Model Railroad TRAINing Day 2014

We held our third annual Model Railroad TRAINing Day on February 15th. In addition to the usual one-on-one presentations we added the attraction of building a 4' x 4' HO layout. Saturday dawned bright and clear with three to four (more) inches of fresh snow that had fallen overnight. I was concerned that the roads would not be clear for the presenters, who came from all over the division and beyond.

Amazingly almost everyone made it in spite of the weather and the whole day went well. Unfortunately, the attendance from the public was lighter than expected. However, those who came seemed to have a great time. We had about six to eight young people who were really interested in the layout construction.

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December 2013 Meeting

The December meeting was well attended and we had an interesting presentation by Bob Bartizek on "Creatively Bridging a Doorway and Then Some." Bob told us how a long delayed project to provide access to a doorway in his train room resulted in a novel solution and a change in thinking. He had originally planned a river valley, but wound up with an additional industrial area and access to a space for added staging. His original thoughts on adding the staging would have resulted in a lot of finished scenery demolition. If you have ever visited Bob's PRR themed layout you know his scenery is well done and it would have been a shame to have to tear out "Horseshoe Curve " to add the staging. The real treat was our post meeting visit to Bob's layout where we got to see the finished project. It is simple and effective at the same time. At left is a photo I took of the finished area. You would never know to look at it that there is a door behind the two thru truss bridges. However, they are both hinged to lift up and there are hooks suspended from the ceiling that hold them up. The really clever part is that Bob used a sliding shelf arrangement to support the flat area which is split in two pieces that drop down when the sliding shelf is moved out of the way. The shelf is a frame supported by full extension drawer slides. If you look closely at the photo there is a faint line extending diagonally from the left end of the gondola to a point at the left end of the freight station where the two pieces are split. Incidentally the layout is O scale, three rail, but it is on a par with the best two rail layouts you will ever see.

October 2013 Meeting

We had another good meeting in Monroe in October. Not only did Ron Parish and Bill Ford put together an interesting presentation on 12", 15" and larger gauge railroad equipment, some of which was built in Dayton. Ron and Bill have toured a number of railroads around the country and Ron, a retired CSX engineer, has built a nice 15" gauge railroad around his yard. (It's a little bigger than the typical acre subdivision lot!) Before building his railroad, Ron had portable track and transported his equipment to several venues where he ran it. He also operated the train at Fantasy Farm for a number of years. After the meeting we were invited to Ron's house, which was nearby, and treated to a ride on his railroad. Bill was "forced" to be the engineer on Ron's GP35 in Chessie System livery while we rode in two open passenger cars. Not only was the program interesting, the ride fun, the weather cooperated with a sunny fall day. If you missed it you missed a rare treat.

August Bus Trip (2013)

We took our annual bus trip last week and returned to Indianapolis. Mike set us up for a train ride on the "Fairtrain." The "Fairtrain" is operated by the Indiana Transportation Museum and shuttles people from Fishers, IN over former NKP tracks to the Indiana State Fair. They also operate a variety of excursions throughout the year. Our train was pulled by an F7 which had been painted in MONON livery, but has been recently repainted in basic black. (I saw it last summer at the museum and it badly needed a paint job. On the rear of the train, as it headed south west to the fairgrounds, was a GP9 painted as NKP 426. Between the streamlined coaches and the 426, was Nickel Plate Road Business Car #1. The business car was built by Pullman in 1929 and served as the private business car by the Van Sweringen brothers from 1929 until the death of Oris in 1936. If was then used by the presidents of the NKP, C&O and N&W until 1967. It is now privately owned and on loan to the museum.

On our way back to Fishers, I was approached by one of the car hosts who introduced himself as David Wilcox. He said he had just found out that we were a NMRA group and that he was a life member of the NMRA. (I later found out that he had also been a director of the ITM and one of the car's owners.) He said he would like to invite our group to tour the NKP #1 so he escorted us back to the car for the rest of the trip. It was pretty cool and it would have been great to have been to travel in it in the day. Heck I would travel in it tomorrow if I were afforded the opportunity. We detrained from the open platform at the end of the car, which made for a great ending to a pleasant train ride.

