April Meet Recap


To the left is a photo of the Southampton Station originally located on the long-abandoned Newtown Branch of the Reading Company.  This structure, built in 1982 and slated for restoration, is located at the corner of Street Road and Second Street Pike, a few blocks from our meeting place.





On Saturday, April 1, 2017 the Philadelphia Division met in a new location, the Southampton Community Center in Southampton, PA in Bucks County.  Filling in for Superintendent Joe Bergmaier was our able Assistant Superintendent, Charles Butsch who greeted approximately 50 assembled members and guests.

Leading off the program was member Don Borden’s “Prototype Steam Detailing on BLI Models.” Don’s interests include modeling steam locomotives built to a specific prototype or an actual locomotive. Using photos and records from his favorite railroad, the ATSF, Don extensively researches and studies a specific prototype locomotive as a way of modifying or “kitbashing,” a commercial model to closely represent that particular locomotive. Don does consulting for BLI (Broadway Limited Imports) and helps in the development of pre-production models for them. He is also gradually replacing his brass collection with these newer, more reliable locomotives. Don brought examples of the ATSF 3800 Class 2-10-2  (Santa Fe Type) locomotives and discussed the various modifications. You can view photos and information on BLI’s upcoming offerings of 3800 Class 2-10-2 locomotives at: http://www.broadway-limited.com/paragon2atsfmodernized2-10-2.aspx.

Don also heads up the East Coast Santa Fe Modelers who are an active group of model railroaders dedicated to all things ATSF and even BNSF.  He has an extensive layout at his house representing the “Santa Fe Coast Lines Division,” from Los Angeles over the Cajon Pass to Victorville, California in 1948.

After a short break, Achievement Program certificates were presented by the AP Committee Chair, Earl Paine, who stood in for our AP Coordinator Dave Messer, MMR.  Alden Smith received a certificate for Scenery while Charles Long received a certificate for Civil and Electrical Engineering. Golden Spike certificates were awarded to Tom Crop and Don Henkensiefken.

After another short break, Jersey Division member Barry Rosier presented our second clinic titled,”Introduction to JMRI: The Java Model Railroad Interface.” This clinic offered a good review for experienced modelers as well as an excellent primer for newer modelers as to what the Java Model Railroading Interface or “JMRI” is, its history, how it is set up, and what it can be used for on your model railroad.

Barry used a computer connected to a section of track to show what’s needed (software and hardware) for you to use JMRI.  He reviewed the various modules within JMRI and how they do different things as well as demonstrating how to modify the configuration variables (or CVs) on a diesel locomotive, and then running it on a demonstration section of track. Very cool sounds and lights.

One of the more interesting questions and discussion was the NMRA’s new Layout Command Control (LCC) standard and how that will remove much of the electronic command signaling from the present DCC track-buss that’s used to transmit signals between your throttle and your locomotive.  Barry used the term “throttle latency” to describe what many of us have experienced on larger layouts when the presence of many decoder-controlled locomotives results in slowed response times, delaying what you have commanded your locomotive to do. LCC would remove a lot of extraneous commands from the track-buss involving things like decoder controlled turnouts, signals, or accessories, leaving only the throttle-to-locomotive commands.

Barry is an accomplished model railroader who has a passion for sharing this great hobby with everyone. He is the webmaster for the Strasburg Model Railroad Club and a producer of the YouTube Model Builders Shows. He is creating a 1950s transition-era layout featuring the PRR and LV.

Rounding out the morning was our 50/50 raffle, door prizes, and special announcements. Our usual round of refreshments: coffee, donuts, and Philly soft pretzels as well as several swap tables, the white elephant table, and model display table were present, and complete with vigorous activity.

The afternoon fare of layouts to visit consisted of Tom Crop’s nearby layout, Don Henkensiefken’s layout, and the Abington Lines Model Railroad Club in Richboro.

A special thanks to the Southampton Community Center for the free use of their meeting space and the good vibe they provided to our morning.

Our next Meet is on June 10th at the Plymouth Fire Company in Conshocken, PA. In addition to the important business of electing Directors to the Board, there will be progress reports and announcements on your Division’s current activities. By now you should have received your ballot and notice of the meeting via USPS mail. If for any reason you haven’t, or if you have misplaced your copy, you’ll find a ballot you can print out in the online version of the Election Issue of The Dispatcher which can be accessed on the home page of the Division website or directly at http://www.phillynmra.org/wp-content/uploads/Disp2017-04.pdf.

And of course, there will be the usual interesting clinics, vendors, swap tables, a white elephant table, a 50/50 raffle, and displays. If you have a model in any stage of construction or prototype that you want to display or share, please bring it with you! There will be more about this event elsewhere in TheDispatcher and on our website. Remember Rule #1– it’s all fun. We look forward to seeing you then!



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