal after the depot is near a point where the main line merges with another track.
"It's certainly not unreasonable to consider that he may have totally forgotten about the yellow," said Barry M. Sweedler, a former investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board who helped probe a Maryland accident a decade ago with similar circumstances. "If you interrupt the sequence [and] passengers get on, a couple of minutes go by. . . . Think of the distractions."Leaving the station, Sanchez accelerated to 54 mph, received and sent text messages and sailed through the stop light, slamming into a Union Pacific freight train, investigators say. The engineer and 24 passengers died in the accident and 135 were injured.
Signal locations have been determined largely by factors such as curves, double track switches and the stopping and movement requirements of longer, heavier freight carriers that share track with Metrolink trains, according to the commuter service.But ideally, key warning signals -- or, at the very least, reminder signs -- should be positioned right after the depot at stations such as Chatsworth, according to the experts.Teams of NTSB investigators are examining signal issues and human factors that could have contributed to the Sept. 12 collision. Signal positions and any potential to increase human error will probably figure into the inquiry, which is expected to take months to complete, Sweedler said.Metrolink officials have declined to discuss the crash, saying they are prohibited from talking because of the ongoing federal investigation.But the agency does not agree that a station stop between signals creates potential distractions, said spokesman Francisco Oaxaca. Keeping signals in mind at all times is "a fundamental part of a passenger engineer's job," he said.Depending on signal settings, any of Metrolink's 55 stations could be between a solid yellow light and a red stop light on the current system, Oaxaca said.As part of a sweeping safety initiative in the wake of the Chatsworth crash, the agency is reexamining signal locations. The criteria for possible changes are being developed, but "obviously visibility and human factors are going to be on that list," Oaxaca said.So-called approach lights -- yellow warnings of a stop signal ahead -- should never be placed before stations such as Chatsworth, said Ron Kaminkow, a veteran engineer and official with Railroad Workers United, a coalition of eight rail employee unions."It doesn't make sense. Logic would dictate that you want to set up a signal system that would allow for as little human error as possible," he said."There's all sorts of things that can happen at station stops," he added. "Whatever it might be, a pause in the action gives opportunity for distraction."A 1996 head-on collision in Maryland was blamed largely on distractions caused by a station stop that a commuter train made after it passed an approach signal, records show. Federal investigators concluded that the engineer forgot about the warning, sped away from the station and then was unable to stop at a junction where an approaching Amtrak train had the right of way.Eight passengers and all three crew members on the commuter train died in the fiery collision."The physical and mental tasks associated with stopping the train at [the] station provided the primary source of interference," the NTSB concluded in its investigation of the crash. These "attention-demanding tasks" included reducing the throttle, applying the brakes and positioning the train properly in the station, investigators found.After that accident, the rail company that operated the commuter train and signal system, CSX Transportation, added reminder signs before and at the station where the crash occurred.The signs are safety enhancements because an engineer's "attention might be diverted picking up passengers," said CSX spokesman Gary Sease.

Metrolink's signal system complies with federal regulations, but no extra reminder signage has been added, said Steve Lantz, the agency's communications director.Oaxaca noted that other safety procedures for passenger trains, including speed restrictions after station stops and signal-announcing requirements for crew members, were added to federal operating rules after the Maryland crash. But both of those regulations appear to have been violated in the Chatsworth disaster, according to preliminary findings by the NTSB.

The overriding distraction in Chatsworth may have been the text messages that federal investigators say Sanchez sent and received that day from his cellphone. The engineer did so despite a Metrolink ban on use of personal electronic devices by crews operating trains.In a little over two minutes, records and interviews indicate, Sanchez received a message shortly after leaving the station and sent a final message seconds before the crash, just after passing the red light.The Metrolink conductor, who survived, and three witnesses have told investigators that the final light before the trains collided was green. But the NTSB says all of its testing indicates that the light was red and that it was visible, although a recent Times report disclosed that it was not as bright as other lights on the same signal post and that one investigator had commented three days after the crash, "Can't hardly see the red."

Safety experts note that research shows human error is reduced when an uninterrupted sequence of warnings or events precedes a crucial task -- such as stopping a train at a red light to let another train pass.The normal sequence of railroad signal lights is intended to alert and remind the engineer and crew of the potential danger ahead, said USC professor Najmedin Meshkati, who studies human behavior related to safety.A station stop between signals increases chances of mistakes, he said."It really puts into question the design of that signal system," he said. Like the rail workers coalition, he questioned why the solid yellow signal -- or at a minimum a reminder light or sign -- was not placed immediately after the station."These things are designed in a very haphazard way," he said.Meshkati, who has followed the Metrolink investigation, has called for the agency to conduct a thorough review of the system's operations with an emphasis on incorporating routines and redundancies that can compensate for human failings."Safety warnings in the proper sequence are the issue," he said. "You should keep all the variables as controlled as you can."Indeed, records show the NTSB concluded that the Maryland accident might have been avoided had officials conducted a comprehensive review of the signal system, including an analysis of "human factors" that could affect its safety.After a two-month review, a panel of experts recently called on Metrolink to increase its focus on potential safety hazards across the five-county commuter system and to step up oversight of train crew behavior.

