Phil Ulmen, former Superintendent (several times) of the PNR’s 3rd Division is close to losing his battle with cancer. Phil chaired several of the excellent PNR conventions in Boise and attended the PNR/PCR Joint convention in Medford and PNR2014 in Tacoma.
The Northwest Railway Museum today announced plans for an annual steam locomotive program, and identified the locomotives selected for rehabilitation, restoration and operation.
The steam program will be integrated into the Museum’s interpretive railway, and has been developed with data measured during this year’s pilot steam program that continues in operation through this coming weekend, October 25 and 26. In 2015, summer steam trains will formally launch and operate with Santa Cruz Portland Cement 2, the 0-4-0 steam locomotive on loan from the Museum’s Curator of Collections Stathi Pappas. This introductory program will operate most weekends in July and August, Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day weekend, and Halloween Train weekend in October. Following completion of the first of the Museum’s steam locomotive rehabilitations/restorations, the program is tentatively scheduled to expand beginning in late 2016.
Steam locomotives were a driving force throughout much of Washington State’s history. They pulled trains throughout the Northwest beginning with the arrival of the first railroads in the 1870s and dominated transportation in Washington until diesel electric locomotives replaced them in the late 1950s at the dawn of the Interstate Highway era. Steam locomotives transported goods and people during the latter half of westward expansion, and fostered the development and settlement of communities across Washington State and King County.
Locomotive 924 selected as first project
Beginning immediately and over the next two years, the Museum will rehabilitate and restore former Northern Pacific Railway 924, a 0-6-0 (six-coupled) locomotive. Built by Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works in 1899 for the St. Paul & Duluth Railroad as their number 74, the locomotive was renumbered 924 after that road was purchased by the Northern Pacific Railway. In the early 1900s it was Seattle’s King Street Station coach yard switcher, later serving the Seattle and Tacoma yards, and in light branch line service. Sold in 1925 to the Inland Empire Paper Company in Millwood, Washington she remained in service until 1969.
This locomotive is a classic example of late 19th century Northwestern switching and branch line steam locomotives. When the locomotive is complete, the Museum will be the only American institution operating class one steam west of Colorado with regionally-appropriate motive power and rolling stock on its original railroad.
Locomotive 14 selected as second steam locomotive
If one rebuild is good, one more is better! Two operating locomotives will allow operation to continue during scheduled maintenance and periodic servicing, and will allow for expanded service during large events.
Following completion of steam locomotive 924, the Museum will begin the complete rehabilitation of steam locomotive 14, a classic 4-6-0 (“ten wheeler”) locomotive. The 14 was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1898 for the Union Colliery Company as their number 4 using the same design developed for the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway. When that Vancouver Island mine was absorbed into Canadian Collieries, it was renumbered 14 and continued in service until 1960 when it was purchased by the Museum.
Canadian Collieries 14 is a classic Baldwin ten wheeler that will allow the Museum to provide a complete and authentic experience recreating railway passenger service from the first two decades of the 20th century. Ten wheelers were the most popular and greatest-produced locomotive of all time and examples were found on nearly every major railroad in the Northwest, including the lines of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway that ran through Snoqualmie.
Qualified team and facilities
The Museum is making a significant commitment to steam by investing in people and facilities. A qualified team of paid and volunteer staff with prior experience in steam locomotive rehabilitation and restoration has been assembled and is led by Curator of Collections Stathi Pappas. Pappas has a graduate degree in Archeology, and has participated or led more than a dozen similar projects. The machinery required to perform the work has already been obtained for all aspects of boiler and running gear work. Several major grants and contributions have been pledged and work will begin next week; additional fundraising will be performed during the next 24 months to offset costs that will approach $1 million.
About the Northwest Railway Museum
The Northwest Railway Museum is located in Snoqualmie, Washington and is dedicated to the preservation, interpretation, and perpetuation of the rich railroad history of the Northwest. It was incorporated in 1957 and serves more than 120,000 visitors per year with onsite programs.
