Written by Charles Bartel, President WNYGRS
The end of my first month of my term has come and gone and I feel as excited today as I did at the end of my first term as president. This is a great club. The McKinley Mall February 2018 Display was fantastic. As the week continued, our layout grew. We started with the industrial switching yard and six sidings. During the week we added a dead-end siding that was the parking spot for a second lumber train.
The trolley line has been the home of four different trolleys: Lou Pease's, John Manning's, and Dennis Marrone's, as well as the club trolley. On the main line, we have had the military train by Bonny Bartel along with her Eggliner, a 2-6-6-2 steam engine and train by Bob Rodgers, as well as assorted steam and diesel engines by Rob Bond, Ron Brounshidle, Lou Pease, Rich Dulski and John Manning pulling sponsor trains. Lots of opportunity for club members to run their trains.
We had many opportunities to engage with young visitors to blow the horn and ring the train bells. The resulting smiles made the effort to set this display up worthwhile. Once again, lots of conversations with people about trains around the Christmas tree, Grandpa's trains in the basement, etc. It's always a pleasure to hear their stories.
Besides the opportunity to run trains, there were lots of opportunities to socialize with other club members. And the club members took advantage of that. Most sessions had one or two other members than those that had signed up. We had 4 people on Monday of set up week, 9 people on Tuesday, 6 people on Wednesday and 5 people of Thursday, the first day of full operation. It should be noted that Thomas and Friends were operational on Wednesday as was the trolley. The outer loop was also active on Wednesday, with the inner loop completed on Thursday morning. The industrial switching unit was operational later in the day on Thursday.
The newest feature of the layout was the industrial switching yard. We had a few sidings and a run around track. There were multiple industries supplied by Jack Henderson and Ron Brounshidle along with club industries such as Tom Schobert's Ross Manufacturing. We placed Jack Henderson's Cargill model on the edge of the table with the inner space of the layout representing Lake Erie. One of the sidings went to a single stall engine house. Thanks to Ron for putting the club coaling station back together and to Lou Pease for his water tower. Several members spent time moving cars around and making up trains to be picked up for mainline service. I believe it was a very good addition that added interest for both club members and visitors.
We had some visitors that both donated and bought raffle tickets for the train set. We tried to thank all who did that and let them know that we appreciated their support.
We saw notices in the East Aurora Bee the week we opened and in the Orchard Park and West Seneca editions the next week. We tried to get television coverage but were not successful.
Several visitors commented that they came to the mall to see the train layout after getting Gary Tebo's email that they had signed up for. Our email notifications do work. I had more than one comment about overhearing people coming into the mall just to see the trains. We also printed up fliers that were posted locally in libraries, grocery stores and were handed out in one of the booths at the WNYRHS Toy and Train show.
It was a great way to start out the new year!