December 2023 Newsletter

The baggage car is bursting with Holiday goodies this month.  Beginning with the 2023 Layout Tour & Open House, the newsletter continues with the Lionel Group's Oil Town USA layout at the Jubilee of Trees, updates to various member layouts & projects as well as my experiment with building a camera car for model railroad videos.  And what could possibly be more joyous for Christmas than a train layout?  Read on for more !!

Club Business
To celebrate National Model Railroad Month, twenty three CCMRRC members proudly displayed their railroads over the Veteran's Day weekend during our 2023 Open House & Tour. 

Of special interest was the final operating session of Jim Harper's Southern Pacific Palos Verde Division which was recorded by Toy Man Television and posted at this link:  The video includes interviews with Jim, club members, and other O scale modeling friends.  A listing of additional Toy Man videos on Jim's marvelous railroad as well as previous CCMRRC Open Houses can be found at this link: 

Early in December, the layout will be dismantled and trucked to its new home in Eugene, OR.  Look for some disassembly photos in the January 2024 Newsletter but for now, check out the video Jim and Joe Zukowski produced some years ago HERE.

As many of you already know, the layout began in Jim's Reno-based hobby shop and moved here in 2005 when he and Beverly retired.  The garage of their new home was modified to include HVAC and sufficient space for layout growth over the next 17 years.  Photos of the later stages of layout completion  (Colfax bunkhouse and Fruit Growers Assoc warehouse) are available HERE.  During his journey in model railroading Jim joined the National Model Railroad Association and earned Master Model Railroader® recognition; number 440.  See next month's newsletter for more details of Jim's many model railroading accomplishments. 
To wrap up coverage of this year's Open House, Bryan Enarson shared this email from tourgoers Nancy and Tom on their impressions of layouts they visited.  "Thank you for the great recommendations for the model railroad show.  We got to see a big variety and each one was amazing.  We started yesterday in Washington. Tom Fitch’s display was like going to a museum.  We could have spent hours there… pressing buttons and watching trains and reading about the history of various trains.  Unbelievable.

We then headed to the one on Upper Canyon [Dick Saunders].  That one seemed ideal.  We talked with Dick’s wife [Laurie] about ceramics and railroads.  He explained that they bought the lot with the whole railroad in mind.  We love the train at a higher level and the beautiful orange flowers in the background with the bird feeder.

We got to Eldon’s [Chouinard] just before closing.  It was nice to get to chat with him and to see how much he is enjoying railroading now that he has time for it.  Good idea to put his set up on wheels.  We loved the beekeepers and hives.

This afternoon, we headed to the one Linda described on the lower level of the house. [Terry Schramm]  That was beyond anything one could imagine!  … and he had multiples of everything.  He described part of the enjoyment was searching for specific items and finding them.  Not just a village but a large town.  Not just one flying Santa.  Not just one of anything.  We watched it all… night and day.  Unbelievable.  How does he work on it?  He must have secret doors.  He said that he had health issues last year.  We wondered how he gets up and down the stairs.  The train probably helps to keep him healthy.  As you can tell, we had a great time."

Member Layouts
For the latest photos/videos of club member railroads including coverage at the Open House, click the links below.  Once you've chosen a member's page, scroll down to the December 2023 Update, if needed.
At this year's event, Bob Mallory, Bryan Enarson, Larry Schneider, Keith Johnson, Travis Stevens, Dave Mansius, Dan Mangiaracina, Georgette Contos, Keith and Bryan Osborn, Byron Rasmussen, Scott Furniss, and Lloyd Thomson provided overwatch of the Lionel Oil Town USA railroad during the event.  For photos & videos, click HERE and scroll down to the December 2023 Update.

December Luncheon Dates
December 1st and December 15th - Bloomington Country Club at 11:30am.  If you plan to attend, contact Bryan Enarson ( no later than Wednesday before the luncheon.  NOTE:  Unlike a typical restaurant which welcomes any number of patrons at any time, the country club arranges tables and chairs specifically for our luncheons.  Again, if you plan to attend, contact Bryan at the email above.
Modeling News
From HO modeler Tom Lantry: "Anyone familiar with DigiTrax SHABC Turnout Signal Masts - - knows they are matchstick flat and decidedly NOT prototypical. They are however plug and play and can be operated by JMRI so I wanted to use them.

Dave Merrill was kind enough to 3D print hoods to glue over the LEDs and after failing to find suitable clear or frosted drinking straws, I realized pipettes from Michael's are about the diameter of HO scale masts.

I cut off the bulb and mouth ends of the soft plastic and painted the remaining tube flat black and slid them over the masts. A zinc washer made a perfect base."  See the photo HERE.  Scroll to the December 2023 Update.

Also from Tom are these PHOTOS and his description of a Christmas display layout in New York City.  "Manhattan’s Citigroup Center is the aluminum midtown skyscraper with the angled roof.  For years, the open court at ground level housed this elaborate layout depicting the Hudson Valley through the seasons as well as day/night cycles.  There are multiple gauges and lots of structures with notable signage like Bates Motel, Silvercup Studios, and High Noon is actually playing on a drive-in theater. It’s worth close scrutiny.  Last I knew the train guys had to leave Citigroup with nowhere else to set up in the city." [ed. At the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, Citigroup discontinued sponsoring the elaborate display to cut $240,000/year from their operating expenses.]
HO Christmas Layout | Terrain, Track & Trains | SF&SN Part 2
CCMRRC January Holiday Event 
Word from Bryan Enarson, our club's event coordinator, about the January event. "As discussed in the November newsletter, we are moving the annual Christmas party to a date to be determined in January. The format and exact date are still being considered. Final plans will be distributed to the membership via separate communications in December.  Happy holidays!

Member Marketplace - Two Layouts for Christmas
Update from the N scale Group:  Rich Wilson led a small team of railroaders (Eldon Chouinard, Larry Schneider & Bryan Enarson) in the rebuilding an N scale railroad donated to the club several years ago.  The remodeled layout is now for sale ($275) with proceeds returned to the N scale Group so another layout can be built.  The most recent photos can be seen HERE.

Also for sale is Oil Town USA at $1700.
Buy both model railroads for $1900.

Both layouts will be displayed from 1:00pm to 3:30pm on December 9th and December 30th at 134 Hobby Hut Way, St. George.  For a private showing, contact Bryan Enarson (
Upcoming Train Rides & Shows
Posted on the Thunder Junction All Abilities Park Facebook page on Tuesday, 11/28/2023: "Due to overwhelming interest in the North Pole Express, we are increasing the limit on our North Pole Express tickets to an additional 50 per night.  Today, starting at 9 am, those additional tickets can be purchased IN PERSON (the sale will not be open to the public online) at the Parks and Community Services office inside the St. George City Commons Building (220 N 200 E St. George, UT).  It is first come first serve and we do have a 5 ticket limit. One person will not be permitted to purchase more than 5 tickets.  The cost per ticket is $10. The North Pole Express dates are: Dec 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 11, 15, 16, and 18"
TECO Model Train Show
January 27-28, 2024
Colorado Springs Event Center - Hall B
3960 Palmer Park Blvd.
Colorado Springs, CO 80909

Kanab Train Show
February 9-10, 2024
Kanab Center Ballroom
20 N 100 E
Kanab, UT  84741 
Merry Christmas everyone and until January 2024,
All Aboard !!
Lloyd Thomson