The latest news about the NTGRC.
North Texas Garden Railroad Club


2018 Club Calendar

Jul - Mike & Karmen Weatherford
Aug - Cook Children's Hospital
Sep - Clark Gardens / Fall Plano Train Show
Oct - Dave & Cindy Valdez
Nov - OPEN
Dec - Christmas Party Lane & Brenda Haviland

2019 Club Calendar

Jan - Plano Winter Train Show
Feb - OPEN
Mar - Thomas & M'Lou Lytle

Details at

NTGRC Events Update - July

It seems like Summer is now in full swing in North Texas with our normal blazing hot temperatures that make any outside activities feel like you’re living in a blast furnace.  Always fun with an outdoor layout!  In any event, the Club just had a great annual meeting at Patrick and Donna Miller’s home in Decatur, and there is full slate of activities scheduled for the remainder of the Summer through early Fall.  Read on to find out more details about the Club’s past, current, and future activities.

The President’s Car

By Thomas Lytle

I attended my first National Garden Railway Convention in Atlanta, GA the first week of June.  Other members that attended with me were Cindy Roerig and her mother, Gayle Spradlin; Wayne, Dick and Joan Meyer; Vard Moore; and Jeff Boggess and his son, Matt.  Great show - I met many of the vendors I have been talking with by phone and email.  I think we all had a great time.  Cindy, her mom and I snuck out one afternoon and did the “World of Coca-Cola” tour. We then stopped and had lunch at Mary Mac’s Tea Room (anybody who is anybody has been seen at Mary Mac’s).  It was well worth the time and effort.  I came home with HLM’s 2018 version of the “General” Locomotive, done in the authentic colors of the original locomotive. Thank you to Dan Alvero for that wonderful piece of history.  I am modifying mine, as I am writing this with, of course, LED lighting AND a sound card.  I am toying with also a DCC card.  But I have yet to make up my mind on which manufacturer to go with.
We had our State of the Club Annual Meeting at Patrick and Donna Miller’s home in Decatur.  Donna was a trooper to allow us to descend upon her home as she had just completed a second surgery on her foot.  Though she did not show it, I know the last thing I would have wanted was 36 strangers in my home when I did not feel good and was still hurting.  Thanks to Patrick and Donna for a wonderful venue.  Oh, Patrick showed off two tracks he has built - one inside in his office and a huge one outside on a raised bed.  He just finished laying the track days before the club showed up to view his work.  Nice job on both his tracks.  See pictures in Lane’s section.
The door prize was a Lionel G Scale “Great Northern” caboose, wood sided and rear cupola taken home by Thom Meyer.

The State of the Club was presented by your humble President (me).  Highlights were: membership increased from 43 to 53 this year, with one-member renewing at the meeting.  Our treasury balance increased from $13,766.29 to $15,750.05.  We also have donations from Smitty Smith to the club being checked out by Mike Pritchett before they are donated to Clark Gardens.  So keep your eyes open for those items running at the Gardens on Labor Day weekend.
We voted for board members, at this meeting.  Re-elected members, old members and new board members have met and new members will fill positions along with the board members who have one more year in office.  Your seven board members for 2018-2019 are:
   President:                             Thomas Lytle
   1st VP:                                   Lane Haviland
   2nd VP:                                  JC Greenlee
   Treasurer:                              Pete Dahlberg
   Secretary:                              Cindy Roerig
   Webmaster/Board Member:   Ron Trees
   Public Relations:                    Johnny Nelson

Our Sunday, July 15th, our home meeting will be at Mike & Karmen Weatherford’s home: 2709 Woodpoint Road, Lewisville, TX from 2:00 - 4:00 PM.

We are hoping that when Clark Garden’s closes during the summer months, the landscapers will be freed up to install those large river rocks that we need for retaining walls to hold back the decomposed granite (DG).  Until that happens we are at a standstill.  We will keep you posted as many of you are wanting to know when to come to lay down that DG.
Mike however, is still fixing up buildings and the trains are running with new bridges being installed all the time. David Valdez is assisting in the installation of the final two replacement bridges, and the LED lighting of the inside train station is moving along.
NOTICE:  The 2019 National Garden Railroad Convention is being held August 27th through the 31st, 2019 in Portland, Oregon.  While this is over a year away, it will conflict with our annual Club commitment of running trains at Clark Gardens on Labor Day weekend, August 31st and September 1st, 2019.  Set up will be on August 30th.
Reminder:  Your 2018 Dues are still only $25.00 for this year AND a Life-Time Membership is still only $250.00.  Those Life-Time memberships make a wonderful gift.  There are still a few members that have not renewed from 2017.  2018 gave us the highest membership numbers ever in the history that we have on record for this club.  My hope is that we get the highest number of members ACTIVE (at least a couple of times) this year.  Mail your dues to Pete Dahlberg, 4519 Willow Bend, Arlington, TX 76017.
July 15th Home meeting: 2:00 – 4:00 PM at Mike and Karmen Weatherford’s home at 2709 Woodpoint, Lewisville, TX 75067
August 7th Train Run, Cook Children’s Hospital, 801 7th Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76104, 8:30 to approximately 4 PM.  Click HERE for a detailed campus map of the Hospital.

