The Lure of the Train

Written by Charles Bartel

I believe that the club did it again - a master display to entice young and old. I did some quick statistics on the show and I believe in a day and a half, the club track crew laid down about 360 feet of track, with trains running on about 290 feet, the rest in sidings and a small fiddle yard. The signal crew laid down about 500 feet of wire, often slightly ahead of the track crew, other times behind them. The electricians laid down about another 150 to 200 feet of wire for building lights. There were 5 working track signals. The signal crew got tired on the last signal and just hooked it up to a battery! Powered the same way as the real ones. And, like the 1 to 1 scale signals, it dimmed and eventually went dark if a train did not pass by within a predetermined time period and we can't forget the quartermaster crew that picked up supplies and delivered them to site! All three wagon loads, despite the cold winds and snow. Add to all of this the impact of the weather in general getting from our homes to the display site with accidents, snow, and slick roads. Railway workers are a hardy bunch that work hard and play hard. A great crew to be associated with. 

There were 5 trains running all the time (I do consider the trolley a train, as it runs on rails). At one point, seven trains were running. Two trains on the outer loop in opposite directions and two trains on the inner loop in the same direction.
Looking around the room (through the haze of steam smoke), you could see the faces of adults and children light up as the trains passed by them. There was a New York Central passenger train on the outer loop that had a lighted dinner car in it. I saw more than one adult kneel down next to a child and point to that car as it passed, telling them that is where you get a meal while traveling by train. They pointed to the mail car on the front end, some of them remembering when there was a railway postal stamp. It was an opportunity for them to share some American history with their child or grandchild. And when one of the train's whistles went off next to a child, they smiled ear to ear. Is there anything better than bringing a smile to the face of a child? At times I felt sorry for the adults. One young man was meeting his wife for a valentine lunch. He brought his young son, say around 3 or 4, to the show and was heard saying we'll stay for another three laps of the train. And five laps later, they were still there! (Who wanted to stay - father or son?) He finally managed to get the kid's coat on and out the door to mother! But it was not easy.
Of course we got the picky visitor who wanted to know why a BNSF diesel was pulling a 1940's NYC passenger train. He did ask the question with a smile though.
The controllers for the trains were passed from hand to hand over the two days, giving operating time to several members in attendance. At one point, Cathy Schneider was handed a controller as the current operator needed to leave the room. Her comment was, “what does what?” She was told that the critical controls were the horn, the whistle, and emergency stop! Bob Rodgers and Gary Schneider were running the two outer trains at one point while I had the opportunity to be in “the tower” throwing the switches as the trains passed each other. The goal was not to stop the trains. I think I threw the switch a couple of times when the last car had not cleared the switch, or the engine had entered the switch and caused derailments. The two engineers did ok, I ended up wearing out first, asking to end that session.

The American Freedom steam engine operated by John and Sam brought back 1976 memories of the American Freedom train. I hope some parents/grandparents used this as an opportunity to talk about American history.

And again, the camaraderie that went with set up and tear down. “Where are the wire cutters?” was a common question I heard. And then there were the coffee runs to the Tim Horton's in the Casino. A quick trip through the hallway from the event center to the Casino. But wait, you could not get back into the event center without going outside and around! Man that must have been a cold walk!
And there were links to members present as well as not there. Doug Baker was truly in attendance through his donations. Percy was pulling not only Troublesome Trucks, but also some small 4 wheel wagons from Doug's collection. And they ran fine the whole show (actually, Thomas and Percy never derailed or stopped the whole show!). There were other freight cars on the main lines from Doug's collection, along with a couple of buildings and cars. Ross manufacturing was there being served by its own siding. Gary Ludwig did a great job of reworking the Thomas roundhouse and engine shed. With a yard that looked like Bison yard (a comment made by a visitor), we had a switch tower at either end thanks to Doug's collection and Mike Leonard. The thatched roof buildings and accessories on the Thomas layout added that English touch to the Thomas layout. With the club and Gary Tebo's people, our little “world” was well populated. (If I left anyone out in acknowledging your efforts with buildings, etc., my deepest apologies.) With Doug's donation of his trains and buildings, we were able to mix it up to the point that the first person in on Saturday said “You have a new layout” when in fact, it was not that new. (The only new thing was the passing sidings on the outer loop and a small yard around Jack's silos with Gary Schneider's grain cars.) Finally, on behalf of the club, thanks to Gary Ludwig for being the Chairperson for this event. As usual, he did a great job, making slight modifications to the track plan to allow members to try out or demonstrate different aspects of our hobby.

Though the attendance was down from prior years, and with several of our own members out sick or with other issues that make attendance impossible, we still had good attendance in our room and a significant number of club members in attendance. The lure of the train is still there...and I hope it will be there for a long time. 

