Posts Tagged ‘model railroading’

Berea Train Show is This Weekend

September 26, 2022

The 48th Great Berea Train Show will be held Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 1 and 2) at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds.

Admission is $8 per person with a two-day passing available for $10. Children under age 18 are admitted free with the purchase of an adult admission.

More than 700 vendor and display tables will be set up over building offering for display or sale various railroad and model railroad artifacts. Several operating model railroad layouts will be in operation.

Five model railroad clinics will be offered on Saturday and three on Sunday offering tips on layout scenery techniques and how to care for and maintain locomotives and rolling stock.

The entrance to the fairgrounds is located at 19201 Bagley Road in Middleburg Heights. Parking is free and food vendors will be on site.

The show is presented by North Coast Division (Division 4) of the National Model Railroad Association. The division covers Cuyahoga, Lorain, Medina, Erie and Huron counties in Ohio.

Olmsted Falls Depot to Hold Open House Events

April 19, 2022

The Olmsted Falls Depot & Model Railroad Museum will hold four open house events in April and May.

The depot will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 23 and 30, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 24 and May 1.

A donation of $5 per person is being asked with children admitted for free.

The depot, located at 25802 Garfield Avenue, features operating model railroads in the N, HO and O gauges.

There will be raffle prizes and refreshments on all days. Aside from model railroad layouts, the depot has a former Pennsylvania Railroad cabin car on display and is located next to the busy Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

More information is available at www.olmstedfallsdepot.com

Santa Fe Mini-Meet Set in Indianapolis

January 31, 2018

A Santa Fe mini-meet has been set in Indianapolis on March 10 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Allisonville Christian Church, 7701 Allisonville Road.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

Advance ticket sales are being handled by Tom Cain atsf93@comcast.net, 6383 Dover Road, Indianapolis, IN 46220

The presentation schedule is as follows:

James Brown, Author of the new Santa Fe Illinois Division book: Railroad (and Industrial) Archeology: What’s Left of the Santa Fe Along the old First
District of the Illinois Division (Dearborn to Chillicothe)

Micheal Tomei, a modeler of modern Santa Fe locomotives: What’s
all that stuff on the roof?

Paul Nash, a Santa Fe Trainmaster: Santa Fe Operations/My Life as a Train Master

Tom Cain, an Indiana resident who models the Santa Fe: Adding Signals to the Eastern
Illinois Santa Fe layout with JMRI

There will be opportunities to tour area Santa Fe Layouts on Saturday evening.

Models Take Us to a Past Never Experienced

May 16, 2015

Amtrak RDC model

I gave up model railroading after I graduated from high school. It was largely a pragmatic decision and not entirely mine.

I had gone away to college and the HO layout that my dad and I had built in the basement languished unused. Eventually the Interstate Commerce Commission in my family — my mother — decided the space taken up by my layout could be put to better use and she ordered my “railroad” to be abandoned and dismantled.

I saved some of the rolling stock, track and other items in boxes for several years before giving them away to people I never met.

Although I’ve never gotten back into modeling and don’t expect that I ever will, I still retain an interest in model railroad layouts because of their ability to link me with the past and/or something I never saw.

Take Amtrak Rail Diesel Cars, for example. I never saw one operate for Amtrak, never photographed one and never saw one in person.

RDCs are a footnote in the history of Amtrak’s rolling stock and they didn’t operate in that many places. A couple of routes in the Midwest, most notably Chicago-Dubuque, Iowa; and Chicago-Champaign, Illinois, briefly hosted RDC equipment.

I’ve also seen photographs of RDCs operating on the East Coast, most notably north of New York City on former New Haven tracks.

I have seen RDC cars in operation and even ridden in a couple. In fall 2013 the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad took one of its RDCs out of mothballs and ran it on a Halloween season special.

But I’ve never seen an RDC wearing the Amtrak platinum silver, even in a museum.

So as I was walking toward the exit at the National Train Day festivities in Toledo two weeks ago, I stopped to view an HO layout that featured an Amtrak train in action.

On a siding was the model of an Amtrak RDC pictured above. I photographed it because: (a) It is the closest I’ll ever get to photographing the real thing and (b) I seldom even get to see models of Amtrak RDC cars.

Models are not always realistic in their finer details, particularly if they are mass-produced. This one is no exception.

But it’s a reasonable facsimile and like any model it had the ability to engage my imagination and enable me to see in my mind’s eye what it must have looked like to have stood trackside in the 1970s when Amtrak RDC cars were hauling revenue passengers.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Fire Destroys ex-NYC Station in New York

June 4, 2014

Fire recently destroyed a former New York Central station in Western New York that had been home to a model railroad supply store.

The station, a two-story wooden structure in East Rochester, N.Y., had been built in 1884 and for more than 20 years had housed Despatch Junction.

