LogoTrain Order

Train Order

Vol #63 September 2020
Division One of the North Central Region of the National Model Railroad Assoc.
Our mission is to promote education and fellowship through the sharing of information and the promotion of the world's greatest hobby. - Model Railroading.

Railroad Item of the Month

For those who missed out on the summer outing at Jim Wolsiffer's. I was not sure I was going to make it, but I managed to go for a couple of hours. Here are a few pictures from the event.


We need to send a big thank you to Jim and his live steam group, for openning his yard, running trains, and his house to show off his layout in his basement.

Paul Marsden

View from the Cab

cab The Black Swamp Division held it's last meeting in February, and it seems like forever! It was so good to finally get back together at our recent Summer outing. Jim Wolsiffer rolled out the red carpet and what a great day it was, riding trains, enjoying the beautiful day, and just being together in person!

Right now, we are still in that land of uncertainty regarding future meetings. We will not have a September meeting, and we will be pretty much on a month-to-month basis evaluating when we can start up again. Rest assured that we are leaning to the cautious side in all we do and we simply must be patient until we are confident that risks have been resolved. In the near term, we will continue to expand the content of our monthly Train Order. We are also working on adding new categories or types of content to the TO. Now please bear with me as I beat an old drum, but the success of our efforts is entirely dependent on your contributions. We can have all kinds of creative design in the TO, but the content needs to come from you. Right now we are working on some how-to articles and we've got places for photos of your projects, sort of a print version of Show-n-Tell. Do you have a question about something you are planning or working on? Have you discovered a new tool or product for modeling? Have you done some interesting rail-fanning lately? Have you found a modeling technique you'd like to share? How about a suggestion for something we should do new or differently? ALL of these inputs will be treasured by editor Paul Marsden as he works to build out a great newsletter! The beauty of web publishing is that Paul is not contrained by page count. He can post as much content as we will all send him! We typically average 25-35 members at our monthly meetings. If just half of those would submit something to Paul each month, we'd have a feature-rich publication every time. It's not that hard. I know. Every month I send Paul 2-3 things. This month I'll share a method of making water I discovered that is fast, easy, and if I may say so, good looking! I've got some pics of what I did this Summer as well as some railfanning. I ALWAYS have something in my camera or on my workbench that is worth sharing, and so do you. Please, please, help me overwhelm Paul with great stuff to edit. Until we can get back to live meetings, let's all pitch in and commit to our web efforts.

Stay well friends, see ya on down the line,

Dave McMullian,

From the Editors Desk

stressedRecently we sent out an email asking for contributions to the Train Order. I was amazed at the response. Thank you everyone who spent time to send in articles, and photos. I now have the fun task of picking what to include in each Train Order. Rest reassured, if I have not used what you sent in this issue, it will appear soon, nothing will be discarded. " I'm sorry Dave, you encourage everyone to contribute content to the Train Order, then I decide to hold yours for a future edition!

Please keep the content coming.

In this issue I have included contributions ranging from a picture and sentence, to full blown articles. You will see we have 2 pieces from first time contributors, Richard Marquardt, I cannot await for the follow up article, and thank you Dan Merkel for an excellent description/photos of what you have been up to over the summer. I hope what you see inspires you.

We are trying sometime new in the classifieds, Marshall Stull has something to sell, and there is a link to a flyer for a larger sale. Let me know if you have anything you want to sell.

Next month the Train Order will include a piece from Jim Donovan, with 9 pictures, plus many more pieces.

Paul Marsden,

Clinic Corner

Please take a moment and provide feedback on subjects you would like to see in the near future! We have a google form at https://forms.gle/tGD1hWsYhuTHDLCu6 where you can tell us what interests you. Please take time to give us feedback!

Well here we are in September and conditions still will not allow us to have our meetings in person. Even so, we will try and bring clinics and information to you best we can! We have been exploring different options for how best to communicate with members. Some ideas include:

Virtual Meetings

Some have asked if Zoom meetings (or other service) could be setup. Unfortunately, the key people who would have to set this up do not have any experience setting up a Zoom meeting. Although this is a setback at this time, we have been looking at this possibility and would ask anyone who has experience and would volunteer to assist with such a meeting, please contact us. This way, we could do something in the future if current conditions persist.

