Thursday, August 6, 2009

August 2009 Newsletter

Delmarva Timetable
Website:
http://delmarvamodelrailroadclub.org
Blog:
http://dmrrc-delmarvarailroadclub.blogspot.com
News of the Delmarva Model Railroad Club
August 2009
Jeff Shockley, Editor
Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 5, 2009 in the Club meeting room.

Mail vs E-mail
With the cost of postage going up 2 cents on the 11th of May, I would like to make a plea to all the snail-mailers that if you can get an e-mail account, it would definitely help the club. Right now it costs roughly $250.00 per year for postage, ink, and paper to get the snail mail editions out. If any of you can get the newsletter emailed to you, it would cut down on these costs.

Jeff

Timetable Special Edition
Jeff Shockley, Editor
With 2009 being the 25th anniversary of the club, we are planning on a special edition of the newsletter for November. It will contain ONLY club history items. If anyone has any pictures or stories of the last 25 years, please send them to me at dhmodeler@gmail.com.

Layout News
All groups report things are progressing smoothly on all the layouts.

HO Layout Report
By Bill Deeter

Well, another month has passed and I need to try and write something new and witty for this month’s newsletter. Hmmmm…… that probably won’t happen but Jeff does need some club news to put in the news letter so I’ll ramble on a bit. It would really be great if some of you could contribute to the newsletter as well. We see a lot happen in other scales but really don’t here anything about it. Also maybe a how to do something would be of interest. As you build something take a picture or two as you progress and if you don’t want to write an article at least write a caption for the picture and send it to Jeff.

Ok now lets talk a bit about the HO layout. The progress is pretty much unbelievable as I continue to say. However I’m starting to wonder if we may need to slow up just a bit and make sure the track work is bullet proof. It doesn’t mater how great the layout looks if there are mechanical problems because then the layout is pretty much junk. Ken Kidd and I along with others spent a lot of time re-working the old section of the layout to make the track work as good as we could. Some areas already had scenery in place but we did manage to get it reliable. Dave, with some help from a few of us meticulously laid most all the track on the new section.

What I’ve been noticing is a lot of derailments during ops sessions. Last month I mentioned the 0-5-0 switcher let me also mention that hitting the train hard with an engine can get it very out of sorts also. Then there are jerky starts or running through a switch as this can also cause problems on down the line. Yes you can run a turn out and make it through but again it gets the train out of sorts shall we say. Ok so it may be time to do some serious checking of the track work again. There have been many changes to the track work in the last couple of years and my deal is it has to be smooth I can’t say smooth enough on this. That means smooth transitions in curves smooth as in level no sudden anything.

Roland (trained by Dave) is our track Forman but unfortunately his work has been keeping him away this summer. And I know as much as Dave would like to be involved he just can’t right now. So how smooth is smooth well you should be able to push a train anywhere on the layout. So I will try and be more involved in the track work till fall when Roland will have more time. Please don’t take offence if I ask you to work on something you may think is just fine. We are all in this to learn more and build a great layout that performs flawlessly. I don’t want to discourage anyone who wants to lay track from trying just don’t be offended if I or someone else may make a few suggestions on how to improve. Many years ago we had to stop the sessions and spend something like 2 years tarring up and realigning a lot of track. Then even when we got it much better there were areas that still needed rebuilt.

While we are on this subject we also need to come up with a plan for maintenance on the rolling stock and locomotives. Pat has volunteered to be Car Forman and Steve has volunteered to be Locomotive Forman but they need all our help coming up with the plans and the help to make them work.
Derailments are going to happen but they should be rare. Let’s put our heads together and see if we can make them a rarity.

We had 17 people at the July session but it seemed like only about 14 participated and that was barely enough for a complete session. I’m not sure why but this is not meant to be a spectator sport so just jump in and give it a try. It is amazing that not all that long ago 5 people was a huge turn out.
We try and make sure it is fun for all but sometimes some folks want to play the game a bit more seriously than some others so there can be some tension. I hope no one takes this personally. I would really like to hear from everybody with your thoughts on what you enjoy and what you don’t during the sessions.

The August session will be the 16th @ 12:45. The staging crew is getting larger and larger and the layout is already mostly staged.

Well, that’s enough rambling for now.

Notes about the new Club Web Site
by Elmer Mc Kay
If you go to the new web site and into the LAYOUTS section, you will notice that the HO layouts section is more complete that the sections for the other layouts. This is because I have had input and suggestions from the HO group.