I believe that the club did it again - a master display to entice young and old. I did some quick statistics on the show and I believe in a day and a half, the club track crew laid down about 360 feet of track, with trains running on about 290 feet, the rest in sidings and a small fiddle yard. The signal crew laid down about 500 feet of wire, often slightly ahead of the track crew, other times behind them. The electricians laid down about another 150 to 200 feet of wire for building lights. There were 5 working track signals. The signal crew got tired on the last signal and just hooked it up to a battery! Powered the same way as the real ones. And, like the 1 to 1 scale signals, it dimmed and eventually went dark if a train did not pass by within a predetermined time period.

And we can't forget the quartermaster crew that picked up supplies and delivered them to site! All three wagon loads, despite the cold winds and snow. Add to all of this the impact of the weather in general getting from our homes to the display site with accidents, snow, and slick roads. Railway workers are a hardy bunch that work hard and play hard. A great crew to be associated with.

There were 5 trains running all the time (I do consider the trolley a train, as it runs on rails). At one point, seven trains were running. Two trains on the outer loop in opposite directions and two trains on the inner loop in the same direction.
Looking around the room (through the haze of steam smoke), you could see the faces of adults and children light up as the trains passed by them. There was a New York Central passenger train on the outer loop that had a lighted dinner car in it. I saw more than one adult kneel down next to a child and point to that car as it passed, telling them that is where you get a meal while traveling by train. They pointed to the mail car on the front end, some of them remembering when there was a railway postal stamp. It was an opportunity for them to share some American history with their child or grandchild. And when one of the train's whistles went off next to a child, they smiled ear to ear. Is there anything better than bringing a smile to the face of a child? At times I felt sorry for the adults. One young man was meeting his wife for a valentine lunch. He brought his young son, say around 3 or 4, to the show and was heard saying we'll stay for another three laps of the train. And five laps later, they were still there! (Who wanted to stay - father or son?) He finally managed to get the kid's coat on and out the door to mother! But it was not easy.
Of course we got the picky visitor who wanted to know why a BNSF diesel was pulling a 1940's NYC passenger train. He did ask the question with a smile though.
The controllers for the trains were passed from hand to hand over the two days, giving operating time to several members in attendance. At one point, Cathy Schneider was

handed a controller as the current operator needed to leave the room. Her comment was, “what does what?” She was told that the critical controls were the horn, the whistle, and emergency stop! Bob Rodgers and Gary Schneider were running the two outer trains at one point while I had the opportunity to be in “the tower” throwing the switches as the trains passed each other. The goal was not to stop the trains. I think I threw the switch a couple of times when the last car had not cleared the switch, or the engine had entered the switch and caused derailments. The two engineers did ok, I ended up wearing out first, asking to end that session.

The American Freedom steam engine operated by John and Sam brought back 1976 memories of the American Freedom train. I hope some parents/grandparents used this as an opportunity to talk about American history.

And again, the camaraderie that went with set up and tear down. “Where are the wire cutters?” was a common question I heard. And then there were the coffee runs to the Tim Horton's in the Casino. A quick trip through the hallway from the event center to the Casino. But wait, you could not get back into the event center without going outside and around! Man that must have been a cold walk!
And there were links to members present as well as not there. Doug Baker was truly in attendance through his donations. Percy was pulling not only Troublesome Trucks, but also some small 4 wheel wagons from Doug's collection. And they ran fine the whole show (actually, Thomas and Percy never derailed or stopped the whole show!). There were other freight cars on the main lines from Doug's collection, along with a couple of buildings and cars. Ross manufacturing was there being served by its own siding. Gary Ludwig did a great job of reworking the Thomas roundhouse and engine shed. With a yard that looked like Bison yard (a comment made by a visitor), we had a switch tower at either end thanks to Doug's collection and Mike Leonard. The thatched roof buildings and accessories on the Thomas layout added that English touch to the Thomas layout. With the club and Gary Tebo's people, our little “world” was well populated. (If I left anyone out in acknowledging your efforts with buildings, etc., my deepest apologies.) With Doug's donation of his trains and buildings, we were able to mix it up to the point that the first person in on Saturday said “You have a new layout” when in fact, it was not that new. (The only new thing was the passing sidings on the outer loop and a small yard around Jack's silos with Gary Schneider's grain cars.) Finally, on behalf of the club, thanks to Gary Ludwig for being the Chairperson for this event. As usual, he did a great job, making slight modifications to the track plan to allow members to try out or demonstrate different aspects of our hobby. Though the attendance was down from prior years, and with several of our own members out sick or with other issues that make attendance impossible, we still had good attendance in our room and a significant number of club members in attendance. The lure of the train is still there...and I hope it will be there for a long time.