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North Texas Garden Railroad Club


2019 Club Calendar

Jan - Plano Winter Train Show
Feb - Home Meeting TBD
Mar - Ron & Peggy Trees
Apr - Dave & Gerry Minna
May - Scottish Rite Train Run
May - Cumbres Toltec Texas Visitation
Jun - Annual Meeting - Lane & Brenda Haviland
Jul - Home Meeting TBD
Aug - Cook's Childrens Hospital/
National Garden Railway Convention/
Clark Gardens Festival
Sep - Home Meeting TBD
Oct -  Fall Plano Train Show

Nov - Home Meeting TBD
Dec - Christmas Party - Donna Orr & Roger Shank

2020 Club Calendar

Jan - Plano Winter Train Show
Feb - Home Meeting TBD
Mar - Home Meeting TBD
Apr - Home Meeting TBD
May - Scottish Rite Train Run
Jun - Annual Meeting - TBD
Jul - Home Meeting TBD
Aug - Cook's Childrens Hospital/
Sep - Clark Gardens Festival
Sep - Home Meeting TBD
Oct -  Fall Plano Train Show

Nov - Home Meeting TBD
Dec - Christmas Party - TBD

Details at

NTGRC Events Update


Farewell to 2018!!  I realize this December Newsletter is way late, but it's typical for those of us that send their Christmas Cards after Christmas.  In any event, there is a lot of items to cover and I wanted to get it out before the New Year begins.  Read on to find out about recent Club events as well as updates on upcoming activities.

The President’s Car

By Thomas Lytle

Toys for Tots

This year your club donated 30 Wooden Trains for the Toys for Tots program.  The first two years we donated ten, then last year we donated twenty.  The ladies started to put them into the ‘boys’ box until I explained that is sooooooo wrong.  Told them why and how many ladies we had that loved trains.  So, they were put into the non-gender box.  Thank you NTGRC for being so generous.

Upward and Onward

This is a festive time of the year and decorations abound. Though my home does not hold a candle of lumens compared to Donna and Rogers, I have already observed a couple of vans and cars slowing down or stopping in front of our house.  And I still have the blow-up train and hillbilly Santa car to put out (waiting for my handyman to rake the leaves – they are so thick you can not see grass.  AND my neighbors are praying I rake them up before the next big wind.)  Gosh, I love to see the smiles on kids faces, whether watching the trains or Halloween or Christmas Santa’s or Christmas home decorations.

I will not go into our gathering last Sunday at Brenda and Lane’s, but their marriage has survived and Brenda did a fantastic job decorating their home and preparing for that great meal. I will let Lane tell you ALL about it in 500 words or so.  Now, I have to say this.  Lane told me that 6 members told him they wanted to do the Chinese Gift Exchange.  Yet, when I sent out an email to ALL members, the response was very low (almost like a city election) and it was 1/3 in favor; 2/3 said no.  So, where were all of you when we were asking for input.  We like doing things the members want to do and stop doing things they do not want to do.  HOWEVER, if you do not tell us your thoughts, we cannot read your minds.

One more thing. (then I will get off my soap box) (remember, my frontal lobe has not been working for almost 7 years now).  RSVP (stands for the French term, Répondez s'il vous plaît ) and loosely translates from French as “Please Respond.” It’s an easy request. It just means that the hosts are asking us to let them know whether we’re coming or not coming to their party or event so that they can plan seating, food, and anything else they need to arrange for our needs and comfort.  Also, the by an established date is important.  If no date is stated, then an RSVP is usually within 24 hours.  Yes, that is a short time period, but remember, back years ago there was only snail mail.  So, RSVP’s would not be received back for days or weeks at a time.  Less than 64% responded yes or no.  And after food, drink etc. were ordered there were some who responded yes days after the closing and just could not be accommodated.  We hate that any member who wants to come must be turned away, but you must also respond in a timely manner.  If you are not sure, please state that, and the reason.  Planning might be able to include your numbers.  And if you can not make it, please let the hosts know ASAP (As Soon As Possible).  In this case, it was a sit-down dinner, and included flatware, placemats, drinks and the proper amount of entrée’ to pre-order.  In the future, we may have to return to a sit-down dinner at a restaurant as our club did in the past.  Especially if we keep growing.  THANKS TO ALL THAT brought Hors d’oeuvres’, side dishes and dessert (and yes even the dinner rolls from our bachelors).

Just before I started to write this, President H.W. pasted away.  I was amazed at all the things done in four short days.  I know that planning had started months before, but the things that had to fall in place in just a few hours or days was absolutely amazing.  From Washington DC logistics to the Bush 4141 train.  The work done on that baggage car carrying his body from Spring to College Station was amazing.  I hope someone with knowledge can post the video to both our Facebook and web pages.  My grandkids were there, as their mom pulled them out of school.  Charlotte probably will not remember it as she is just 4, but Zachary is 5 ½ and should remember it.

Moving on……..

