I’d like to relay a message from SMD member Don Florwick, letting you know he’s taking reservations for a January operating session on Mat Thompson’s Oregon Coast Railroad. The session is scheduled for Thursday, January 17th, with Tuesday, January 22nd as an alternate date in case of bad weather. It will be a daytime session, beginning at 10:30AM until around 2:30PM.
This session is Time Table & Train Order, and folks interested in learning about TT&TO are encouraged to join the group. The session can accommodate up to 15 people, and Don will be keeping a standby list in case of cancellations. If you’d like to go, please contact Don Florwick directly at DJFlorwick@comcast.net to reserve a spot for this exciting event. If you’d like to know more about the railroad, please visit oregoncoastrr.potomac-nmra.org/
Division members met at Bob Johnson’s home. 18 or so were present. After viewing the layout and socializing, Superintendant Alex Polimeni called the business meeting to order.
South Mountain Division
Mid-East Region – National Model Railroad Association
Draft Meeting Minutes – November 11, 2018
Division members met at Bob Johnson’s home.18 or so were present.After viewing the layout and socializing, Superintendant Alex Polimeni called the business meeting to order.
18.11-1 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes):Clerk Harvey Heyser summarized the draft minutes.Pete Clarke pointed out that Item #17.10-4 should read as follows:“The SMD gave $140.00 (most of the Mini-Con proceeds) to support Mainline Hobbies’ fall layout tour.Pete Clarke made the following motion (seconded by Jerry Skeim):
Motion:That the draft Minutes for the May 2018 meeting be approved as corrected.The motion passed unanimously.
18.11-2 Paymaster’s Report:Paymaster Ray Price reported that the Division has $4,017.11 in its bank account including dispersal of $119.40 to Yahoo and deposit of $41.00 from the MER.
17.5-3-d. T-Track Modules:Richard Benjamin of Hobbytown Frederick thanked the Division for the donation of the modules.
18.10-4 2019 Mini-Con:The date will be Saturday, April 13, 2019.Chair Pete Clarke indicated the date was selected to avoid conflicts with the Timonium Show and Easter.Members willing to give informal clinics should contact Mr. Clarke.
18.10-5 Web Site:Tom Fedor reported that he and Roy Hoffman are working on a new site format based on Word Press, a blog type web building tool that will allow better ties between the site and the Wheel Report.The new site format will provide a quicker way to publish (on a weekly basis if desired) but still allow printing of some content for the members receiving the newsletter by mail.The new format will also allow for easier archiving and will facilitate coordination with future officers.Finally, the new format will present a fresher web presence and will include more attractive material for potential members.No interface problems are anticipated with NMRA and MER.
18.10-7 Change of date and/or time of SMD meetings:Given the fact that the meetings have been held on Sundays at 2 p.m. for a very long time and that the meeting sites are varied throughout the area, the discussion tended toward keeping the day of the week and time as they are.However, it was suggested and agreed that in the future the social portion of the meeting will start at 1:30 p.m. and the business meeting will start at 2 p.m. giving members the possibility of leaving a bit earlier.(As this is not a part of the by-laws, no formal action was needed.)
18.11-3 Host Bob Johnson welcomed everyone to his HO scale West Virginia Midland Railroad.
18.11-4 Gold Spike Award:Achievement Program Coordinator Jane Clarke presented Bob Morningstar with his Gold Spike award.She reported that host Bob Johnson is making progress on his Achievement certificates for MMR.
18.11-5 The Wheel Report Deadline for the winter edition is November 15.
18.11-6 Future notices and updates from the officers will originate from an SMD e-mail address rather than a personal account.
18.11-7 Operating Session:Herb Biegel reported that Matt Thompson of the Potomac Division has invited SMD members for an operating session on his Oregon Coast Railroad (layout in Gainesville VA) sometime after the holidays.SMD members interested in participating should contact Don Florwick by e-mail. email@example.com
Adjournment:The Chair accepted a motion to adjourn.Notice of the next SMD meeting will be communicated to the members.
Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser
Following the meeting, host Bob Johnson gave an informal clinic on how he makes his layout’s many trees from wild hydrangea gathered at railway and highway cuts as well as from other recently disturbed ground.He reported that this method of tree making was developed by Harry Clarke.
I would like to invite everyone to our December meeting at Frank Benenati’s home this coming Sunday, December 9th. Doors open at 2PM for a tour of the layout, with the meeting to follow. If you missed our last meeting, you’ll find our clerk’s impeccably edited minutes attached below.