There were no injuries in the fire whose cause is still being investigated. Nobody was injured in the blaze and the cause is under investigation. Firefighters from four departments were present at the scene.

“You don’t make a lot of money in model train repair,” store clerk Frank Flicinski told the Rochester Democrate and Chronicle newspaper. “You do it because you love making people happy. … It was the gathering place for a lot of friendships.”

The store was run by Stan Slade and featured a large inventory of new and used trains in all scales as well as a sizable collection of books devoted to railroading.”

CSX and Amtrak trains on the main line between Buffalo and Albany were suspended for nearly two hours during the fire.

Highlights From National Train Day in Toledo

May 15, 2014

 

The New York Central heritage locomotive was right at home in a train station built by the railroad that this H unit honors.

The New York Central heritage locomotive was right at home in a train station built by the railroad that this H unit honors.

In recent years the National Train Day event in Toledo has been one of the country’s largest as well as earliest. The Toledo organizers recognized early on that if they wanted to have Amtrak equipment on display they couldn’t go head to head with such events as that held in Chicago.

So, Toledo holds NTD a week early and this year that was May 3. There was much going on that day, too. Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive No. 765 was pulling a Norfolk Southern employee appreciation special between Elkhart, Ind., and Bryan, Ohio.

Perhaps the “star” of the Toledo NTD event was the New York Central heritage unit. It arrived Friday nght, a little later than expected, but it still got there and took its place at the far west end of an equipment display on Track No. 1

Also on display was an Amtrak P32 locomotive, and three Superliner cars. Those included a coach, sleeper and diner. NTD visitors were welcome to board the exhibit train and get a glimpse of Amtrak accommodations.

The three cars must have felt at home as they probably have been through Toledo many times on Amtrak’s Capitol Limited.

Also on hand were locomotives from the Wheeling & Lake Erie and the Great Lakes Central, a Michigan based regional carrier.

On Saturday morning as I visited the NTD before going on in pursuit of the NKP 765, a group of Boy Scouts were getting a presentation about how diesel locomotives operate. The Scouts were working on the requirements for the railroading merit badge.

Although officially scheduled to open at 9:30 a.m., visitors began arriving well before then. The concourse level of Central Union Terminal was filled with model railroad displays and tables from various railroad groups, including passenger train advocates and railroad unions. Entertainment was provided for the crowd as well.

It was my first visit to the Toledo NTD event and I just might find myself returning next year.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The lineup of exhibit equipment on Track No. 1 at Toledo CUT on National Train Day.

The lineup of exhibit equipment on Track No. 1 at Toledo CUT on National Train Day.

Another view of the concourse area of Toledo CUT. This is just inside the street-level entrance.

Another view of the concourse area of Toledo CUT. This is just inside the street-level entrance.

Amtrak P32 locomotives are not normal visitors to Toledo as the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited usually operate with P42 locomotives.

Amtrak P32 locomotives are not normal visitors to Toledo as the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited usually operate with P42 locomotives.

Visitors disembark after touring the Amtrak exhibit train.

Visitors disembark after touring the Amtrak exhibit train.

Track car rides were offered on a siding at the east end of the station. These tracks are sometimes used to store private passenger cars.

Track car rides were offered on a siding at the east end of the station. These tracks are sometimes used to store private passenger cars.

Model railroads and display tables lined the concourse area of Toledo CUT. At one time passengers were board trains from here by descending stairways to track level.

Model railroads and display tables lined the concourse area of Toledo CUT. At one time passengers were board trains from here by descending stairways to track level.

The Conrail Historical Society table featured models of Conrail locomotives.

The Conrail Historical Society table featured models of Conrail locomotives.

The Amtrak equipment display wasn't the only tribute to Amtrak at NTD. This model layout had an Amtrak train with an eclectic consist.

The Amtrak equipment display wasn’t the only tribute to Amtrak at NTD. This model layout had an Amtrak train with an eclectic consist.

Cannonball Paul serenaded the early morning attendees of the Toledo NTD event.

Cannonball Paul serenaded the early morning attendees of the Toledo NTD event.

 

 

If Only They Were Real

February 21, 2014

An Alco PA (left) and RS11 pose at the mouth of the tunnel on the HO model railroad layout of Edward Ribinskas.

An Alco PA (left) and RS11 pose at the mouth of the tunnel on the HO model railroad layout of Edward Ribinskas.

Although I grew up in east central Illinois just 10 miles or so from the Nickel Plate Road’s St. Louis line, I never saw a NKP train. I occasionally saw the tracks, but that was it.

Most of my eyewitness sightings of NKP rolling stock have been at the Mad River & NKP Museum in Bellevue.

For one evening on a recent Sunday, though, the Nickel Plate came back to life. I had spent the afternoon with Marty Surdyk and Edward Ribinskas railfaning in Lake County. During the day we spotted four Norfolk Southern trains on the former NKP Chicago-Buffalo mainline.

