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Rochester Area S Gaugers Newsletter

February 2000

Conrail helper locomotive at Cresson, Pa., August 27, 1999. Mike Holland photo.

February Monthly Meeting

Our February meeting was held at Ted Larson’s house. Activities included general discussion of modeling, review of magazine articles that pertain to club interests, review of Ted Larson’s modules under construction, club business discussion, and watching Ted’s movies of Minnesota S layouts and movies of the live steam club near Raleigh, North Carolina to which his father-in-law belongs. We welcomed new member Duane Miner to this meeting.

Club business:

The club has purchased an AF rocket car via auction, and it has arrived. It is in quite good condition.

Mike Holland reported on the treasury balance. Its nice to see that we have money on-hand for many of the projects on our wish list.

Mike Holland reminds us that he received much promotional literature from the NASG. We need a plan / volunteer(s) for stuffing envelopes. Maybe during the next show? Or during bull session time on Monday nites?

Status of upcoming shows.

We prioritized our project wish list:

  1. Finish current projects: repair corner module switch, re-scenic all modules, yard modules, control panel wiring for Mike Holland, Rick Israelson’s enginehouse terminal, and the wiring interface between Rick and corner module.
  2. Construct backdrops for modules using club money. Mike Shea will take the lead on designing these.
  3. Construct 2’x2’ modules for making the layout wider using club money. Roger Delthony will take the lead on this project.
  4. Charlie Smith will update his PikeMaster action layout, using ideas from other AF operators.
  5. Help Ted Larson build his 4 modules.
  6. Construction of 4’x8’ layout section for Chuck Smith in exchange for his corner modules did not make it onto the current action list.

Club shirts:

There is strong interest in buying club shirts, to present a better appearance at shows. The Buffalo group is also interested. The Syracuse group awaits word of what we plan to do. Options are buying NASG shirts or having our own similar shirts made. Roger Delthony and Mike Holland will check prices at some screen printers that they know about. Some members prefer, some golf shirts with front pocket, some sweatshirts.

And a note from Ted, who provided the information for this report and for other areas of the newsletter:

I enjoyed hosting the meeting.

Ted Larson

Upcoming Meetings

March Date & time TBA, at Steve Coughlin’s house.

April Date & time TBA, at Harry Butler’s house.

May May is still open, so please let me know at if you’d like to serve as host.

Kenan Show

At the February meeting, several people expressed an interest in attending the April 29-30 Kenan Arena train show in Lockport as a group activity. Getting there first thing Saturday morning (10 a.m.) was of greatest interest. Ted Larson asks whether someone volunteered to "coordinate" this event. If so, please let the rest of us know. If not, Ted will do do so. Car-pooling is probably all that needs coordinating. Let Ted know if you want to go (, and if you want to drive. The cost is $4; children 6-12 are $1. If you’re interested, you can read more about the show at its website:

Upcoming Shows

(If you have not yet contacted Chuck Smith & Mike Holland about attending these shows, please do so)

March 12, 2000 Canandaigua show, 10-?. Set-up Saturday, 3-7.

April 9, 2000 Batavia train show, 9:30-?. Set-up at 7:30 a.m.


Other Shows

March 18 and 19, 2000 – Ithaca, 10-5 each day, at the Armoryoff Route 13.

March 12, 2000 – Village Gate toy show, 10-4.

Weekly Work Sessions

The weekly Monday sessions will change to a round-robin schedule:



Main pulley house on the Portage Railroad, near Altoona. Mike Holland photo.

Mike Holland’s Trip to Altoona

I attended the Pennsylvania Technical & Historical Society’s annual convention in Altoona, Pennsylvania, the weekend of August 26-29, 1999.

In the modeling contest there were many HO models, but there were two S-scale models as well. One was a 4-6-2 [the Flyer K-5, Mike? Ed.] converted into a 2-8-0. I talked to the guy who did this model. He said that he too the chassis from two Pacifics and spliced them together. He used the flanged drivers for the eight driving wheels. The boiler was lengthened, and the front two pilot wheels were added. This engine runs on 38" curves.

Next was a work train that had a crane with a modified smokestack, a boom car, a wheel car, four flat cars with wrecked freight cars on them, two ballast cars, and two flat cars carrying rail, barrels of spikes, and ties.

The engine was a modified and weathered Flyer 0-8-0, with a back curtain, back plate, dead man’s floor pedal, and crew in the cab. The boom car had an interior with a crew. The crane had been converted by cutting off the diesel exhausts and installing a smokestack. The builder had installed a smoke generator as well, so the crane was constantly smoking. The prototype for this train was stationed in Altoona during the latter days of steam.

On Friday, August 27, two buses went to the Portage Railroad, where they used to raise and lower canal cars over the mountains. The original builders used logs hewn from trees standing along the right of way.

On Saturday, August 28, Greg Miller, a fellow NASGer who lives in Altoona, took me to take pictures on the Horseshoe Curve, and to Cresson, where helpers for the Curve are stationed and serviced.

--Mike Holland

MTH coaling tower. MTH photo from catalog, used by permission.

Product News

MTH ( has some nice-looking accessories in their new catalog. Of particular note is their coaling tower (30-9043 -- $149.95) as shown above. Also of interest to the tinplater is the new operating passenger station platform (30-9107 -- $49.95), seen below. This new accessory, together with its companion freight platform, are track-tripped so that the occupants of the platform "disappear" into the roof of the platform after a train stops. Those looking for S-scale buildings may find it worth checking out the new bank and row houses; I can’t tell from the catalog photos what size they are, but if we’re lucky they’ll be the same as the farm house – approximately S.

Champion Decals ( is willing to make S-scale decals on their new ALPS printer. In response to an e-mail from Kelvin White, they indicated that they can make most colors (though yellow is a problem), and that special runs for S would usually require a 3-set order at a usual price of $11.00 per set. [Rick, maybe this would be the way to get your Erie decals.—Ed.]

Evergreen Hill Designs, 31328 N. Brooks Creek Road, Arlington, WA 98223 USA; 1-800-337-3547 ( has a line of cedar shingles in S. The HO version was reviewed in the February issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. This appears to be their only S-scale offering, but the various HO or O detail parts or kits listed on their Web site may prove useful, since some (such as, I suspect, the AH&D two-spool hoist) came in varying sizes in real life. It might be worth contacting them to see whether they would consider making items in S.

MTH operating passenger station. MTH photo from catalog, used by permission.

Web Sightings

A selection of photos of Genesee & Wyoming steam locomotives has been added to ( The G & W used Moguls, and they might prove a good match for the Rex Mogul, if anyone who has one is looking for a prototype for inspiration.

Modelers of the Pennsy may want to check out the books offered by Withers Publishing (, the publishers of Diesel Era magazine – they have some relatively inexpensive books on Pennsylvania Railroad diesels in their Pennsylvania Railroad Diesel Locomotive Pictorial series.

The NMRA site now offers links to S-scale virtual layout tours ( – check them out

A Closing Word

Clip art in this issue courtesy of

If you have any comments or items for inclusion in the newsletter, please let me know at or by calling 716-663-0895.


–Harry Butler

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