The Museum’s collection features the fully-restored 1890-built Snoqualmie Depot, a five-mile segment of the former Northern Pacific Railway Snoqualmie Branch, and representative examples of locomotives, freight cars, and passenger coaches. Train excursions operate April – October, and in December with tours of the exhibit building offered Saturdays April – October.
After serving as your Grab Iron editor for the past ten years and webmaster for eleven, it’s time for me to move on and let some younger blood bring in fresh ideas.
I’m pleased to report that Cliff Green has agreed to be our new young blood. Cliff is a professional computer programmer and is well versed in current technology. I know he will continue to keep the 4D in the forefront of model railroad communications. Cliff has worked on the Grab Iron for over eight years; he’s the perfect man to take over this position.
Twelve years ago, we were one of the few Divisions to even have a website, but our member communication was strictly one-way. Each month, 12 paper pages arrived in members’ mailboxes, containing information up to six weeks out-of-date.
One of our first changes was to offer the Grab Iron in PDF format, emailed immediately upon publication, weeks before paper copies arrived in the mail, while saving the Division the costs of printing, addressing, and mailing. We also implemented a Division YahooGroup for email communications. But our biggest step was four years ago when Doug Bulger and I eliminated paper entirely with the Digital Grab Iron. Now, our news is disseminated instantly. Doug has agreed to stay on as the 4D’s official photographer.
And the next time you see Cliff, give him a hearty “Thank You” for stepping up to serve the Division in this important way.
4D Superintendent Russ Segner appointed two new officers to the Board of Directors at last Saturday’s meeting: Bill Messecar as Secretary and Bob Stafford as Communications Chair. Both of these men bring a wealth of experience that should serve the Board well.
Welcome aboard, Bill and Bob!
This month’s Eastside Get-Together clinic presentation will be by our very own John Thompson, discussing “Cajon Pass Operations, 1946-1956.”
This PowerPoint show is about operations on Santa Fe’s CajonPass in Southern California during the steam-to-diesel transition years. Its mostly color photos show the Santa Fe and Union Pacific freight trains, passenger trains, motive power, helpers, and stations along the route, plus maps and slides explaining operations.
Come join us this Thursday as we relive the glory years on CajonPass!
We also have all the usual stuff, including door prizes, prize-roasted coffee & assorted hand-selected donuts, railroad items to buy and sell, the Model of the Month and just good times. You do not have to wear a costume to the meeting – we’re all spooky enough! The Model of the Month can include a carved pumpkin, however. See ya there, this Thursday, 7:30 p.m. in the Bellevue Foursquare Church.
Al Frasch / Photos by Jon Wilbert
Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 saw twenty-two interested model railroaders in attendance at the annual “Mini-clinics” session. Rich Blake welcomed everyone to the evening’s action which began with Dick Haines showing the new Sound Car decoder from Bachmann. He explained his installation in a boxcar with decoder, speaker and a “keep alive.” He indicated the price was in the mid-$30 range and requires a speaker of your choice. He suggested that one could add such a car every 3 or 4 cars to realistically portray the wheel click and squeal of the prototype.
The first Mini-clinic was a four part talk by John White titled “Flat Cars.” John models in On30, but the principles should hold for all scales except maybe for zed (Z scale). Part 1 was on giving the flat cars weight. He uses small lead shot to arrive at about 4 ounces, gluing them to the under structure using white glue to fully encase the shot. Then a coat of grimy black hides them quite well.
Part 2 was on wheels and couplers in which John said he tries to standardize to 36” Intermountain wheels and Kadee #5 couplers.
Part 3 was on the laying of the flat car deck. John starts with 12” scale wood which he stains (no paint) and cuts to length. He suggested to start gluing (using CA) the deck from the non-brake end to the middle, then from the brake end, meeting in the middle with a narrower plank if necessary. The nail holes are made with the end of a 7mm mechanical pencil at about 30 degrees to the vertical, making a small depression which is filled with weathering chalks. They really do look great!
Part 4 concerned a method of loading the flat car using what John calls a “load retention device.” This is platform that will hold the loads which is built to exactly fit between the vertical stakes of the car. This allows a quick switching of loads either during or between operation sessions to reflect the load/unload at industries on the layout.
