On Friday October 11th, 2019 Charlie Crawford MMR came to our meeting and talked about Railway Post Offices, better known as "RPOs". Charlie used a Power Point format to show the development of moving post offices, such as horses, surrys, buggies, canal barges, ships, street cars, busses and RPO cars. After a disasterous accident RPO cars were constructed of steel starting in 1912. He described the mail sorting and cancelling, that only letters given to the RPO car itself were "killed" with the RPO cancel.
The last day of RPO operation on June 30, 1977 was commorated with two FDCs (First Day Covers) posted on trains #3 and #4 which ran between New York City and Washington DC that day.
For more information on this subject, click here.
Al Churella BA, MA, PhD, MMR, and a Professor of History at Kennesaw State University was the speaker for our Friday September 13th meeting. His topic was a "History and Modeling of two-foot Narrow Gauge". As an introduction, Al showed respective sizes of track/gauges: Gauge cross-sections, note the 2' one called "Cane Narrow" No. 15. He then discussed the many Welsh 2' slate hauling railways. Now many of those have been resurected as tourist lines. Wales narrow gauge railways After that Al discussed the 2-footers that came to the USA. 2-foot railroads in the USA More specifically, he described how Maine became the hotbed of 2-foot railroading and showed photos: Maine 2-train old movies.
Al models these trains in On2. ( FYI: 2-foot scaled to "O" is a track gauge of 1/2".) Al is a Piedmont Division NMRA member; his model railroad will be on the Piedmont Pilgrimage: SR&RL On2
Membership Thermometer: 27 paid to date for 2019.
On Friday August 9th, 2019 Returning speaker and community advocate Ron Sifen was our featured speaker at our meeting. Although Ron spoke on several topics, the evening was more of a roundtable discussing Cobb transportation, traffic, zoning, development, tax and financial needs and issues. Specifically, Ron talked of the recently opened "managed Lanes" and recited several ststistics that showed improvement in commute times, both in the lanes and on I-75. More managed lanes will be coming along the Northern Arc, like 400 North, and I-285 between I-75 around to I-85 (but the ECD is 2028!) Autonomous vehicles will improve traffic; planners see 2040 as the optimal year. On finance, 98% of Cobb transit is SPLOST funded. Regarding rail, of the many studies done, the costs of either Light Rail or Heavy Rail (MARTA?) are in the billions! (Even with Federal dollars assisting.) Cobb planners want to be fiscally responsible, and serve "many", not just a tiny area or strip. Therefore they envision BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) on the Managed Lanes as a viable solution. Regarding Atlanta, the SMSA is roughly 5 million over a 13-county area, and the metropolitan area has the lowest population density of any major US city.
For the past 10 years Ron has been writing opinion columns on transit and tax issues for the Marietta Daily Journal on traffic issues and other taxpayer related issues.
On Friday July 12th, 2019. Dale McArthur, a retired B&O/CSX engineer, came and talked about his career with the Best & Only, Chessie, and finally CSX railroads. He began railroad work as a fireman (on Diesels) as a summer job while in college in the late 1960s. Uncle Sam wanted him after graduation, and so he went into the USAF for several years. Afterwards, with a wife, daughter and no job, the seniority of the B&O showed promise and he hired back on. He advanced as engineer, and then Road Foreman of Engines in the Toledo Division, and eventually most of Ohio. He told several interesting stories of his experiences, such as the "Runaway Train" event that went 65 miles. He also explained the merging of the roads: B&O, C&O and W-M became Chessie System. Next was CSX where Chessie was the "C", Seaboard was the "S" (of SAL, ACL and L&N merger,) and the "X" was everything else (such as the Greenbrier hotel, airplanes, etc.)
Membership Thermometer: 25 paid to date for 2019.
Dan Berman organized a train-watching trip to Dalton on Saturday, June 15th.
Seven members carpooled up and spent the day watching trains pass by.
Friday June 14th, 2019. Mike Cummings from the Piedmont Division of the NMRA came to our meeting and presented "Fallen Flags of the Southeast 1957-1982".
On Friday May 10th, 2019. Member Doug Munnell invited Stantec's Don del Nero to present the excavating work being done for the Atlanta Water Supply Program tunnel (WSP.) This is a multi-year construction project that extends the raw water supply for Atlanta to 30 days (2.4 billion gallons!) Participants in addition to Stantec are Atkinson Construction and PC Construction (plus others.) The focus of Don's talk was the 12'-6" diameter 5-mile tunnel bored by the TBM (Tunnel Boring Machine) from the Bellwood quarry (an abandoned Vulcan site,) underneath the Hemphill water facility and to the Chattahootchie River. The project also involved an underground railroad of sorts: From Don's photos, it appeared to be a 30" gauge mine-type railway that took personnel and supplies in, carried spoil out, and then materials (concrete) in for the lining of the tunnel. Once filled, the Bellwood quarry will be a centerpiece of the Westside Park (along the Beltline.)
Click for information on Don del Nero.
Click here for general overview of the WSP/Water Supply Program project.
Click for information on the TBM and tunnel.
On Friday April 12th, 2019. Lloyd Neal from the Southeastern Railway Museum did a presentation on "History of the Railroads in Atlanta", and also discuss his book "When Atlanta Took the Train". Lloyd shared photos of the W&A, Georgia, A&WP and Southern, among other railroads. He also had photos of the three stations in Atlanta (before these classic terminals were sadly torn down.) His book is "When Atlanta Took the Train". It can be purchased through the Southeastern Railway Museum.
On Friday March 8th 2019. Del Kittendorf did a presentation on Florida's "Brightline Intercity Rail". Actually, this was more of a "new model" for a railroad, or rail transportation system. Brightline is known today as "Virgin Trains USA," after an infusion of money from Sir Richard Branson. Its current operation links Miami to West Palm Beach, with one stop in Ft. Lauderdale. The trains cover the 60 miles in about 1 hour, with a once-per-hour frequency. The Miami station is a nexus (on the site of the old Miami train station of yesteryear) of Virgin Trains, Tri-Rail and the Miami People Mover (to the MIA airport.)
At the stations commercial property is being developed, sometimes revitalized. Miami's station features three tall buildings over a mall, with two residencial towers and an office tower. The bottom line is that the orginazition is developing rail terminal properties, with trains running between them.
This is the company's second year of operation. One of their mottos is "Connecting Communities."
Membership Thermometer: 22 paid to date for 2019.
On Friday February 8th, 2019 Allan Sayle did his several-time(s) postponed talk about "Seeing different things and seeing things differently when railfanning." The comprehensive talk was liberally illustrated with photographs taken during his domestic and international railfanning trips. His oratory touched on the topics of railroad/railway station architectural elements, clocktowers and turrets; and depots with many historical and ornate clocks. Inside the stations Allan showed photos of murals, freizes, ornate woodwork, stained glass works, and colorful tile art, all demonstrating the old quality craftsmanship. He kept on, with images of floor art, statuary, sculptures, and carvings. Around terminals were fountains, and the stations themselves had "roof brackets" that were of geometrical designs or featured railway logos. Outside stations were railings and gates of ornate iron work, some with system logos. Columns featured capitals of Ionic or Corinthian design. Water towers were unique in design, as were some yard cranes. Allan ended his talk by showing slides of signal boxes (yard switch towers) and century-old stone viaducts, many still in use.
Membership Thermometer: 21 paid to date for 2019.
Our meeting on Friday January 11th, 2019 featured our own fabulous many-time traveler Bob Lacheen. Bob did yet another of his fantastic video presentations, this time on his journeys to his childhood home for some serious railfanning: "Philadelphia, PA area Railroads and Rail Transportation". As always, his photography was great. He showed photos of and discussed many Philly historic and current stations, such as Broad Street, Suburban, Reading Terminal (now Pennsylvania Convention Center), B&O, 30th Street, and commuter stops, among others. As for rail he explained the many commuter, trolley, subway and interurban lines using old photos and ones that he took. He rode and photographed the heavy commuter lines and several stations along the routes or terminus. As for lines into the city, he mentioned the PW&B, PRR, B&O, SEPTA, Red Arrow, CSX and Amtrak.
On a personal note, Bob explained the tragic death of his young aunt on New Year's Eve 1932 at a B&O RR grade crossing.
Bob concluded with photos of his visit to nearby Northlandz, an HO display with a 1 mile walk-through path.
Membership Thermometer: 17 paid for 2019 (while in 2018 we ended with 29, and 2017 with 32.)
On December 14th, 2018 we went to "Plan B" and held our annual Christmas/Holiday gathering at the Covenant Church (our usual meeting room) as Charlie & Betty Cole could not host due to her continued recovery from her bum hip. About 18 people were in attendance, and we consumed a lot of good food! A BIG SHOUT-OUT goes to Steve Covert and Leonard Martin for doing a yeoman's effort in coordinating and setting up the buffet. (And thanks to the Boy Scouts of the local troop, who were having a sleep-over elsewhere in the church, as they were happy to come and partake of our multitude of leftovers!)
On the evening of Friday November 9th, 2018 former member and past president Charlie Mason MMR, gave a talk and presented photos that he took in mid 2017 on "Traveling Switzerland by Rail." Charlie and his family [along with George P. Burdell] traveled in 1st Class coaches and used the Swiss Rail Pass, which is good for most trains, buses and lake boats. They saw spectacular scenery, like the snow-covered Alps, and the Staubbach Waterfall. They used the villages of Vitznau on Lake Luzern, Wengen in the Bernese Oberland, and Filisur on the RhB as bases for day trips around Switzerland. One great hotel they stayed in was the Grischuna by the Filisur railway station. [ For your viewing pleasure, there are several webcams around Filisur and can be reached through this website. Please be aware that their local time is 6 hours AHEAD of EST. ]
Some of the railways the Masons rode were: SBB/CFF/FFS (Swiss National Railway acronyms in 3 of the 4 national languages: Swiss Deutsch/German; French; Italian; and Romanche/Latin-like) in Zurich station and Luzern station ; the Bernese Oberland Bahn (B-O-B); Rhaetian Bahn (RhB) on the Glacier Express that passes over the Landwasser Viaduct; the Furka Oberalp (FO); the RhB on the Bernina Pass route including the Brusio Loop ; the Wengernalp Bahn (WAB) ; and mountain railways: Rigi Bahnen and Mount Pilatus Bahnen.
