April 2021 Newsletter

Mother Nature certainly has a strange sense of humor, doesn’t she?   Snow again, in March no less!!  On the other hand, it gives us additional opportunities to see outdoor railroads under puffy white pillows.  More on that later.  For now, sit back, relax, and enjoy this month's Newsletter !

Club News:

Bruce Klawitter received a brief email from Joe Zukowski’s sisters, Beth and Odette. “…the checks arrived in the mail today.  Thank you very much.  We are once again very grateful to you, Dave, and all the club members who helped us so much.”

Our treasurer, Larry Schneider, reminds members who haven’t yet paid their 2021 dues to forward $25 to him soon.  Also, Larry has Color Country Trains Tee-shirts available for sale: 3XL (red only) and 2XL (both colors).  (L and XL sizes are sold out.)  Shirts: $15 each or two shirts for $25.  Contact Larry: peggy.larry.schneider@gmail.com

Recently, Larry contacted Mike Robinson of Dixie Regional Medical Center's pediatrics department about the operation of the Children’s Playroom railroad.  Mike reported the railroad completed by members of our club’s G-scale Group in February 2020 has performed flawlessly.  Here’s an excerpt from Mike’s email to Larry.  (Anyone unfamiliar with this project can click HERE and read more from the May 2020 Newsletter.)

“Thank you for the email. The train is working really well. A testament to fine St. George workmanship!!!

The hospital still has the same restrictions as they have been throughout the pandemic. The hospital personnel continues to wear masks and eye protection.  I speak with the volunteer department about 3 times a month and they are still not taking volunteers.  We have not heard when the hospital will change the restrictions yet.

Adding sound to the train would be a hoot! (Future sound card donation/installation by Tim Fitch.)  That would really add some excitement to the train. We do actually run it for kids. We have them stand outside the playroom in the hallway and then activate it so they can watch it run along the back wall. Kids still can't go into the playroom because of the restrictions so we get around that by letting them watch from the hallway through the glass.

Once the restrictions ease up I will contact you so that we can have you come in to do maintenance and work on those modifications.”

New members:

Moving to St. George from the SLC/Ogden area, G-Scale modeler Dean Odenwalder has joined the CCMRRC.  Welcome Dean!

Also joining our ranks of happy hobbyists is Michael T. Silva.  We look forward to learning more about him and his chosen scale soon.

Member Layouts:

The Colfax scene in the crew lounge of Jim Harper’s O-scale railroad is nearing completion with details added (figures, baggage, carts, and signage) to the depot.  Click HERE and scroll down to the April 2021 Update for photos of Jim's excellent modeling skills.

Tim Fitch updates us on his Southwestern High Frontier Railroad.  “I was excited to see Keith’s article last month as I have also jumped into 3D printing!  I purchased a printer in early February and have had it running almost non-stop from the first day!  My gut feel is that 3D printing is going to become an essential technology to support our hobby as repair parts and supplies become harder to find.  We’ve seen the loss of some important vendors (Split Jaw, Smith Pond Junction, etc.) and I think we’ll need to be able to create and make our own parts.  3D printing is a very enabling process and can make almost anything you can imagine!

I invested in a Prusa Research printer and have been very happy with the results.  Like Keith, I use Fusion 360 for the design process and highly recommend it for its power and intuitive interface.  I’ve used around half a dozen CAD systems and Fusion 360 is by far the best.

My material of choice is PETG because of its strength, ease of printing, and its inherent resistance to the damaging UV radiation to which our outdoor railroads are exposed.  

My current project, which has been ongoing since early February, is a water wheel-driven Stamp Mill.  It has 12 stamp rams in two bays.  All of the detail parts are 3D printed.  There are ~150 parts (so far!).  Click HERE and scroll down to the April 2021 Update for pictures of the CAD drawing and structure.  The Stamp Mill will be located on the Mesa with the tunnel and elevated track.  Some pictures from the recent snowfall are also included.  We had close to 8 (scale) feet of snow!”

Larry Schneider’s update: “Peggy and I did some traveling during the early part of the month and saw this rail crane in Quartzite, AZ where there is a small short line RR.  The other photos HERE are from the snow we had on the 13th.  Had to get up a bit earlier than usual as it was starting to melt.

In January I found a good deal on some small Wi-Fi cameras and purchased three at $20 each.  Since these new cameras have better resolution and a wider field of view, I replaced an older in-car camera with one of these new units.  My ultimate goal is to see views from multiple operating trains and an overview of the layout. I am really excited about getting back to inviting people to come see the RR.”

Ron Smith has been busy with his latest additions.  “I've now completed another expansion of my backyard, G-scale layout.  There are two separate loops, a living desert loop, and a farm loop.  This lets me run two trains at the same time.  Switches allow me to transfer the trains to either loop. or run them together on one loop.   Overall, these two loops combine for 260 feet of track.  I still have a separate, 40 foot, "Jurassic Park" train under my patio.   It's been converted from O-scale to G-scale.  So much looking forward to a potential open house this spring.”  Click HERE and scroll down to the April 2021 Update for Ron’s annotated photos.  