Please contact your President or any board members if you might think we should hold a “swap and shop” as one of our open home meetings this coming year.  Any member may bring stuff they are no longer using or would like to sell or swap.  I was thinking about a Saturday and getting a community room at a Fire Station or library (usually any resident can reserve a room for free).  Let us know at the upcoming Train Show.
So that brings up the point of Home meeting dates that are still open in 2019.  Right how they are February, July, September and November.  Contact Lane Haviland and let him know if you are interested.

Finally, I thought we might share what/who we donate to and let others know the kinds of charities that are out in our local communities.  I am asking that you pick your top favorite charity and share it with us.

JC and Sharon Greenlee:  we donate through the year and at the end of the year.  We send money for blankets this time of the year and for school supplies during the year.  We have 2 that we donate to: the St Joseph Indian School in Chamberlain,SD and the St Labre Indian School in Ashland, Montana.

Brenda Haviland:  My favorite charity is run by a young man in my office who co-founded a non-profit in partnership with a local impoverished church.  He collects toys for Christmas, food for Thanksgiving, school supplies for what else school, has bounce and splash parties in the summer.  I like this because I know the founder personally, and know there is no overhead at all so all money/gifts goes into our local community here in Fort Worth.  You can find Love4Locals on Facebook
Thomas and M’Lou Lytle:  Food 4 Kids Program – North Texas Food Bank.  Back pack goes home with an elementary school student that has been identified by their school as missing meals on the weekend.  The back pack contains nourishing food that kids will eat.  There is enough food for all children in the household under the age of 16 for the weekend.  In addition, there is a hot meal provided during the summer months each day at a central location near the child’s home that is open to the family.

Patrick & Donna Miller:   In the Christmas Spirit, I sought out the first Santa out front of Walmart ringing a bell and donated $25 to The Salvation Army.  In the Boy Scouts in the 1960’s, when it was all boys, we had a camp song about Salvation Army that said “put a nickel in the drum, save another drunken bum.” NOT a PC thing now days. So I hope Donna and I save a few “hard luck men”.

Dick Schiefelbein:  I would like to make the members aware of a small non profit in Dallas named "In My Shoes.” The mission of In My Shoes is to provide a safe, welcoming community for pregnant women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. In My Shoes is the only community living program in Dallas that provides support specifically towards pregnant, homeless women - while offering life, parenting, and job skills.  All women who are struggling with homelessness, faced with the decision of bringing a child into this world, and are in need of a  strong support system from peers and professional counselors are welcome.  Moms and their babies are able to stay in the In My Shoes home while they learn necessary skills and receive job training to assist with finding employment.

Peggy Trees:  I put together 30 tote bags with blankets, action figures, a coloring book and crayons for our local police department to give to children involved in stressful situations during the holiday period.  The tote bags are provided for children ranging in age from 2 -10 years old.  The police carry the bags in their patrol cars and distribute them as necessary during the holiday season.


19th & 20th JANUARY - Winter Plano Train Show at the Plano Conference Center with club no host dinner to follow at the Bavarian Grill on Friday night (Jan 18th) at 5 PM after set-up.  221 W Parker Road, Plano TX  about 2 miles from the Plano Conference Center.


MARCH 2:00 PM Date TBD - HOME MEETING at Peggy & Ron Trees home

APRIL--2:00 PM Date TBD —HOME MEETING Dave and Gerry Minna home
MAY --TBD — SCOTTISH RITE children’s Hospital Train Run (Set-up Sunday, run 2 days)

May 4th Cumbres & Toltec  meeting in Austin Texas

August 27th - 30th, - 35th NATIONAL GARDEN RAILWAY CONVENTION, Portland, OR.  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:

For those of you who missed it, we had our Annual Christmas  party here at  Lane and Brenda’s home.

I think we had a record crowd of  40 people with enough food for a Ranger battalion.  Yes, the road prime rib was a bit on the red side but I promise next time I will have some well cooked. 

From the letters I received later, everyone seemed to have a good time even though the septic system in the yard went off at the most inopportune time when everyone was headed back to their cars. Pew!

I think this was a first for a couple of things,
  1. Kay didn’t get inebriated on the punch and pass out, and
  2. Largest gathering for a club function since the 90’s, and
  3. I haven’t found any jewelry left by M’lou Lytle.---that’s cause I locked up the wine bar.
  4. I didn’t set the BBQ on fire.
  5. Brenda got too close to my BBQ and it spit at her burning the pocket off her shirt and singeing all her hair and eyebrows.
Anyway we had  a good time  and I'm sorry Dave and Cindy Valdez got so sick they had to cancel out.

Much thanks to all who brought those great sides and Mike Pritchett for helping keep the trains running and the cars parked.

Donna Orr was going to provide several pictures she had taken at the event, but her computer lost all her pictures for the month of November through the 15th of December.  In  addition to the pictures that she took at the party, she also lost pictures of her girl's birthdays, and her Thanksgiving pictures.  She's been looking for the files and they can't be found - needless to say she's very upset!

Next month is the Plano  show on January 19th and 20th, set up at 1:00 on Friday, January 18th.

See you then.