Insights on "Rack Railway tracks." The Swiss National Railway known as the SBB operates on standard gauge of 4'-81/2" and has no cog/rack. However, the mountain/Alpine railways are narrower gauges and were built to conserve the right-of-ways (including boring tunnels!), enable tighter radius curves, and lower material costs. (Sort of the same reasons for the Colorado railroads in the USA!) The most common gauge is meter (39.37"), while the scenic lines that travel up the sides of mountains (steep inclines) may operate on 80cm or 760mm gauge tracks. Some have no racks/cogs on level ground, but "go on the rack" once they start up an incline. However there are some that run on racks from the lower station all the way to the top mountain station! In addition, there are about a half-dozen rack systems, with locomotives (and some cars for braking) having vertical cogs under them, on wheeled axels or a cog-only axel. These can be termed Two-graded cog rail with 2 Flat toothed bars staggered, and Ladder cog center track with 10cm tooth-tooth spacing on the rack. There are also Horizontal double cogs that are designed such that the cogs do not slip or walk up and out.
For more information on cogs and racks, visit this website (I'm sure there are others; just 'GOOGLE'):
Wikipedia Rack Railways.
Photos of rack rails and trains.
Pre-2019 Membershop Thermometer: 14 !!! Thanks!!!
Long-time GSoF member Bob Hoenes presented an overview of Israel and the Easter Med using photos that he took on his spring trip to that region. Bob discussed sites such as Masada , the Dead Sea, and Jerusalem's Old City. There was also a discussion of trains in the region, including the new electrified high speed line between Jerusalem and Ben Gurion (Tel Aviv) airport. Member Stever Covert, who also visited that area several years ago, contributed photos but Bob missed one warning of death between two trams.
Click for more info on Israel trains
Click for more info on Jordan trains
2019 Membership Thermometer: 9.
On Friday September 14th, 2018 Leise Willis with Jim Glover V, a long time O.M. [Old Mariettian,] vice president, and heir to the former Glover Machine Works presented information on his family's former business. He was the 6th generation to work there, but now works in real estate. The ca.1903 glassed Glover factory (on South Cobb Drive where the Cobb Water Works is today) was said to be the only steam locomotive works in the South. The old red building was closed and sold in 1995. Four locos were produced for Imperial Russia for use in diamond mines. The Russian negotiator who came to the factory was said to be a spy, and was executed upon his return to his country! In 1936 a second factory (with electric-arc furnace for steel pouring) was built in Cordele, GA. The company began operations in 1892, had about 200 employees, produced many small steam locomotives, specialty pipe fittings and was sold in 1998. By 1999 it went bankrupt and closed forever. All locos were made-to-order, and mostly were narrow gauge. More information can be found in the book Glover Steam Locomotives: The South's Last Steam Builder by Richard L. Hillman. In addition, parts of the old factory have been preserved in the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History in Kennesaw, GA.
In other news, it was mentioned that new STEAM locomotives are being built in the U.K.!
New Build Steam (and other locos), also: The Patriot Project, and further: The Tornado.
Clarke Otten, a local historian with the Sandy Springs Historical Preservation Society came to our meeting on August 10, 2018 and gave a talk on the 9.8 mile Roswell Railroad. It was built as a narrow-gauge railroad that operated between Sandy Springs, Chamblee, and Dunwoody Georgia. It was begun in 1863 for the purpose of hauling mill products to market, but construction was interrupted by the Civil War. Both slave and later convict labor was utilized in its construction. Operations began on September 11, 1881. In its later years it was converted to standard gauge. The railroad ceased operations in 1921.
On Friday July 13th Walt Beamer presented words and a video on Bill Bramlage's "New Tower City" O-gauge model railroad. This spectacular 3-rail layout is located in Cincinnati, OH. It features about 10,000 lights,building 'interiors', and is 10' high (almost) floor to ceiling. Click here and mouse down to watch the 1-minute sneak-peak video.
About 2-dozen members and guests attended our meeting on June 8th, 2018 that featured one of our past presidents, John Hollner, as the presenter. John did a fantastic talk on "New York Central Steam in the 50's". John combined his comments with video presentations of his work with Green Frog Video in the making of a DVD, that mainly featured the Pittman Division of the New York Central in B&W movies. Also shown were the Harlem Division, Bronx, Sedgwick Avenue, Brewster and Croton. Asso some NYO&W, the West Shore, and Kingston. Some locos in the video were BLH and Alco Diesels (Lightning Stripes), and MU Trains with 3rd rail. COOL !!!
John added to the show with a short video on the 20th Century Limited!
On Friday May 11th, Returning speaker and NMRA - Piedmont member Dave Booker gave a Powerpoint presentation discussing “Model Rail Operating Session – With Real World Problems”. Dave, a former Norfolk-Southern employee, is now an independent rail consultant. He talked on how he teaches designers and programmers about railroading using his HO Coosa Valley Railroad. He holds operating sessions for education and problem solving experience. Dave makes Switch Lists in Excel, and passed out some to show how he operates.
On Friday April 13th, illustrator and painter Robert West was introduced by his friend John Falk. Robert, in Pullman Porter costume, entertained our group by vividly recalling the work his maternal grandfather did on the flagship Atlantic Coast Line Champion passenger train. Robert also talked of his great-grandfather who worked as a porter on the PRR's Broadway Limited train. Did you see the GDA [Good Day Atlanta, Channel 5] video report at 9:30AM on Feb 12th, 2018? Once the page opens, click on the first picture (wait for ads) and enjoy Robert! He was interviewed, had his works displayed and talked about his grandfathers.
At our March 9th, 2018 meeting, return speaker (from 2015) Mr. Ed Biggs of Biggs Appraisals in Marietta GA gave a presentation on "Interesting Locomotives." In 1977, Ed was a founder of the Kankakee, Beaverville & Southern Railroad in Kentucky. It was a line that primarily shipped grain and interchanged with the MoPac. He has also been involved with other short lines.
He talked on locomotives that he saw during his work around the country, namely at the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugar Creek Ohio, the NREX Locomotive Works in Mt. Vernon Illinois, and Amtrak shops in Wilmington, Delaware.
Our meeting on February 9th, 2018 featured our own fabulous many-time traveler and incredibly wonderful presenter Bob Lacheen. Bob did yet another of his fantastic video presentations, this time on his 2010, 2012 and 2014 journeys to the southwest: "New Mexico, Southern Colorado, El Paso and Navajo Land." It was trains and fantastic scenery. WOW !!!
Membership Thermometer: 22 for 2018.
On January 12th, 2018 we held our annual (but Snowmageddon 2017-delayed) Holiday Party at the home of Betty and Charles Cole. Almost 30 people were in attendance, and consumed a lot of good food! Betty and Charlie were graciuos hosts. With any luck, that might invite us back in the future?
On December 14th, 2017 our Christmas Party was cancelled due to Snowmageddon.
Our meeting on November 10th, 2017 featured Steve Freer of the TVRR (Tennessee Valley RR.) Introduced by John Falk, Steve talked to our group about the history, the TVRR museum, the train rides and destinations, plus more! The TVRR was founded in 196 by Paul Merriman and John Sewell to preserve rail history and equipment in thate Chattanooga (Southern RR) area. There are 50 employees at the TVRR, plus up to 100 volunteers. We also learned that the TVRR has a for-profit short-line subsidiary that switches cars for several local industries, such as the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga. Steve showed a (YouTube) video on the history of the TVRR and then launched into an hour of talk and discussion.
At our October 13th, 2017 meeting, member Pete Silcox gave a presentation on Atlanta's former Terminal and Union Stations.
Friday September 8th, 2017. Dan Berman, Bob Lacheen and Jerry Mitch594 presented words and photos of their February 3rd, 2017 visit to the Sandersville Railroad, a short line in middle Georgia. This railroad has but 9 miles of track, and is basically a yard operation. It moves cars around for loading with kaolin, slurry, or wood chips. Mainline power then picks up the consists destined for distant consumers.
Dan described going there, and meeting the president, Ben Tarbutton, Jr. He said they also visited a model railroad at the home of the town's fire chief. The railroad treated them to lunch. Bob then showed several photos of the visit, the train ride, town and processing plants.
For some history on Sandersville and its kaolin operations, please visit these pages, found recently in a local magazine:
Page 1 ... need to work back/forth with Page 2
Page 3 Photos
Page 4 Continued text
Page 5 Final article text
Page 6 Kaolin festival news
After the Sandersville presentation, Bob played a half-hour videon on the mid-1950s "California Zephyr." This was a regular run of the 12 car train, from Chicago to Oakland.
At our August 11th, 2017 meeting, Del Kittendorf introduced local author Lee Dunn, who has written the book Cracking The Solid South about Major John Fletcher Hanson, known as the Father of Georgia Tech. Major Hanson (b:1840-d:1910) was her husband's ancestor.
Lee gave an overview in words and photos of how Hanson began his life, participated in the Civil War, began working and became an industrialist. After saving money he enlisted a partner and founded Bibb Manufacturing in Macon, GA, then acquired more mills. He also invested in railroads, as he needed to ship his products. Major Hanson realized the need for technology-trained workers, and worked to get a bill through the Georgia legislature to create a technology school. Buy the book to read more!
For those Ramblin Wrecks out there, dust off your copy of "Dress Her in White and Gold," turn to pages 2 and 3 and read about the founding of Georgia Tech.
Lee brought copies of the book for sale. Part of the sale goes to the Georgia Tech Foundation. In addition the book is available on Amazon and Barns & Noble
Also, please visit Lee Dunn's website www.leecdunn.com
The GSoF Membership agreed to sponsor a full page ad in the upcoming NMRA Piedmont Pilgrimage booklet.
Membership Thermometer: 33 for 2017. (and Welcome Back past/founding member Charlie Cole!)
At our July 14th, 2017 meeting, return speaker and local author Robert Jones talked about his new book "A History of Georgia Railroads". Robert discussed the sections concerning 19th Century Georgia railroads, and how they had all moved towards consolidation by the end of the century. He brought copies of the book, and sold several. ($20 each.)
He brought copies of the book, and sold several. ($20 each.) Hopefully, Robert will return in 2018 and review more sections of the book.
Doug Munnell [Thanks Doug!] found this great speaker for our Friday June 9th, 2017 meeting. [Doug with] Chris Brady of the Texas Central Railroad spoke on the privately funded project which will construct a 4-track, 239 mile, elevated high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston, Texas. The trains to be used will be the existing technology "Bullet Trains" pioneered in Japan. Plans are for the Texas project to have two stops (each end) initially, and add more later (Like College Station for football weekends?) The train should be able to travel the distance at 220 mph, and do this in 90 minutes. The cost is estimated at $18 billion, and is expected to create 10,000 jobs. The schedule is for groundbraking in 2019 with first riders in 2024.
