There is a new E magazine in town! Trackside Model Railroading
is a digital model railroad magazine, published monthly. Each month on the first, subscribers receive an email containing the links to download the new magazine. There is a choice to download the full size magazine in a zipped file that is intended for desktop computers, and it also includes two images that can be used for your computer desktop. Another option is to view the magazine online with the option to save it to your computer once it opens using the Adobe tools. There are also smaller versions of the magazine formatted for tablets and cell phones.
Each magazine includes two layouts which the staff have visited and photographed extensively. There are about 20-35 images per layout in the magazine, so you get to see many different scenes. You can zoom in on a picture if you wish.
Trackside Model Railroading wants readers to feel that they have experienced a thorough tour of each layout. Accompanying the photographs is an article about each layout and its owner. Whenever possible, high definition video of the trains running on the layout are included. Actual prototypical railroad sounds are dubbed into the video of the models, giving the realism that you are actually railfanning the layout. Several layouts owned by 4th Division PNR members have already been featured in the magazine. Additional 4D PNR member layouts have been visited, photographed and videoed for future articles.
Video links are inside the magazine. As you read a model railroad layout article, you will come across a video capture image which shows a play button. Just click on the picture and the video will launch. This does, however, require that you have an internet connection, as the videos are too large to embed in the magazine.
Each month includes an article instructing the reader how to build or design something relating to modeling. Sometimes these are very specific, and sometimes they are more conceptual in nature. Now and then, extra content like large panoramic images is included within the magazine that you can download and have printed to use as a backdrop on your model train layout.
The 4th Division Spring Meet will be held on Saturday, June 6th, so reserve the date on your calendar. There will be two rooms of clinics with some of your favorite presenters and topics.
Additional details will be provided in upcoming posts.
Your 4D Board of Directors approved this “Policy for Reimbursement of Expenses Groups Attending Events” at its February 21, 2015 meeting:
1. Requests for reimbursement must be turned into the 4D treasurer within 30 days of an event.
2. Travel reimbursement will be made at the current Federal non-profit reimbursement rate for the vehicle(s) towing the trailer(s) carrying 4D-owned equipment from its storage location to the show and back. If no parking is available at the event, multiple trips for the same event may be claimed.
3. 4D will also reimburse tolls for ferries and bridges for the vehicle(s) towing the group trailer(s).
4. 4D will not reimburse drivers of other vehicles attending a show without prior approval. (Group funds managed by 4D may be spent as desired by each modular group. Budget requests are for specific projects approved by the BOD as part of the budget process.)
If you have questions, feel free to contact the 4D’s treasurer, Mike Donnelly. His (and every other officer’s) address is on the 4D website’s Contact Us page.
Reminder: Thursday, 7:30 pm, Eastside Get-Together at Bellevue Foursquare Church in Bellevue. Guest speaker Bob Stafford’s presentation will be Weathering Structures With Bragdon Weathering Powders, including many examples showing how to weather structures and roads on his HO railroad. Bob will also demonstrate using oil stains and dry brushing before applying chalk. And more.
Plus the usual stuff as well. You know, door prizes, free coffee, models of the month, stuff to buy and sell and a lot of conversation. Featuring donuts for a buck. Hey, we have to pay for those fabulous name tags.
For Eastside Get-Together location and other information, see the 4D Clinics page.
The annual N scale Meet ‘N March swap meet will be held Saturday, March 28 in Portland, Oregon at the Valley Catholic High School, at the intersection of TV Hwy. and Murray Blvd., in Beaverton (on the west side of Portland). The show will open to the public at 10:00 a.m. and will feature three N scale layouts, vendors selling N scale model railroad products, and clinics for intermediate to advanced modelers.
If you attended in the past and thought the old warehouse where it was held was too cold, it has been moved to a school (with actual heat).
Rich Thom, photos by Rich Thom
After a lot of business conducted at the overflowing swap tables, Clinic Chair Rich Blake welcomed 25 folks to the SV&W Clinic’s March meeting at the Summer Hill facility in Oak Harbor. Rich also introduced new attendee John Connelly, whom we hope will become a regular.
