August 2021 Newsletter

Fall is fast approaching and it’s time to gear up for the Fall Railroad season! The club is holding a brief club business meeting to discuss Fall/Holiday events and sponsoring a Fall BBQ lunch right after the meeting.  All are invited and encouraged to attend both events.  Fortunately, they’re at the same place and consecutive times!

·       Place: Tim & Dana Fitch, 2734 E Rock Land Drive, Washington, UT

·       Date Time: September 18, 2021 (Saturday)

11:00 AM: Club Business Meeting 12:00 Noon: Lunch is served!

·       Menu: Smoked BBQ provided by the club, Pot Luck Sides and Desserts provided by club members (A sign-up sheet will be sent out mid-August for pot luck choices and RSVP)

Club Business

HO layouts – Due to upcoming cancer surgery and subsequent recovery, Professor Dave Merrill (our HO VP) will be unable to coordinate the necessary modifications to two previous club project railroads auctioned at the Jubilee of Trees.  More details to follow in a separate email about layout designs, their histories, needed modifications to allow their auction at Jubilee of Trees, and volunteers needed for the project.  Even if you don’t model in HO scale, we’ll need your help.

November Layout Tour – Larry Schneider, Terry Schramm, Al Thorne, Lloyd Thomson

·       Layout dates November 12-15, 2021

·       Club members wishing to display their layouts on these dates must communicate with exact dates and times to Larry Schneider by September 1st.

·       2 additional hanging banners have been ordered for placement in high traffic areas.

·       Publications (Senior Sampler, St. George News, What’s Going on This Weekend)

·       DSU Radio (100.3 FM) Big Band music, hosted by Victor Lorch, 6:00PM-7:00PM Sundays

·       Flyers for local businesses (Hobby Town, Gorilla Hobbies, etc.) - Lloyd Thomson

·       Inviting Dale and Karyn Angell (Toy Man Television on YouTube) – Terry Schramm

·       Website/Facebook notices, schedule postings no later than October 1st – Lloyd Thomson

Pediatrics Playroom Layout

Larry Schneider contacted the Volunteer office at St. George Regional Hospital.  The hospital was almost ready to start letting people volunteer and then COVID happened again.  Below is an email from Mike Robertson who is in charge of the playroom in the children's ward.  Sounds like the train is running well.  It has been 17 months since anyone has cleaned or done any maintenance.

“Hi Larry

We live in crazy times for sure!  The train is still running on schedule and she is still adored by all of the young patients that come through.  She runs several times a day actually. We have the playroom closed but the kids still watch it run from the hallway through those large glass windows we have.  We look forward to the time that you all can get back here!”

Lionel Project Railroad

Thanks to the Lionel Group, Board #3 is virtually complete now.  Click HERE and scroll down to August 2021 Update to see photos.

Member Layouts

G Scale

Latest news from Keith Johnson: “Every time we have an open house, I try to run multiple trains on my layout at the same time, at least 2 at a time.  I always felt my layout was big enough that this wouldn't be a problem.  However, when interacting with the guests, the trains would inadvertently run into each other.  Even though the guests think that is kinda cool, I don't like always fixing a crash.  So, I have decided to separate my layout into two independent loops. This requires that one of the loops is elevated so the trains can pass over each other, instead of into each other.  So that work is ongoing.  The elevated loop will be an extension of the current elevated loop. New road bed is being constructed and will require about 45 feet of new road bed. The goal is to have this completed by the November open house.  I am building road bed similar to Tim's model but had to make some modifications due to the condition of my track.”

Tim Fitch tells us about his summer projects.  “The weather has been… interesting! I have been able to make a little progress on a couple of projects.  The water wheel driven Stamp Mill is nearing completion and I hope to have it installed and operational early this fall.  It is 80% 3D printed with wood, brass, and steel components making up the remaining 20%.  The mill has two shuttle cars that move back and forth delivering crushed ore to waiting rail cars.”

“The other project has been building the infrastructure for ‘Centerville Junction’.  The structures were made by Mr. Holbrook of Centerville, Utah, who passed away late last year.  The models are very nice but turned out to be a little larger in scale and style as well as created for a different era (more 1940s-1950s-ish).  Consequently, they had to be placed in their own area, away from other buildings/structures.  The result was an overhaul of the southeast corner of my layout. The track was rerouted with new switches and turn outs to accommodate the Holbrook structures.  We’ll see if it works!”  Click HERE and scroll down to August 2021 Update for photos and video.

O Scale (Proto:48)

Members will undoubtedly enjoy reading Jim Harper’s article he penned for O Sale Magazine detailing his railroad.  Click HERE to open the article.


