From Bob Johnson; Images submitted by Jane Clarke, Denny LeFevre, & Bob Morningstar
On Friday, 11 August a group of SMDmembers and their guests visited the East Broad Top Railroad (the real one – not Jane and Pete Clarke’s model thereof) for a veryinteresting and informative day ofrailfaning. The turnout was small butthose who participated had aninteresting time. The group started out with awalking tour of the remains of the coalmining area around Robertsdale led by our own Pete Clarke. This gave a solidunderstanding of how the minesoperated.
Following a quick pizza lunch (provided bythe SMD) the group drove to Orbisonia, PA (bit of an issue with road closures) for a guided tour of the facilities. At Rock Hill highlights included the freight house, round house, mail shops, anda look in the door to the remains of the foundry. Then the crew rushed off to ride a trainpulled by some smoky old steam engine; the newly restored number 16.
On our return to Rock Hill we then rode atrolley and toured both the trolleybarn and the trolley restoration shops. It was a good day with fine company and beautiful weather.
I have been informed by Jane Clarke that the trains on 16-28 July will be pulled by the diesel instead of #16. Since one of the objectives for this excursion is going to see the, recently returned to service, steam locomotive it will be necessary for us to reschedule the SMD event.
Per Jane, the advance ticket sales for the 4 August are already almost sold out, so I have moved the SMD event to Friday, 11 August. In order to ensure that you can get a ticket to ride I am asking everyone to purchase their tickets online as soon as possible. When ordering get combo tickets for the 1 PM shop tour and 3 PM train. Use the link below.
In addition to the Robertsdale visit and pizza lunch, the SMD group will be doing all three Rockhill Furnace activities (EBT ride, EBT shop tour, & Rockhill trolley ride). Please purchase an “All Aboard” combo ticket package to stick with our group. Reminder, when ordering get combo tickets for the 1 PM shop tour and 3 PM train.
This package includes tickets aboard our one-hour, steam powered train excursion, our one-hour guided tour of the EBT’s remarkably intact belt-driven machine shop complex, and general admission tickets to the Rockhill Trolley Museum.
All other arrangements, schedules, etc. remain as originally announced so we will see you at Robertsdale on the morning of 11 August. The tickets for the Robertsdale museum area tour can be purchased on the day of the event.
I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience, but I am certain that at least 99% of us want to see #16 in action.
As before we ask that you notify me as to why and how many (including guests) are planning on attending so that we can make the lunch arrangement (which are still on the Division’s dime).
I’m writing to invite you all to our May business meeting tomorrow, May 15th, at the historic High Line Train Station depot in Greencastle, PA. You read that right: for the first time since March 2020, we’re back in person! The address is
Literal, physical, actual doors open at 2pm, with the business meeting to follow by 2:30pm. Refreshments will be provided and, in lieu of a clinic, in-person socializing at the station is welcome until 5pm. I want to take a moment to give a big shout-out to Bob Morningstar for securing this opportunity for us!
In other news, big changes are coming to the South Mountain Division in the ’22-’23 season. Taking things from the top…
… I am stepping down from the Superintendent’s desk once more. I never intended to return to it this quickly, and it’s simply not a good fit for me right now. Fortunately, Bob Johnson has accepted a membership nomination to become our next Superintendent; please join me (hopefully, literally!) in giving Bob a big hand as he takes the Super’s chair.
Harvey Heyser and Ray Price have both graciously agreed to serve another year as our Clerk and Paymaster, respectively. With assistant Super Mike Shockey acting as our Nomination Chair and only one candidate per position, I expect to elect the current slate by a motion of acclamation in lieu of a voting election.
Furthermore, with Wheel Report editor Tom Fedor retiring from more than half a decade with the Division, I’ve volunteered to fill his shoes through our ’22-’23 issues and- as you likely already know- Grant Berry has replaced Pete Clarke as our MinI-Con Coordinator, with one successful Mini already under his belt.
Looking down the line, I’m excited to see a post-pandemic SMD begin to get under steam. Judging by conversations I’ve had with folks over the last 6-12 months, I believe there’s a real appetite for what our Division can bring to the table!
If you have any questions/concerns re: the meeting, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you all soon,
*SMD has the station from 1-5, so I plan to arrive early with bottled water, soda, coffee, donuts, snacks, etc. as our “host” for concession boxcar purposes.
** Due to technical problems, the draft March meeting minutes will not be prepared for approval until our September meeting.
It’s quiet right now in Robertsdale, PA. But the mail train will soon arrive. So the post office clerk has positioned the pushcart into the spot where the crew will offload mail from the combine. The clerk will then push the cart over to the Post Office building, and toss the mail through the window. Every time he does thischore I’m sure he asks himself, “why couldthey bother to lay this track, but not bother to put in a door!”
That’s the way it was on the EBT. That’s the way it is on Pete and Jane Clarke’s HOn3 EBT as well.
Thank you to Wade Woodcock for the 3-D printed “Old Post Office” kit. Frank Benenati assembled the structure.
Never trust a man who doesn’t have a hobby, a female friend once told me. Thank goodness model railroading has been my hobby of choice for over 30 years – I must be very trustworthy.
Why do we enjoy this hobby so much? Forget the idea of the train set running under the Christmas tree or G-scale trains running around a sports bar ceiling. How do we explain our love for the hobby to inquiring minds at a barbecue or cocktail party? How do we convey our enjoyment of various aspects of the hobby: track installation and design, scenery and buildings, locomotives and rolling stock, electronics, simulating switching problems, creating a diorama depicting time and place, railroad research, history and documentation, and railroad art?
For me, the joy of model railroading is twofold.
I get to recreate a world of transportation long gone by.
I can create a complete transportation infrastructure in miniature.
We begin with a planning exercise – what do we want to see before our eyes – perhaps a train pulled by a steam locomotive trundling through the countryside as a period piece?
We strive to create a realistic depiction of time and place, as if we were standing on a station platform. What does our world of rail transportation look like in 1900, 1945 or 1970? In this process we find ourselves trying to understand what the physical world was like, especially the world of railroad work involving varieties of heavy machinery. It’s a way to travel back in time, historically and artistically.
Through this hobby, I am reminded that modern America was not borne out of Silicon Valley, but from workers and tycoons during the late 19th and first half of the 20th century in towns like Bethlehem, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. For those of us interested in steel mills, coal mines, lumber mills and heavy industrial enterprises, research helps us dive deeper into the reality of that time. It’s important to learn about the organization of work in pre-internet America (for those of us who haven’t already experienced it) and the complicated battles fought between labor, management. Wherever there were railroads, there were adjacent enterprises dependent on national connections, and homes and neighborhoods subject to air pollution, noise, unpaved streets, and outdoor plumbing.
Because of model railroading, I’ve can appreciate even more those who inhabited these neighborhoods and did these dirty and dangerous jobs to create the America we know today. By creating these worlds in miniature and giving thought to their complicated histories, we honor those who built industrial America.