John Marshall brought his “winter project” (John has an outdoor G-scale layout in Coupeville, so winters get devoted to rolling stock and structures) for show-and-tell. He has completed a set of sawmill machinery (Fig 1) in F-scale (1:20.3) for his sawmill – a large (in more ways than one!) work-in-progress. These are kits are by Wild West Scale Model Builders, www.wildwestmodels.com. The components are identified in Figure 1. The log carriage (Fig 2) has over 150 white metal castings.
There being no further business or pop-ups, Rich Thom gave the evening’s presentation: Viva Vapor! Steam with a Latin Beat—Modeling Inspiration on 5 Gauges. It was a “Part 2” to a talk given back in 2009, which covered different railroads in other countries.
When the last revenue steam operations ceased in the U.S, most steam enthusiasts said “that’s the end of it,” and redirected their energies to writing books, modeling, and preservation. Worldwide, though, steam was far from defunct. Some people packed their cameras intent on finding and documenting what survived beyond our borders; Rich caught this disease.
Most of the railroads in this talk used American-built locos, mostly Baldwins, and rolling stock details and operating practices evoked stateside steam railroading. We highlighted steam on 5 different gauges, in 5 countries in Central and South America:
Ferrocarriles Guatemala (Int’l. Rwys. of Central America)
|Guatemala||3’ gauge||Photo’d 1973, 2000|
Ferrocarril de El Salvador
|El Salvador||3’ gauge||1973|
Ferrocarril Nacional General Belgrano
|F del E Red Sur
Ferrocarriles del Estado Southern Network
Estrado de Ferro Dona Teresa Cristina
Viacao Ferroviario Centro Oeste
Red Ferro-Industrial Rio Turbio
We won’t take the space here to include photos for each railroad.
Bananas! — and dispelling the myth: Hauling bananas was the business of the first of tonight’s railroads. When the banana trains (called fruteras) were on the line they were strictly first class with higher priority than even timetabled passenger trains. And the huge, modern fleet of narrow gauge Mikados dwarfed even the D&RG’s roster of Mikes, dispelling the myth that steamers in Latin America were mostly decrepit hand-me-downs.
Ferrocarriles Guatemala (FEGUA) was the remnant in Guatemala of the once vast International Railways of Central America, an American-owned, 800-mile system in both Guatemala and El Salvador which reached ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and the Mexican border. United Fruit owned 40% of IRCA, and 50% of the railroad’s income came from shipping bananas and coffee. After 1948 (when Mexico re-gauged some of its narrow gauge to standard), IRCA was the largest 3-ft gauge railroad in all of North America.
This “up and down” railroad ran from 5,000 feet at Guatemala City to sea level. Gradients were typically 3% on the Atlantic Division with a ruling gradient of 3.3%. On the Pacific Division, the steep 3.7% grade of Palin Hill was a challenge for banana trains from the Pacific Coast plantations for both steam and diesel. The line was famous for its spidery trestles.
IRCA, and the later FEGUA, had a very large roster of steam locos from builders Baldwin, Porter, and Krupp, with Baldwins dominating. In its later days, mostly 2-8-2 Mikes, smaller Consolidations, and GE diesels were used. A large Baldwin order of 32 identical Mikes, including #181 shown above, was delivered during 1946-48. The IRCA had 57 Mikes altogether of basically the same design.
The Ferrocarril de El Salvador (FES) was always the down-on-its-luck cousin to the IRCA, never a part of the much larger railroad. The first railroad in El Salvador, the smallest of the Central America republics, was built between the coast and Sonsonate in 1881-2. Another 3’ gauge line was constructed from Santa Ana to the capital San Salvador, and in 1895 an English firm combined the two lines under the present name. Despite the British ownership, most of the equipment was American. The youngest steam engine on the property dated from 1926, and most of the rolling stock was of 1880-90’s vintage. Some locos and cars saw service in Hawaii.
