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.

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