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

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