Philadelphia & New Jersey Division Joint Meet

Date(s) - Saturday, January 12, 2019
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Grace Episcopal Church
7 East Maple Ave.
Merchantville, NJ 08109



As has become customary, the Philadelphia and New Jersey Divisions will join forces in January. This year we meet at a new venue, the Grace Episcopal Church in Merchantville, New Jersey. The date is January 12, 2019 and the time is 9:00am with doors opening at 8:30am.

For those interested, the original Merchantville train station, and now a restaurant, is located a block away on the corner of N. Center and Chestnut Streets. It was built in 1881 on a line from Pemberton to Camden, later becoming part of the PRR and PC railroads with passenger service continuing into the late 1960s.

Our morning program will begin with Jersey’s Fred Willis offering a story about the “Crystal River Railroad.” This was an obscure railroad in Colorado that hauled mainly two commodities, coal and marble. It traversed very difficult terrain, supported standard and narrow gauge operations, served small isolated mountain towns and created many interesting features that modelers could consider in their own modeling activities.

Its combination of standard gauge and narrow gauge operations fits the interests of many model railroaders who already combine these gauges on their own layouts. Many use the 30-inch gauge models that one finds on the market in O scale (On30) and HO (HOn30) with available track HO for On30, and N for HOn30. Besides locomotives and rolling stock for sale, ready to run, modelers can build models using the smaller gauge equipment–trucks, power trucks, and even models to kit-bash or scratch build.

Fred is an accomplished modeler, having presented his beautifully scratch-built structures and his techniques for building them at past meets. He also worked tirelessly to produce a fine lineup of clinics at the 2015 MER convention in Mount Laurel, NJ.

Next will be Philly member Joe Walters presenting his clinic titled “Scratch Building a Depressed Flat Car with Load.” The flatcar has been around for as long as railroads. Many changes have occurred over time: they became longer, heavier, and more specialized to handle loads that normal flatcars were never meant to carry.

Our subject of conversation will be the “depressed flatcar.” These specialized cars come in many different axle configurations depending on the load. Variations include 4, 6, 8, 12, and 16 axles. The 16-axle cars are designed to carry more than 100 tons or a load that is longer than 89 feet. The center depressed area allows the car to have a low center of gravity while being able to handle extended heights. This type of rolling stock typically moves electrical transformers, electical power equipment, and large industrial production machinery.

Joe will discuss how to build this car using styrene and resin castings. A transformer load constructed of styrene with over 100 parts will also be discussed. This car was displayed at the MER meet in Rockville, MD and received a merit award of 90 points.

Born in Northeast Philly, and now living in Bear, Delaware, his career consisted of experience in the mechanical departments at the Reading Railroad, Conrail, and Amtrak. Over a 32-year period he has held jobs as a car inspector, car repairman, foreman, general foreman, manager, and assistant superintendent. If anyone can describe or explain the ins and outs of a piece of railroad equipment, it’s Joe. Check out part one of his column this month on everything you ever wanted to know about wheels.

A relatively recent member of the NMRA and Philly Division, Joe has already presented several clinics and has earned all but one AP certificate, and is well on his way to his Master Model Railroader.

Our Jersey hosts are always accommodating with plenty of coffee and donuts, while we naturally supply the Philly soft pretzels. In addition, there will be door prizes and swap tables (to reserve contact Bill Grosse, 609-532-3431,

As usual, our gracious hosts will provide coffee and donuts, (we provide the Philly pretzels, naturally) swap tables, a model contest, and more. The afternoon fare will consist of open house tours of some of the excellent layouts the Jersey Division is known for as well as that of our own Glyn Thomas in Philadelphia.  Maps and directions will be available.  Check out NJ Division’s newsletter Train Orders for more details and see the upcoming version of The Dispatcher.  Contact Superintendent Bill Grosse for swap table info at

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