To present our best work on the Internet, I need some input from the other Scales. Look through the HO section and see what is there. I am perfectly willing to make the other scales and layouts sections look the same way. For me to do this, I need you to send me the information. If you want the HISTORY of your layout explained on the page, write one and send it to me. If you want to talk about how you OPERATE your layout, write something up and send it to me.

You O Scale guys are going through a building and construction phase right now. Are you taking photos so they can be put on the web site? If not, why not?

I would love to tell the story of your layouts, but I can't make it up, after all, I am a relatively new member and was not here for what has happened and how your layouts have grown and changed

Our web site will be what YOU make it!!!

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.

Member News
Lee Weldon reports that “I’ve submitted an article about my home layout that will be published in the September/October edition of N Scale Magazine. The article covers how my freelance Laurel Valley Railway interchanges with my proto-based Western Maryland layout. It should be on news stands and in hobby stores by mid August.

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
From
www.railnews.net

Revolutionary Hudson Locomotive Arrives At Chatham Depot
by Alan Pollock
July 2, 2009 The Cape Cod Chronicle Chatham, Massachusetts

CHATHAM - In 1927, the New York Central Railroad ushered in a new era of power, style and elegance with a brand new type of locomotive: the 4-6-4 Hudson. Far too large, and let’s face it, too cosmopolitan to make the trip to Cape Cod, it was operated between new York and Chicago as part of the ultra-luxurious 20th Century Limited service. The Hudson was a revolutionary locomotive.

That’s probably what prompted Jacob Almon Keeth, an engineer from Leawood, Kan., to build a scale model of the train in his home workshop. Built entirely from scratch using parts he machined himself, the model Hudson consumed the majority of Mr. Keeth’s spare time over the course of about 20 years, concluding it in the mid ‘50s. The model, which has done about as much traveling as a real Hudson, is now on loan to the Chatham Railroad Museum.

Mr. Keeth had the model on display in a built-in bookshelf of his home for several years, but when he moved into a retirement community, he began to search around for a museum that might preserve the model and put it on display.

“I’ve wanted that model since I was a kid, and I was heartbroken when my grandfather didn’t give it to me,” grandson Don Keeth said with a chuckle.

In 1975, his grandfather decided to place the model in the care of the Newcomen Museum in Exton, Penn., where it was put on display for some time. In 2000, Don Keeth was traveling in Pennsylvania when he decided to visit the museum to see his grandfather’s handiwork. He called to check the museum’s hours of operation, and learned that the museum had permanently closed, and that all exhibits had been consigned to the international auction house Christies.

Don Keeth and his father, Allan, resolved to try and get the model back. It was to be an expensive proposition: the two had to fly to London to attend the auction, carefully researching the other items on the auction block and the other bidders likely to attend. When the auction began, there was a brief bidding war with another buyer, but the Keeths prevailed and bought back the Hudson. They were taken aback to learn how much it would cost to ship the model back to the U.S., and even considered having the locomotive crated up and brought home as “carry on” baggage, but ended up hiring a firm to crate, insure, handle, ship and deliver the precious package.

Though they were glad to have the model back in the states, the Keeths wanted to honor their grandfather’s desire to have his model placed on display for the public. Don Keeth lives in Belmont, and began researching suitable museums nearby. From trips to the Cape, he remembered the small railroad museum in Chatham, and called museum director Larry Larned, who was very excited.

“It just seemed like a nice place,” Don said. Probably because museum founder Frank Love and William Main, the second museum director, had careers in the New York Central, the museum has many artifacts from that railroad. So the Hudson fits in nicely, even though the real locomotive never would’ve visited here.

The model is on loan to the Chatham Railroad Museum and will remain on display at least through the summer. The museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

West Virginia Railroad Museum Gets Turntable
Story by Dani Brake
July 3, 2009 WBOY-12 TV Clarksburg, West Virginia

ELKINS -- The West Virginia Railroad Museum has received a new addition.

Workers unloaded a railroad turntable from Chicago, Thursday night. The original turntable at the Elkins Depot was sold in the 1980s. The new turntable is 90 feet long, and weighs more than 82 tons. The museum says it will be the centerpiece of its plans for the future.

Workers will move the turntable off the tracks early next week.

