January 2017 Modeler’s Corner

Rich Hane came across this Pennsylvania Railroad K4 type steam engine that I saw on a recent trip to the National New York Central Railroad Museum in Elkhart, Indiana. It is built out of 421,250 toothpicks and 40 pounds of glue and is about 8 feet long. It was built by Terry Woodling of Warsaw, In. after 7 years of labor.

The brakes, wheels, siderods, and windows all move. Mr Woodling has, also, built an 8ft. DC3, a Lear jet, a touring motorcycle, and a Huey helicopter and hopes to build a stagecoach.

This is what 5.5 inches of super-elevation on a moderately tight curve looks like from ground level!   The Northern Pacific’s eastbound Mainstreeter leans into a the curve at Peak, North Dakota, while passing a freight cooling its heels in the siding. 

65 miles per hour was the speed restriction for this track segment. Though six inches was NP’s maximum curve elevation, good engineering called for a half inch less here, because 65 MPH, the highest speed to be accommodated, was very near equilibrium  (balanced) speed for that elevation.   

The siding’s curve, where much lower speeds occur (only 15 – 20 mph), is elevated only a half inch.   Engine crews learned to honor this 65-mph limit.   In 1960 the crack streamliner North Coast Limited was going a little fast around this curve when the flanges of the lead locomotive tried to climb the outside rail, nearly derailing the passenger train. 

This was back in the days of “clickety-clack” jointed rail in 39 foot lengths.  The sun angle provides good clarity of the bolted rail.   Why 39’… you ask.?   Old habits are hard to break, and in the really early days 39 foot rails fit nicely on a forty foot flat car.   Today’s  welded rail is toted around in quarter mile or longer lengths.

Submitted by Gary O. Ostlund

Credits:   Pix by Wilbur R. Shannon, text excerpts from the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association calendar, May 2016.

 

 

2016 Modular Christmas Display at Parkway Plaza Mall

Here’s collection of photographs from our chapter’s 2016 modular display at Parkway Plaza Mall in Madisonville, Ky.

2016 O Scale Modular Layout was in Hopkinsville at The Polar Express Day

Our first outing for the O Scale Modular Layout was in Hopkinsville at The Polar Express Day, Carnegie Library.  Chapter members Rich Hane, Bill Farrell, Blair Terry, and Ricky Bivins worked hard to make sure the display was ready to run! 

Blair Terry is pictured with the Polar Express conductor.

 

More from the Polar Express Day in Hopkinsville. Here is a multi-scale modular layout on display.

 

January 2017 Pickin’ the Points by Bill Thomas

Opinions and Stories by Bill Thomas, Editor

I WAS enthusiastically looking forward to our modular railroad layout display at Madisonville Square Mall AND I was not disappointed!  Thanks to our president Bill Farrell, Rick Bivins, Rich Hane, Jim Kemp, Wally, and others who helped set up, maintain, and take down the displays.  I am of the opinion that this was a fantastic “touch point” for us with our community. 

Thanks also to those who purchased and prepared modules for our display.  You can see pictures in the following pages of the newsletter. 

If room permits, I’ll include some photographs I took on our family Christmas trip to New York City, December 26-31.  We were fortunate to visit a small RR museum in Huntington, WV (pictured with museum volunteer Jim Pickett, insert), as well as the Transit Museum of NY, and The Railway Museum of Pennsylvania, in Strasburg, PA.  I can thank my wife Angela for scheduling those stops for me along with the visits to Gettysburg, Central Park NYC, and the Independence Hall area of Philadelphia.  I finally saw the Liberty Bell!

Bill Thomas, editor, The PennyRail

 

New Your Transit Museum, Brooklyn, NY

Railway Museum, Huntington, WV

Railway Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg, PA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The January 2017 Spill with President Ricky Bivins

Members enjoy the Christmas Party at the home of Steve and Marilyn Miller in Hopkinsville.

Greetings Everyone.

First and foremost, Thank You for a vote of confidence. With guidance from the Chapter officers, National and Chapter Members I hope to make 2017 a very good year. 2016 was exceptional. Looking back, we can see many events went into our history book. Track side visits, a picnic, meetings, work sessions and of course an excellent Christmas Dinner at the Miller residence. We finished the year with the Christmas Show showcasing the Chapters Modular Layout, Movies, Standard Gauge trains and of course Wally Watts and his steam engines.