Hands-On Group

We are still exploring the option of Hands-On Groups as mentioned in the last Train Order. Even though the current situation does not allow large groups, small gatherings of 10 or less appears to be acceptable. Any meeting would require all participants to use masks and maintain safe distances.

Topics Available:

  • Paper Building Construction
  • Air Brushing

If you are interested in one of the above Hands-On Groups, please sign-up at https://forms.gle/P1MyZszFn7psTizX7

Pre-Recorded Videos

If a picture is worth a thousand words, video is invaluable. I encourage members to try shooting video and sharing it with us. I personally am converting my shop area to allow video recording along with the possibility of live broadcasts. I am a complete newbie to today's technology but did video work way back in the 1980s when video equipment was too big to carry.

Prototype Action

For those who do not want to venture out too much these days, the YouTube Channel "Virtual Rail fan" has updated its live rail fan feeds to include updated cameras with pan in Elkhart, Indiana. Several free locations are offered with more available for a fee.

As always, feel free to drop an email to me with suggestions and comments at mstull@marshallstull.com

Marshall Stull,
Assistant Superintendent

White Castle Restaurant

My Summer post COVID project is to finish the Walters White Castle Restaurant I started back in March. Let me explain. My job at Bowling Green State University is to maintain the Architectural drawings for the University. When the COVID pandemic closed us down in March, I was responsible for the "social distance" planning for all of the classrooms, labs, studios, and residence halls, along with establishing one-way circulation within the buildings. After putting in 12-16-hour days since March, I needed an outlet to get my mind off of COVID drawings. Now that school has started back up, I can get back to this kit. I actually had just started building this kit a week before we closed, so getting back to it was a necessity in more ways than one. Even though I don't have a layout yet, I found that building structures and doing historical research very relaxing. I'm a modeler by nature, and love history and details. The layout that I'm designing is based on Chicago, in its heyday of the 1920's - 30's. complete with a lot of the famous gangster hits, and some of my favorite places I visit when I go there. One of the places is one of the last remaining White Castle's which is located across the street from a dinner theater which is located in an old speak easy.

ncr2020 Fig, 1 original 1929 photo
ncr2020 Fig. 2 2019 photo

Since this building has a lot of windows, I decided to detail out the inside of the building complete with counters, and cooking area rest room, etc. The first thing I did was to tape the kit together (Fig. 3) and take measurements from it and then scale the dimensions up to actual size and produce a floor plan of it; (Fig. 4) this way, I could lay out the restroom, cooking area and counters. Once the layout was complete, I scaled it back down so I can use it as a layout template.

ncr2020 Fig. 3
ncr2020 Fig. 4

The first step in that I did was to use the taped structure and trace the building outline on the base and then trim the base to fit the configuration of the building. (Fig. 5)

ncr2020 Fig. 5
ncr2020 Fig. 6
ncr2020 Fig. 7

I wanted to install a false ceiling which will act as a raceway for the lighting. The molded ridge (Fig. 6) would have made the roof deck to high, so I trimmed off the ridge and filled in all of the mold indentations. (Fig. 7) The next step was to install some interior column supports which will act as a channel to run my wiring, and act as support for the false ceiling so that the original roof deck height is maintained. (Fig. 8)

ncr2020 Fig. 8

I was not pleased with the quality of the clear windows that came with the kit and since the interior will be detailed out, I decided to install new windows. The first step in installing the windows was to make a photocopy of all of the walls and number each window on the copy. I then measured each window and using a fine-tooth hobby saw I cut .004 clear polyester to just slightly larger than my measurements. The next step was to sand each side of the new window until it fit within the window opening. (Fig. 9 - 11) For the round window, I used a leather punch and punched some .004 clear polyester in several sizes to make sure I got a tight fit.

ncr2020 Fig. 9
ncr2020 Fig. 10
ncr2020 Fig. 11

So far, that is as far as I progressed. To be continued...

by Richard Marquardt

Dan Merkel Summer Projects

Thank you for the invitation. This is the first time I've ever done anything like this.