Glenwood's Railroad Museum takes visitors on a trip back in time
Depot houses track tools, model train, photo essays
July 7, 2009 Post Independent Intern Glenwood Springs, CO

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado — Men smoked their cigars in one waiting room, while the women waited in another for a train to pull into the Glenwood Springs Depot in the late 1800s. Today, there is just one waiting area for everybody with the former room for the ladies transformed into something else. The Western Colorado Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society has changed that room into a railroad museum.The popular museum welcomes more than 8,000 visitors annually.In 2003, the members of the society decided that a dedicated railroad museum commemorating the colorful history right here in Glenwood Springs would be a great attraction. Two connecting rooms now make up the Glenwood Railroad Museum. Viewers gain a rich experience with an operating model railroad, photo essays following routes of the trains, and a room that holds a track maintenance car and 80-year-old signal lights. Tour Guide Dick Helmke takes viewers on a high energy walk through the museum. He points out the model and explains some of the photos, he takes visitors back in time, what used to be the Railway Express Agency, which is the equivalent to today's UPS service. The trip ends with an informational show-and-tell about the track car and the tools used to fix and work on tracks. Helmke loves showing kids how heavy the tools are and how much effort is needed to use the hand tools for removing spikes and drilling holes into the track. Each piece of equipment is solid iron and extremely heavy. The museum is located in the train depot, which was in built in 1904. The town's first depot was at Seventh Street and Pitkin Avenue, but it was destroyed after the new one was built. “It wasn't as nice as people wanted it to be,” Frontier Museum Director Cindy Hines said. The townspeople felt that since Glenwood was named a tourist destination, visitors needed to be welcomed by a good-looking building. Along with the separated waiting rooms, the depot had baggage handlers and a telegraph messenger. Messages could be sent by passengers to outside people along with the communication to the train operators. Today passengers handle their own luggage, wait in the same area, and send mail via cell phones, computers or other technology. The trains have switched to diesel and are no longer run by steam. Helmke explained that steam engines could blow up easily because of the constant fire under the holding tank full of boiling water. Another aspect of train life in the late 1800s and early 1900s was “The Hoop.” It's essentially exactly how it sounds. Train orders were clipped to it and a worker would hand it over to the operator as the train came by. The operator would drop the hoop down the tracks and the worker would run to get the hoop and use it again later. Preserving the history of Glenwood's trains and railroads is a why visitors to the museum appreciate the value of old towns and today's way of life.

Railroad from New York City To Poconos
July 7, 2009 Examiner Allentown, Pennsylvania
If you're one of the thousands of people waiting for New York City passenger rail service to come to the Poconos, you've heard all about the projected completion dates.

Many of them already have passed.

This one, however, seems a little more optimistic after Monday's announcement that the Scranton-to-Hoboken, N.J., rail project in the works for more then a decade has received special federal designation allowing it to move forward.

The Environmental Protection Agency has declared a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the entire project, meaning the rail line — after a 30-day public comment period — can move to secure funding for the engineering and construction phases.
Pennsylvania's two Democratic senators, Arlen Specter and Bob Casey Jr., made the announcement Monday in Pittston Township.

"This railroad is really about the future," but this is going to bring jobs and commerce and the future to northeast Pennsylvania."

The $550 million project, “I.E Wow I wonder where the $550 million project will come from….will the tax payer’s cover this cost?

The Rail will include stops in the Poconos; the estimated time of completion is four to five years, according to Larry Malski, chief operating officer of the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority.

The Scranton-Hoboken line has five proposed Monroe County stops in Delaware Water Gap, East Stroudsburg, Analomink, Mount Pocono and Tobyhanna.

Officials from Monroe and Lackawanna counties, as well as New Jersey, have been trying for more than two years to secure the EPA's designation.
Now that the project has the EPA's approval, it must find funding. Malski said the entire $550 million isn't needed immediately, that the project still will be completed in phases. In 2013 or 2014 it can be finished.

Vermont Amtrak Disaster of 1984
Marselis Parsons
July 7, 2009 WCAX News Williston, Vermont

This is the 25th anniversary of one of the worst transportation disasters in Vermont.

A heavy downpour overwhelmed a beaver dam in Williston and a torrent of water washed away a section of roadbed on the Central Vermont rail line.

The engineer of the Amtrak Montrealer-- speeding north with 278 people on board-- had no warning.

As the train passed over the culvert it gave way and the back of the train tumbled down the embankment.

Reporter Michael Gilhooly and photographer Paul Gittelsohn were among the first on the scene. We talked to Gittelsohn at his company Videosyncracies.

