Archive for February, 2012

Beam me up! Train layouts hide all sorts of goodies at Monroe WA show

Friday, February 24th, 2012

A few weeks ago was not just Superbowl Sunday but it was also a gem of a model railroad show, the 21st Annual Train Show & Swap Meet presented by the United Northwest Model Railroad Club in Monroe, WA at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds.

When trains crash, United Northwest Model Railroad Club figures congregate to discuss the cause, to scale.... - Photo by Cat Cook

When trains crash, United Northwest Model Railroad Club figures congregate to discuss the cause, to scale.... - Photo by Cat Cook

We had heard from lots of folks that this was a great show and they were right. It filled a large hall with lots of vendors and layouts, many of whom I hadn’t the pleasure of seeing before.  First up allow me to present the 4th Division of the Pacific Northwest Region of the National Model Railroad Association.

Half Circle Farms module by Al Lowe of 4DNTrak - Photo by Cat Cook

Half Circle Farms module by Al Lowe of 4DNTrak - Photo by Cat Cook

My favorite part had to be Rob Jones’ logging module though, not just because I like logging themes but because of the Star Trek easter egg!

McCullough Logging module by Rob Jones of 4DNTrak featuring Star Trek away team - Photo by Cat Cook

McCullough Logging module by Rob Jones of 4DNTrak featuring Star Trek away team - Photo by Cat Cook

Also, showing off their handiwork was the Boeing Employee’s Model Railroading Club O-Scale Division.

BEMRRC

The Boeing Employee's Model Railroading Club O-Scale Division gets some attention - Photo by Cat Cook

Another nice layout was had by Tacoma Northwestern Model Railroad Club.

Tacoma Northwestern Model Railroad Club Layout - Photo by Cat Cook

Tacoma Northwestern Model Railroad Club Layout - Photo by Cat Cook

scenery shot TNWMRC

Scenery shot of Tacoma Northwestern Model Railroad Club - Photo by Cat Cook

We also met Linda McCune who was in the booth next to us. Linda was on hand to share the Don McCune Library which she established to preserve the works of her late husband Don McCune. Don McCune created many radio and television documentaries and was perhaps best known for writing and narrating over 400 episodes of Exploration Northwest. After being exposed to some of his excellent work we have decided along with Linda to add some of the episodes to our library of train-related DVDs. They aren’t on our website yet but they will be very soon. For more information on Linda McCune, Don McCune, and the Don McCune Library you can visit www.donmccunelibrary.com.

Linda McCune of Don McCune Library

Linda McCune of the Don McCune Library at the show! - Photo by Cat Cook

Next show is the World’s Greatest Hobby on Tour show in Portland Oregon, February 25th and 26th at the Convention Center. We hope to see you there or at another show in the future!

 

 

 

 

Reporting from the Capitol… of California… the Great Train Expo in Sacramento and other Train Goodness

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

A few weeks ago we attended the Sacramento Great Train Expo. Usually I try to document the trip within a week or two but unfortunately my immune system was assaulted (repeatedly) which laid me up for awhile and I got behind on a lot of tasks. This ended up getting further compounded by another show. I apologize especially to those who I told would be making an appearance in this blog, please forgive me. Without further adieu… here’s my report on the Sacramento show and the accompanying trip!

My trip began with a flight from Southern Oregon to Burbank where I sat next to a nice woman who had been a teacher most of her life and we had a long conversation about a variety of topics. Here, I have to offer another apology as I lost her name and email address but hopefully she kept mine and will see this. As we discussed trains and travel, she asked me what the longest train route was and I admitted that I didn’t know but that I would find out and put it in my blog for her and my readers. A few days later, as Don and I were headed north from Los Angeles on our way to Sacramento we fortuitously heard a story on NPR’s Morning Edition on the Trans-Siberian Railway and I realized that was the answer to her question. To further flesh out the answer, someone has made a nice little page on Wikipedia attempting to document the longest passenger train journeys, the top 3 of which are all in Russia.

Trans-Siberian railway, photos by DAVID GILKEY

Trans-Siberian railway, photo by DAVID GILKEY from his NPR story titled 'Russia By Rail'

Once we arrived in Sacramento we made our way to the Cal Expo State Fairgrounds where vendors were in one hall and layouts were next door. As we were unloading the truck we could hear trains passing nearby blowing their whistles. Once we we were set up, I took the opportunity to visit the other vendors and layouts. I met Diane Rodriguez who is an artist and painter who brought many of her original works of watercolor and oil paintings showcasing locomotives and trains. She also sells prints and and cards of her works, you can check them all out on her website, www.dianerodriguezart.com.

Diane Rodriguez Art

Diane Rodriguez and some of her paintings - Photo by Cat Cook

Out of Ione, California, Comstock Construction were on hand showing off their Garden Railroad Structures. They only sell direct so you can contact them through the info on their website: Comstock Construction Their buildings are designed to endure the elements, “using water resistant adhesives, mechanically fastened joints with steel brads, or staples, and all California Redwood construction.”

Comstock Construction

Comstock Construction Garden Railroad Structures - Photo by Cat Cook

Among the layouts were the Diablo Pacific Short Line which is a non-profit organization that educates the public about railroading and the role of railroads in America. They are a modular layout with 500 feet of track and have members from hard-core modelers to youths just learning about railroading.

Diablo Pacific Short Line

Diablo Pacific Short Line - Photo by Cat Cook

Another large layout was provided by Coastal Valley Lines out of the Sonoma Valley, CA. I met two of the module designers, Allie and Joan. They and some of their designs are highlighted below.

Allie with her Coastal Valley Lines modular layout

Allie with her Coastal Valley Lines modular layout - Photo by Cat Cook

Allie's Snow-Themed Coastal Valley Lines Modular Layout

Allie's Snow-Themed Coastal Valley Lines Modular Layout - Photo by Cat Cook

Joan Fleck with one of her Coastal Valley Lines modular layouts

Joan Fleck with one of her Coastal Valley Lines modular layouts - Photo by Cat Cook

Coastal Valley Lines Stack Train

Coastal Valley Lines stack train in front of one of Joan Fleck's Module

Joan's Farm

Farm layout by Joan Fleck of Coastal Valley Lines - Photo by Cat Cook

Also at the show was Sacramento Valley N-Trak who model the greater Sacramento area focusing on fallen flags including Southern Pacific, Western Pacific, Santa Fe, Sacramento Northern, Tidewater Southern, and others.

Sacramento Valley N-Trak

Sacramento Valley N-Trak Layout - Photo by Cat Cook

I also came across this layout called the Rusty Spike Railroad Co. , a member of the Toy Train Operating Society (TTOS). I believe they will also be at the upcoming Toy Train Expo & Sale in Santa Clara, CA on Sunday March 4 from 9am to 4pm.

Rusty Spike

The Rusty Spike Railroad Co. - Photo by Cat Cook

Another group visiting from the wine country was the aptly named, Wine Country N-Scalers.

Wine Country Layout

Wine Country N-Scalers - Photo by Cat Cook

That’s it from the show, it turned out to be great even though my beloved Saints lost the playoffs that weekend (boo.) Our drive home was pretty uneventful. Except for this guy….

Overpass Northern California

The Keeper of the Overpass - Photo by Cat Cook

It was cold, clear, and beautiful out. I snapped a nice shot of Mount Shasta as from the warmth of the truck as we drove by.

Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta January 2012 - Photo by Cat Cook

More blogs are in the hopper! Stay tuned… :)