After detraining we collected our box lunches and headed off to the first of four layouts we visited during the afternoon. Mike had put together a varied selection of layouts, including an 'O' scale layout, an On3 layout, a HOn30 layout and, last but not least, an HO layout. All of these showcased a variety of scenery and techniques that made them all unique. All in all another great trip, but I am already excited about next year's trip. Stay tuned for more information about that in the coming year!
Wil Davis - Superintendant

AP Award

Long-time member Gordon Carlson received his Dispatcher AP Award at the May 2012 meeting. That's Gordon on the left being congratulated by Bob Fink. Congratulations to Gordon. All members are encouraged to work toward these awards. See Bob Fink for more information


Division 7 Superintendent Randy Kerka presents the Mid-Central Region NMRA 2012 Russ Wenderfer Award to Division 3's Nick Folger. This award is sponsered by Division 7 and is given to an MCR member who has distinguished himself or herself in volunteer service to promote the National Model Railroad Association, Division activities and the hobby of modeling railroading. Congratulations to Nick and thanks for all the good work!

May 20, 2012

Dave Decker

David Decker passed away on 29 March 2011 in Dayton, Ohio at the age of 68. He grew up in Massachusetts and worked for the Boston and Maine railroad as a towerman. He retired several years ago as a machine designer.

David was an avid photographer and rail fan. Prior to moving to Ohio in 1985 he owned Adventures in Sound and produced and sold audio recordings featuring steam locomotives.

David was an active model railroader. He was a life member of the National Model railroad Association (NMRA). He was also a life member of several NMRA Regions. He had served as Division 3 Mid Central Region Train Show Chairman for several years. He also helped organize the George Mueller Memorial Model Train exhibits in 1998 and 1999.

David was the creator and prime builder of the Dalmatian Switching District and liked to be called the "Dog Father". The "Dog", as it was sometimes called, is a large portable layout that has many unique features and is one of a kind. It was shown at many train shows from 1992 to 2008. The Dalmatian also hosted the switching contest at the 1995 and 2005 NMRA National Conventions and the 1995, 1996 and 2002 Mid Central Region Conventions. The Dog is currently undergoing renovation and is located in the warehouse area of EnterTrainment Junction in West Chester, Ohio.

David pioneered several scenery techniques and gave demonstrations at shows and hobby shops. He was particularly well known for his tree building techniques having created several instructional books covering his methods. He was a past member of the Whitewater Valley Railroad. He was on the operating crew of several model railroads.

He is survived by his wife, Susan, daughter, Rusti, son, David Jr. and a sister. There will be a memorial service sometime later this year and a tribute to Dave and the Dog will be presented at a future Division 3 meeting.

Review a video

vcr tapesWe are looking for volunteers to submit written reviews of the videos in the Division Library. No special qualifications are needed. Just check out a video, watch it, give us your written opinion - good, bad or indifferent - and you're an author! We'll publish the reviews in the Call Board as they're submitted, and eventually post them in the on-line database of the library that is being developed! Contact

Jim Montgomery, J Hedge, Norm Courtney or any BOG member for more information.

Need Container Models Fast and Free?

There is an extensive collection of "print and fold" containers in several scales available for download HERE! These are in full color and are in .pdf format. We have heard from other modelers who have had good results on paper, card stock, and even styrene sheet if your printer can handle it. The site is in German, but that doesn't hinder its usefulness!

Flying Shay!

Lima Stone Shay #10 went airborne on Monday, December 14, while being transferred from its temporary display housing to its new home in the Allen County Historical Society museum. There is an interesting series of photos HERE The main site for Scott Trostel's Lima Locomotive Works page is HERE.

Decoder Installation Clinic

On Saturday, October 19, 2013, Gordon, Dana, Tom and Wayne participated in our Hands On Decoder Installation Clinic. At the end of the session everyone had a functioning engine in which they had installed a decoder. Everyone seemed pleased with their new found skill. Like my presentation at the Division meeting, "You, too, can do this."

This clinic was a follow up to my presentation at the July meeting. After the meeting one of our members asked if I could do a one on one with him so he could get some hands-on experience. I thought this was a good idea and invited all who were interested (up to six) to participate. Five signed up, but one had to cancel due to illness so we had four participants. Four people learned some new skills and I enjoyed sharing what I had learned. This is the type of session that we should do more of for selected subjects. Some topics are a big step for someone who is not familiar with the techniques and it is a great way to acquire a new skill. Many years ago the division regularly had "Hands On" clinics that covered various subjects and usually consisted of multiple sessions. I remember attending clinics on layout design and designing a signal system. If there is a topic that you would like to learn more about, and get some hands on experience with, let me know and I will see if we can arrange for someone to lead the session.

In the September 2013 Call Board, Wil Davis presented an article on improving a commercial decoder tester. The full article is downloadable here as a PDF file.