Our mission is to promote education and fellowship through the sharing of information and the promotion of the world's greatest hobby. - Model Railroading.
Birds eye view of LaSalle Street, and Ogilvie Transportation Center Metra Rail Stations, Chicago
As I lean out the window and gaze down the track ahead, its' hard to believe we've completed another Black Swamp Division meeting season! I want to thank everyone who contributed to our meeting activities and content. I am deeply grateful that so many of you step up front every month and contribute your knowledge and modeling skills. Although this month's meeting will put a cap on the season, I am excited about what lies ahead.
This Summer's division outing will be a trip to the National Museum of the Great Lakes right here in Toledo. The museum is going to play an integral part in the regional convention we are hosting in October, 2020, with an emphasis on the synergy between the port and rails. Convention planners are working out the details right now, but this Summer's outing will give you a preview of this home-town treasure. We also plan to have lunch together at the original Tony Packos' down on Front Street. We'll discuss dates and details at the April 26 meeting.
Every Summer, your officers and directors meet several times to review what we've been doing and work on new ways and means to do things better. This year we have a number of good initiatives on our plate that I expect you will notice when we reconvene in September. Our work includes developing new clinic ideas, improving our A/V equipment and presentation, incentives to increase member participation, and anything else we can think of to provide you with a better experience every time you walk into a Black Swamp Division meeting!
In that spirit, remember that our phones and emails are always open to your thoughts and suggestions.
As we approach the April 26 meeting, I want to remind you once more of the one-day "mini-convention" being hosted on Saturday, April 27, by Division Six in west Detroit. For 20 bucks, you can't find a better day packed with clinics, layout tours, operating sessions, and much more. Online pre-registration is available and you can find all the details right here:
The vision is to establish this as an annual event that will rotate around the region much like our regular Fall conventions. For that to happen, you need to get out there and enjoy it. If enough people vote with their feet, it will get going and lead to many more down the road.
Before I sign off, ALERT!! The April 26 meeting has been moved to The Dwelling Place church at the corner of Albon and Angola, a mile+ beyond Proclaim FM where we usually meet. See elsewhere in this Train Order for map and directions.
See ya on down the line,
Coming to the end of my first year as editor of the Train Order. I hope that you have enjoyed reading it, and like the format etc. I was nervous/apprehensive when I took over this job, but I have found it fun, and I am already coming up with ideas for next season. I hope while you are enjoying the summer months, please do not forget about the Train Order. I am always on the look out new/fresh articles, no matter how small, send me a photo, a paragraph, it will make my day. Otherwise, expect my holiday stories, and pictures!!
Rather than heading to a beach with the family for spring break this year, we headed to Chicago for a long weekend. A few weeks before heading west, I was on Facebook, and on the NMRA page I saw a post which was a simple photo of a flyer for a model railway show in the Chicago area the same weekend we was going to be there. Without an organizer spending a little time posting this flyer been posted onto Facebook I would not have known nothing about this show. If we get people sign up for our convention from a free outside source like Facebook, that would be amazing. Remember to pass the word out about our upcoming convention. And, please do not forget the division's facebook page. Click here to access it. Post summer pictures on the page, let division members know what you are up too.
After some negotiations (blackmail), our agenda was amended a little, and hey presto, we had a time slot available so we could go to the train show. It was an interesting show, with only layouts in it, it was advertised as having 25 layouts, some tabletop size, others taking up lots of space. I noted how interesting it was seeing how the little kids were ever hanging around the Lego train layout, or the Lionel layout, and not really looking at the club layouts. I wondered why, the Lego layout was obvious, but the Lionel, was this because the layout was on the floor, and easier to see, and the kids could sit on the floor to watch it, or because they had a lot of engines moving. It definitely was not because of the scenery. I enjoyed looking at the different layouts, and without knowing this, we ended the show in the corner where there was a British, and a European layout, I was in heaven. Teri had to set me a time limit, and still had to drag me away from the displays kicking and screaming.
I can't believe another year of Division 1 meetings is coming to an end! Where did the time go????? Here is the material list for Andy Keeney's ground throw system from last months meeting as several of you asked for it:
This month's meeting will be very participation driven. Our main topic will be discussing ways to clean your layout's buildings, scenery, locomotives, vehicles, and freight cars (the people should be able to wash themselves).
