May Meet Recap


Schuylkill Valley Club – Photo by Rob Ischinger

The May division meet was held in the “Fireplace Room” at the Fairview Village Church on Germantown Pike in Eagleville, PA.

Superintendent Joe Bergmaier was unable attend due to illness, so the business meeting was conducted by Assistant Super Charles Butsch with assistance from Clerk Mark Wallace. The main issues were the election of board members and changes to the bylaws. While ballots were being counted reports were given by Clerk Mark Wallace and Treasurer Howard Kaplan. As there were four slots open and only four candidates, the slate was approved. A vote was taken among the members present regarding the bylaws changes, and, in combination with the mailed in ballots, the changes were approved.

Next, Mike Prokop of the Jersey Division presented his clinic titled, “Light Up Your Layout with LEDs.” Following announcements presented by Bill Grosse of Jersey regarding the upcoming MER convention, we heard Rob Hinkle present “Researching and Designing a Reading Company Layout,” and updated version of the clinic he presented back in November of 2012 which wasn’t heard by too many members as it occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

A 50/50 raffle was held and was won by Kevin Feeney, currently an NER member, but soon to be part of Philly.
In addition to door prizes, there was a White Elephant table, and a Bring ‘n’ Brag model in progress by member Fred Monsimer.

All in all this was a very well attended meet. We thank all the attendees and of course, many thanks go out to Tony DiSantis and the Fairview Village Church for their pleasant and generous accommodations.

The following layouts were open in the afternoon:

1. Earl Paine

Earl’s layout attempts to replicate the Reading Company main line from Conshohocken to Beltline Junction above Reading, PA. The PRR is also represented on a separate 150′ loop which interchanges with the Reading at Birdsboro. The layout is a triple deck partial mushroom design, which fills 3/4ths of his 38′ x 42′ basement. It was started in 2003 as a 30-year retirement project and is “on schedule” at year 12. The layout has Abrams Yard and the Norristown area as a major operational feature, and is set in 1974 using first and second generation locomotives. The completed linear main line is loop-to-loop and consists of over 500 feet of multiple track with continuous running show loops built in for simultaneous display of multiple trains. Scenery and operational planning are underway. Scenery is approximately 20% complete. DCC control using JMRI “layout editor” and wireless panels are in the process of being installed.

2. Jerry Powell

Jerry’s freelance layout modeling the Reading and Pennsy is located in his 28′ x 40′ basement. It is a loop-to-loop design with 40′ radius curves so he can run large steam equipment. His scenery is in a near complete state. Jerry said he has about ten scale miles of mainline and a branch line 2 1/2 scale miles long. There is an interchange yard for exchange of traffic between the two railroads. There are many trees and over a hundred buildings. The layout has been converted to DCC from its original construction as a DC layout.

3. Schuylkill Valley Model Railroad Club

The Schuylkill Valley Model Railroad Club started in 1968, and held its first open house in 1975 and then every year thereafter. The Schuylkill Valley Railroad has a prototypical theme, being modeled after the Reading’s main line from Philadelphia to Reading with many of the towns along that route. There are several points of animation along the route which are activated by pushing a button on the fascia, including an operating backhoe at an excavation site, an oil rig pumping, fire engines responding to a fire, and a carnival with rides. The railroad is a point to point design. The scenery is nearly completed.

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