Rick Guercio tells us more about the striking background images surrounding his railroad. “I think I have a good artist now, but lost a couple along the way.  The short wall is actually a photo blown up of an area in northern Italy - the Dolomites.  I’m having the same company enlarge a night photo of SLC for a 3rd wall and my good artist is coming back to do a desert scene on the 4th wall during spring break at SUU.  Meanwhile I’ve got all my polycarbonate edge barriers up to prevent off-the-table catastrophes.  Also I’m still working on the road bed, final track placement, and wiring.”

CCMRRC members will recall the N-scale layout Werner Balsterholt completed over the last couple of years and its backstory.  (Click HERE to review the three installments showing Werner's progress previously published on this website.)  Since Werner and Ann needed to reclaim the layout space in the garage, the railroad needed a new home.  Fellow N-scaler Rich Wilson quickly jumped at the opportunity to adopt the layout.

Also, while recovering from knee replacement surgery, Werner completed another puzzle.  Click HERE and scroll down to see “Heading for Reno” available from Ceaco puzzles, Newton, MA.  Werner said it reminds him of a trip they took to Carson City where he captured these IMAGES at the Nevada State Railroad Museum. 

Recently Chance Haworth has shifted his interest from Lionel to HO scale, with primary emphasis on Southern Pacific (with a smattering of UP thrown in for good measure).  Click HERE to see photos of his locomotives and rolling stock.

Modeling News:   

Held early last month, the Kanab Train Show drew an estimated 1000+ model railroad enthusiasts during the 2-day event, nearly quadruple the previous attendance.  51 area codes were represented, covering 24 states.  It's great to see the show continuing to grow more popular every year.

Dick Gibbons shares the March 2021 issue of the “Wisconsin Garden Railway Society Badger Tracks” newsletter with us HERE.

Marklin Trains - The pandemic has helped Märklin, a 162-year-old company that makes model trains, discover a new audience.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/18/business/model-trains-pandemic.html

Garden Railroading, Swiss Style – Thomas Eckhardt shares with us this YouTube link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt0tgvNiOBc

Rod Stewart relocated his HO scale model railroad to Essex, England.  https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/14226040/rod-stewart-model-train-ship-britain/

Railfan Dan Videos – dozens of absolutely marvelous videos, all shot with drones. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSLspsNY3KJstSs2NqaKQbA

Howard Zane -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR5P8noSdWk&t=1s

Prototype News:

Golden Age of the Pullman Car - https://www.thehistoryreader.com/us-history/the-golden-age-of-the-pullman-car/

Top Ten Most Beautiful Train Rides in the World - https://www.travelpirates.com/other/most-beautiful-train-rides_13234

Six National Parks You Can Explore Via Amtrak - https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/bus-train/amtrak-routes-national-parks

CEO of Amtrak Thinks Americans Are Ready for Trains Again - https://slate.com/business/2021/03/amtrak-ceo-interview-trains-coronavirus.html

Amtrak's Auto Train from Virginia to Florida - https://thepointsguy.co.uk/reviews/amtrak-auto-train/

CP Rail Agrees to Buy Kansas City Southern for $25 Billion, creating a 20,000-mile rail network linking the U.S., Mexico, and Canada - https://au.news.yahoo.com/cp-rail-agrees-buy-kansas-113659958.html

Speaking of Canadian Pacific, Ballard Power Inks Deal with CP Rail for Zero-Emission Trains https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/ballard-power-stock-jumps-on-deal-with-cp-rail-for-zero-emission-trains-150030737.html

Track 61, Abandoned NYC Train Track Under Grand Central Station - https://untappedcities.com/2021/03/17/abandoned-track-61-grand-central-terminal/

Amtrak Releasing Six 50th Anniversary Commemorative Painted Locomotives - https://media.amtrak.com/2021/03/amtrak-releasing-six-50th-anniversary-commemorative-painted-locomotives/

Amtrak's New Food Service and its Traditional Dining Car  https://www.businessinsider.com/amtrak-dining-car-review-much-better-than-expected-2019-10

Narrow Gauge Steamer Stuck in a Snow Drift for Two Days - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MneyrYjQ2j8

Lastly, to build and maintain the best website for the club, I need your help.  Due to email file size restrictions, often you folks send me several small (low resolution) photos in one email.  Unfortunately, when these images are published on the website, image quality suffers and no amount of Photoshop fussing improves the clarity.  

Now here’s my request.  When shooting photos intended for this website, please set your cell phone or digital camera picture size to 3264x1836 (minimum).  Using this resolution, however, creates large file sizes and quickly limits the number of photos you can attach, perhaps requiring more than one email message.  Another suggestion is to contact me (lloyd_thomson@hotmail.com) for the link to my Dropbox where you can upload your photos with no file size restriction.  Thanks very much!

Until June,

All Aboard !!