The agency could start with the signal Sanchez passed just before the Chatsworth station, said Kaminkow of the rail workers coalition. "You need to get rid of it and replace it with one" on the other side of the

Model Trains Appeal to All Ages at Club's Show
Show will continue today at Manitowoc County Expo grounds
By Cindy Hodgson
December 28, 2008 Herald Times Bloomington, Illinois

MANITOWOC - Saturday was "kind of a rainy, gloomy day" so Jamie North of Manitowoc decided to take his 4-year-old son, Justin, to the Clipper City Model Railroad Club's holiday show.

"He's a real train enthusiast," he said about his son.

This was the first Clipper City model train show for the Norths, who moved to the Lakeshore area about five months ago, although they have been to a couple of similar shows elsewhere, he said.

North, who had model trains when he was a boy, said he is thinking about building a model railroad with Justin. "I'm really kind of anxious to get back into it myself," he said.

The holiday show continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.

Scott Maves came from Appleton to see the trains Saturday.

"I always come to these kind of things just to get ideas," said Maves, who is working on a layout at his house.

"It's ageless," he said about the hobby. "It's fun to look at all the different detail."

Maves said having a model railroad is something anyone can do.

"You don't have to be an expert at this," he said.
His girlfriend, Heather Holmes of Kaukauna, and her two sons were at the show with Maves. "My 3-year-old loves trains," Holmes said about her son, Ian.

Ian's older brother, 9-year-old Miles, was asked what he likes about trains. "I like how they actually put them together because it looks the same as real trains," Miles said.

The holiday show is one of four times throughout the year the club opens its doors to the public. The facility, called the Iron Horse Barn, is located at the Manitowoc County Expo grounds.

The other occasions are the weekend after Thanksgiving, a spring open house in April or May, and during the Manitowoc County Fair in late August when the building is open every day, according to Dave Burkart, who has been a member of the club since 1978.

Gary L. Boeckman, vice president of the club, said the purpose of the public showings is to educate people. Sometimes people have questions about their own trains or layouts that members of the Clipper City Model Railroad Club can answer.

According to Boeckman and Burkart, those who attend the shows are a combination of serious model train enthusiasts who have their own setups and people who just bring their children to see some trains.

The Iron Horse Barn contains close to 2,000 feet of track, Burkart said. There are three mainlines, and although it's possible to run two trains on one mainline at a time, club members operate only one train per mainline during shows.

Club member Andrew Luchsinger was running the controls Saturday morning. He initially joined the club when he was 16 and then rejoined last year when he moved back to the area.

"I feel like I'm 12 again," he said when asked what he likes about his model railroad hobby.

He said he enjoys being able to make improvements to his setup.

"To me, this is a piece of history," said Luchsinger, who minored in history when he was in college. "The railroads played an important part in history. … It's Americana."

"Some people also look at it as three-dimensional art," Burkart said.

The Clipper City Model Railroad Club formed in 1960, he said. Meetings were held at members' homes.

In 1982, the club began renting space on the third floor of the former North End Drug building, and groundbreaking for the current facility was in 1987.
The club has 15 members, all males, although there have been female members in the past, according to Burkart. The group meets at 7:30 p.m. the first Thursday of the month at the Iron Horse Barn. Anyone interested in learning more about membership may attend one of the meetings.


LGB trains to be distributed by Walthers
December 23, 2008 Model Railroader

LGB trains will be distributed exclusively in North America by Wm. K. Walthers Inc. effective Jan. 1, 2009, Märklin Inc., the North American subsidiary of Gebr. Märklin & Cie. GmbH of Germany, announced Dec. 23.Walthers will handle sales, warehousing and distribution of the LGB product line. In addition, Walthers will provide warranty and retail service for LGB products, and will stock a full assortment of LGB parts, Märklin Inc. reported.Märklin Inc., of New Berlin, Wis., will provide marketing and product/technical support to Walthers and the North American market.Enthusiasts and dealers and can visit to download the 2008 LGB New Items brochure. LGB's new items for 2009 will be announced in February at the Nürnberg Toy Fair in Germany.

For A Laugh (emails from internet friends)

Newspaper Headlines That Make You Smile
(and Wonder)

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter
So there IS life after death?

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Taking things a bit too far, wouldn’t you say?

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
What a guy!

Miners Refuse to Work after Death
Those good-for-nothin' lazy so-and-so's!

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
See if that works any better than a fair trial!

War Dims Hope for Peace
I can see where it might have that effect!

If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
Ya think?!

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Who would have thought!

Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
They may be on to something!

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
You mean there's something stronger than duct tape?!

Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge
He probably IS the battery charge

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Weren't they fat enough?!

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
That's what he gets for eating those beans!

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Do they taste like chicken?

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
Chainsaw Massacre all over again!

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
Boy, are they tall!

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Reported Dead
Did I read that right?

Why Men Shouldn’t Take Messages

Someone from the Gyna Colleges called.
They said the Pabst Beer was normal.
I didn’t even know you liked beer.

Philosophy Of The Wife
I didn’t say it was YOUR fault, I said I was going to BLAME you.

The Blonde Flight Attendant

A man boarded an airplane in New Orleans with a box of frozen crabs. A blond female crew member took the box and promised to put it in the crew's refrigerator, which she did.
The man firmly advised her that he was holding her personally responsible for the crabs staying frozen, and proceeded to rant at her about what would happen if she let them thaw out.
She became annoyed by his behavior.Shortly before landing in New York, she announced over the intercom to the entire cabin 'Would the gentleman who gave me the crabs in New Orleans, please raise your hand?'

Not one hand went up. So she took them home and ate them herself.

Pregnant Turkey Story

One year at Christmas, my mom went to my sister's house for the traditional feast. Knowing how gullible my sister is, my mom decided to play a trick. She told my sister that she needed something from the store.When my sister left, my mom took the turkey out of the oven. She removed the stuffing, stuffed a Cornish hen, inserted it into the turkey, and re-stuffed the turkey. She then placed the bird(s) back in the oven.When it was time for dinner, my sister pulled the turkey out of the oven and proceeded to remove the stuffing. When her spoon hit something, she reached in and pulled out the little bird.

With a look of total shock on her face, my mother exclaimed, "Patricia, you cooked a pregnant bird!"

At the reality of this horrifying news, my sister started to cry. It took the family two hours to convince her that turkeys lay eggs!

The Christmas Pageant

My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds and my youngest son was a wise man. This was their moment to shine.

My five-year-old shepherd had practiced his line,
"We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes."
But he was nervous and said, "The baby was wrapped
in wrinkled clothes."

My four-year-old "Mary" said, "That's not 'wrinkled clothes,' silly. That's dirty, rotten clothes."

A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd and was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost her left wing.

I slouched a little lower in my seat when Mary dropped the doll representing Baby Jesus, and it bounced down the aisle crying, "Mama-mama."

Mary grabbed the doll, wrapped it back up and held it tightly as the wise men arrived. My other son stepped forward wearing a bathrobe and a paper crown, knelt at the manger and announced, "We are the three wise men, and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense and fur."

The congregation dissolved into laughter, and the pageant got a standing ovation. "I've never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one," laughed the pastor, wiping tears from his eyes "For the rest of my life, I'll never hear the Christmas story without thinking of gold, common sense and fur."

"My children are my pride and my joy and my greatest blessing," I said to myself as I dug through my purse for an aspirin.

For The Grandparents Out There

A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like: 'We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods. ‘The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, 'I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!'

A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word processor. She told him she was writing a story. 'What's it about?' he asked. 'I don't know,' she replied. 'I can't read.'

When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, 'It's no use, Grandpa. The mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights.'

A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, 'Grandma, guess what? We learned how to make babies today.' The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep her cool. 'That's interesting,' she said, 'how do you make babies?'' It's simple,' replied the girl. 'You just change 'y' to 'i'and add 'e s'.'

Children's Logic: 'Give me a sentence about a public servant,' said a teacher. The small boy wrote: 'The fireman came down the ladder pregnant.' The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. 'Don't you know what pregnant means?' she asked. 'Sure,' said the young boy confidently. 'It means carrying a child.'

A nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing the dog's duties. 'They use him to keep crowds back,' said one child. 'No,' said another, 'he's just for good luck. 'A third child brought the argument to a close. 'They use the dogs,' she said firmly, 'to find the fire hydrants.

Up-Coming Shows in the Area

Allentown, PA – Great Lehigh Valley Train Meet
January 17 - 18, 2009 – Merchants Square Mall
Great Lehigh Valley Train Meet

Timonium, MD – Great Scale Model Train Show
January 31 – February 1, 2009 – Maryland State Fair Grounds
The Great Scale Model Train Show

Wilmington, DE – Nur Temple Train Show
March 1, 2009 – Nur Temple Hall

Edison, NJ – Greenburg’s Train & Toy Show
March 14 – 15, 2009 –New Jersey Expo Center
Greenberg's Train & Toy Show

Timonium, MD – Great Scale Model Train Show
April 4 - 5, 2009 – Maryland State Fair Grounds
The Great Scale Model Train Show

Allentown, PA – Great Lehigh Valley Train Meet
May 16 – 17, 2009 – Merchants Square Mall
Great Lehigh Valley Train Meet