John Mann was next up with a discussion of the numerous options for airbrushing. He pointedly indicated that he was only talking about airbrushing tools, not techniques. Airbrushing requires three items: an airbrush, a source of air and paint. First, he showed a $15 airbrush kit from Harbor Freight, definitely on the low price end of things. Next was a $500 Badger airbrush on the high end. John suggested that a good middle ground would be the $50 (approximately) Badger 350 kit which is gravity fed and being popular, all the needed accessories are readily available. He suggested that one always get a dust/moisture filter for the air line. Whether you want a single action or dual, gravity fed or syphon fed, most any combination is available from the major brands.
John was very insistent that one practice, practice, practice before tackling a “real” model. A cheap practice medium could even be watercolors or diluted latex paints.
The next need is air and John indicated several sources: the cans of air sold for airbrushing, a compressor (with a tank), or even a spare tire – really. With any source, a good air gauge is a necessity. He finished up by reminding everyone that a clean work area — including a painting booth or other source to evacuate the fumes — clean paint, clean airbrush and clean air source are the keys to great results.
Our third clinic was by Tom Hawkins, our resident layout design guru. His talk was titled “Lessons I Have Learned.” Tom is currently designing a 15’ X 15’ layout for another member of the clinic and was the third place winner in a national design contest by Model Railroader.
Some of his lessons learned:
- no plan gets built exactly as drawn.
- always, always make sure you have access to hidden areas.
- if the layout isn’t reachable, make sure pop-ups included.
- double ended yard tracks can take more space than stub end tracks.
- yards need to be large enough to handle all the arrivals, departures and sorting that your operations scheme might require.
- it is amazing how much just a couple of inches in width of benchwork can make, adding a track or two extra in a yard or industrial area.
- avoid S-curves that are as short as your longest car, use #6 or greater turnouts to create crossovers.
- aisles need to be as wide as possible but it is always a compromise.
- try to keep minimum radii as large as possible and don’t forget the easements into curves.
After Tom, the clinic meeting was adjured to November 12th at which time Jack Hamilton and Di Voss are scheduled to present Nick Muff with his official MMR plaque and certificate prior to our regular clinic presentation.
Steam trains have returned to Snoqualmie!
The Halloween Train, on October 25 and 26, 2014, features steam train excursions pulled by the Santa Cruz Portland Cement locomotive 2 (SCPC 2). Step back in time to an early travel mode to view the autumn colors of the Snoqualmie River, Snoqualmie Falls and the area nearby. Halloween Train fares are: $18/adult, $15/senior and $10/child.
But wait, there’s more!
One day of Santa Train 2014 will also be hauled by steam! One last time in 2014 the Santa Cruz Portland Cement steam locomotive 2 will pull a passenger excursion train during the Friday, December 19, 2014 Santa Train runs. There is no extra charge for steam, but advance tickets will incur a modest fee to defer the cost of postage. All Santa Trains depart from the North Bend Depot and your ticket includes refreshments served at the Snoqualmie Depot grounds, a visit with jolly St. Nick and a small gift for all participating children. Santa Train tickets sell out, so don’t miss out. Tickets may be purchased online or in person at the Snoqualmie Depot (38625 SE King Street, Snoqualmie, WA 98065). Tickets may also be purchased over the telephone at 425-888-3030 x7202. Tickets are $20 per person for ages 2 and older. Purchasing tickets early is recommended to help assure that guests can get their preferred choice of date and time.
All Aboard the Halloween Train, October 25 and 26
Looking for a Halloween adventure that’s fun for families? Then gather everyone, wear your favorite costumes and enjoy the fall festivities at the Snoqualmie Depot on October 25 and 26. Take a Steam Train with the 100+ year old Santa Cruz Portland Cement Co. #2 Steam locomotive. Check out the Cider Press demonstrations and even try your hand with one! Sip hot apple cider to banish the autumn chill as you enjoy your special Halloween trip. Afterwards, visit George’s Bakery in North Bend, show them your Halloween Train ticket and receive a FREE sugar cookie.