Not worth the trouble: Rich was sometimes asked, “why are you using your sparse vacation time to go ‘down there’ to photograph steam, when it’s all just small stuff?” Well, in truth, there was nothing even close to our American and Canadian monsters, but there were some large locos with respect to the track gauges on which they ran.
The Ferrocarril Nacional General Belgrano (FNGB) in Argentina grouped together all the meter gauge railroads in this multi-gauge country. Tucuman in the far northwest was the hotbed, and Rich got there in 1976. Baldwin had filled an order in 1921 for 85 locos, its largest foreign order of that year, a mix of Pacific, Mountain, and Santa Fe types. Remarkably, most of them were still the mainstay of the loco roster in 1976, although a few diesels had intruded. Otherwise, it was entirely a steam show—one of the last in the western hemisphere. Chile’s Ferrocarriles del Estado Red Sur (F del E) was another destination for steam in the 70’s. Chile, a narrow north-to-south country, has a railway system to match. A single main line runs north out of the capital Santiago, and another south. The southern system — the broad gauge 5’ 6” Red Sur — is by far the most important and active. Once all-steam territory, Red Sur tracks weren’t overwhelmed by diesels but by electrification. By the end of 1972 wires were up all the way to Concepcion. Steam retreated south and held on, and as late as the early 70’s there were approximately 200 steam engines working. Temuco boasted the largest allocation with 50 engines, and was the place to go: Rich visited in 1976. Traffic was hauled mostly by Baldwin and Mitsubishi 4-8-2’s, Alco and Montreal Mikados, and German-built Moguls.
The Estrada de Ferro Dona Teresa Cristina (EFDTC), an isolated meter-gauge operation in southeast Brazil was arguably the most exciting big steam rail operation in all of South America. The line existed to haul low-grade coal from Serra do Mar to the port of Imbituba. In the early seventies, five 1000-ton coal trains operated daily on weekdays. What might have been a ho-hum operation was instead spectacular because of the motive power. 1925 Baldwin Pacifics — left over from a long-abandoned passenger service — and stocky Alco Mikados held down the less-stressing duties. The pride of the EFDTC, though, was a fleet of Baldwin and Alco 2-10-4’s built 1940-47. The sight and sound of these wholly American heavy-haulers on the point of a coal train heading for the Atlantic port was stunning.
Bachmann slept here! Bachmann has produced in several scales lovely old Baldwin locos. Incredibly, there was a railroad — Brazil’s Viacao Ferroviario Centro Oeste (VFCO) — where locos survived into the ‘70’s that were spitting images of some of these models. Sao Joao del Rei was the main terminal and shop town for the 121 miles of 2’ 6” track of the VFCO. The line served primarily as a feeder to two broader-gauge lines. Gondolas of limestone for an on-line cement plant and box cars of cement constituted most of the tonnage.
When Rich visited in 1976, passenger service was still operating as mixed trains. All were hauled by the VFCO‘s magnificent fleet of all-Baldwin locos, the oldest (in 1976) dating from 1889. Take a look at this website photo of Bachmann’s On30 4-4-0:
and then compare it to the “real thing” in Sao Jao del Rei’s yard. Note the steam dome snugged up to cab; single air pump; bell, sand dome, and copper-topped stack all in the same positions; Pyle generator just in back of the headlight; slide valves; and outside frames. The Bachmann model is coal-fired, whereas the VFCO loco is oil, and the front pilots are different. Otherwise Baldwin did a great job of copying the Bachmann product!
At the end of the world, the biggest little 2-10-2’s ever: The talk concluded with the Red Ferro-Industrial Rio Turbio (RFIRT) a 75-cm gauge railroad from Rio Gallegos on the Atlantic coast to Rio Turbio near the Chilean border. This line was located in the extreme southern portion of mainland Argentina and its business was to haul coal to the port. The motive power was diminutive 2-10-2’s, all built by Mitsubishi. The locos were so small a man of modest height could peer into the cab window. They were extensively modified by the steam innovator Ingeniero Porta to become some of the most efficient steam locomotives on the planet at the end of steam. They were so successful that Porta proposed enormous (for 75 cm gauge) and efficient locos such as a 0-12-12-2—which became very close to being built. Such innovative locos never materialized but it is an interesting footnote to worldwide steam development that the very last of high-efficiency, modern steam locos would see service on — of all places — the most remote, and southerly railway in the world.