Membership Thermometer: 32 for 2017. (and Welcome Back past member Cullen Reid!)
Friday May 12th. Regan Rixon gave a great presentation on an NCL cruise trip his family took, "Transportation in the Baltic Region." Regan began with an overview of the cruise, and the Baltic countries that he and Rex were to visit. He began with points of transportation interest in Denmark, and then as the ship left Copenhage, continued with events at several ports-of-call. Eastonia, St. Petersburg, Finland, and Stockholm. At each stop, Regan took side trips on subways and trams.
On Friday evening April 14th, Robert Hunt invited and introduced north Georgia resident Tom Klimoski, a former Miami FL firefighter, as our featured speaker. Tom models the GNERR in HO scale in his basement "niche." Tom is also a conductor on the BR Scenic RR. Tom first spoke on the history of the line north out of Marietta. It bagan in 1854 as the "Marietta & North Georgia", and was narrow gauge. CSX owned it for a while. In 1987 41 miles were sold to become the GNERR. In 2105 Patriot Rail (Jacksonville, FL) bought it. Its locomotive roster includes 10 GPs of various vintage and heritage. Today the line has 94 track-miles.
Tom then gave a visual presentation and talk on the construction and building of his layout. It is mainly a switching line, but one "bridge" by the room's door permits continuous running. There are about 10 YouTube videos of Tom's craft work and the GNERR. Just search YouTube for "THOMASKLIMOSKI", or visit Tom's YouTube link. Also, the layout was written up in an article in the January 2017 Model Railroader, Pages 40-45.
Also, this meeting was our Annual Corporate Meeting as required by the State of Georgia. Notes were taken and duly approved and filed.
Membership Thermometer: Still 31 for 2017.
On Friday evening March 10th, 2017 past GSoF president John Hollner, assisted by Richard Dalrymple, gave a super program on the NYC's "The 20th Century Limited." Both John and Richard know or worked for the NYC and have much knowledge of this famous train. John provided some background and prsented some books on the subject. Richard brought his Walthers HO model of the 1958 12-car consist of the train and explained each car/unit. John then introduced the recently released video on the 20th Century train, which John also contributed to. The video was an excellent history, narrated by Hollywood actor and train buff Michael Gross.
Membership Thermometer: 31.
On the evening of February 11th, 2017 our own Dan Berman, along with Don Williams MARTA Sr. Director of Planning, presented a program on "The Future of MARTA." Dan used maps and Powerpoint slides to describe the extensions MARTA is considering. MARTA currently has 50 miles of "heavy rail" lines (HRT). They are considering extensions north to Alpharetta, east from Indian Creek to Stonecrest Mall, and south from East Point through Clayton County to Lovejoy (however, since the south line cannot be 3rd-railed, with the usual 700 volts DC, a new Commuter Rail Diesel trainset [CRT] would need to be added.) Additionally, a cross Light Rail (LRT) is under consideration, from the North Line southeast through Decatur to I-20 east. Of course, the Belt Line light rail trolley (with 11kv overhead wire) is still in the planning stage.
Membership Thermometer: 28.
On the weekend of January 28-29 several GSoF members individually volunteered to help out at the Annual "TRAINS, TRAINS, TRAINS !" event. This was held at the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History in Kennesaw Georgia. There were two great days of family fun with over 4,100 attending! Please visit their website for details.
Friday January 13th. Bob Lacheen did another of his great presentations with slides of and a talk on "San Francisco Bay Area Transportation". Railroading points of interest discussed were Point Richmond and the Santa Fe, BART, PCCs, the MUNI, Cable Cars (with a short video), CalTrain, ACE, old museum ships & ferries, Amtrak-California, old "Valley" area stations still in use, model museums, the dimunitive (15") Redwood Valley Railway & (7.5") Golden Gate Live Steamers, and the Niles Canyon Railway. As usual, most all of Bob's photos were sharp and taken in perfect sunlight!
A motion was made and passed to send the Cole's flowers as a token of appreciation for hosting the Annual December Christmas Party (once again!)
Membership Thermometer: 20.
On Friday December 9th, 2016, Charles & Betty Cole hosted about 30 of our organization for the Club's annual Christmas Party. Lots of good food and fellowship were to be had!
Thank you again, Charles and Betty !!!
On Sunday November 13th, 2016 about a dozen and a half of our group, plus some friends and spouses, went on an all day outing for a TVRRM steam train ride (or to chase and photograph the train). The double-headed #4501 & #630 locos pulled a train from Chattanooga to Summerville and return. On the way back the train stopped and made a "run-by" for those photographers on the trip. It was a wonderful, but long, day. We thank Dan Berman for making the arrangements for this outing!
Some photos from the trip:
Part of the group.
SRR 630 & Train.
Consolidation 630 & Mikado 4501.
November 11th, 2016: One of our youngest members, 12-year old Christain Englehart (assisted by his father) presented "Train Simulators" for computers. The attendees learned about the five available computer programs that run on a PC or Mac hardware. One is freeware, the other 4 must be purchased. The Engleharts had a setup of two computers, a projector and a tablet, and showed how the simuilator 'platforms' are initiated and start. One thing was obvious was that all 5 are sensitive to changes in the Operating System software and updates, and require patience and fine tuning to get a working and stable train simulator.
October 14th, 2016: Master Model Railroader Charlie Crawford of the Piedmont/NMRA was our presenter this evening and led an interesting talk on "Logging Railroads in the 1920's". Charlie used a "True/False" format with slides to get us to participate while learning of the methods, tpols and unique names and slang the loggers utilized.
GSoF president Jerry Michnewicz (after being returned to us from his alien abduction) hosted our September 9, 2016 meeting in the basement of his Marietta home. (Thank you Jerry for a fine job!) After a brief business meeting, we all enjoyed visiting and seeing his great HO New York Central themed layout. To see a close-up of his work Click here.
GSoF member Allan Sayle (from Britian) continued his railway video-slide tour of "British Railways" on Friday August 12th. Allan enjoys railway infrastructure. He revisited his May presentation from northern Scotland, and down through Wales and England and tonight focused on London stations and bridges and then down to Brighton on the southern/channel coast. His knowledge and commentary was outstanding!
On Friday July 8th, 2016 Rick Harris, Director Corporate Communications for the Norfolk Southern Corporation returned after many years and hosted our meeting. Rick's topic was "Politics, Ferro-Equines and Olympics." On politics, N-S will have a booth at both political conventions, featuring virtual-reality tour of their railway operations. (The video will be available on N-S social media sites and on the N-S Corp. website.) N-S wants to maintain good relations with the Washington regulators! Regarding railway operations, Rick discussed facts about his company, notably costs and income, safety, economics, (Eco)locomotives, and their 20,000 route miles of trackage. He said "We move the goods that move the economy." On volunteering, Rick discussed the efforts when N-S had a volunteer group assist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. They do much community service and are called "Thoroughbred Volunteers."
GSoF Business: Membership: 34. Discussed TVRRM steam trip for Sunday November 13th. Approved monies for a new meeting room floor fan.
GSoF member (and O-3-rail affectionado) Walt Beamer was our host on Friday June 10th. Walt discussed and presented a video of John Bartizek's Pennsylvania & Western Railroad. The large full basement O-scale layout represents the western region of the PRR including the famous 4-track "Horseshoe Curve." It employs prototypical action including helper engines on grades, industry switching, and staging yards. More can be seen at John's PRRWRR website.
On Friday May 13th our newest GSoF member Allan Sayle (from Britian) entertained us with a video-slide show of "British Railways." Allan enjoys taking time to capture the perfect moment of train events, like a steam excursion at some notable railway infrastructure. This includes stations, scenery, viaducts, and bridges, among other places. His journey began in the far north of Scotland, and came down through the U.K., including Wales and England.
On Friday April 8th our own Bob Lacheen presented yet another video-slide show of his many road trips around the U.S.A. in search of trains and rail buildings. This evening it was about the "Twin Cities & North Shore of Lake Superior." As always, the photography and commentary/research were great!
Also our annual elections and corporation meeting were held. Two new members were elected as president (Jerry Michnewicz) and VP of Membership (Leonard Martin.) The reamaining officers have agreed to serve in their same capacity for CY 2016-2017.
GSoF 2016 membership thermometer to date: 32 !
Long-time member Bob Hoenes was our host on Friday evening March 11th 2016. He did one of his (usual) lengthy PowerPoint presentations on the Panama Canal showing personal photos taken on a 2009 visit. This included the canal & engineering, the Panama Canal railway and the new Cocoli and New Gatun locks.
Activity in the Miraflores Locks can be viewed at this web site 24 hours a day.
Local Cobb first-time author Jill Marie Perez was our hostess on Friday February 12th, 2016 and discussed her children's book "The Forgotten Train Station." She described her journey of accidentally finding a museum in Madrid, that is actually the closed "Chamberi" metro station, and creating up a story about the place. From that idea, she wrote text, enlisted and illustrator, and had her work published. Jill brought her family (Charlie - Jill & sons David - Matthew) and also several books to sell.
On Satuday & Sunday, January 30-31st 2016, about 10 of our membership worked as ticketing & gift shop volunteers at the annual Southern Museum "TRAINS, TRAINS, TRAINS!" event. They drew over 5,000 guests this year! Many displays of model trains and railroad artifacts were set up for viewing. Kids had the most fun with hands-on some O-gauge layouts! To view photos of the event, please visit: facebook.com/southernmuseum .
Member Kim Maxwell was our host on Friday January 8th, 2016 and talked of his trip to Washington (state.) He briefly talked on the logging railroads/haulers and logging locomotives. Then he showed a short video on them, followed by a much longer one on the McCloud River Railroad on the Olympic Peninsula. Some action was in rain, others in snow, including a unique home-brew snow plough. In this video we saw a 2-8-2 rod loco, a Willamette a Shay knock-off, a Climax that was cantankerous, and a chattering Heisler.
GSoF membership thermometer for 2016: 21 !!!
Our 2015 Christmas party was held on Friday, December 11th at the home of Betty and Charlie Cole. About 30 Ferros and spouses attended. The food/grazing table was superb; Betty & Charlie's home was beautifully decorated. We all had a great time and thank our hosts again for their hospitality.
