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End of the Line



Lou Cross

It is with great sadness that I announce Lou's passing. He was 93. Apparently he passed away in his sleep, likely having gone to bed expecting another full and active day tomorrow just like the one that had ended.

Lou CrossHe had many O scale "irons in the fire" so to speak. I will mention those that I know about.

He took over the Right-O-Way line of track castings from Gene LaVancil when Gene retired. He also sold ties that he cut himself - I recall giving him several planks of pure sugar pine to be cut for ties. He also built smooth side passenger car bodies, many of which were finished by Calumet Models (Dan Pantera). He had accumulated a supply of body parts from manufacturers who have gone out of business and used them along with sides which Lou custom punched so they were correct for the car being modeled. He was a fixture at the larger regional meets and the O Scale Nationals, where he kept a chair in front of his table so that people could sit down to chat or discuss a purchase.

He was the best mannered man I have ever met, and always polite and gracious with others. I doubt he had any enemies.

His first love was passenger trains. He had ridden most of the great trains of the west including the California Zephyr, the Super Chief, and the City of Los Angeles. He had wonderful stories to tell of those rides, and it was clear that the memories were fresh in his mind. During WW II he was stationed in Reno, NV, and would hop a ride in a Cab-Forward when he was off duty. He served in Europe, his duty being to drive a half track. While working in Los Angeles he took many photos of passenger cars, many of which have been published. He and I rode several Amtrak trains together. From those trips he gave me many tips about how to enjoy the train.

He was building a large 2-rail O scale layout in a building that, characteristic for Lou, he had built. He was frugal, and if he could do it himself and reduce the cost, he did.

He understood that there was a boom and bust nature of the 2-rail O scale business for some individuals who become suppliers, and when something he perceived a a use for on his layout, he would buy a layout's worth supply when he could.

While 2-rail O scale modelers have lost a friend, no doubt those who are building the perfect layout up there have gained a friend and helper.

Rod Miller

Although I didn't know Lou as well as some of us did, I did meet him when a group of us at the Modesto Model Railroad (RIP) drove down to see him and his operation. He was constructing benchwork in a huge building, way out in the country, If memory serves, he was very easy to get along with, and I always felt proud to have met him.

I'm sorry we've lost yet another one of a kind...
Mark in Modesto

We lost a good one. I always had long talks with him at the Chicago O Scale Show. A few years back he came over to my house to see my layout. I had ordered over time, hundreds of his plastic tie plates. He saw all the tie plates on my layout and said you are a crazy man but I will gladly sell you some more. We had a good laugh. O scale is losing some really good people. Just in the last month or so we have lost to many.
GMONUT ___________________________________________________________________________________

John Keil

By Dan Dawdy

We lose people in our lives periodically, but it's unfortunate when I lose three people I was glad to call freinds and fellow O Scalers within a month's time.

John KeilJohn Keil of Keil Line Products passed away at home on Thursday, December 4, 2014. John was a fixture at the Chicago O Scale show for many years. His extensive line of cast pasts is well known. Years ago at shows I always stopped and bought something, even though I had no layout and still lived in an apartment. John was always freindly, and remembered me from year to year.

Back on September 21, 1991 Amy and I were living in Lisle, Illinois, and Metra was going to run their Chicago & Northwestern E units one last time before placing the engines in storage. Since we had to travel to McHenry, Illinois, I had a list of Keil Line castings I wanted in my CNW Espocket. My thought was that we would stop at Des Plaines Hobbies on the way back. The units were great to see one last time, and they were pressed into service later, but that's another story. As we were leaving the parking lot, I saw John on his knees measuring a phone booth. Yes, we still had phone booths in the early 1990's! Of course, I had to stop and ask the very obvious question, "What are you doing?". With his sly smile he said, "new casting". We starting talking, and I mentioned that I was going to buy some of his castings on my way home. John then asked to see my list and proceeded to say "Well, I know they don't have these or these." as he went through the list of items. He then said, "Why don't you follow me back home, and I'll see what I have." Well, OK!

Arriving at his home totally unannounced, Martha was very kind and talked with Amy about dollhouse furniture, as Amy was into dollhouses at the time, while John and I headed to the "casting room" to check the stock. As it turned out, he did not have eveything I wanted either. This was not a problem, I told him I could check back. John, howerver, said "No, let's fire up the casting machines and we'll make it right now. And that's what he did. He showed me how the molds worked, along with the difference in molds and casting methods. These were all things I did not know about back then. We finished up the castings, had a few refreshments and were on our way, never forgetting the day that John went out of his way to help, and in the process, made a life long freindship. He shall be missed.

What will happen to Kiel Line Products? At this point, I don't think we should worry about that. Not only is it the Holiday season, but a husband, father and grandfather is gone. Keeping the family in our thoughts is what's important right now. The rest will sort itself out later.

Used with permission from Dan Dawdy and Glen Guerra. exerpts from "O Scale Resource" magazine January/February 2015.


Ed Reutling

By Dan Dawdy

Ed ReutlingEd Reutling passed away November 16, 2014 and his wife Betty passed on December 10. Although I only met them in person once at an Indy O Scale show a few years back, Ed and I have had a long running freindship via Email going back to 2001.

Of course, many of you know Ed's work from his old company, Adirondack Car and Foundry, when he produced Cast Urethane steam engines. I came to know Ed after that, but he was still an innovator. He was working with batteries as this video shows. He scratch built three Ingalls 4-S locomotives because, well, no one else had.

Ed and I had one thing in common, we both shot from the hip. That is, we sometimes forget to use a "filter" before we talk/type. That is one of the things I liked best about Ed. No holds barred, he told it as he saw it. In writing this, I went back to re-read some of Ed's Emails. (Yes, I keep everything.) We talked about everything and everybody.

Reutling Ice CompanyCritters The Reutling Ice Company sign, left, was Ed's favorite. Above, are two of the locomotives Ed built that I now have on my railroad. Bottom right is a casting Ed made for my fleet of Atlas RS-1's.

I named an industry on my layout for Ed, the Reutling Ice Company. Ed really loved the signage. I also bought two of Ed's locomotives from his layout. One I purchased on eBay, and I hand no idea it was Ed's listing. I just liked the look of this little critter and bid on it. The locomotive was a Thousand Islands brass kit of Thousand Islands Railway (originally Gananoque & Rideau Railway) number 500. Needless to say, we were both surprised after the auction.

CastingLater, Ed was going to sell off all of the O Scale, and I bought his Gilmaur model of an Alco S2. After selling most everything, he turned right around and started tinkering with radio control and battery power.

Ed admired my work with the Atlas RS-1's, but pointed out that the coupler pocket on the pilot was wrong. He offered to cast the porper part which I now use. Here is Ed casting those parts for me.

Ed was also into cars as this video shows. Ed will be missed by the large O Scale family, and I'll miss our Email exchanges and freindly banter.


Used with permission from Dan Dawdy and Glen Guerra. exerpts from "O Scale Resource" magazine January/February 2015.


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