I was surprised in several respects with the Christmas Show. The layout while there were some issues, ran very well “right out of the box” and for the first time! Parkway Plaza Mall was an excellent host. Bill’s Standard gauge trains were a hit with the children as were Wally’s steam engines. One thing I was very much pleased with was the level of participation from the membership. Many members helped in various ways. That being said, Bill Farrell gets the prize. Bill put many, many hours into the event as did Rich Hane and Jim Kemp. A special thanks goes out to these guys.

As for 2017, we have a lot of work to do if we are to top 2016! By now you have learned we have a possible meeting place change. Our January meeting will be held in the old court house building, third floor. Enter via the basement entrance located on the buildings east side. Take the stairs or elevator to the third floor. The meeting space is on the north side of the building. Our program will be a guest speaker, Randy Teague. Randy will give us a tour of the proposed Coal and Railroad Museum space within the building. We will learn from Randy, what is in store for the building and of possible involvement with our Chapter. This will be a very interesting night. The Historical Society of Hopkins County has a media center in the building. I will provide refreshments and there will be a train video playing in the background. However, I expect our attention to be directed at the museum and Mr. Teague.

On January 2, 2017 I held an officers meeting at my house. The officers in attendance discussed the newsletter, the web site, dues, membership, programs, the photo archive and a host of other “thoughts’. Most will be brought before the Chapter meeting night.

With that being said, Monday January 16, 2017 will be a good night, an even better night if YOU attend…and bring a guest.

Ricky Bivins, President    

 

2017 Chapter Calendar Available for Purchase

Chapter Calendars highlighting the winners of our 2016 chapter photo contests are now available to order for the holidays from Jim Pearson’s store on Lulu.com. All proceeds from the sale of these calendars go to support the chapter. Please stop by and order one order today! They’ll make great Christmas Gifts! Visit http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/jimpearsonphotography to purchase your copy! These calendars are for the 2017 year.

April 30, 2016 - The sun sets on the Paducah & Louisville Railway line at Madisonville, Ky an afternoon of rain showers. - Tech Info: 1/400 | f/2.8 | ISO 3600 | Lens: Rokinon 14mm on a Nikon D800 shot and processed in RAW.    2017-nrhs-small-calendar-cover

 

November 2016 The Spill with President Bill Farrell

This is unbelievable, the past two years have passed so fast. At our next meeting, we will be electing a new President for 2017. I believe the new slate of officers will serve our organization well for the upcoming year. I would like to wish them well in their leadership going forward.

If you have not received an email from Steve Miller about the Christmas Party at his house, then you need to contact him very soon. He needs a head count and what you plan to bring as a covered dish. The get together is on Saturday December 3rd, any time after 1 o’clock pm. Steve and his wife have just recently added on to their house and we should have more than enough room for the party. If you are not sure where Steve resides it is 1420 Billy Goat Hill Road, Hopkinsville, KY. His phone number is 270 839-7936, please get in touch with him.

James Kemp will have a signup sheet for the Christmas show work schedule. I talked with him last week and he indicated we have several empty shifts. We need for our membership to turn out for this event and help make it a big success. Please contact James soon and get on  the work schedule. The show will start on December 12, 2016, 6:00 pm.

Along with the Christmas show we are having a raffle for a Lionel Ready to Run Train Set with remote control. The set is the New York Central Early Bird freight, value– $390.00. By now you should have received an envelope with three raffle tickets. We are asking each member to sell the three ticket in order to cover our Liability Insurance Policy. The Raffle tickets are 5.00 dollars each and only 150 were printed. If you need additional tickets, please contact me. We will have tickets available for sale at the show in the Mall. If you are having a hard time selling the tickets bring them to your work shift at the Mall. You can tell anyone you sell a raffle ticket to that I (Bill Farrell) have a standing offer of 75.00 dollars to anyone who doesn’t want the train set (if they win the raffle). Once you have sold all your raffle tickets please get the right side of the ticket along with the money to; Bill Farrell or mail it to me at, P.O. Box 457, Hopkinsville, Kentucky 42241. We need to have all stubs in by December 23rd for the raffle.  