Afterward, Frank will be demonstrating how to use a Decoder-Pro and a Sprogg to re-program DCC engines and adjust sound levels and other CVs. Frank says, “I’ve had good results with the exception of first generation WOW sound steam. If anyone wants to bring an HO engine they want to “reprogrammed” we will use it as a demonstrator. If you have the manufacturer’s decoder information bring it along as that will be of assistance.” Folks are more than welcome to stay and socialize, as well.
Frank models a Western Maryland themed railroad, which he started while living in Germany and is modular in design. His layout uses Digitrax DCC and features Campbell, Bar Mill, Foss and more in addition to scratch built structures. A Timetable, fast clock, and waybill routing to simulate operations, with first generation diesels providing motive power.
Frank’s home is the last house on the left at the end of his street.
The railroad is in the basement, so if any members would prefer to avoid the indoor flight of stairs, you may walk around the side of the carport, continue around the back of the house, and down the gentle slope to the basement door. There will be a couple of steps inside the door, however. All others are encouraged to use the basement stairs adjacent to the kitchen/carport door.
Furthermore, Frank cautions, “Just about every road into and out of Damascus has a speed camera cleverly located to generate revenue for Montgomery County. Remember to keep an eye out for “safety corridor” and other warning signs. Occasionally there are “doubles” placed to catch those who speed up after passing the first camera.”
In other news, I’d like to apologize for not getting this out sooner! I’ve been trying to send only two emails a month- an update and a reminder- a couple of weeks apart, but as it stands, please expect another reminder email this Saturday. This is also the first email from the Division’s new address, so I’m hoping this won’t get “lost in the mail”, so to speak.
The Philadelphia Division, NMRA welcomes you and yours to Liberty Bell Special 2019! The next Convention will be October 10 through October 13, 2019 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in King of Prussia, PA. After much deliberation, our committee chose the name Liberty Bell over such other favorites as Cheese Steak Special and some lesser titles. For those of you not familiar with King of Prussia, it is located 20 miles northwest of downtown Philadelphia adjacent to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and many nearby highways. In southeast Pennsylvania, all highways lead to Valley Forge.
Since Monday, October 14 is a Federal Holiday, the hotel has agreed to extend the room rates for the convention for an additional 3 days before and into the week following the convention. The hotel is in walking distance to the second largest shopping mall in the United States with shops and dining to meet any tastes. Also, in driving distance are the Valley Forge National Park whose accommodations during the winters of the American Revolution were not as luxurious as our hotel, Longwood Gardens, the gardens of the Dupont family and many more places of interest. More about the area can be found on the hotel’s website, www.cpvalleyforge.com. For those of you who collect hotel stay points, Crowne Plaza is a part of the IHG hotel group. Registration forms for the Convention and hotel reservation information will be published soon
At this time, we have one prototype tour on the Colebrookdale Railroad. The Colebrookdale is part of the former Reading Barto branch in nearby Boyertown, PA that is a short 50-minute drive from the hotel. In addition to the autumn foliage that occurs in early October,there will be the train ride, lunch, and a tour of the railroad’s shops. The committee is working hard on additional tours and will announce them through the Region and Division newsletters as well as on the websites www.libertybellspecial.org or www.mer2019.org.
Currently we have the first four layout tours scheduled, three HO layouts and a traction layout. Efforts are under way to add to the list both with individual and club layouts. We are attempting to keep all tours and open houses to drives of 30 minutes or less. We would also like to hear from owners and superintendents who are willing to open their layouts to those making the trip to Valley Forge, keeping in mind again that Monday, October 14th is a holiday. Those willing should notify Bill Fagan <firstname.lastname@example.org> of ability to host. Remember, those Open Houses count toward AP Volunteer points.
Liberty Bell Special will begin on Thursday night with clinics which will continue through Sunday morning. We have one tentative, hands-on clinic planned with a noted presenter, as well as many more sessions tentatively planned. Again, check the website for additional or new clinics. If you want to present a clinic, please email John Seibert <email@example.com> with your topic.
As usual, Saturday will include the Contest Room. Plan now to bring your latest modeling efforts for sharing with other MER members. More AP credits may be available for your efforts.
Sprinkled among all these activities will be opportunities to operate on some truly spectacular individual and club layouts. We’re keeping those AP Dispatcher ours in mind.