That evening at Ed’s house, he brought out some of his NKP motive power fleet. Powering a coal train were an RS11 and an RS36. Pulling a manifest freight was a NKP “Blue Bird.”

In real life, the NKP PA locomotives pulled passenger trains, including a pair of trains that operated Cleveland and St. Louis.

But on a model railroad, you can create any parallel universe that you desire. And you can make anything from the past come alive again.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The "Blue Bird" climbs a grade on a trestle as the coal train is about to pass below.

The “Blue Bird” climbs a grade on a trestle as the coal train is about to pass below.

Ed03

By the time Penn Central came along in 1968, the Nickel Plate had been merged into the Norfolk & Western and the “Blue Birds” were long gone. But anything is possible on a model railroad layout.

No train runs on Ed's layout without a caboose.

No train runs on Ed’s layout without a caboose.

Head end and rear end align near the entrance to the tunnel.

Head end and rear end align near the entrance to the tunnel.

Fire Up the 611! (And the 1218, Too)

February 11, 2014

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As money is being raised and planning being done to restore Norfolk & Western J-Class steam locomotive No. 611 to operating condition, the locomotive is out and running all across America. Of course, those excursions of the 611 are models.

Akron Railroad Club treasurer Edward Ribinskas is a huge steam fan and the HO scale layout in his basement includes the N&W 611 as well as the N&W 1218. Both locomotives were active in the Norfolk Southern steam program until the railroad ended it in late 1994.

NS has since begun hosting steam excursions on a limited scale, using already operating locomotives, including the Nickel Plate Road No. 765.

There is good reason to believe that the 611 will run again some day, although there is no serious public discussion about restoring the 1218. For now, the prototypes continue to sit on display at the Virginia Transportation Museum in Roanoke, Va.

But on Ed’s layout, the 611 and 1218 are frequently seen out on the line.

In the top two photos, the iconic N&W steamers are posed after just existing a tunnel. The bottom photo shows the roundhouse, which is home to several NKP steam locomotives.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

What Might Have Been Is in HO Scale

March 14, 2013

A New York Central Alco FA locomotive leads a local freight on the Lorain, Ashland & Southern Railroad in Marty Surdyk's basement.

A New York Central Alco FA locomotive leads a local freight on the Lorain, Ashland & Southern Railroad in Marty Surdyk’s basement.

Few people still alive ever saw the Lorain, Ashland & Southern Railroad, which operated in the early 20th century between Lorain and Custaloga, Ohio, a junction with the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Fort Wayne Line in far southern Wayne County.

The LA&S was abandoned in 1925 and only a few traces of it remain today, many of which you need to know where to look to find.

Marty Surdyk has long had a fascination with the LA&S and last year he began to recreate it in the basement of his home.

The project began with Marty scrapped his model railroad layout that had been based on a New York Central branch line in far southern Ohio.

In doing this, Marty took a few liberties with historical fact. First, he assumed that the LA&S survived until the early 1960s. Second, he assumed that NYC controlled the LA&S and not that dastardly “P Company” along with the Erie Railroad.

But that’s the beauty of model railroading. You can create any universe that you want and pay attention to any historical facts that you choose.

I recently had a chance to watch Marty’s LA&S in action. We had spent a few hours sorting slides to be auctioned off at an upcoming Akron Railroad Club meeting.

At my request, Marty brought the railroad to life, running a short freight train led by an NYC Alco FA locomotive that he received as a Christmas present.

In real life it is unlikely that branch line road freights would have had an FA for their motive power, but this is a model railroad layout and you make your own operating rules.

The train repeatedly snaked around the layout, a pattern that would not be typical had Marty been having an operating session complete with train orders and customers to serve.

Like most layouts, Marty’s LA&S is a work in progress. You have to use a little imagination to visualize the LA&S because unlike the real thing Marty’s LA&S moves in curves and circles and not linear lines.

Aside from a few snapshots that I took in the early 1960s with a Kodak Brownie camera, I never photographed the New York Central. So, I couldn’t resist getting my camera out and capturing the LA&S Division of the Mighty Oval. It was kinda fun going back to the 1960s to photograph with a digital camera.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Of course there is a caboose on this train and of course its owned by the Central.

Of course there is a caboose on this train and of course its owned by the Central.

It was the weekend and switcher won't be going back on duty in the Lorain Yard until Monday morning. So I didn't get to see it in action.

It was the weekend and switcher won’t be going back on duty in the Lorain Yard until Monday morning. So I didn’t get to see it in action.

I can rember seeing Deep Rock tank cars such as these many years ago and Deep Rock service stations.

I can rember seeing Deep Rock tank cars such as these many years ago and Deep Rock service stations.

You really didn't think that Marty would create a model railroad layout without a grain elevator did you?

You really didn’t think that Marty would create a model railroad layout without a grain elevator did you?