Our photo contest is now paying off. Jim Pearson will have a sample of the calendar at the November 21st meeting. I think he will be taking orders so that the calendar can be printed before January 1st. If you are going to have a train calendar in your house or office, why not the Western Kentucky Chapter/NRHS. Of course, all the pictures were taken by members of our organization, now that’s cool. You might plan on purchasing more than one.

The slate of officers for 2017 are as followed; President Ricky Bivins, Vice President Steve Miller, Secretary Wally Watts, Treas. William Farrell, Chapter Rep. to NRHS Will Kling. We will open the floor for any other nominations just before the slate is presented. If there are no other nominations then we can accept the slate by acclamation.

Bill Farrell, President    

 

Bridge to Nowhere? No More! By Rich Hane

picture10For the last couple of years if my wife and I were in Louisville we have made it a point to walk on the new pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the Ohio River which is part of the riverfront park system just east of downtown. It is truly a wonderful attraction for a nice town and someone who likes history, scenery, railroads, or walking.

The Big Four Railroad Bridge which was owned by the New York Central Railroad connects Louisville, KY and Jeffersonville, IN and was completed in 1895 and updated in 1929. Forty two men lost their lives in the original construction.  It is a six span through truss bridge type. The spans total 2,545 ft with a clearance of 53 ft and rests on 7 attractive and strong stone piers.

The original bridge had one standard gauge track along with a narrower interurban track between the standard gauge track. Also, two pedestrian walkways were included. The bridge was almost 11,000 ft long with the approach ramps.

In the 1920’s as trains became much heavier, it was decided to rebuild the bridge. A very novel plan was made to build the new bridge entirely within the old bridge while using the existing stone piers. When the new bridge was finished the old bridge works were removed. This plan cut about 2-3 years of work and the new bridge was finished in one year.

picture11Interurban service lasted until 1939 and with the coming of the Penn Central merger the bridge was abandoned in 1969. The approaches were removed in 1974. For a while the bridge came to be known as the bridge to nowhere. Many people organized and promoted the idea of a pedestrian and bicycle conversion for the bridge and this opened in 2013 with a spiral ramp on the Kentucky side and a ramp stairway on the Indiana side in 2014. A total of 326 precast concrete panels make up the desk’s surface and lights and safety railings where added. The adjoining parks contain nice walkways, gardens, trees, and are well patrolled.

I encourage everyone to walk or bicycle this truly beautiful piece of history. The views are spectacular especially when large ships are passing beneath the structure or when the city skyline is lit up at night. We saw a lovely sunset recently and also passed beneath the bridge on a riverboat and enjoyed a fine dinner aboard the boat. The Belle of Louisville and the City of Jeffersonville are gorgeous examples of old riverboats. At night the bridge is lit up with thousands of lights that constantly change colors from red to blue, yellow, green, orange, etc.

picture12 picture13 picture14

Union Pacific railroad locomotive #844 pauses at Gorham, Illinois by Ricky Bivins

Union Pacific railroad locomotive #844 pauses at Gorham, Illinois October 13, 2016 en-route to Memphis TN. - Photo by Rick Bivins.

Union Pacific railroad locomotive #844 pauses at Gorham, Illinois October 13, 2016 en-route to Memphis TN. – Photo by Rick Bivins.

November 2016 Pickin’ the Points

Picking the PointsOpinions and Stories by Bill Thomas, Editor

I am enthusiastically looking forward to our modular railroad layout display at Parkway Plaza Mall this Christmas season.  I’m one of those who believes every kid should have a Lionel train set at some point in his or her life. 

In a recent conversation with a real estate client, I heard those horrible words, “I don’t know how they can stand those railroad tracks so close to the house!  I don’t want my grandchildren that close to the tracks!”  In reality, the tracks are a full city block away.  When we moved to town in 2003, I tried my best to get near the tracks, but just couldn’t find a place with enough yard.  But, occasionally I can hear three trains at a time in my back yard, so I guess it turned out ok. 

Back on track – I predict the modular layout will draw a crowd, we just need to get the word out!  So spread the news where ever you go.  If you’re a Facebook, Twitter, or other social media user, post it on your timeline or page you manage. 