1 I have always been fascinated with Inspection Engines/Locomotives ever since I saw one in an old Model Die Casting catalog. So I finally bought a Bachmann 2-6-0 and picked up an old Overton coach kit at a swap meet and began the project just about the time that the plug got pulled on going places. The project isn't all that elaborate; I simply cut the insides out of the coach body and shortened it by one window section. I left the roof "as is" since I figured this would give the VIP patrons some shelter as they got on/got off the engine. Next, I cut the boiler off of the loco right behind the smokestack then moved the bell forward. The steps are simply blocks of styrene cut and glued together in a spiral stack and the hand rails are from an old Athearn tank car. I painted the coach body , tender sides and coach roof then put everything back together. I read somewhere that these types of engines/locomotives were often named after either places along the line OR important people so I guess that now you know what the railroad's president's wife's name is.:)

No, as far as I can tell, the NKP never had an inspection locomotive. But if they did, I'm sure it would have looked EXACTLY LIKE THIS ONE. :)

2 A friend sent me me a photo of an early WABASH heavy duty flat car. It looked like a fun project so I dug around in the scrap box and found four Archbar trucks and some other miscellaneous pieces of styrene. From this, I fabricated the running gear. The bed of the car is all wood; I cut planks about an inch and a quarter long, stained them with alcohol & India ink then let them dry. I added a few unstained ones to suggest that a few of the planks had been recently replaced. The car's sides are simple pieces of strip wood. What a bear trying to position decals on that material; it was like applying a decal to sandpaper. The gear "load" is from an old computer printer. I still need to add some dunnage to hold it in place; that is on the workbench right now. I also have two other possible loads that I'm working on. I will likely allow them to be changed from time to time. One of the loads is a drive shaft with more printer gears on it and the other one is a 3/4" plastic pipe "tee" that will be doctored up to look like some kind of boiler. The car is likely a little early for my layout's period but... SO WHAT??!? :)

3 Several years ago, MODEL RAILROADER featured an article where a gentleman built a combination tower/station using a couple of ATLAS signal towers and a Bachmann station. The station was also a part of the American Heritage series that Heljan did several years ago. Anyway, the station was shortened by one set of windows and the tops of the ATLAS towers were combined to make the tall portion. I used Evergreen clapboard siding to make the tower a bit taller. The roof pieces were shortened to match the wall sections. BTW, the left-over parts of the ATLAS kit make a nice little building that could serve as a yard office or similar purpose.

4 Finally, I saw an old newspaper clipping from "back home" (I grew up on the Ohio River between Steubenville and Wheeling) that showed an old steam loco at the Wheeling & Lake Erie wye in Warrenton, Ohio. Coupled to the engine was what looked like a makeshift caboose. The picture wasn't all that great but from what I could see, The caboose looked like a small, maybe 34' boxcar (I used an old Mantua O/T boxcar); a small window was cut into the door of the car and a ladder was added for access. The prototype had a smaller 24"x24" window but I didn't have any that small. I improvised a little and used a bigger one. I replaced the rather chunky-looking door guides, added a smoke jack and repainted the car. Decals came from my trusty ALPS printer. I don't know what I'll do when that bad boy gives up the ghost. :)

Thanks again for the invitation to share...

by Dan Merkel

Ice House

This is the Walthers Ice House that someone before me turned in to a flat but it was a mess, glue runs, open joints poor bracing and unpainted, but it had potential. Cleaned up, reinforced, filler putty, painted and a corrugated awning and it's a cool structure.

by Steve Glass

Swing Bridge

One of many but took the Walthers double track swing bridge and converted it to a single track bridge for the PRR over the Maumee River.

by Mike Finkler

Cordage Works

I am out of space on my Layout, so I have started building structures for other people. This is a picture of a Campbell kit (cordage works) Which I built for Jeff Schumaker. I finished it on my birthday July 9th photo taken on the 10th.

by Jim Treadway


Marshall Stull sale

I will sell to anyone in the division for $15. It is an On3 craftsman kit for two ore cars, less trucks and couplers. The box has been opened but all pieces are there. To purchase send an e-mail to mstull@marshallstull.com and a hand-off will be worked out.

** HO, N, limited Lionel items!! ** lots of rolling stock
** track, turnouts, tools, videos, books, DCC & structure kits
Sale presented by-
members of the RAIL GANG
Thursday - Friday - Saturday
September 24-25-26, 2020
10am-5pm each day

Sale location:-
C&O Freight House
904 Starkweather St
Plymouth, MI 48170
For more details click here
Need to know where we meet? Click here for the address and a map
Division One is a 100% NMRA membership organization. For insurance purposes, you are required to be a member of NMRA. Membership in NMRA grants you membership in both the North Central Region and Division One.