September 1st & 2nd - Clark Gardens Train Run, set up August 30th at approx. 2:00 PM.

September 29th & 30th - Plano Fall Train Show, set up September 28th approx. 1:00 PM.

August 27th to 31st, 2019 - 35th NATIONAL GARDEN RAILROAD CONVENTION, Portland, Oregon.  Will you be there?
May your tracks be true; your stay on passing’s be short; do not take any dead-end sidings and keep her between and out of the ditches.

The Combo Car

By Lane Haviland, VP.

Howdy Folks,
We just met for the first time at the home of Patrick and Donna Miller in Decatur on Sunday, June 24th.
Patrick has spent numerous hours and $$$ on a new back-yard elevated layout which is now a loop to show off with more loops planned. The coup de grâce is the shade sails overhead.  WONDERFUL.
The elevated track is a great way to design a layout so it’s closer to viewing level and much easier to work on---especially for us mature and more experienced folks.
We had 36 members there which is close to a record meeting day for as many years as I can remember.  Here are some photos of the layout, courtesy of Louis Seldon (Thanks Louis!).

Looking forward to next year when the town is established.
Next month's meeting is at Mike and Karmen Weatherford’s home at 2907 Woodpoint Road in Lewisville. --- Hope to see you all there.
Stay on track---Lane


The Mail Car

By Pete Dahlberg

Q: How do I know when to replace my track or wheels?
A: If you are using metal wheels and lubricating the axles regularly, the need to replace wheels is very infrequent. The examples shown below are after several thousand hours of operation.

If a car is derailing on a regular basis it would be a good idea to check the condition of the wheels. If the flange is very thin, then the wheel/axle should be replaced.
Worn axle – note thinness of right flange
If the tire portion of the wheel appears to be significantly below the top of the flange or if there is a groove worn in the tire, then the wheel/axle should be replaced. If the end of the axle appears to be significantly smaller than the rest of the axle, then the wheel/axle should be replaced.
New axle on top – worn axle on bottom, note ridge on left wheel
If the journal (where the end of the axle goes into the sideframe) is not round, the sideframe should be replaced. Note: if the sideframe needs replacement, then the axle probably should be replaced at the same time.
New Freight sideframe – note that holes are round
If a locomotive is derailing on a regular basis or if it is making grinding noises or if it does not seem to be pulling well, it is a good idea to check the condition of the wheels.
New locomotive axle – note that gear teeth are square
Used locomotive axle – note cupped gear teeth and groove on left wheel
As with car wheels, if the flange is very thin, then the axle should be replaced. If there is a groove in the tire, check to see if the other wheel on the axle has a similar groove (or traction tire). If this is the case, then all that may be needed is a new traction tire in the groove to replace the traction tire which has come off. Also as with car wheels, if the end of the axle is significantly smaller than the body of the axle, the axle should be replaced.
Worn locomotive axles – note almost missing end on bottom axle
An additional item which needs to be checked on locomotive axles is the drive gear for the axle. If this gear has a “cup” on the teeth, then the axle should be replaced. A cupped gear means that the axle cannot get full power from the motor.
For most personal layouts, track will NOT wear out. However, it can become damaged which would necessitate replacement. For example, if you drop a large rock on the track, it probably will be bent and may be out of gauge. You can try to repair the damaged section using a two-rail railbender, but it is usually easier to just replace the damaged section. A less common form of damage can occur if a train is running unattended and gets stuck. In this case the engine can grind “divots” into the rail. There is no option to repair divots, the track must be replaced.
Track divots – caused by engine running but not moving
If the track is heavily used, i.e., over 2000 hours of run time, it will eventually wear out. In this case, the rail head will become flattened (it normally will have a rounded top), and will wear so that the inside of the head is flush with the supporting web. When this happens you may see very thin brass “wires” along the inside of the track. When you start seeing these conditions, the track is worn out and needs to be replaced. When track is this worn, you will experience a greater frequency of derailments.

One final item for notable events in July.  The G scale Sanders layout that was donated to the Museum of the American Railroad in Frisco is now scheduled to open on July 18th.  The model railroad exhibit has been renamed Train Topia.  Click HERE for a recent Dallas News article about the exhibit and click HERE for the Museum of the American Railroad website.  I would welcome any of our members to visit the exhibit and write a review for the Newsletter of their thoughts on the experience.
That’s it for our July Newsletter.  I hope to see many of our members at Mike and Karmen Weatherford’s home (2709 Woodpoint Road, Lewisville, TX) on July 15th from 2:00 – 4:00 PM.  Mike also has a brand new outdoor layout that I can’t wait to see.  From the pictures he’s shown me, it looks terrific!  See you there!
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