The Halloween Train takes you on a scenic excursion through the Cascade foothills of the Upper Snoqualmie Valley aboard a vintage train. Receive $2 off when dressed in costume. Everyone dressed in full costume will receive a prize. Trains depart every 90 minutes beginning at 11:01 AM from the Snoqualmie Depot at 38625 SE King Street and at 11:26 AM from the North Bend Depot at 205 McClellan Street. Roundtrip fares: $10 children (ages 2-12), $18 adults (ages 13-61), and $15 (ages 62 and up)!
I am looking for a N scale Kato GS-4 of the DC variety. If you have one to sell, please tell me the price and condition at 253-535-2043. Thank you.
The 4D Hi-Railers were mentioned on page 2 of The Bellingham Herald this week, next to an article regarding someone found guilty of embezzlement. I assure you these two are not connected.
We made it to Lynden on Friday in fine shape with set-up almost complete by 5:30 p.m., due in large part to Sam and his new (silent) red truck. Yes, it came with a muffler! He says the color is “sunset” but we call it red. We heartily congratulate Sam on his new truck. I hope he doesn’t mind the leg pulling we give him on it.
Running was made without major incident and no derailing, finger poking etc., that we sometimes get. Even the Kiddies layout came unscathed for most of the time. Teardown and pack up took just two hours, which meant that we were out of there before dark.
We are looking forward to the Maple Valley Train Show on October 18-19, from 10-5, the weekend after next. Set-up will be on Friday afternoon from 1 until done. I’d like to know who plans to attend set up and/or running so I can pass the numbers on to the organizers. As in the past, they will provide refreshments for each day, free of charge. For those of you that have never been there, here’s a Google map.
Superintendent Russ Segner has announced that the quarterly meeting of the 4D Board will be Saturday, October 11, at 1 PM, at Mitzel’s restaurant in Kent. Those wanting lunch are encouraged to arrive early.
As always, all 4D members are encouraged to attend.
By Jeff Moorman
This Thursday (October 2) it is time to kick off the 2014-15 clinic season in North Seattle. We will still be meeting at the same place, but in a different room. Please review the “Directions” section below.
Bring along your tales of what you did (railroad-wise) this summer, any projects you’d like to share for Show & Tell, and one modelling tip. Hopefully it will be a tip we haven’t heard before, but regardless, there will be a prize for the best one we hear.
Our last regular meeting was back in May. And if you missed that you missed a classic Bobj presentation. As you may know Bobj seems to collect everything, including different brands of toilet paper and full size fire engines. Most of his collections are railroad related which he shares with us from time to time.
Bobj brought along what he claimed was a little less than half of his railroad hat collection. He then proceeded to tell a story (or two, or three) about each one. All were fascinating. Look at the included photos. Make up a story about any hat you see and it probably will not be half as good as the tale Bobj told.
Thanks, Bobj, for sharing.
Directions: We meet at the Ronald United Methodist Church, 17839 Aurora Avenue North, Shoreline, WA. That is on the west side of Aurora (State Route 99) between 175th and 185th Streets and more specifically, between the Cadillac dealer on the south and Deseret Industries to the north. Going southbound on Aurora, make a right-hand turn into the church driveway immediately after passing the Deseret location. The parking lot is at the rear of the church. For regular meetings go up the steps to the main entrance. We meet in the Fireside room which is immediately to the left inside the door.
Meetings are the first Thursday of each month, usually September – June. However in June we often do something different, so there may be no “regular” meeting. Doors open at 7:00 PM and the program starts at 7:30.
Remember the next regular evening meeting is October 2. The one after that will be November 6. Hope to see you there or at least sometime on down the line.
The Mt. Vernon NMRA Clinics got off to a great start with 21 attendees, including several dignitaries from “down South:” PNR President Mike Highsmith, Ed and Ken Liesse, Bob Rohrbach, and Sherman Stevens. Such an honor to have them at our first clinic!
A “Show And Tell” segment included models from Nick Muff, Al Carter, Ted Becker, Mike Pettruzzelli, Roger Johnson, and Paul Koren. This is not a competition, but is designed to get folks to share their modeling projects and techniques and, in the process, hopefully discover new clinicians. Please see the photos below.
