29 March 2017

The Woodbury Train Show

As far as I know the Greater East Area Model Railroad Club (aka Newport Club) has been around since the early 1980s. I recall visiting their layout sometime in that period but do not remember much. My attempts at modeling in HO were rather clumsy, but what do you expect of a kid. I had little knowledge of the craft of modeling.  
I recently visited it a few years ago and they were beginning a new update to the layout. Quite an impressive railroad.
This entry is about the shows they put on in Woodbury. More accurately they are fleamarkets since there are no layouts on display but mostly vendors and citizens with train items to sell. 4 times a year the club sponsors the show up at Woodbury High School in the cafeteria. From some archival footage on the YouTube, it appears these fleamarkets have been going on since the late 1980s. Check this footage out.

Look at that line, this appears to be one serious fleamarket. According to the poster it was one of the largest at the time perhaps only surpassed by the Twin Cities Model Railroad Club's fleamarkets.
What variety and stock of Lionel stuff. Look at all those highway crossing signals! You would be lucky to see 1 at a show these days. Even funnier, I got my highway crossing signal in Sioux Falls for the same price I saw on one of those tags in the video- $10.
Fast forward to 2017. In January I dropped by the Woodbury fleamarket. Actually spent a lot of time there. Little has changed but much has stayed the same. For one, the entry cost did increase. But that is inflation. It still is held in the cafeteria although the it has been renovated a bit. It is still a standing room event for a few hours. I arrived after opening so I can not tell if there was a line but certainly crowded. Hard to tell if there was less Lionel. I would say it was nearly the same with plenty of HO, a smattering of N, and a handful of the unusual or rare gauges like Standard and G. I recognized vendors from my other show exploits in St. Cloud and Sioux Falls.
How about some pictures? You got it.

MPC Era on 1 table

Plenty of N scale

Familiar Accessories

Marx passenger cars
A few additional observations. Somebody really wants to offload older Atlas Ore Cars. I saw quite a few vendors with multiples. I also encountered a vendor with a whole lot of O scale 3 rail used passenger cars which had been painted. They had average paint jobs but no one was buying.
I got a few cars at the sale including a Lionel NP Piggyback car, a combo car Andrew Pickens, and a few O scale vehicles. Pretty good show. If I am in the area again I would return.

17 February 2017

Fargo Block 6

Fargo Main Ave- Block6
My mostly Finnish wife painted the above picture in oil and few years ago. It is of the eastern portion of block 6 on Main Avenue just across from the NP depot. Businesses at time of painting from left to right- Babb's Coffee, Rhombus Guys, Harvest Community Church, and Kittsona.
Today I think Kittsona has absorbed the space that was the church.

Fargo Training- tracks out of Dilworth

West of of Dilworth yard  a few miles, the BNSF mainline makes its way into Moorhead and then over the Red River into Fargo. I captured these somewhat boring shots of grain hoppers off of US 10 not far from Moorhead High School on a frigid afternoon. They were sitting still but there was an approaching train heading west on the adjacent track. 

 

Going west just about a mile you encounter a large junction referred to as Moorhead Junction. 
Dilworth was a former Northern Pacific yard on the Staples sub-division of the St Paul division. It was also the point where the Fargo division began.
I seem to recall that unit trains of coal from the Powder River basin were routed over these lines. It was in an article from an old Trains magazine I had lying around.

10 January 2017

Lionel Stuff: The Lumber Shed

Lionel produced a trio of smaller building kits in the MPC era: The Watchman's Shanty, The Barrel Platform, and the Lumber Shed. None of these structures gets much press but you see them at the shows either un-assembled in box or removed from a layout. They make for a good evening project that can be personalize with a little paint and weathering.

Lionel Lumber Shed 6-2720
There is nothing really fancy about either of these models but they have a few little intriguing details. All of them came with a figure and a handful of detail pieces such as barrels, a ladder, or hand tools. The Watchman's Shanty is probably the only Lionel branded building to include a dog. Of the three I really like the Lumber Shed best. The workbench area is especially interesting.
workbench area has some tools
The Lionel Lumber Shed first appeared sometime in the MPC era. My 1978 catalog has it as 6-2720 with a painted plastic workman. The shed shows up in later years as kit too. It was cataloged as 6-2705 and 6-12705 in those days (maybe 1986-1996?) By then the workman came just in flesh color and the walls were cast in brown rather than green. In 2016 the kit was re-released again as 6-81629. Unlike a lot of the re-releases of MPC structures, this one never was made as a pre-built model. The Watchman Shanty and the Barrel Platform both have been released as pre-built with lights in the last decade. The Barrel Platform masqueraded as a Christmas Cocoa Barrel Shed in 2015.
What amazes me is the how much either of these models now cost. You can find the newest releases of these 3 models retailing between $30 and $45 each. Even the old new stock fetches between $20 and $30. I think that is rather steep for a small plastic structure with little detail. In the March 1983 issue of Model Railroad Craftsman,  Charles Ro advertised the Lumber Shed for $3.20. Then in June issue of Model Railroader, TrainWorld had the new version 6-2705 listed for $4.50. So why now does this model outpace inflation? And let me note the newest release is no different that the 6-2705 model and it is still a kit. Somebody could scratch-build something similar for less. The price point for this kit should be around $12-$15.
I found mine on ebay for $6 already built and missing pieces. I may have gotten one cheaper at a show but still a good deal.