Our own Dan Berman was our speaker on Friday November 13th (triskaidekaphobia), 2015. He did an excellend program on the Minatur Wunderland Model Railway he and his wife Barbara visited this August in Hamburg, Germany. Dan talked a bit and then showed a short video that he made, and then played one segment of a video that he bought while there. Some new additions were fantastic, such as the miniature HO-scale orchestra playing violins! You MUST see to appreciate this animation.
Membership thermometer: 2015: 37 and 2016 already 16.
Our own Del Kittendorf was our speaker on Friday October 9, 2015. Del is a trained spokesperson for Operation Lifesaver, and frequently travels to schools and civic organizations to promote the story of railroad safety, aminly around crossings and the tracks. About every 3 hours someone is killed or injured at a crossing. But since Operation Lifesaver has been promoting safety, this figure has dropped from the previous 'every 3 minutes'! Something important: You will lose in an altercation with a train. A locomotive striking a vehicle is like a vehicle striking an empty cola can. DON"T TRY IT!!! Their motto: "Look, Listen and Live."
On Friday evening (of Never Forget September 11th), 2015, Bob Hoenes concluded his July 2015 presentation as he first reviewed some Disney trivia and then showed a video from the 1956 TV series "Walt Disney's Disneyland", specifically the episode "Where Do the Stories Come From?" The first few minutes of the video were the inspirations for and the subsequent cartoons. Then Walt Disney introduced the model railroad hobby and how he was smitten by this bug. Four sections followed: Ollie Johnston's 1.5" backyard railroad, then Ward Kimball's 3' gauge Grizzly Flats railroad, and Walt's 1.5" Carolwood Pacific, and finally the 1951 cartoon 'Out of Scale' featuring Donald Duck's railroad (with a supporting cast of Chip and Dale.)
With thanks to Steve Covert, Jeffery Reed was our speaker on Friday August 14, 2015. Photo: Steve and Jeff
Jeff was a Marine, then worked for the Marietta PD before joining the CSX Police as a Special Agent.
Jeff told how the railroad police came into being, starting with the Pinkerton Detectives of Lincoln's days (ca. 1865). The CSX police have the responsibility to protect the CSX infrastructure, property and public (against threats), to preserve the safety of rail transportation. He discussed what the police do, and what types of crimes are committed (that they investigate.) Jeff concluded his talk with a video showing the tailing and capture of a suspect. Jeff also promotes "Operation Lifesaver".
For info on/about the CSX police, or to report something, call: 1-800-232-0144.
Here you can read a 2012 CSX Police Newsletter.
Also, in business matters, the Club approved spending (about $50) for a projector bulb and some video cables.
On Friday evening July 10th, 2015, Bob Hoenes attempted to do a presentation on Walt Disney, Disneyland, ADW specifically as pertaining to the railroads, trains and locomotives that Walt and friends Ward Kimball and Ollie Johnston loved. Although the talk portion went well (and a surprise revelation that Del Kittendorf has a connection to author Michael Broggie), the video prortion was a flop, as Bob's computer/DVD failed to cooperate. (Maybe a follow-up program someday, once the DVD and video get checked out?)
On Friday night June 12th, 2015, Member Walt Beamer steped in with a presentation plus DVD video on the Pennsylvania Railroad in the Transition Years, 1950-1960. We saw much steam, some Diesels (Alco FAs, Centipedes, and EMD F and E units.) Also in the video were movements of the PRRs historic locomotives from North Umberland roundhouse to the museum in Strasburg, PA.
Also, Robert Hunt, our VP of Membership stepped down due to health reasons. A search is on for his replacement.
Friday May 8th, 2015. Dr. Paul Mitchell, a former GSoF member hosted this evening with a program on "My Toys and My Life". Paul is an opthamologist with the Marietta Eye Clinic and specializes in cataract/lens replacement surgery. His early desire in life was to be a toy designer. He brought over a dozen boats, planes, drones, helocopters and cars and explained the workings of each, and how those hobbies have advanced over the years. He also has a sports car and flies huge kites. As he said he "collects hobbies," and each hobby is an opportunity to learn. He frequently moves on to a new hobby after he masters one. (His HO trains have been packed away.) In the 2nd part of his talk, he explained the human eye, cataracts, laser technologies, his "Mitchell Tip" medical instrument invention, and his work as an eye surgeon (he was the first doctor in Georgia to perform no-stitch cataract surgery.)
Friday April 10th, 2015. Bob Lacheen filled in with a presentation on "Bob & Dan's Travels In Search of Trains." These many railfan trips saw them in several places to ride and photo trains.
Friday March 13th, 2015. Our own Bob Lacheen did a Powerpoint slide show on "Colorado Springs Area Transportation." This recent railfan trip saw him in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He traveled to many nearby rail venues, and the photos that he took were great!
On Friday February 13th, 2015 Bob Lacheen introduced our speaker Ed Biggs (shown with our president John.) Ed is a former railroader having worked for several lines including the K, B & S. He is a direct descendent in a family of railroaders who all worked for the NYC. He is now a railroad equipment appraiser and publishes a newsletter on rail topics.
If you wish to contact Ed, his email address is Biggsappraisal@yahoo.com
Ed spoke on the problems EMD (sold to Caterpillar by GM during the 2008 financial crisis) is having in meeting EPA Tier 4 emission requirements with their SD70 locomotive, more specifically, the 710 Prime Mover.
In comparison, the 6-axel SD70 710 engine is a scavenged 2-stroke Diesel of basic design, while the GE 6-axel locomotives use 4-stroke/cycle prime movers and meet Tier 4 standards.
For information on Genset locomotives click here.
On Satuday, January 24th 2015 twenty of our membership worked as volunteers at the annual Southern Museum "TRAINS, TRAINS, TRAINS!" event. The event drew about 2,700 guests this year. Many displays of model trains and railroad artifacts were set up for viewing. Kids had the most fun with activities for them, such as operating some O-gauge layouts! To view photos of the event, please visit facebook.com/southernmuseum .
On Friday January 9th Longtime GSoF member and NYC fan Richard Dalrymple talked briefly about U.S. Military Railroads in the Civil War. (We here in Georgia remember this as the War of Northern Agression...). He showed the video "The U.S. Military Railroad: Civil War Trains." Lots of history was explained in this 45-minute movie.
Our annual Christmas party was held on Friday, December 12th at the new home of Betty and Charlie Cole. The home was impecibably decorated, and the party was wonderful!
On Friday November 14th, 2014 Dr. Linda Niemann a former railroader and now a professor of english lit at Kennesaw State University returned and gave a delightful talk on "One Person Crews." This is a controversial topic in the industry. Linda read from her recent article in Railfan & Railroad magazine, "The Lost Arts". This is about the crafts of the "old heads" working on the railroads. Obviously, she is not in favor of these reduced crews. Linda also brought a copy of her recent book "Railroad Noir" for us to puruse.
On Friday October 10th, 2014 Kim Maxwell hosted an evening discussing the "Virginia & Truckee RR." This line runs from Carson City Nevada to Virginia City, and was known as the Queen of the Short Lines. It was rebuilt in the 2000's and is back in operation as a tourist line. Kim showed slides of the Carson City museum, Virginia City and places along the line. He concludes with a video on a train run from Carson City to Virginia City, center of the Comstock silver lode. Click for V&TRR info.
On Friday September 12th Dan Berman gave a talk on the proposed passenger rail service between Miami and Orlando, Florida. This included the double-tracking of the FEC between Miami and Cocoa, the Tri-Rail connection near Miami, and the 40-mile Cocoa to Orlando high speed rail track and train.
On Friday August 8th Steve Vogel, president of the Georgia Association of Railroad Passengers gave a detailed overview of "The state of Passenger Rail," including Amtrak's long distance service, the Crescent, and trains serving Savannah and the gGeorgia coast. Commuter rail within Georgia is at a standstill.
For info on GARP, click here.
About a dozen Ferroequinologists assisted the Southern Museum staff in Kennesaw as volunteers for their annual summer fete "Railroad Rendezvous." This was an indoor/outdoor family-friendly event that provided a full day of train related activities including crafts, train layouts, Hobo Jungle, etc. Info on the event, and... Look here for some photos and attendees that day !
Mr. Andrew Halter of Progress Rail Services came and gave an overview of his organization to our group on Friday July 11th, 2014. Andrew presented several short videos on Progress Rail activities and also EMD and Catepillar plant operations. Progress Rail's corporate is in Albertvill, Alabama, but Mr. Halter works in their Atlanta/Hulsey office.
On Friday June 13th, 2014 Our own Robert Hunt presented a video on Norfolk Southern "Coal Train Operations" and added commentary. The 130 car unit coal train was photographed along 300 miles of right-of-way, departing from the preparation plant and ending at delivery at the power plant in Pennsylvania. Among sights in the video was the famous "Horshoe Curve."
On Friday May 9th Mr. Mark Bolton of TRANSFLO Terminal Services, Inc. was at our meeting and presented "An Overview of TRANSFLO-CSX" to our group. Mark is a regional manager with TRANSFLO. Our speaker Mark (and his wife Jo) brought several short videos and a Powerpoint presentation to introduce his organization and its activities to us. The company initially started as B.I.D.S. (Bulk Industrial Distribution System) and now is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CSX with 56 locations in eastern states in the USA. Ninety percent of their business is unloading the contents of rail cars to trucks for local distribution to consumers. The bulk comidities include petroleum products, plastics, dry and liquid foods, sand, etc. The company is ISO 9001 certified and very safety conscious in their operating procedures. [Modeler's note: The article in the June 2014 issue of Model Railroader, pgs 50-53, describes modeling a transfer facility!]
On Friday April 11th Mr. Thomas Hewitt of the FRA came and spoke on "Safety Appliance and Power Brake (Early 1900's through today)". Thomas is a Motive Power and Equipment Specialist with the Federal Railroad Administration. In addition a friend also discussed the refurbishment of the TVRR Museums Southern #4501 Mikado.
The rewritten April 2014 ByLaws were discussed and adopted.
New officers were elected and took office (For the list, please visit the Officers link on our homepage.).
On friday March 14th, 2014 member Kim Maxwell filled in at the last moment and presented an evening filled with videos and slides. One video was on the USA nuclear rocket engine development center at Jackass Flats, the locomotives/rail operations at the facility, and how the Nevada State Railroad Museum near Las Vegas retrieved a stored 80-ton locomotive. We also viewed about 300 slides on Alco FAs and Alco RS Diesels. The evening concluded with a video about the Southern Railway 2-8-0 steamer #630.