All roads lead to King of Prussia, PA. We hope you and yours will take advantage of this opportunity to visit the convention for a truly memorable experience.
When my friend Don Florwick first initiated TT/TO operations on his NYCS Pittsburgh & South Pennsylvania Railroad (P&SP), he needed cabooses. Models of NYCS’s 19000 series cabooses were the obvious choice. To that end, Don purchased 16 of the kits offered by Waterlevel Models for these cabooses. As building the Waterlevel kits would take time, in the interim, Don also purchased a pair of 19000 series NYC cabooses from Trix as well as a small fleet of bay window cabooses from Walthers.
The Walthers stand-in’s unfortunately were lettered for Conrail and consequently were bereft of end ladders and roof walks. They performed well, but the sight of a modern Conrail caboose bringing up the rear of a 1950’s era NYC consist had the effect of finger nails on a black board every time one passed me by during an operating session.
Learning of Don’s stash of Waterlevel kits, I offered to build them for him as he had enough on his plate maintaining a rather large layout to operational standards (which he does very well). I began by taking a single kit to examine with the intent of determining the best approach to gang building the fleet. I found however, that these kits were probably never intended as fleet equipment for operating sessions.
The Waterlevel NYC cabooses are high quality plastic craftsman style kits. The model company did their homework and the instructions are well written as well as informative, providing much background information on the NYC 19000 series wood cabooses. The kits themselves however, are a bear to assemble. As the picture (below) shows, the steps are constructed out of six tiny pieces that are nearly impossible to hold in proper relation to each other while applying glue. For sixteen cabooses this would require constructing a total of 64 step assemblies.
Since what Don needs are operational pieces, not contest pieces, we began looking for options. In the right hand corner of the pic is a set of steps from an Athearn “blue box” caboose kit. These steps, complete with end platform are a nearly perfect substitute for the steps in the kit. With the help of Jay Beckham we will be looking into having them 3D printed. The Waterlevel kits are therefore on hold for the time being.
As yard master for Somerset yard, switching the bay window Conrail cabooses when making or breaking up a coal extra was especially grating. To that end I offered to back date the cabooses. Don is in the process of realigning a section of mainline with the consequence of having to cancel Novembers operating session. This has allowed time to repaint and back date the Walthers bay window cabooses.
The prototype for these Walthers bay window cabooses is most similar to Conrail as class N21. They are very nearly correct for NYC’s Lot 782, built in 1949 by Despatch Shops Incorporated. They have the correct bay window but the other windows should be square double pane rather than have the rounded corners with riveted aluminum trim. In the interest of simplicity and the need to have them back in service within a limited time period, Don elected to invoke modelers license and say the cabooses were purchased directly by the P&SP due to a shortage of NYC hacks.
To that end, all I have to do is backdate them to a 1950’s appearance. Tichy Train Group came to the rescue with roof walks and friction bearing caboose trucks. Tichy has to be one of the best deals on the market for model railroaders. Their products are of the highest quality with some of the finest castings I’ve ever had the pleasure of working. Plus their prices can’t be beat. A box of 10 trucks goes for 15.50 albeit with plastic wheels. The wheels however, are of the correct tread profile. The roof walks come three to a package for 5.95.
The Walthers cabooses came with very nice metal wheels. As can be seen in the photo, the wheels have been exchanged on the trucks with the metal wheels being installed in the Tichy frames and the Tichy wheels being placed in the roller bearing frames ( the pile in front of the cabooses). The third pic shows the roof of one of the cabooses with the file marks where the ribs have been filed down to accommodate the metal roof walk. Supports will be added at the ends of the roof with bits of styrene bent to shape and filed flat. The ladder walks are supported the same way with bits of styrene cut to shape. The ladders are gleanings from the scrap drawer where fortunately, I had just enough for the six cabooses. However, scale ladder stock is available from several sources.
Once the roof details are completed the cars will be painted the standard NYC box car red with black roof. To avoid having to disassemble the car bodies, I decided to use Micro-Mark liquid masking film to cover the windows. This is a rubber like film that can be peeled off. Tedious to apply but much easier than disassembling a half dozen models that weren’t designed to be disassembled.
The cabooses should be back in service in time for Don’s December operating session. All he has to worry about now is having the mainline to Wheeling back in service by then.
As for the Waterline models, that’s another story for another time. Perhaps by the next installment of the Wheel Report I’ll managed to have the steps and end sills recreated via 3D printing and will be able to convey how I fared with that adventure.