Philadelphia Division Meet

Date(s) - Saturday, June 8, 2019
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Newtown Township Municipal Building
209 Bishop Hollow Rd.
Newtown Square, PA 19073



On Saturday June 8, 2019 we return to the Newtown Township Municipal Building, 209 Bishop Hollow Rd., Newtown Square, PA 19073. Three years ago we met at the library’s activity room and we had to wait for the library to open. This time we go first class all the way with the newly renovated township meeting room. The train departs at 9:00am with doors opening at 8:30. Directions and maps can be found on page 9 in the upcoming May issue of The Dispatcher.

The morning session commences with our Annual Business Meeting. Officials will deliver their reports, followed by the Board of Directors election. We will attempt to keep this part of the meet as brief and non-sleep inducing as possible.

Our first clinic will is titled “Scratch Building the Sperry Rail Car” and will be presented by our own inimitable Joe Walters. Sperry Rail Cars or defect detector cars as they are known, have been around since the early part of the 20th century. These cars perform a service that a typical railroad cannot on its own. Today, ultrasound is used to see inside the rail to locate transverse fissures, minute cracks, and other flaws that are not otherwise visible.

The history of testing for internal cracks dates back to the early 1900s, and sadly it all began with serious accidents that were occurring because of broken rails. In 1915, the Bureau of Standards conducted research into finding a way to test for and detect this deadly problem. No longer was simply walking the rails sufficient to find potential issues effectively. By 1928, Dr. Elmer Sperry had perfected his invention known as the “induction method” which produces low voltage to create a magnetic field around the rail, giving the inspectors a chance to search and scan for transverse fissures and other imperfections hiding within the rails.

Joe will discuss the history of these cars, how they are used by most railroads to find track defects, and how he scratched built a model of one using styrene and wood. This is a good example of why you don’t need to build a brass steam locomotive to attain the Master Builder–Motive Power AP certificate.

The second clinic will be given by Division Clerk Mark Wallace on the topic, “Model Train Operations & Dispatching – A Functional View, Part 1.”

While earning hours towards the AP Dispatcher Certificate, the idea or “form” of dispatching seems to be modeled rather than the “function,” of what dispatchers actually perform within a railroad’s train control system. Some basic research and study on the job’s function boils down to just a few basic tasks. Ironically dispatching is the purest and simplest prototypical position on any railroad scale, size, or place! A few hints shared in a clinic at our next meet can help make your model railro ad and ops feel larger.

Mark is railroading enthusiast and the Clerk of the Philadelphia Division who’s been greeting you at the front table these past many years at our meets. He is an OpSig member who spends much of his time operating on various layouts and trying his hand at dispatching.

As usual we’ll have coffee, donuts, and Philly soft pretzels, the white elephant table, door prizes, 50/50 raf­fle, and a model display table. Members are encouraged to bring projects in any stage of completion to display and discuss if desired.  A 2019 MER Convention meeting follows immediately after the conclusion of the meet.

The afternoon fare consists of open house layout tours. In addition, open special for our attendees, is the nearby Newtown Square Railroad Museum, housed in the original station that served as the terminus of the Newtown Square Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The station was moved from its original location on Route 252 to where it currently sits surrounded by original PRR rolling stock.  Hope to see you there!

MER 2019 Convention Meeting

The next meeting of the MER 2019 “Liberty Bell Special” Convention Committee will be held at approximately 12:00pm, immediately following the morning session of the June meet at the Newtown Township Building.

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