Friday Febuary 14th, 2014. Cancelled to Snowmageddon #2 in Atlanta.
On Satuday, January 25th 2014, almost two dozen of our membership assisted as volunteers at the annual "TRAINS, TRAINS, TRAINS!" event at the nearby Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw, Georgia. Marietta Daily Journal photo of Russ and Bob. The event drew about 2,000 attendees this year. Many displays of model trains and railroad artifacts were set up for viewing, and vendors were there to make some sales. Children's faces lit up with smiles as they discovered new train-related things. They had the most fun with activities for them, such as operating some O-gauge layouts! To view photos of the event, please visit facebook.com/southernmuseum .
Friday January 10th, 2014. Our own Bob Lacheen filled in at the last moment and did a Powerpoint slide show on he and his cousins' railfan trip from Chigago, Wisconsin and down to St. Louis. (Robert West was to be here and talk about Pullman Porters. Hopefully he can come on some future date?)
On Friday December 13th 2013 we held our annual Christmas/holiday party at the home of Robert Hunt. There were over two dozen of us there, with some old faces in attendance! Even more so than in years past there was too much food to eat, but I do believe many of us tried to clean the table of it!
Bob Ciminel , a historian on obscure Pittsburgh railroads, returned on Friday November 8th, 2013 to talk about the The West Side Belt Railroad. The WSB was a standard gauge railroad incorporated July 25, 1895. It ran from Temperancville (West End, Pittsburgh, PA), to Clairton, PA, with a branch to Banksville, PA, servicing 8 coal mines of the Pittsburgh Coal Seam. The line was purchased by the Pittsburgh and West Virginia Railway and gone by 1929. Portions of the former WSB are currently leased by Norfolk Southern and operated by the Wheeling & Lake Erie RR.
On Friday October 11th, member Dan Berman filled in with a slide presentation and talk on "A Trans-Siberian Railroad Journey, that he took in 1985 through the former Communist USSR. The railroad extends from Moscow to Vladivostok, and took a week to travel.
On Friday September 13th member Ovidiu Trefanescu gave a Powerpoint presentation and talk on "How To Take Great Photos Of Your Model Railroad With Your Family Camera." Ovidiu discussed: Depth of Field, Focus, Stabalizing the camera, Good Lighting (No Flash!), White Balance, Composition, and Details. An interesting discussion, as everyone learned at least some new camera tidbit. BTW: Use at least 8-Mpixels if you want to submit a photo for publication!
On Friday evening August 9th Pete Silcox spoke on "Railroad Bridges." Pete described the many types of bridges (Warren Truss, Plate Girder, Bollman, etc. with compression and tension members) and then showed photos of ones on the CSX that he has worked on. Some were constructed of steel, concrete, and older ones wood timbers or stone. A famous on is the Tunkhannock Viaduct in Pennsylvania. Pete mentioned that ALL bridges were inspected on a 6-month cycle (FRA requirement.) He added that all rail/track is inspected twice a week.
Friday July 12th. Bob Hoenes did a 'practice run' of one of his upcoming "Peachtree Express" NMRA National clinics. The title was "The I's Have It," which was a look at and the modeling of the 1900-1960 B&O I-Class cabooses.
Friday June 14th. We thank John Falk for finding Mr. Ed Parker to speak at our meeting. Ed's topic was "My life with the Railroad." He retired from the CSX after 32 amazing years and recounted his work as a switchman, engineer, claims rep. and railroad security officer (policeman.) His stories included ones on hobos, his duties and people that he met during the 32 years of work.
Friday May 10th. Our own Bob Lacheen filled in at the last moment and did a Powerpoint slide show on Midwest railroading and museums, to a small GSoF audience.
On Friday April 12th, 2013 Architectural Historian Patrick Sullivan with "New South Associates, Inc." was our guest speaker. Patrick presented the results of a study that New South did to investigate and document the car lines that once plied the streets of Atlanta, Marietta and Stone Mountain. Patrick also emphasized the Atlanta Northern line that ran from downtown Atlanta to the Marietta Square. New South has put up a website that provides interactive maps of historic routes throughout the Atlanta area. It permits users to view the route developments of all historic streetcar lines in the city from 1871-1949. Click on: Georgia Streetcars.
Continuing this topic, Doug Alexander in his Blog on Christmas Day 2012 wrote these words in the AJC on Atlanta Streetcars.
Our presenter for Friday March 8th, 2013 was the one-and-only local railroad artist ROBERT WEST! (with his lady friend Denise.) Although Robert did not go into details of railroad Pullman Porters, Robert did talk for an hour regarding how he started his artistic life with drafting, and then self-taught himself into art. He then reviewed the paintings that he brought with him, regarding details and allegories that he included in each of the works. Click here to watch an interview with Robert !
On Friday February 8th, 2013 Georgia Tech assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Jochen Teizer, Ph.D. was our fantastic speaker for almost two hours! Dr. Teizer spoke on the "AlpTransit Gotthard Project" (that is being built under the Swiss Alps between Germany and Italy) and other topics that he worked on, including projects with his students. Jochen was inside the Gotthard Base Tunnel when he was a student in Germany. His photos showed the TBMs (Tunnel Boring Machines) at work during tunnel excavations. The 57 KM tunnel alone is a $10 billion project spanning many years. The concept began in 1947, with planning in 1992, design and location selection by 1995, with excavation starting in 2005 and breakthrough in 2011. Completion is estimated for 2017.
(For more information on the construction of projects like this, read the book "Encyclopedia of Bridges and Tunnels" by Stephen Johnson and Roberto T. Leon [J.Teizers' Georgia Tech associate], available in the reference section at selected Cobb County, Georgia public libraries.)
On Satuday, January 19th, 2013. About 20 of our membership assisted as volunteers at the annual "TRAINS, TRAINS, TRAINS!" event at the nearby Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw. The event drew about 2,200 attendees this year. Many displays of model trains and railroad artifacts were set up for viewing, and many vendors were there to (hopefully) make some sales. Of course, children seemed to have the most fun as there were activities for them, including operating some O-gauge layouts!
Our presenter for our first meeting of the new year (on Friday January 11th) was our own Kim Maxwell. Kim mentioned his four visits to the San Diego, California Model Railroad Museum in the basement of a Balboa Park building. This 27,000 sq. ft. museum is dedicated to several model railroad clubs, which feature scale "O," "HO," "N," and toy "G" and Lionel displays. Kim brought and showed an excellent video on this facility which also included its history and its inception in the basement in 1980.
On Friday, December 14th, we had a super club Christmas party at the home of Dan and Barbara Berman! With all the food on the table and sideboard I don't believe that anyone went home hungry. There were about two dozen of our group in attendance. Dan even went out into the cold night and opened his HO layout room, fired up the electronics and ran a train or two part-way around his loop. Of course, the layout gremlins came to the party and derailed or uncoupled several cars for all of us to witness!
Our speaker on Friday November 9th, 2012 was David Scott from the Integral Group. This company is working with Cousins Properties on the Multimodal Passenger Terminal (MMPT) proposal for the 'Atlanta Railroad Gulch.' David gave an excellent Powerpoint overview of the MMPT project. The discussion and Q&A was very informative.
Friday October 12th. Our own Bob Lacheen filled in at the last moment and did a Powerpoint slide show on New England rail attractions. Some places he discussed were the Conway Scenic Railway, Lowell MA S-Gauge Convention, B&M RR Museum, the Cape Cod Railway, Boston's MTA, the Hartmann Model RR Museum, and even George Selios' exceptional HO layout. Also, several people brought photos of last weeks outing to Steve Tidwell's to sigh, drool, and laugh at.
On Sunday October 7th, 2012 about 20 (our members plus friends and guests) attended an open house at Steve Tidwell's 15" gauge railroad east of Atlanta. Steve has an original 1904 Cagney 4-4-0 locomotive and several riding cars. In addition John Rimmasch brought a 1911 coal-burning Cagney, and several of us took turns as engineers for a turn around Steve's track. We thank Steve, his wife and family for their hospatality!
There were about 1,300 Cagneys built from the 1894 through 1948; however only about 90 are known to have survived. For Cagney info click here. Both Steve's "Southern #926" and John's "#2" were built by the Cagney Brothers; Steve's for the St. Louis 1904 World's Fair. Their boiler pressure is 150#. For information on John's locomotive shop click here for more information. A new loco is about $75,000, and weighs 1,900#.
Friday September 14th. Dr. Richard Banz of the Southern Museum in Kennesaw was our featured speaker, and talked about a favorite of his the "Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad," better known as the "Ma & Pa," as he photographed it in 1985. Dr Richard Bantz is the Director of the Southern Museum in Kennesaw, and was raised in Harford County, Maryland, near where the Ma & Pa operated. The Ma & Pa was a 77-mile short line that came into being in 1905, with the merger of several other smaller lines, including the York & Southern, and the Baltimore & Lehigh, that began in 1871 out of York, Pa.
Several organizations preserve the memory of this line.
Read more at: Ma & Pa Historical Society and Ma & Pa Preservation Society.
Friday August 10th, 2012: Local historian Joe Bozeman came to our meeting and talked on the "Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway".
Friday July 13th, 2012: Local author Marion Blackwell, Jr, came and discussed his book "Blue Locusts," a collection of short stories and articles. At 80 years of age, Marion is retired from commercial real estate, a job that enabled him to travel the Atlanta metro roads and collect histories of various places. Marion held our attention as he read excerpts from his book, notably the story “First Train to Marietta.” (He also has a companion piece "First train From Atlanta," that was published recently in The Landmarker.") He brought copies of his book and sold several.
On Friday June 8th, 2012 Dick Hillman of the Southern Museum gave a presentation on "How Railroads Communicated With Glass". Dick's talk covered methods used prior to radio and telephone when the primary methods involved hand signals with lanterns. Dick brought an assortment of lanterns that utilized glass lenses of a variety of shapes and colors, including one BT presentation lantern! Fresnel, Bullseye and clear lenses, red, blue, green, amber and multi-color are but a few. Company names were sometimes etched in or cast-in the glass, or stamped in the metal. These lanterns were used on switch stands, cabooses and engine markers, and hand carried. Early ones were fueled by whale oil, and after that was nearly depleted in the mid-1800s, kerosene (oil derrived from coal.) Dick also showed a unique and as-yet unidientified lantern/lamp embossed with "MP&C I.R." We encourage anyone with knowledge of this type of tin lamp to PLEASE tell us through our "Contact The GSoF" page.