New member John Drzewiecki, who divides his time between St. George and New York state shares photos of his layout back east.  Click HERE to see his 3-rail empire.

HO Scale

Follow this Rio Grande mixed freight as it travels over Professor Dave Merrill’s Ascape Tennsion & Sulphur Gulch Railroad.  Click HERE to watch his video.

Modeling News

·     Model trains in action: One of the finest layouts of Switzerland in HO scale.

·       End of line for massive Lionel train collection - Burlington County Times - Westampton, NJ

Railfanning News

·       2021 Union Pacific Historical Society Mini-Convention

·       EMD “BL2” Locomotives: Data, History, Photos & More

·       Santa Fe steam locomotive move under its own power in over 65 years.

·     Here is Union Pacific’s Ed Dickens explaining the reasons one or two diesel locomotives are consisted with UP 4014 on their cross-country journeys.  It’s informative reading. 

"My opinion offered again here to help build understanding of our present-day operations.

I have been involved with this operation for over 17 years, and I can tell you that gallivanting around the system without diesel assistance takes a heavy toll on people and machine.  While quite popular with Railfans, it comes at a very high cost.

Consider the standard passenger train operating during the steam era. The passenger cars rarely traveled over several hundred miles before they were inspected by the eyes and experienced hands of well-equipped Carmen. They changed out worn brake shoes and attended to the servicing needs of the train. When we go out into the field, we do not bring additional staff for this purpose. Trust me, without dynamic braking you will grind the brake material down rapidly considering how many stops we are making each day.

I have been on trips where we were challenged with ongoing mechanical problems from day one of that trip. Even for the hard-core Steam Foamer like me, this represents a massive drain on the human side of our limited crew resources.

I have also witnessed severe locomotive boiler issues. The pressure vessel was leaking so significantly, that we had to RE-steam it up twice each night just to have sufficient water and pressure the following day. Imagine being part of the crew that gets out of bed at 11 PM, checking back in at the hotel by 1 AM only to get up at 4 AM once again. Now do this every day for four weeks. And then drive a vehicle, run or fire the locomotive with little rest, only to do it all over again for 30 plus days.

Now let’s consider the mechanics of the 1940’s steam locomotive and contrast that to the modern locomotive systems in operation today. You can easily see how complicated our logistics becomes for the small number of staff I have.

It would be a great daydream for all of us to simply tack on maximum tonnage behind the locomotive and really put on a show for everyone. In my judgement, where would that get us in the end considering the logistics that I’ve mentioned above. We do not have infinite resources to perform all of that mechanical work that the railroad did back then. We do not have the vast store departments staged along the route with racks and racks of spare parts. Spare NEW BRAKE SHOES, rods, spare drivers with brand new roller bearings, spare super heater units, just go down the list of parts and you may reach the same conclusion that I have.

I must be very judicious with the resources that we have available for this massive mechanism that we have just carefully restored.

As a rule, I rarely use locomotive sand on either the 844 or the 4014. I rarely slip the drivers when I start the train, I have the cylinder cocks open and I’m very mindful of all aspects of these massive and powerful Locomotives. A few quarter slips here and there when we start the train, and you will hollow tread your tires easily within the 4000 miles of our average trip. Now, with a shortened maintenance period, due to this type of unnecessary operation, you are dropping the drivers to turn them to get them within proper profile once again.

Another point regarding high tractive force operations. Sand is required to be used due to the intermittent thrust characteristics of the steam locomotive, imagine what that does to the tires, it accelerates wear and tear on all the other associated parts of a steam locomotive. That abrasive fine white silica powder getting all over the expensive machinery that we just restored. Look at photographs of the 4000’s in operation and notice that the drivers and machinery are white with this abrasive dusting.

I hope this provides some insight into the conservative approach I take. I take this approach based on what I have experienced firsthand in order to field this equipment for future generations. Remember, we must arrive at each scheduled location on time and in good running order with sufficient time left in the day to do all the necessary ‘roundhouse work’. This work is required daily to service the 1940s locomotive.  Only then can we be prepared for operations the following day.”

 ·       Nickel Plate Locomotive

 · Thomas Eckhardt shares this YouTube video: Steam on the Styrian Erzbergbahn, Oct. 1976

 ·       UP 1983 Western Pacific SD70ACe Locomotive - Heritage Unit Profiles

 Prototype News

·       Washout in Lund -

 ·       CP Rail urges Kansas City Southern shareholders to oppose CN takeover next month.

 ·       Amtrak Business Class Is Worth the Splurge—Here Are 3 Reasons Why

 ·       Shortage of Railroad Workers Threatens Recovery – WSJ


Until September,

All Aboard !!

Lloyd Thomson