Gittelsohn: Well it was the most carnage I'd ever seen in my life. I didn't see any dead bodies but there were trains piled up on top of each other... people covered with blood... it was a very dramatic scene.

Marselis Parsons: Confusion?

Gittelsohn: Yes, we didn't know if things might shift. It had rained heavily the night before it washed out the culvert and, you know, there are cars on top of each other, and there's people up on the hill with blood and there's ambulances... It was quite a scene.

We were there pretty early... I dunno... maybe 7:30, something like that and I remember staying until probably near noon getting all the original footage including the aerial footage from the National Guard helicopter which took me up for ten or fifteen minutes and circled around a couple of times.

Parsons: Michael is doing a report there but you both put the gear down and helped in the rescue effort.

Gittelsohn: A little bit, it wasn't quite as grandiose as it sounds. There was somebody on a stretcher and it looked like they were struggling over boulders and tracks and stuff like that so I put it down and helped them for 20-30 feet, but then grabbed my camera getting different angles.

Parsons: What were you thinking about in something like that? Were you thinking my God, there are a lot of dead people here? Or are you thinking I've got to get good pictures?

Gittelsohn: Good pictures, a variety of shots. I wanted every angle. I was glad to get up in the helicopter... I just wanted a variety.

Parsons: (pointing at video) Some of these people look like they were pretty badly hurt.
Gittelsohn: They were the lucky ones."

Five people were not so lucky. They were killed in the crash. More than 150 were injured.

Washington Train Crash Prompts Safety Warning
by Matthew l. Wald
July 13, 2009 New York Times New York, New York

WASHINGTON — A single broken part probably caused last month’s deadly train crash here, the National Transportation Safety Board hinted Monday, as it issued an urgent recommendation to local and federal authorities to evaluate similar systems around the country for “adequate safety redundancy.”

The board is months away from completing its investigation, but it has said that a circuit failure in the spot where a subway train smashed into a stopped train ahead of it on June 22, killing nine people, had caused trains to intermittently become invisible to the control system.

The train that was struck had stopped near the above-ground Fort Totten station in Northeast Washington, on the Metro Red Line, and had apparently disappeared from that control system.

The Washington Metro, which opened in 1976, is largely automatic, with a central computer telling trains when to start and stop. The June 22rd accident occurred after the control system directed a train to accelerate into the rear of the stopped train.

The impact was compounded by the cars that made up the moving train, which were an older model that the federal safety board determined after an earlier accident was not crash-worthy. In addition to the nine people who died in last month’s crash, including the train operator, about 52 people were taken to hospitals.

“The accident has shown that the train control system is susceptible to a single point failure,” the board said in a letter on Monday to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

The board sent a similar letter to the Federal Transit Administration, urging that the agency tell rail transit operators around the country to evaluate their systems.

This was in marked contrast to statements by Metro experts shortly after the collision, when they said they did not understand how such an accident could have occurred because it would have required multiple system failures.

The equipment that failed had been replaced five days before the crash. After the crash, investigators said they had found data that showed “errors in train detection for several days before the accident.”

After the crash, system managers said they would check daily for anomalies in which trains seemed to disappear, but the board’s letter said that software or new circuitry should be developed “to continuously evaluate the validity of real-time track occupancy data.”

While Metro seemed ignorant of the detection problem before the crash, The Washington Post reported on July 7 that Bay Area Rapid Transit system officials in San Francisco had recognized such a malfunction, and had installed a backup system. Bart and Metro were developed about the same time and use similar technology.

North Shore train enthusiasts have model club in Wakefield

Wakefield - Hidden in the expansive basement of Brothers Restaurant on Main Street is a treasure that has had perhaps more visitors from around the country than from around Wakefield — The North Shore Model Railroad Club, featuring a magnificent display of meticulously built models of the 1950s Chesapeake Railroad System.

Containing about 1,500 to-scale model freight cars, more than 100 passengers cars, hundreds of ’50s automobiles and trucks, buildings and scenery, this is definitely not child’s play.

In the 45- by 90-foot basement there are nearly nine miles of intricate, hand-painted buildings and scenery that appears so real when photographed it looks like the outdoors. Yet, with all the miles of wiring, 134 siding switches, hand-place ties, tracks and lighting, it has taken club volunteers nearly 30 years to build, and it is still a work-in-progress. One of the most impressive buildings is a large white hotel, a replica of the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia, formerly owned by the Chesapeake railroad, which ran between Virginia and West Virginia.