We had an interesting presentation on May 11th, 2012, as author Jack Walters entertained us with a talk on Hobos. Jack is currently finishing a book on this topic and plans to have it ready by this fall. (His other book is "The Sailor", available now.) Jack was on an LST in the Navy in the Pacific at the end of WW-II, was a telegrapher for the Missouri Pacific Railroad, worked at Boeing, and later at Los Alamos, and retired from the U.S. Customs Service. He even rode the rails Hobo-style once. He also showed some of the 1973 movie "Emperor of The North," about Hobos in the 1930s. Click for movie info
At our April 13th 2012 meeting, return speaker Robert Jones of the Kennesaw Historical Society presented "A Brief History of the Reading Railroad". The "Pennsylvania & Reading" began in the early 1800s, was the largest corporation by the 1870s, went bankrupt four times, and saw many fights between management and labor. The Molly Maguires came and went as part of these often violent disagreements. The company's singular purpose was to mine and haul coal from eastern Pennsylvania; it lived and died with anthracite. Robert recently completed a book on the history of the Reading Railroad and had this among his other books with him for sale.
Pete Silcox reported on the Thursday April 12th doings in Kennesaw Georgia (former Camp McDonald), to commorate the 150th anniversary of the "Great Locomotive Chase." Camp McDonald is the place where Andrew's Yankees stole the W&A locmotve "General" in 1862, a year after the start of the War of Northern Agression. William Fuller, the conductor of the train pulled by the "General", gave chase on the "Texas", and caught up with the Yankees. Pete said that the ceremony was held in chilly weather, and that the politicans probably outnumbered the spectators, but provided much needed hot air.
Also, the new offiv=cers were elected: President: Jim White, VP PRograms: Bob Lacheen and Dan Berman, VP Membership: Robert Hunt and Kim Maxwell, VP Finances: Steve Covert, and Historian: Bob Hoenes.
We had a real treat on March 9th, 2012, as professional railroad photographer Don Stephens of Flowery Branch GA enthralled us with slides of his craft. Don's wife Vivian has helped him to capture some of the images. He described problems in photographs, and showed us how we can improve our rail snapshots, such as 1/1000th sec, proper frame, and highest raw-pixel mode. Don frequents the local train hobby shows and sells framed photo art. Don's web site is www.railroadart.net
President Doug Reineke appointed the 2012 GSoF officer Nominating Committee: Himself, Charlie Mason, Bob Hoenes, Robert Hunt and Bob Lacheen.
On a sad note, Charles Aubert sadly told that his brother and long-time GSF member David Russell "Rusty" Aubert died unexpectedly on March 5th. A mass was held at St. Anne's Catholic Church im Marietta on Monday, March 11th.
At our February 9th 2012 meeting, return speaker Bob Ciminel gave a talk on the "Pittsburgh Chartiers and Youghiogheny [or 'Yock'] RR". This line was about 14 nmiles in length and its prime purpose was to haul coal from the mines working the Pittsburgh coal seam. From west of Pittsburgh PA, the track went south; one branch turned east, and one west. Bob used photos and many maps of the western Pennsylvania area.
On Saturday, January 21st, 2012 eight of our members performed volunterer work at the Trains, Trains, Trains event at the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw Georgia. We ran model trains, passed out information, gave directions, and assisted or served many of the 1,491 attendees that came to this annual event.
The membership listened intently as Mr. Ron Sifen (standing between Bob and Doug) spoke on the topic "Light Rail, An Alternative Point of View", an issue that has drawn much controversy in Cobb County, Georgia. Ron is a past president of the Vinings Homeowners Association, curren President of the Cobb County Coalition, and a frequent guest columnist to the Marietta Daily Journal, a local newspaper. Ron talked of the light rail initiative, the $6 billion building cost, the $2 million-per-mile monthly operating cost and the coming July TSPLOST Atlanta Region vote on this issue in the summer of 2012. After talking out against the high costs and technical problems associated with the project, Ron entertained questions, which resulted in a lengthy discussion and sparked a plethora of ideas. For more information, Ron suggested that we read more at the following Marietta Daily Journal web sites:
Proposed transit line neither seamless nor cheap.
Special interests have turned TSPLOST into a future tax trap.
For some TSPLOST rail proposal could double commute times.
TSPLOST dollars hijacked by special interests.
On TSPLOST and transit cost effectiveness is not a dirty word.
On Friday, December 9th, we had another great Christmas party and club gathering at the home of Charles Cole! No one went home hungry, and all had a great time.
About two dozen members listened as Mr. Darrell Krueger of TUV-Rail Sciences Corp. spoke at our November 11th 2011 meeting. Darrell's work includes investigating rail events and tests rail improvements. Darrell's talk was on "RF on the Railroad." This included radio transmission of voice between dispatchers and crews, and data between trains, sensors and railroad data centers. Most notable was the PTC (Positive Train Control) that has evolved into the AAR's ATCS (Advanced Train Control System.) For more information on the hobby side of monitoring ATCS see these sites:
ATCS Monitor (EOT Monitor is built in)
Great Lakes Networking
Telemetry from Code Line
SoftEOT and SoftDPU telemetry decoders
At our October 14th 2011 meeting Bob Hoenes filled in (for a last-minute scheduled speaker cancellation) and did a trial-run presentation of his June 2011 visit to "Miniatur Wunderland" in Hamburg, Germany. Using PowerPoint, he gave a view of the countryside model showing how it was constructed, specifications, features, and some 'behind-the-scenes' details. As for the display itself, there are many great slide and video presentations on the web; just Google "Miniatur Wunderland,"click on a few and enjoy!
Returning speaker Pete Silcox, a retired CSX track engineer, presented a talk on rail, track, its construction, inspection and maintenance at our September 9th 2011 meeting. He added to this by showing in his "Modeling Prototype Track" Powerpoint presentation how he has modeled many track features on his S-gauge layout. We all learned some new words as "ribbons", "field side" and "gauge side". He gave this presentation to the NC&StL Historical Society several years ago at the SMoCW&LH Museum.
At our August 12th 2011 meeting Bob Hoenes presented about 100 video slides of his 2010 Labor Day week trip "Steam-Trains-Boats Around the Missippi Lakes" (there are 26 locks, making the Old Man a long, thin stair-stepped body of water.) This trip began in Minneapolis, with visits to tourist train rides, boats, trolley cars, static locomotive displays, railroad museums, a boat trip on the Mississippi, a day-long visit to the Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant Iowa, and ending at the Illinois Railway Museum, near Chicago.
Return speaker Peter Youngblood, MMR a nationally known AT&SF historian and modeler, was our July 8th, 2011 speaker. Peter gave an wonderful presentation on "Modeling the Santa Fe Surf Line," using great graphics and photographs that he has taken of the prototype and his models. The Surf Line runs along the coast of California north of San Diego (literally within yards of the Pacific Ocean.) Peter did this modeling years ago by constructing two modules in HO.
At our June 10th, 2011 meeting Charlie Crawford spent the last few hours of his life as a young man of 59 years entertaining us with an informative presentation on "Ice Harvesting, Ice Houses and and Ice Cooled Refrigerated Cars." His talk began in the Adirondak area of upstate New York, as much ice harvesting was done in the clean fresh-waterlakes of that region. Many ice houses were used to keep ice for use throught the year. About 1867-68 the first true iced refrigerator cars appeared on the railroads, and this changed the way Americans ate. From that point on people enjoyed food from other parts of the country; there was no more need to eat only locally produced food. 1931 was the peak of refrigerated rail transport. Iced cars were in use until the 1970s; since then all cars have been mechanically refrigerated.
At our May 13, 2011 meeting Don Doumas recalled his life as a station agent on the Milwaukee Road by telling short stories of memorable events. He spoke well and with lively words held our attention for an hour. Don worked for th road in various places in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Indiana for 40+ years.
On Friday April 15th about a half-dozen of our group were met at the Cobb County Safety Village by Captain Scott Dodson, of the Cobb Fire Department. Captain Dodson gave us a tour of their GNERR SW-1 locomotive #77, that was donated to the CCSV by Wilds Pierce, president of the GNERR.
This GNRR SW-1 locomotive was purchased by Wilds Pierce several years ago. GNRR SW-1 #77 is a stripped down shell that Wilds had cosmetically restored and donated to the Cobb County Safety Village on Al Bishop Drive. School children will be taught RR crossing safety as well as school bus safety procedures at this site. Read more in the December 25th, 2010 AJC newspaper article.
This SW1 was built in 1947 by EMD. The 600hp switcher was one of the first models in a long currently existing line of diesel locomotives produced by EMD which itself is now a division of Caterpillar. The loco worked the marble quarries for many years and was declared fit for parts only. The SW1 is unusual looking in that it had large front and rear walk ways with a large tool box mounted under the front air intake. These small switchers are quite rare today and generally are only occasionally found in museums.
Tom Gordon from the Beltline Partnership presented "Atlanta Beltline Project 101" at our April 8th, 2011 meeting. The project is a 23-mile loop around Atlanta, with greenspace, parks, and stores/housing along its route. It was conceived by Georgia Tech grad student Ryan Gravel in 1999 as part of his thesis. The actual path is wide enough for a future parallel pair of LRV/trolley tracks, and of course the vehicles. For more info on the Beltline Project, click here.
Our current GSoF officers were re-elected for the 2011-2012 year.
Robert Jones of the Kennesaw Hisorical Society was our March 11th, 2011 speaker. He presented a "History of the Pennsylvania Railroad". Robert discussed the timeline of the PRR from its surveying and construction beginning in 1823 when John Stevens was granted a charter to build the line. He continued on through the acquisition of other lines, major features, the Johnstown Flood, the Glory Days, and ended with the merger into the PennCentral, Conrail and Amtrak. Robert had a book of information on this presentation for sale. Contact him at the Kennesaw Historical Society or through the SMoCW&LH in Kennesaw.