The TNW is excited to host their fourth Model Railroad Show and Swap Meet at Freighthouse Square. Many clubs from around Washington will be in attendance as well as vendors with various railroad items to sell spread through three floors, two very large rooms and various shops. Freighthouse Square always offers a variety of eating establishments and interesting shops for browsing. A portion of the ticket sales from the show will benefit a local charity.
The hours are 9-4 on Saturday and 10-3 on Sunday and admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children under 12, seniors and active military personnel, and children under 3 are free. Additional information including directions and contact info can be found on the TNW web site.
All aboard! Visit the Northwest Railway Museum for a unique living history train experience that has been a part of western Washington since 1957.
Northwest Railway Museum visitors can catch a train to another time where they experience how railroads influenced settlement and everyday life in Washington State. Full passenger round-trip excursions are 75 minutes long and begin on Saturday, April 4th. Each Saturday and Sunday through October, the Northwest Railway Museum offers scenic rides through the Cascade Foothills to the top of Snoqualmie Falls. Visitors explore train cars, exhibits, and a Victorian-era depot while following in the footsteps of more than 1 million travelers who have passed through its doors since 1890. They also experience travel before the age of Interstate highways while seeing, riding and feeling the excitement of a working railroad with all of its bells and whistles. Regular trains operate weekends beginning April 4th and run through October 18th.
A full list of NWRM 2015 events and extensive contact info is available at this previous Grab-Iron post.
Al Babinsky, photos by Chip van Gilder
Master Model Railroader Gene Swanson started the clinic on time with 46 modelers present including several new attendees. Gene started a discussion about the rules pertaining to the use of the Library facilities. Since this is a public facility we cannot stop anyone from attending because he is not a member of NMRA. They also do not allow solicitations of any kind which we feel that we are not doing. We collect donations for our refreshments and for the food network which are entirely voluntary. Our PNR president and several clinic members will talk with the Library staff and explain our position which we feel do not violate their rules.
Several announcements were made concerning upcoming events:
- The Narrow Gauge Symposium is being held next month, their website is www.sn3symposium-2015.com.
- The 4D spring meet will be held on June 6th with location to be determined.
- Portland Daylight Express, the NMRA national convention, will be held August 23 – 28, 2015. Additional information is available at www.nmra2015portland.org.
- The Tacoma NW model railroad show and swap meet is being held March 21st-22nd at Freighthouse Square in Tacoma.
“What’s New at the Hobby Shop” was presented by Bill Sandstrom from Tacoma Trains & Hobbies and had only a few items: beer cars from Atlas, Milwaukee boxcar from Athearn, reefers from Roundhouse and N scale cars from Microtrains.
The “Model of the Month” contest included the following: Chris brought in a EMD SD38 that he obtained and weathered it heavily along with a set of gondolas and the loads for them consisting chunks of a rusted metal can as a scrap metal load, an item from a dishwasher that looked like a tank, a load of granite blocks that used to be tiles for a counter and a load of black and grey rocks to represent broken up asphalt and concrete. Tyler brought a barge that had a load of vehicles and a tug boat and vehicle that were part of the clinic. Walt brought a pair of weathered gondolas that carried a pipe load. Gene presented a Labelle 3-in-1 kit of a vegetable reefer that he hand painted. Dave brought a water tank kit for a town on his layout and Scott brought three ACF 3650 hoppers, two of which were shortened and equipped with discharge shuts that were 3D printed. The winner of the “Model of the Month” was Scott Taylor.
The clinic for this month was on weathering vehicles and was given by Jim Sabol, Dale Kraus, Walt Huston and Tyler Whykam. Each had his version on weathering and the basic thread was using alcohol or water to create a wash with weathering powders or acrylic paints. The hand-out was prepared by Mike Shaw and had photos to accompany the text. All in all an excellent clinic with very useful information.
