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.
A nonprofit foundation has purchased the East Broad Top Railroad from the Kovalchick family. A press release on eastbroadtop.com states the new EBT Foundation Inc., led by Brad Esposito, David Brightbill, Lawrence Biemiller, and Stephen Lane, with backers Wick Moorman, Henry Posner III, and Bennett Levin, will immediately begin work to overhaul track and equipment and to stabilize the Rockhill Furnace complex. Esposito will be the general manager. Advisors include Linn Moedinger and Rod Case. The Kovalchick Family is on the board of the new nonprofit.
New management is encouraging all who wish to support restoration efforts to connect with the Friends of the East Broad Top (FEBT). Volunteers should look to the FEBT, named a close partner in the release, if they want to work on equipment and infrastructure.