Faye DiMassimo, Director of the Cobb County Department of Transportation was the presenter at our February 11th, 2011 meeting. Her associate, Bob Galante, Cobb DOT Construction Manager also participated. Fay had the audience individually state their background and interests in rail. For 20 minutes Faye discussed the "Northwest Atlanta Corridor Alternatives Analysis Study," a recently awarded $1.36 million grant from the Federal Transportation Administration. Of 60 projects submitted to the FTA, 20 were selected for funding; the 18-to-24 month NW Atlanta study is one of two in Georgia. The initiative will seek to identify types of mass transit, economic development, destinations, and connections to other systems in the corridor from Acworth to uptown Atlanta. A Q&A lasted a good half-hour, where Faye and Bob answered questions from our members. The questions digressed into funding and taxes of mass transit and roads. An interesting fact disclosed that for every dollar directly collected for mass transit or roads (fuel taxes, fares, etc.) an additional 70c subsidy is required to fully fund the operations. Mrs. DiMassimo intends to hold panel discussions to gather input from county residents as the study progresses. For more info on the Cobb DOT, click here or visit www.cobbdot.org
At our January 2011 meeting was cancelled due to one of the worst snow and ice storms to hit the Atlanta area in years.
Our annual Christmas party at the home of Charlie Cole on December 10th 2010 was a huge success! Charles welcomed our club membership, of which about two dozen attended. Charles' children and grandchildren came and his home was full. Food brought by everyone was enjoyed by all. Many thanks to Charlie, and those who helped in preparations for making this a most memorable event. Merry Christmas ! Susan,Billy,Charlie,Don and Meiko,Dan,Bob L.
At our November 12th 2010 meeting, return speaker Bob Ciminel gave a talk on the "PRR Panhandle Division". This track was about 42 nmiles in length and had about a dozen branches. It began in the mid-1880s, and stretched from Pittsburg(h), PA to Weirton, WVa. Bob used video photos and maps of the western Pennsylvania area.
For more info click here.
At our October 8th meeting Charlie Brown, MMR and a crewman on CSX trains, spoke on "Operating Modern Diesel Electric Locomotives". Charlie was accompanied by his wife Bonney. He presented and reviewed the books he had to study while at CSX school in Cumberland, MD. For a few years he did yard switching jobs in Atlanta; he now works the main line between Atlanta and Chattanooga. He also related some of the more memorable moments that he has experienced on runs, and some crossing incidents with rubber-tired vehicles.
About 20 members of the GSoF and the Piedmont Division of the NMRA drove up to Etowah, Tennessee and rode a Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum excursion train. The trip took all day Friday October 1st, from 9AM to 4PM. They met the Blue Ridge Scenic train in Copper Hill, at the Georgia state line, and then returned to Etowah in the afternoon.
The primary speaker was a no-show at our September 10th meeting, and so our own Bob Lecheen filled in with a (at times humorous) video-slide presentation on places and things he visited in the north, titled: "Northeast Ohio, Northwest Pennsylvania, Railroading & Other Transportation," "Museums, Attractions & Scenic Train Rides."
Return speaker Peter Youngblood, MMR [congratulations as Peter was awarded his Master Model Railroader certificate (#433) in January] a nationally known Santa Fe historian, par-excellence modeler, NMRA member, and general all around train buff, was our August 13th, 2010 speaker. Peter gave an excellent video presentation on "Modeling the Prototype, Cajon Pass, California & the Southwest," using many great graphics and photographs that he has taken of the prototype and his models. Cajon Pass covers a distance of 25 miles from San Bernadino to Summit, CA, and the tracks rise 2,745' from an elevation of 1,070' to 3,822', passing between the San Gabriel mountains to the west, and the San Bernadino mountains to the east. Peter concluded his talk by discussing prototype tips for modelers, and where to get information to assist in modeling specific prototypes.
On Friday July 9th our own Ovidiu Trifanescu gave a comprehensive video presentation on "High-Speed Rail." This included a survey of the major systems in use by several countries: Europe's TGV, Thalys, ICE, EuroStar, and AVE; Japan's "Bullets" on the Shinkansen line; the USA's Acela; and now China. The definition of 'High-Speed" varies, as on existing track it is as low as 120mph, and on dedicated new track it can be as high as the 574kph (356 mph) TGV. A drawback of high speed rail is the infrastructure (usually government supported.) This form of transportation is usually more convenient than air for trips of 4-hours or 550 miles or less.
Links to information used in Ovidiu's presentation, and others on High Speed Rail:
High Speed Rail
Steam Speed Record German vs. British
Germany InterCity Express
Siemens AG of Germany train control systems
TGV speed record movie
Robert Jones of the Kennesaw Hisorical Society was our June 11th, 2010 speaker. He presented a "History of the Western & Atlantic Railroad" using many great video-slides. Robert discussed the W&A from its surveying and construction beginning 12/21/1836, through the Civil War (a/k/a War of Northern Agression), reconstruction, its sale to the NC&St.L in 1890, with a few notes on how it eventually migrated into the CSX of today.
At our May 14th, 2010 meeting Stephen Leydon hosted a video-slide presentation titled "Railroad Records & Firsts." Stephen discussed the history of railroads and railways, from the first English coal mine trams to the locomotives around the Civil War. This encompassed the efforts of Trevethick, Stephenson and other locomotive expimenters.
On April 9th, 2010 our membership elected a new president, Doug Reineke, and reaffirmed the continuation of other officers from last year for the coming year.
Matt Verbiscer, a former mill supervisor with a family history of railroading on the EJ&E, gave a talk on the "Evolution of Rail" which covered the history of the history of metal rail, from the first use of iron in England in 1776, through its use in America. Robert Stevens of the Camden & Amboy came up with the "T" rail in 1831. The first rolled steel rail was made in 1865 by the North Chicago Rolling Mill (NCRM). Since then improvements in thickness and composition improved the rail. As he worked in a Chicago mill for years, Matt also discussed recycling and the uses of used rail and the products produced (fence posts, bumper jacks, and mattress frames...)
At our March 12th, 2010 meeting Steve Vogel (on right), president of the Georgia Association of Railroad Passengers (GARP), gave a bullet-point presentation updating us on what's up and what's lacking with rail passenger needs in Georgia. The discussion after the presentation sparked a lot of debate! The organization was founded in 1978, and promotes rail mass transportation in Georgia. They are also affiliated with the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP), that mainly promotes Amtrak and commuter service.
Due to another snowstorm, our February 12th meeting was moved to the 19th. Dick Hillman of our local "Southern Museum" (a/k/a SMoCW&LH) in Kennesaw was our featured speaker and talked on "What's New at the SMoCW&LH."
Due to ice and severe cold temperatures, our January 8th meeting was moved to the 15th. Member Bob Hoenes showed video photos of a trip he took out west, that took him through California, Nevada and Utah, all the while finding railroad museums to visit, and tourist railroads to ride.
Our annual December club Christmas Party was graciously held at the home of Charlie and Eileen Bell. We thank them very much for opeining their home to us all, and for being great hosts !
At our November 13th 2009 meeting southwestern Pennsylvania native Bob Ciminel, historian and founder of the Montour Railroad Historical Society was our featured speaker. Bob talked of the Montour, (1877-1985) its right-of-way, locomotives, coal mines, and its demise until it was abandoned and scrapped in 1983. A 45-mile Pennsylvania short-line, the Montour connected to the P&LE northwest of Pittsburgh, and its route took it south and east servicing the many coal mines in the panhandel region. It also had connections with the PRR. P&WV, the B&O, and the Union RR, moving black diamonds from the Pittsburgh Seam to markets. During World War II, the Montour serviced 27 mines, that were the underground room-and-pillar type. It had a single-track main, with three branches for a total trackage of 72 miles. Motive power was 2-8-0 and 2-8-2 steam until dieselization occured in the 1950s; its last motive power was a stable of SW-9s. The railroad's former right-of-way survives as the Montour Trail, a popular hiking and biking venue for Pittsburgh’s suburban communities, many of them former coal towns once served by the railroad.
At our October 9th 2009 meeting Bob Lacheen wowed us with his new Powerpoint skills as he took us on a video trip titled "Arizona Railroading," showing his photos from several trips that he took to that state.
At our August 14th meeting, Stephanie Renner of Railserve, Inc. hosted a superior presentation-discussion on her company and its services. Stephanie began her career as a sales trainee with Conrail in New York City, where she learned how to establish credibility with shippers in the area's tough marketing environment. She left Conrail, did other things, and then joined Railserve in 2003 as their Director of Marketing.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Railserve offers in-plant rail switching services (with their own locomotives and employees) for major rail shippers in the US and Canada. They can provide people to handle car movements, tracking, and administrative duties, as well as maintenance on equipment and rail. They tailor their services to fit customers' needs. Customers are in such industries as food, energy, chemicals, and paper. Railserve was founded in 1981. They have almost 800 employees and own or lease 200 locomotives (Older Diesel, GenSet powered LEAF, remote-control units and one track mobile.) Railserve runs about 70 operations with an average of 10 employees at a typical site. A small site has about 200 car moves/year, while a larger site can have up to 200,000 car moves/year. Railserve is part of the Marmon Group, but ultimately owned by Berkshire-Hathaway.
More information on Railserve can be found at www.railserveinc.com
At our Friday night July 10th meeting, our own Bob Hoenes gave a good, but lengthy (as usual), computer slide show on two Rail Travel Center trips that he and his wife took in 2008. www.railtravelcenter.com It was titled: "Trains In Two Seasons: The Ozarks In The Spring And Adirondaks In The Fall."
At our Friday night June 12th meeting, our own Bob Hoenes (along with Dan Berman and others) gave a computer slide show on the club's February 14th visit to the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Baily "Blue Unit" train. At 61 cars, and over a mile long, this is the largest privately owned train in the world (reporting marks: RBBX).
(For more info, including several photos, please see the blurb below on our February 14th outing.)
At our Friday night May 9th meeting, Mr. Wilds Pierce , president and owner of the Georgia Northeastern Railroad entertained us with a footprint of his line.
Wilds began with a history, that construction began soon after the Civil War ended. It was originally designed for narrow gauge, and from Elizabeth (north Marietta) to Canton was built this way. From Canton north, it was redesigned and built to standard gauge. By 1890 it reached Knoxville, TN. It was a common carrier hauling both freight and passengers; passenger service was discontinued in 1949. CSX acquired it, and in 1987 CSX sold it. Wilds bought the railroad in 1990 and began operations as the GNERR.
They have 10 locomotives: 1-GP9, 2-GP20s, 2-GP18s, 2-GP10s, and 3-GP38s. Major customers are Pilgrim's Pride (chicken processor that sells to among others, Chick-Fil-A), and the marble company in Tate, GA. United Alloy produces and ships wing components for airplanes.
In 1998 the GNERR began the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, a short passenger round-trip line run near the Georgia-Tenessee border. In the 1st year, they had 17,000 passengers; last year they boarded almost 60,000 ! Each train can hold about 500 passengers for the 60-minute run.
