October 2020 Newsletter

Both the calendar and thermometer confirm it’s finally autumn and our summer heat is slowly retreating to the southern hemisphere.  Even though daylight hours are  waning, the cooler temperature is great news for all Club members with outdoor railroads.   Let’s see what our members were up to in September but first, these messages…


  • As reported in last month’s Newsletter, this year’s public open house slated for November 6-9 is canceled.  In light of COVID-19, the Officers feel it’s important to protect the well-being of our members and prevent inadvertent exposure to the virus.  This year there will be no public announcements, magazine articles, newspaper coverage, or banners displayed.  The Club’s website and the Southern Utah Division’s Facebook page have been updated to ensure the community knows of the cancellation. 
  • That being said, a few folks have chosen to display their railroads for fellow club members as well as selected friends and family.  For example, Tim Fitch and Dick Saunders will be open Saturday and Sunday (November 7 & 8) from 12:00 Noon to 4:00 PM both days.  If you choose to open your layout to visitors, it's up to you to coordinate the times, dates, and attendees.  
  • Likewise, the 2020 Christmas Party is also canceled BUT we all look forward to our 2021 Spring BBQ with great anticipation.
  • Posted HERE is the Joe Zukowski inventory (20 pages) of railroad related items, tools, and miscellaneous items.  Club members get first crack at buying anything listed.  Fair market prices were set by researching eBay and other sources.  The items are grouped into the following categories:  O scale, On30, HO, N scale, BUILDINGS & STRUCTURES (HO and N), SCENERY ITEMS, TOOLS, TRUCKS/TRACK/COUPLERS, and MISCELLANEOUS.   Notice the extensive collection of HO locomotives and rolling stock !!  If you’re interested in purchasing items, reply to Dave Merrill (davemerrill@infowest.com) by October 10 to make arrangements.  Money collected will help reimburse Beth Zukowski for expense she incurred clearing out and demolishing Joe’s trailer as well as other final expenses.  So, please review the list and BUY something !!


  • Gandy dancers Jim Clark, Bob Mallory, and Dan Mangiarcina have made great progress on the LIONEL PROJECT RAILROAD Boards 2 and 3 since the last update as you can see HERE.  Scroll down the page to the last 4 photos.

  • BRYAN OSBORN brought a seasonal flair to the freight car loads on his Lionel layout along with installing under-layout LED lighting.  Check it out HERE and scroll down to see the newest photos.

  • JIM HARPER reports trains are running through Colfax !!  See them HERE and scroll down to the last 2 photos.

  • KEITH JOHNSON describes his outdoor G scale progress and asks a question at the end:  “Like most other people, we have been pretty much staying at home. We have cancelled 2 major trips we had planned for the summer with a total of 63 days of travel.  Started doing a bunch of work on my railroad but the garage just got too hot.  So the first activity was to install an air conditioner for the garage.  What a difference that made !!  So, I had several projects I wanted to get finished, adding remote control to my switches, elevating the new track I had added, improving my farm layout and adding roads.

  • Using remote controlled switches is ideal.  I originally added the switches hooked up to a series of toggle switches, but I always had to go over to the toggle switches if I wanted to change switch direction.  Now, I can walk around anywhere in my back yard and change a switch.  I use Aristocraft's Train Engineer as my train control.  They have (had) a remote switch machine that can be controlled from the TE transmitter.  I can control all four of my control switches.  I previously had a remote controller but I couldn't get it to work.  Working with various online contacts, I eventually found only 1 of the possible 5 units on the remote switch worked.  I finally found another switch controller, connected all 4 of my switches and everything is working beautifully.

  • My next task I was able to complete because of the new air conditioner in the garage, was to elevate about 35 feet of track I added to my system last October. I have several trees in my backyard and they drop a lot of leaves and flowers. The track is elevated about 4 inches so I can blow all (or most) of the debris out into the wash area behind the house. That required building about 80 bents spaced about 5 inches apart, including a somewhat difficult arrangement of bents under a switch. But overall I like the effect.

  • To make improvements to my farm area, I added a horse corral and a hen house. I added a pigsty but it still needs improvement.  I still have to create my cattle pen and make a better sheep herder.

  • Finally, I've started creating roads for the layout.  After all, there needs to be a way to get around my layout. I'm experimenting using crushed lava rock for the roads.  I would like to find a finer rock (not so coarse) but it needs to be black.  Does anyone have any ideas?”  Keith’s email is kajohnson9@gmail.com  Click HERE and scroll down to the last 6 photos to see his latest work.

  • DOUG WHETSTONE has completed his train room rebuild after catastrophic flooding and shares a video of his efforts HERE.  (Be patient as this is a large video file and can take time to open.)

  • TIM FITCH shifted focus last month to constructing the Crystal Mountain Mesa Gold Mine Main Office.  Click HERE and scroll down to see the blue two-story structure.

  • LARRY AND PEGGY SCHNEIDER spent most of September in Washington state where Larry added his expertise to his son’s outdoor G scale railroad as seen HERE“He has a small Pond that the train runs around.  The pond is unique in that the fish can swim above the water level of the pond which has inverted glass fish tanks in it and a small fairy village on top as the pond is covered.  This year we added a LGB tender with Sound and also a PIKO remote control for power.  On my RR, I’m setting up my engines for Train Control using Bluetooth remote.  Also have purchased a second F7 diesel for the Santa Fe line so I now have and A-B-A consist.. Hope to have things going when it cools in October.” 
  • Check out CHANCE HAWORTH’s recent MTH acquisition HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page.
  • THOMAS AND IRENE ECKHARDT have been railfanning in the Pacific Northwest over the summer and posted this VIDEO to his YouTube channel.
  • Speaking of videos, members may enjoy this one from Union Pacific and the Cheyenne Steam Shops hosted by Ed Dickens.  Click HERE to view. 
  • The roundhouse in my engine terminal is now complete.  The approach/departure tracks have been routed to the turntable under and around the coal bunker.  Click HERE and scroll down to #42 through #45.

Until November, stay safe and healthy !!

All Aboard !!