Ted Becker had the honor of being our first clinician, with his “How To Hobby Shop Outside The Hobby Shop” program. Ted has a great eye when it comes to recognizing items from sources other than the traditional hobby shop that we model railroaders can use. He came with what seemed like a bottomless box out of which he pulled a plethora of tools, supplies and ideas.
Among His Hints
- Use 3M Brand #218 masking tape (available at auto paint supply stores) for masking models. It makes a very clean edge and the narrower tape curves easily.
- Use MEK (methyl-ethyl-ketone) available from hardware stores as an adhesive for styrene.
- Other hardware store finds
- Acrylic caulk (non silicone!) for gluing down track to cork roadbed
- Acrylic caulk (non silicone!) for gluing down track to cork roadbed
- Pliobond glue or Barge Cement – use like Walther’s Goo
- Water based contact cement – great for adhering cork roadbed to wood sub roadbed.
- Steel wool dissolved in vinegar makes a nice “brew” with which to stain strip wood.
- A silicone BBQ basting brush for use in “painting” plaster and such, easily cleaned after use.
- From the craft store
- Craft sticks
- Craft paint (when thinning, add the thinner in small increments and stir thoroughly)
- Clothespins for clamps, including miniature clothespins
- Decorative sand (black makes great coal and cinders)
- From the “Dollar Store”
- Spray bottles
- Storage boxes
- Make-up brushes (for dusting models, and also for applying weathering powders)
- Shot glasses (used inverted to put a small puddle of glue in which to dip toothpicks, etc)
Other hints included visiting Harbor Freight for needle files, heat shrink tubing assortments, and miniature vacuum hoses (to attach to a shop vacuum). From Grizzly Tools, Ted found a great digital caliper measuring both inches and metric and small 4” Jorgensen clamps.
The bottom line: keep your eyes open when shopping and you’ll be surprised what you find that can help you in your modeling efforts.
The next clinic is October 28 when Tom Buckingham will show “up close and personal” photos of his recent trip to Germany and Miniature Wonderland, that fantastic layout we’ve all seen in the model magazines. Then, on November 25, Nick Muff will show us how to do geodesic foam rocks and landforms.
The Skagit Valley and Whidbey (SV&W) Clinic got off to a great start at its first meeting in Oak Harbor on September 10th, with Chairperson Rich Blake welcoming everyone back after the summer break. Actually most members met in August at John and Felicia Marshall’s home for a BBQ, also featuring John’s growing (they always do!) outdoor G-scale railroad. This added “bonus” meeting has become a tradition thanks to the Marshalls’ hospitality.
Rich noted tonight’s attendance was 27, a good beginning for the season (last year’s average was 28). New member Steve Shelley—modeling in HO scale—was introduced and welcomed. Rich reviewed the season’s clinic topics and regional calendar of NMRA and other events. Clinic members again plan to support many of the events such as the Pacific Science Center Show, the Monroe Train Show, and others.
Rich Blake presented the evening’s clinic, “The Art of Ops.” Several members already host regular operating sessions; and others plan to. The theme of Rich’s talk was how guest operators should prepare themselves to help make the session run smoothly. It also improves your chances of getting invited back!
Homework Before the Op Session
If you are invited to operate on an unfamiliar layout, there’s a lot you can do before showing up, anxious to move your first train. Most hosts have abundant material available describing the things you need to know about their railroad. They will email it to you, refer you to a website, or perhaps reference published articles. In addition to this layout-specific information, guest operators should know basic railroad operating practices.
• Prototype or Theme/era for the Layout—The host will tell you the location and timeframe his layout recreates, and will appreciate guests having some basic familiarity with it, which can be researched on the internet.
• What, When, Where and How—The host will almost always provide a Track Plan, Timetable, or often an entire Employee Timetable. Study these carefully. There’s nothing more frustrating than being handed a throttle and told to take a train from A to B, and not having the slightest idea where A and B are.
• General Rules of the Road—Be familiar with general rules, such as can be found in the General Code of Operating Rules, which can be downloaded from the internet.
