September Meet Recap


Perkasie Train Station – Cropped from watercolor by James Mann. Click on photo for link to website.

For our recent September 9, 2018 meet we returned to the Perkasie Fire House at 100 N. 5th Street in Perkasie, PA. A good crowd of 43 members and visitors that are all interested in model railroading joined in a morning of fellowship, clinics, model viewing, and refreshments.

Superintendent Charles Butsch called things to order at 9:00am and re-introduced the Board of Directors who were present as well as the 2018-19 slate of officers. Clinic #1 on “Illuminating Structures with LEDs,” was presented by Division member Rick Melcher. LED technology is taking the world by storm and can be found providing light in a number of model railroad applications. LEDs are small enough and do not produce heat to the extent that they can be mounted in realistic locations within models of buildings. When done artfully and carefully, LED lighting will accurately render a structure in a night scene as having its own lighting system. Rick presented a number of photographic examples that included buildings and scenes that were scratch built by his friend, Jimmy Shepard.

AP Committee Chair Earl Paine, on behalf of our Achievement Program Coordinator Dave Messer, MMR who could not join us, presented achievement certificates. Earl was pleased to issue to Glyn Thomas five certificates: Electrical, Structures, Scenery, Prototype Scene, and Golden Spike. Jeff Witt was presented four certificates: Civil and Electrical Engineering, Scenery, and Golden Spike. And finally, Chip Stevens received his Volunteer Certificate. Earl shared with the group the names of a number of other members working on their certificates with enthusiastic encouragement to focus their modeling efforts towards earning an AP certificate.

Division Clerk Mark Wallace gave a brief talk directing those present to look into the Operations (Ops) Page on our website and especially the Ops Call Board Forms located at:

Operations Call Board

The Division has been quietly emphasizing operations and providing a way for layout owners and those wishing to operate on other members’ layouts to find one another. In the coming year, as part of our organizing the 2019 MER Regional Convention, Mark will be the Operations Callboard Coordinator. Operations is something that most modelers who are good with a throttle, but who may lack a layout, can instead visit and operate on other layouts in conjunction with the layout owner’s operation session. That way, both the operator and the layout owner can both enjoy the thrill of large-scope model railroading operations. Check it out and sign up.

Guest Clinician Will Jamison presented clinic #2 on “Prototype and Modeling of Transporting Steel Plate by Rail.” Some of you who attended this year’s RPM–Valley Forge may have attended Will’s earlier clinic on one of my favorite cars on the railroad, gondolas. The loads they carry can be amazing. Will focused on the unique loading challenges of transporting steel plate. Steel plate is large and often larger than the bed support provided by the car and so it must be supported by a dunnage frame constructed of wood or steel channels with the plates tipped sideways. These plates are produced at a steel mill and shipped to various manufacturers or fabricators who utilized steel plate in their products. Will showed many different examples of prototype cars with loads as well as empty racks. He brought and shared many different models of gondolas and some flat cars that carried miniature versions of sheet metal loads.

The morning featured our usual white elephant table along with swap tables with items for sale by a few of our members. Our 50/50 Raffle winner was visitor and friend John Wertan who graciously donated the proceeds back to the Division. To cap the morning off, there were many door prizes awarded to the lucky ticket holders.

Due to Rob Hinkle’s absence because of illness, the normally scheduled MER 2019 Convention titled the “Liberty Bell Special,” was rescheduled for after our next Division meet in November. Eric Dervinis provided a final announcement on the MER 2018 Convention, “Crossroads of the MER,” in Rockville, MD.

Our afternoon layouts featured three layouts. Dick Landt’s “Reading & Northern” HO scale railroad models the North Penn Branch of the Reading Railroad from Lansdale to Saucon Yard. Ron Bigham’s PRR-themed HO scale layout is based on the west slope of the Alleghenys and features some very well-constructed benchwork with track that will be ready for scenery and detailing. Jim Maurer’s PRR and Reading plus traction-themed layout depicting parts of Philadelphia and vicinity rounded out the open layouts. Each layout was running and featured opportunities for photo run-bys or good model railfanning.

The Division thanks the Perkasie Fire Company for allowing us the use of their community room as well as to Dick Landt, Ron Bigham, and Jim Maurer for allowing us to visit their layouts. We also thank our clinicians, Rick Melcher and Will Jamison, and all of the modelers who brought models to display as well as all of you who came out to spend some time with us, and who helped with conducting another successful Philly Division meet. We hope you networked, learned, were inspired, and had a good time!
Our next Division meet will be on Saturday morning, Nov 10, 2018, at the Brandywine Town Center in Wilmington, Delaware.  Remember too–your membership includes these meets complete with the clinics, networking, and fellowship, and they are free to you, our division members. Hope to see you in November!

A Note of Concern: Rob Hinkle, our Assistant Superintendent and Chair of the 2019 MER Convention, became seriously ill after returning from the NMRA National Convention in Kansas City this past August. He was in hospital for several weeks but has returned home and is quietly recuperating. We hope for a speedy recovery and wish him the best.

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