I’ve enjoyed re-introducing my 10-year-old to the hobby through this project and hope we all can bring a little nostalgic happiness to those who come our way in the next few weeks.

 

All Things Trains and Photography by Jim Pearson

Jim will be back after the first of the new year with more helpful information about rail photography.  For now, enjoy a few more examples of his work below.

November 12, 2016 - Indiana Railroad's newly painted "In Honor of Our Veterans" engine 4005 (SD40-2), sits at the north end of CSX's Howell Yard in Evansville, Indiana. The unit was freshly painted at the National Railway Equipment Co. shops in Mt. Vernon, Illinois and is waiting to move on north along CSX's CE&D Subdivision for delivery to the Indiana Railroad. - Photo by Jim Pearson

November 12, 2016 – Indiana Railroad’s newly painted “In Honor of Our Veterans” engine 4005 (SD40-2), sits at the north end of CSX’s Howell Yard in Evansville, Indiana. The unit was freshly painted at the National Railway Equipment Co. shops in Mt. Vernon, Illinois and is waiting to move on north along CSX’s CE&D Subdivision for delivery to the Indiana Railroad. – Photo by Jim Pearson

November 16, 2016 - A CSX L688 passes the south end of the siding at Slaughters, Ky with Atlantic Coast Line engine 7889 leading it's 11,500ft train, as it heads north on the Henderson Subdivision. - Photo by Jim Pearson

November 16, 2016 – A CSX L688 passes the south end of the siding at Slaughters, Ky with Atlantic Coast Line engine 7889 leading it’s 11,500ft train, as it heads north on the Henderson Subdivision. – Photo by Jim Pearson

November 16, 2016 - Huron and Eastern Railway 2026 (GP38-3) brings up the rear of the power lash up on CSX L688 as it passes the south end of the siding at Slaughters, Ky with a 11,500ft train, as it heads north on the Henderson Subdivision. Huron and Eastern Railway is a short line railroad operating 384 miles of track in The Thumb and Flint/Tri-Cities area of the lower peninsula of Michigan. - Photo by Jim Pearson

November 16, 2016 – Huron and Eastern Railway 2026 (GP38-3) brings up the rear of the power lash up on CSX L688 as it passes the south end of the siding at Slaughters, Ky with a 11,500ft train, as it heads north on the Henderson Subdivision. Huron and Eastern Railway is a short line railroad operating 384 miles of track in The Thumb and Flint/Tri-Cities area of the lower peninsula of Michigan. – Photo by Jim Pearson

Tidbits on the life of a railroader    

picture3Early in the 20th century (and before the various “Safety First” campaigns that we still see today),  a dozen railroaders — on average died on the job each day .   On any given day, tens of thousands more were injured or maimed.

That was often brought home by the fact that few conventional insurance companies would write policies for railroaders — their jobs were considered too risky.   So railroaders set up their own group insurance plans and mutual benefit associations.

An industrial pension program so that employees could expect to retire (rather than work until they died) was largely a railroad innovation.  The first plans emerged in the early 1880s and led to the creation of the Railroad Retirement Board in 1934, which was the model for the Social Security Act a year later.

Hundred of thousands of railroaders worked in jobs that took them away from their homes and families.  Sometimes they enjoyed networks of boarding houses, railroad YMCA’s, beaneries, and places of entertainment and commercial affection.  At other locations, the away-from-home accommodations could be threadbare or downright inhospitable.

And then, the names.  For everyone from the president on down, official railroad documents generally identified the employees by a sterile two initials and surname,  (J. T. Blow).   Yet no group of industrial workers embraced nicknames more than railroaders.   There was always a few Butches, a Nookie, Boogie, Shotgun, Skeeter, Barney, Screwdriver, Speedy, and all sorts of fellows who, for one reason or another, went by some alternate version of their given names.

All of which speaks to a larger truth.  Despite the hazards and demands, railroaders were proud of their work.   You would hear variations of this theme many times:   “I hate the company but love the work.”  Or, “I can’t believe they pay me to do this.”  – submitted by Gary Ostlund

Credits:  Pix by H. Armstrong Roberts and excerpts from Kalmbach’s 2011 Working on the Railroad