We will also have Show and Tell. Please see me before we start the meeting if you need more than 5 minutes for your Show and Tell as some people did not get to do theirs because of time constraints. This is a good challenge to have. We will most likely be changing the format of Show and Tell for next year.
There will also be a presentation on this year's regional convention, our elections, a final decision on this year's summer outing, and a surprise for this summer. Nope, not letting the cat out of the bag yet! This is also my last meeting as assistant superintendent so I wanted to say THANK YOU to all of you who helped with presentations and gave clinics. I won't mention any names so I don't forget anyone but we would not have had the programming we had this year without you! Thank you again!!!!
I hope to see at the April meeting,
Here are a collection of pictures from last months show and tell. We are going to improve this feature as time goes along.
Our meeting location has changed for this month. Hopefully this image helps showing where this months meeting location is in relationship to our usual location. for an inter active google map, click here.
Summer is quickly approaching and that usually means a stop or reduction in time for layout/model building. That is totally understandable as there are so many great outdoor activities to participate in. But I would like to give you something to think about and something to do while you are waiting to do an activity or just taking a few minutes of "down time" this summer. If you buy one of those cheap $1.50 notebooks and carry it with you or use your smart phone or tablet you can do some 5, 10, or 15 minute planning to give you a jump start on fall model railroading. Or in other words make some lists or do some quick planning/wish lists. Making wish lists of towns and industries to model, sketching out track plans, and creating wants and needs lists for your layout will really help you get closer to having the layout you want.
I am a "list" type of guy. Lists help me keep organized, help me plan, and keep me focused. Whether or not we want to admit it we are all "Something Shiny" thing people. In other words we can get easily distracted by anything that catches out attention. How many times have you gone to your layout area to work on something and taken up a lot of time either deciding what to do or going completely off the rails to tinker with something that catches your interest and end up not getting anything done you intended to get done? it is so easy to fall into this trap. If you only have 30 minutes to get something done it doesn't help to spend 15 of those 30 minutes deciding what to do.
If you had a list of the next 5 to 10 things you wanted to get done on your layout you will have created a great time saver. Now when you head to your layout you can pick something off your list and start working on it right away to maximize your time available and not lose a good chunk of time wondering where to start. That list will also help you get things done faster and keep you organized. It is not necessary to always do things on the list in order so you can still have a variety of things to do. But you will know what to do or what to pick from and that can save you so much time. I'm just recently retired and I honestly don't know how I got things done when I was working full time. My lists have saved me so much time and let me get in tons of mini planning sessions. I take my doodle notebook with me for making lists and planning almost everywhere I go that I think I will have some wait time and will be by myself. And NO, I don't do this when I am with anyone else as that would be sort of rude.
Her is an example of a list I just finished
- finish large peninsula bench work
- finish large peninsula backdrop
- finalize New London design (track, roads, backdrop, interchange, and structures
- plan and design Chicago and West end staging yards
- plan and design Wolf Creek paper mill
- Install track, wire track, and install turnout controls for New London for Open House
- plan Fox River crossing between Wolf Creek paper mill and Appleton Junction
- design and build Soo Line/ Green Bay and Western staging yard bench work inside of large peninsula
I have everything done except a final Wolf Creek paper mill plan as the darn mill keeps evolving in my head. I think I have over 2 dozen sketches I have done. I'm just about there I think.
My new list has:
- FINISH Wolf Creek paper mill plan
- lay track and turnout controls for Chicago and west end staging yards
- design Appleton Junction
- design Appleton city and industries
- design Kimberly Clark paper mill
-read as much about Lake Michigan car ferries and operations as I can find (for Manitowoc car ferry)
- finish bench work for Manitowoc, Calumet yard, and lake front
I am having a blast building my layout and I do not find myself "confined" by my lists as there is plenty to do on them and lots of variety. Some weeks I do not even go into the basement and sometimes I spend anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours a day on my layout. I do find I get a lot more done in the time I spent "Working on the Railroad". I hope you at least give my lists and mini planning sessions a try. Good Luck and have a great summer!
We have Division elections coming up. Please think about standing for an officer position.
Remember we are hosting the regional convention in 2020. We can never have too many volunteers. Let Dave McMullian know if you would like to help