Next month’s clinic will be on April 9th at our usual location in the Pierce County Library Admin. Bldg., the corner of Waller Road and 112th Street. Our clinician will be Steve Carter and he will talk about operating train order boards which he is building for PSMRE.
Use all of your model railroading skills to help construct two layouts in the Foss Waterway Seaport (FWS) at 705 Dock Street, Tacoma, WA. We are building an HO scale model of the Northern Pacific’s “Half Moon Yard” that is located across the street from the FWS. We are also building a G scale layout that visitors to the FWS can use to demonstrate their switching abilities.
Both layouts are funded and we have building materials and tools on hand for volunteers to use. The next workshop will be Sunday, Mar 15th from 9 am to 5 pm, followed by workshops on Monday from 10 am to 3 pm and Tue through Friday from 8 am to 1 pm. Come and work as long as you wish. Attendees will be able to use existing skills and possibly learn some new ones, all while we are building the HO and G scale layouts.
Marty Quaas, Photos by BJ and Roy Foster
The annual Winter Festival known as the Rondy ran from February 27th through March 8th. With a total lack of snow in Anchorage, the attendance for this years Fur Rendezvous was down from that of previous years. Many of the crowd drawing events such as the Sprint Dog Races and Cross Country Skiing had to be canceled. This lead to lower than usual visitor attendance at the Model Railroad events at the Alaska Railroad Depot and at Russian Jack Springs Park. However those that did attend were given a great show at both venues.
The Military club at the Alaska Depot estimated 5000 visitors, many coming back several times. In Russian Jack Springs Park, with no other events in the park to draw crowds, the attendance this year was around 700, mostly of regular visitors.
Remember: one of the benefits of NMRA membership and especially membership in the 4th Division, you receive free advertising in the Digital Grab Iron for any model railroad items you want (or want to get rid of).
And, unlike old-fashioned classified ads, there’s no limit to word count or number of photographs. You can even provide links to your website, to photo sharing sites, or even YouTube videos!
Plus, you know that your audience is 100% fellow model railroaders!
This coming Tuesday, March 10th, is our Westside Clinic in Bremerton.
Steve Neupert is presenting our clinic and the subject is “Making Sure Your Freight Cars Are Layout Ready.” Steve will work on any troubled children (freight cars). If you want to bring one or two freight cars he will see what they might need.
Bob Jensen / Tom Barrett will talk about “What’s Happening” in the upcoming Bremerton Northern Model Railroad Club Swap Meet and last weekend’s UNW Monroe Show.
If someone from the 4th Division Board of Directors is there, I’m sure they will be happy to talk about what’s happening at the Division level.
The clinic is held at the United Way of Kitsap Building in downtown Bremerton (647 4th Street) at 7:00 PM.
As usual there will be a “Show and Tell” and “Model of the Month”. If you have a friend or family member who is interested in model railroading, they are welcome.
Editor’s note: Bobj called me this morning, Sunday the 8th, to say that the trains in the estate sale are completely gone. He thanks everyone for their interest and help.
Giant Vintage and Collectible Train and Estate Sale, March 7-8 and March 14-15, 2015 in the Seattle Wallingford area. Follow the signs on N 36th Street off Stoneway or Wallingford avenues. Hours are 9am-6pm each weekend (Saturday & Sunday only). No early birds.
This is a massive 60+ year train collection from model railroading Northwest legend and Grab-Iron Service Award winner Rolan Brockhoff. Rolan passed in 2008, the family is moving mom and it is time to empty the house. Every day new items are being “discovered” and moved into the sale area, so visit often.
Items include Large Scale (number one or G-Gauge) Lionel, LGB, Aristrocraft etc; O-Scale, high-rail, and tinplate including Marx, Lionel, Hafner and others; hundreds of HO rolling stock and loco’s including Athearn and others. Many items are new in the box and some date back to the 1920′s, including railroad collectibles, toys and accessories. There are also modules in HO and O-Scale.
Furniture and other household items are for sale too. Bring your boxes and cash!