For more information see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Northeastern_Railroad
In 2010 Mr. Pierce donated an SW-1 locomotive to the Cobb County Safety Village A photo of the GNRR SW-1 #77 .....and a second photo.
We had another great club outing on Saturday, April 18th. Traveling to Blairsville, GA,
we stopped at the Blairsville Grill for lunch. This may have been the last meal served,
as they are closing and Saturday was their last day of operation. After lunch a dozen club
members visited the Misty Mountain high-rail O-gauge layout (ca. 2,500 sq.ft. with up to a
dozen and a half trains running simultaneously,) and after that the O-gauge tinplate layout
of Jim Steed. [Update: Charles Griffin, owner/builder of the Misty Mountain died on
Feb 09, 2014. Charles would have been 85 in March 2014.]
At our Friday night April 10th meeting, our own John Hollner gave an interesting audio tape/slide show on demurrage (a penalty charge established to encourage customers to load or unload equipment in a timely manner and not to hold on to cars for the purpose of storing lading) on Conrail in the late 1970s. He played an old Conrail audio training tape from 1977, in which he narrated a description of and how to use the DICCS 80-column punched-card rail car tracking system, while we watched the color slides that complemented the words. John also talked about "Accessorial Charges", sometimes called miscellaneous charges. Examples are scale testing charges, delay to switching charges, fuel surcharges, etc. It was a learning experience for some on demurrage and accessorial charges and also a trip down old computer applications memory lane... John concluded his presentation with a few photos of old New York area power from the 1970s.
>>>> Your CLUB OFFICERS for the 2009-2010 year were elected. Please see the SOCIETY OFFICERS web page for details.
>>>> Our club finally purchased a video projector for use at meetings! Hurrah!
At our Friday night, March 13th meeting, Marietta attorney Gary Eubanks presented a talk on "Georgia Railroad Paper". Gary worked in the law department of the Southern Railway from 1971-74 prior to obtaining his law degree in 1981 [from a university that shall remain nameless in a city 50 miles east of here whose colors are red and black]. His collecting universe is Georgia railroad scripophily from 1832 through the 1890s. Gary talked on Cobb County railways and railroads, and showed projections of notable stocks and bonds (1825-1853), ones that are rare or bear historically interesting signatures. Predominantly, Gary talked of the Western & Atlantic, which still exists as a Georgia owned line, that is currently leased to the CSX. The W&A was built to connect western transportation (namely the Tenessee River) with eastern rail lines coming to Terminus/ Marthasville/Atlanta from Savannah and Charleston. These were the Central, the Monroe (Macon & Western), and the Georgia RR. A Civil War era map showed that the W&A was the only line crossing the mountains to the west between northern Virginia and Mississippi, which accounts for its strategic value, as demonstrated by the Andrews Raid [Great Locomotive Chase]. Gary also displayed several non-Cobb Georgia documents. He stated that the fancier the certificate, the wobblier [financially] was the company. Gary's 2008 book "Georgia Railroad Paper" [1832-1932] is available at the Southern Museum: 770-427-2117 or click www.SouthernMuseum.org
On Monday, February 23rd, 2009, Mr. Pete Silcox, former CSX employee, recent club speaker and train watcher, along with club members ventured into the bitter cold to get some photos of the Blue Unit circus train departing Atlanta. About 11:30AM it went through Emerson Georgia, on the W&A (leased to CSX) tracks heading north from Marietta towards Chattanooga. Some local traffic was also spotted.
What a wonderful club outing we had on the morning of February 14th, 2009 !
Thorugh a hastily put together effort of several people, but mainly
Dan Berman, we were invited to tour the
Ringling Brothers Barnum & Baily "Blue Unit"
circus train, that was set up on the old Piggyback track in Tilford Yards in
northwest Atlanta, GA. (Ringling has three shows: The
"Blue" train, the "Red" train,
and the "Gold" show that is smallest and travels by truck.)
Eleven of us began the day under misty and overcast skies at the McDonalds on Windy Hill Road, and then drove in a convoy to Tilford Yards, where we met Joe Colossa, the Assistant Train Manager. Joe began circus life as a popcorn seller; he fills in occasionally with vendor duties. He is a 4th-generation circus worker, and has been with the circus for over nine years. He told us that the "Blue Unit" has 61 cars: 40 coach-type cars (4 stock cars for animals, 1 shop car, 1 /generator car, 1 diner or "Pie" car, 32 living quarters and 1 maintenance/generator car,) 2 container flat cars for concession supplies, and 19 trailer flats. It is a full mile long! Trains are usually pulled by a locomotive from the road they are traveling on, or also Amtrak or VIA power.
Joe took us on a tour around the train, explaining its workings, and the varied cars. About 300 people live on and travel in the train, moving from city to city to put on the production "Over The Top." In addition, other "Blue" circus employees travel in 18 RVs. The train residents are mostly performers from 32 nationalities, but also there are train workers, maintenance, cleaning, and food service workers. The train is made of Ringling Brothers custom refurbished cars (at their Palmetto, Florida shops) from mostly former Union Pacific stock. There is cable TV throughout, with each living quarters car having a portable satellite dish. A single water line (connected to the nearest hydrant) runs the length of the train, as does a heavy electrical bus. A 400KW/480V primary plus a backup generator provide the self-contained power system. There is both a gray water and black water system with a "Donniker" tank. The cars are fully heated and air-conditioned. It is the largest privately owned train in the world. The train even carries a "spare tire," and has a janitorial maintenance and a shop car.
We had a most enjoyable lunch before heading into Atlanta to see the 80' trailer/flat [sorry about the bad pix; Ovidiu hit a pothole - Ed.] rail cars and circus wagons. We missed seeing the animals, as they were inside Phillips Arena for the afternoon show.
As a side treat, we got to see some rail action at Tilford, as several locomotives, and the panel-track repair train caboose:
On Friday, February 13th, 2009, Mr. Pete Silcox, retired from a life of
inspecting trackwork for the CSX railroad, was our speaker. In words and
video photos, he told of his last cab ride in locomotive 4030, on CSX
train Q-142. Pete boarded the train in College Park, GA and rode it to the
Hulsey Intermodal Yard in East Atlanta, on September 28, 2007. Scenes he
photographed from the left cab position included East Point, southwest
Atlanta, entering Atlanta, tracks through "Underground Atlanta" and
places going east to the container processing yard.
Mr. Gary Wolf, founder and president of Rail Sciences, Inc. (1987), mesermized us
at our January 9th meeting with a presentation on his company and some of the
more interesting locations in the world he has visited to uncover rail and train
car problems. He and his 21 employees investigate wheel and
rail dynamics and wear, accidents and derailments (3,500 in 20 years),
metal breakage, and can study, model and predict future car and rail events and problems.
Their clients are many railroads and insurance companies. For more
information, visit his company's website at:
We had another great Christmas Party in December 2008 at the home
of Pat and Charles Cole. We thank them again for being such
gracious hosts and opening their home to us !!!
Mr. Steve Tidwell of Douglasville spoke and showed magazine quality color slides
of "Steam Locomotives in America Today" at our November 14th 2008 meeting.
Steve is a member of a group that travels the USA searching for steam trains to
photograph. Most of these locomotives are at tourist railroads, or are part of
railroad steam preservation groups. Steve's group, can be reached with an email to
John Craft at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at the website www.steamcentral.com.
Mr. Harper Harris of the Southern Museum [of Civil War and Locomotive History]
in Kennesaw was the featured speaker at our August 8, 2008 meeting, assisted
by Cindy Dadyala of the museum. Cindy mentioned upcoming lectures and events.
Harper told of new activities and displays, the Merci Boxcar (a post-WW-II
gift from France), and showed slides while discussing everyone's favorite:
"The Great Locomotive Chase."
Harper Harris and Cindy Dadyala
Mr. Bob Krone, hosted our June meeting showing photos and discussing his Steam railroading adevnture through New Zealand.
Our May 9th meeting featured our own Jim White, presenting a video
on Shay locomotives in a logging railroad environment.
On May 17th we had a great visit to the Canton, St.Paul & Pacific Live Steamers in Canton, GA.
January 2008: Our club railfan outing to New Orleans has been canceled.
Our club went to the Big South Fork Scenic Railway ,
in Stearns (near Cumberland Gap) in southeast Kentucky,just across the
Tennessee state line on October 13, 2007 (Saturday),
The train departed time at 2:30 P.M., It took about 3 hours and included a
tour of the Blue Heron Mining Camp.
FYI the BSFSRwy web site is www.bsfsry.com
Photos taken on our club's outing to
the American MAGLEV Technologies test track in Powder Springs,
Georgia, August 10, 2007. This track is a private venture, ALL
AMERICAN, to demonstrate MagLev technology. The current track
is 2,000 feet long; plans are to make a balloon loop. Speeds
of 60mph are expected; on the loop, possibly 100mph+. One "car"
has been built: 25 tons empty, 55 tons fully laden. The passenger
shell could be removed, and the flat levitation/propulsion carriage
used to haul freight; two car "trains" are possible. It uses computer
controlled magnetic-attraction to lift, and maintain a 3/8" floating
gap (with 24 good-sized magnets.) The L.I.M. (Linear Induction
Motor) is rated at 1100 hp. Energy costs are 50+ cents to accelerate
to speed, and dynamic braking recovers 27 cents, so the net is 20 cents.
The track/vehicle has a limit of 600' radius. There are 60 pylons/mile. Each track beam is a pre-cast 88'. One mile can be built in 37 days. A vehicle cost 3 to 4 million $. While heavy rail costs up to 100+ million/mile, and light ril 40 million, MagLev track can be built for 20 million/mile.
A selection of photos taken on our club's outing to the Tennessee Valley Railroad in early November, 2006. This is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, near the NMRA Headquarters building.
A selection of photos taken on Saturday, May 20, 2006, on our club's outing following the old Western & Atlantic (W&A) mainline from Acworth, Georgia to Allatoona Dam. This was part of the line travesed during the "Great Locomotive Chase".
The below images were taken on Monday, February 20, 2006, at Charles Griffin's Misty Mountain Railroad in Blairsville, Georgia. This is an O-gauge Hi-Rail layout, occupying 3,360 sq.ft. of space in a special built structure, that has a full mile of Gargraves (and some Lionel) track! The theme of the layout is the North Georgia area, with some caricatures and features of Atlanta and the Blue Ridge Mountains.