Would like to start out by announcing the winner of our quarantine modeling contest.

And the winner is… Wait for it…

Jerry Skeim

Congratulations to Jerry!  Photos of the contest entries are still on the website. Go back and take a look. Jerry’s prize is another year added to his membership. Thanks to all who participated. Maybe if the government decides to do a round 2 of the stimulus, we should follow suit. Keep an eye out for details.

And just in case you have not seen the email,

REALLY BIG ANNOUNCEMENT  in that Matt Norby has accepted the role of SONC 2021 chair. Still very early in the process, but look for a 2021 SONC in the Denver area as a standalone convention. I, for one am excited, and as soon as the committee gets dates locked in, I plan on sending a notice to my family that I will not be available for any celebrations as in weddings, births, etc. etc. for that week. (So say I, my wife will overrule, but my plans are to go to Denver. Now if one of the unmarried kids wants to get married that week, they could always do it in Denver.  Right?  I’m just saying. )

I wanted to write this month about a recent experience of holding an open house for my railroad. I hang out with a couple of relatively local round robin type groups. One of these is the Gettysburg, PA group.  First, a little background. I’ve been building a layout in this house for 18 years on and off, as with most of us, family responsibilities and earning a living have put the railroad to the back burner from time to time. During those 18 years, I’ve had friends and family and acquaintances etc. etc. visit the layout. Pretty much on a one or two at a time basis. Probably the largest railroad visit was during the 2018 convention build up as I was on the executive committee. Our regular meetings were typically held at David Vaughn’s house on Saturday mornings. But due to a storm hitting the area, David was without power. So, the meeting was moved to my place. There must be some sort of connection here that a storm brought visitors to my layout. My wife is been after me to open the layout to show the progress for probably 15 of those 18 years. I have never hosted one of the round robin groups. So, with much encouragement from my wife, I committed to a Saturday in April for my first open house. While the virus came and canceled all such activities, I did do a cab ride video as a virtual layout tour. This has caught on with the group, and my camera car is now making the rounds and more virtual layout tours are being posted. (I am thinking that this is something that the O Scale Kings might want to take on) But now to my thoughts on this open house. It is truly amazing the amount of progress I have made since committing to that open house. It has been a tremendous driving force to get me to head to the basement every day and get a few more things done. It’s also amazing how many little “problems” I was just living with, i.e., had one section where several of my DCC equipped locomotives would stumble and fail occasionally. Well guess what? They would stumble every time I was shooting the video. Investigation found that for some reason I had about a 10-foot section of track with no feeders. I did a quick installation of one set of feeders (1 set is not recommended for a 10 foot section) which enabled me to get the video done. I have a section that goes behind the water heater and water treatment facilities (which on my Dad’s railroad, he always called the water level route) and again, only during the video shoot, the train would stumble. Investigation led to the fix of a long-neglected track cleaning of this hard to reach area. This did, however, cause me to attach a track cleaning block to a yardstick to get through the tunnel. Creation of this video also showed the need for a bridge installation. While it is not a finished project, I can now run a train across it. Preparations for shooting a test video and its review showed that my basement was a mess. Four or five projects in various state of completion became apparent.  Stuff sitting around that needed to be put away. It took me two days to just clean up the debris from around the layout. But what a blessing this has been, not only did I find things that were lost, I can now go where things are supposed to be and find them!  So, in case the point has not been made, what I’m trying to tell you is that open houses, and even virtual layout tours, are great motivational tools. Just having the ability to go down and run a train around the layout is a worthy reward for cleaning the basement.

One more thing, the Board of Directors elections will be held in December,2020 for the term starting January, 2021. We have a couple positions that will be open due to term limits and yours truly will not continue as President.  That means we need nominations. Please, seriously consider serving. If you have interest or recommendations, please contact me Bruce@oscalekings.org

Thanks, Bruce

Categories: News