• Layout Owner Rule Set—Sometimes provided in advance, sometimes not. If they are, read them. How are cars uncoupled on the layout? Is sound used, and does the host want you to use realistic whistle signals? (Know them.) Does he want you to not touch his cars and locos under any circumstances? Does he wish nothing to be placed on the layout, even “harmless” paper? Owners can be very sensitive about such things, and guests should know them.
• Train Control—How is traffic controlled, TT&TO, Track Warrants, CTC etc? Know the basics of these methods, and refresh yourself with the details of the one used.
• Car Forwarding—The host will usually specify the method used: car cards, switch lists, tab-on-car, etc. Know how to use them beforehand.
• DCC/DC—The host will specify whether he uses Lenz, Digitrax, MRC etc. If you are not familiar with the manufacturer’s equipment, do your homework. Instruction manuals can be found on the internet. Also don’t forget how to operate on a DC layout—there are still some around!
At the Layout
Encountering an unfamiliar layout, especially a large and fully-scenicked one, you’ll usually be wowed and start looking at all the details. But right after the orientation tour, you’ll be expected to run a train. Focus on what is operationally important first!
• Electrical Panels—Some are user friendly with clear diagrams, others less so. Ask if some are confusing to you.
• Turnout Controls—Know where they are and how to use them.
• DCC/DC—Locate the DCC plug-in panels.
• Signals—Know the indications! On a CTC layout, for example, if you don’t know what yellow over red means, ask the host for a cheat sheet. Most have them available.
• Problem Trackwork—This refers to complex, not poorly laid, track. Locate complex trackwork that you will need to negotiate, such as three-way and slip switches. If they are aligned by the road crews, know how to throw them to avoid embarrassment when your train gets there!
• Defer admiring the layout until after you are comfortable with the things above.
• Self-Prep—Take with you the accessories that you may need. Operating usually requires four or five hands, to hold train orders, throttle, radio, car cards etc. Pack an apron with pockets and/or neck lanyard; small flashlight; pens/pencils, spare uncoupling picks. If you take your own throttle, pack spare batteries.
• Give Feedback to the Host—He will appreciate knowing the bugs that you’ve encountered. Remove bad order cars, and fill out bad order forms if provided. Blue flag problem trackwork. Identify any locos that need attention. Taking photos of bad order items and sending later also works. Always stay for and contribute to the debriefing at the end of the session.
And Slow Down!
The final section of Rich’s talk addressed slowing down for more realistic operation, illustrated with video clips, some of which Rich shot on his On30 modules. It’s common to see switching moves performed in an op session at a speed impossible in the real world, without brakemen moving at the speed of light that is. Using “one potato two potato” counting to insert simulated time for releasing hand brakes, uncoupling, walking to and from ground throws, etc., Rich demonstrated how these operations can be done much more realistically, more than doubling the time usually seen in typical sessions. Simulating brake tests, setting retainers, and other prototype operations can also add interest and slow things down. Finally, several video clips showed some of the bad habits that even experienced operators can develop over time. One of the best: grabbing a freight car with your left hand to create slack (probably moving the loco at the end of the cut in the process) while uncoupling with a pick in your right hand
Operating can be fun for both guests and host, but guests need to do their half of the work: do the homework!
The inaugural meeting of the new Mount Vernon Clinic, sponsored by the Fourth Division, is next Tuesday, September 23, 2014. The meeting is at the Mount Vernon Senior Center, starting at 7:00 p.m. The address of the Senior Center is 1401 S. Cleveland Street, easily accessible from I-5 via the Kincaid Street exit. Click here for a map and directions.
Our first program will be by long time Fourth Division member Ted Becker, titled “How To Hobby Shop Outside the (Hobby Shop) Box.” We’ll learn about sources for modelling stuff not found in a hobby shop. A lot of old ideas, maybe some new ideas and, best of all, ideas new to you that you can use.
We encourage attendees to bring along a model they’ve completed (or even models in progress) to share with the group. Perhaps it will inspire others to start a new project.
We cannot unlock the door nor are we permitted to leave it propped open, but we will have someone at the entrance until 7:00 p.m. If you arrive after that, please ring the “Model Railroaders” doorbell that will be on a board by the door and wait for someone to come and let you in.