All of the trains on the line are functional, and it takes about 20 minutes for any train to complete the run. Of the nine clubs in Massachusetts, Wakefield’s North Shore Club is the largest and one of the largest in New England.

Featured on the June 2009 cover of Scale Rails, the official publication of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA), club member Malcolm Laughlin of Belmont wrote an eight-page feature on the club that reads like an article for an engineering journal. From the National Convention of the NMRA held in Hartford, Conn. this past week, three busloads of members came to visit the impressive layout designed by the North Shore Model Railroad Club and some were thrilled to have the opportunity to operate the system. They ran seven trains with about 15 to 20 cars per train for their guests. The North Shore Club served as the National Convention’s Layout Tour Host. They’ve also had tour groups from England, Scotland and Australia.

“Our club features mostly freight trains, and clubs from Europe, Canada and Australia and around the world are fascinated with the U.S. railroad system and model their clubs after our systems,” said Wayne Slayton of Woburn, who grew up in Wakefield and serves as one of the club’s tour guides. Slayton now has a section of the model named for him as one of the original members. He served as an equipment operator and brakeman for a number of railroads, including Boston & Maine, Amtrak, MBTA and others, following in his father’s footsteps.
Many of the club’s 64 members are former railroad workers and managers and train lovers from childhood. They live in various towns throughout the state. But, they all have three things in common: they have a passion for trains; they show great attention to detail; and they are all men, ranging in age from 23 to nearly 80.

The club began in 1977 with eight members meeting in homes and starting with a train layout donated by someone who was moving across the country. They moved to the Brothers Restaurant basement in 1979 and began designing the layout, with actual construction beginning in 1980. Some of the towns in the model are named after actual towns on the railroad line and some are named after longtime members.

Each member goes through a probationary period of about three months and then is given a key to the building. Everyone must sign up for a committee and perform tasks. Committees are representative of a real railroad company: operations, scheduling, and maintenance; and there are committees for construction and painting. Five of the members work on sophisticated electrical wiring. A chief dispatcher controls the operations and assigns crews to trains. It takes a minimum of four men to operate the system for demonstrations and many more for the complete operation.

John Burroughs of Waltham, past president and club official, said members pay only $20 per month in dues. The only other money raised is through donations and their large annual Open House and Dealer Train Show, to be held on Oct. 17 at the American Civic Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $3 per person, including entrance to the club’s model railroad.

The club also buys and sells models and hosts a “white elephant” table. The club offers monthly tours for the public and special tours for scouts and schools at no charge.

Burroughs, who owns a company that manufactures train car boxes, explains that Malcolm Laughlin’s job as the club’s operations manager is to make up a “waybill,” or identifier ticket, for each freight car and assign schedules. Each car is assigned a unique number. (Laughlin is the former manager of car distribution systems for the New York Central Railroad, now known as SCX.) There are also schedule cards showing the sequence of events for each train.

The men meet on Thursday evenings as a group to work on operations and layouts and monthly they hold a business meeting, which includes committee reports.

“We are a casual club and we’ve become good friends. Some of us even travel together around the country on trains,” said Burroughs. “We have the responsibility of re-enacting railroad operations as they were 50 years ago. We are loosely based on the Chesapeake system, with steel mills and coals trains.”

Jeff Brown of Ashland has been in the club for 16 years and he said, “there is always something new here. It takes a lot of time and patience, but we all have a passion for trains.”

The members never cease to admire the work that has already been accomplished, and they are excited to be working on additions and modifications to the layout.

The detail in the village scenes are extraordinary and exact in replicating the 50s with authentic billboards, a cat in the rubbish, a woman watering plants in a top-floor window box, a wedding at the church, women at a gift shop, parking meters and drunks on the street. Three hours in this room is not enough time to view every detail. For instance, some of the trucks dump coal into the trains, and one train stops and drops express mail into another train.

With about 1.5 million trains in the 1950s in the U.S., club officials estimate the North Shore Railroad Club has about one-tenth of one percent of all the trains in the U.S. at the time.

The club has free parking in the lot off of Princess Street. It is open to visitors the first Saturday of each month (or the second Saturday when the month starts on a Friday or Saturday) from 1-5 p.m., at no charge. Clubs and groups may schedule special tours by calling 781-245-4742. There is no charge for group tours and a fare box is available by the door for donations. Visit their web site at http://www.nsmrc.org/.

1 comment:

  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Patricia

    http://lioneltrains.info

    ReplyDelete