Stay on track---Lane

The Mail Car

By Pete Dahlberg

Q: What sort of clearance is needed between parallel tracks, both straight and curved?

A: This is dependent upon the equipment you are running and the sizes of the curves that are involved. That being said, we can presume that if we size for the largest equipment then any smaller equipment will work.

For straight track I took a 1:20.3 locomotive and measured from the track centerline to the outside edge of the engine. That was 3.5 inches. If we were to set parallel straight tracks at 7” on center, two of these engines would just barely sideswipe. Assuming we would want at least an inch of clearance, then the straight tracks should be at least 8” on center.

For curves, we need to calculate the amount of overhang the equipment will have as it goes around the curve. For a given curve size the longer the equipment, the more overhang there will be. If we look at this problem as a line (equipment length) which is touching a curve (curved track) in two places referred to as a chord, we can use geometry to solve for the amount of overhang.

Given the radius and distance to center

Below is a formula for the length of a chord if you know the radius and the perpendicular distance from the chord to the circle center. This is a simple application of Pythagoras' Theorem.

r  is the radius of the circle
d  is the perpendicular distance from the chord to the circle center

If we presume the biggest piece of equipment that will be used is the USATrains Bi-level auto carrier (37 inches long), then we will get the following results when using the common sectional track dimensions.
Car Length inches Curve dia (ft) Radius (in) Chord squared / 2 Radius squared Difference (distance from chord to center squared) Square Root of difference Overhang
37 4 24 684.5 576 108.5 0.00 0.00
  5 30 684.5 900 -215.5 14.68 15.32
  6 36 684.5 1296 -611.5 24.73 11.27
  8 48 684.5 2304 -1619.5 40.24 7.76
  10 60 684.5 3600 -2915.5 54.00 6.00
  11.5 69 684.5 4761 -4076.5 63.85 5.15
  12.5 75 684.5 5625 -4940.5 70.29 4.71
  14 84 684.5 7056 -6371.5 79.82 4.18
  16.5 99 684.5 9801 -9116.5 95.48 3.52
  20 120 684.5 14400 -13715.5 117.11 2.89

It should be noted that when using this size car the results are indeterminable for the 4 ft (R1) curve because the car is longer than the curve radius.

Although we have values calculated for the overhang, we should remember that this represents the outer edge of the equipment on the outer track and additional space should be added as clearance for the inner track.

For those of you who do not have a Bi-level auto carrier, here is the same table but using a car length of 20 inches which probably represents most LGB cars.
Car Length inches Curve dia (ft) Radius (in) Chord squared / 2 Radius squared Difference (distance from chord to center squared) Square Root of difference Overhang
20 4 24 200 576 -376 19.39 4.61
  5 30 200 900 -700 26.46 3.54
  6 36 200 1296 -1096 33.11 2.89
  8 48 200 2304 -2104 45.87 2.13
  10 60 200 3600 -3400 58.31 1.69
  11.5 69 200 4761 -4561 67.54 1.46
  12.5 75 200 5625 -5425 73.65 1.35
  14 84 200 7056 -6856 82.80 1.20
  16.5 99 200 9801 -9601 97.98 1.02
  20 120 200 14400 -14200 119.16 0.84

Who's That??

By JC Greenlee

This part of our monthly newsletter is going to be for us to get to know each other a little better. Each month we will take one or two members of our club and publish a mini bio on what that member would like others in the club to know about them. I am going to start out for the first few months on members of the board, and then move to other members. 
Here is Cindy Roerig's Bio - Our Secretary

I was born and raised about an hour north of Dallas in Denison, Tx.  Denison is a train town and still has a KATY rail yard there.   After graduating from Texas Tech University in 1980, I moved to the Dallas area.   I worked for TI for 13 years doing many jobs, and some of my favorite were inventory support, auditing and training.   I married Bob Roerig in October 1990 and we got our first LGB Christmas train set that Christmas to go under our tree.  

I changed jobs the next year and starting working for Summers Electric (Rexel) mostly doing system conversions, training and support.   I got to travel all over the US and it was a lot of work and fun.
After 911, travel was no longer fun!  So, I became the Help Desk, Training and System Support manager so I didn’t have to travel as much.   I stayed with Rexel until I retired.

Bob was in Radio sales and ratings.  With each big sale or bonus more rolling stock would arrive at our door and our collection grew.  

When we built our home, we already had plans for the train layout in the backyard.  The first year we had the track laying on the ground with a few houses.  We opened our backyard for a neighborhood Christmas party for the kids with Santa.   The next year everyone wanted us to open for a weekend so they could bring family and friends to see it too.  As our layout grew, so did the days were open each year.  After a few years we were open 3 full weeks in December and taking in donations of food and change for the Metrocrest Food Bank.  Some years we collected over 4000 lbs of food!!!  One Christmas Eve we had over 500 visitors in our backyard.   This was such a joy for us as we never had any children!

We collected only G scale and mostly LGB.   We went on 3 LGB sponsored train trips to Europe.  We rode the Orient Express, visited Christmas markets, went to Octoberfest in Germany and rode trains all over eastern Europe.  

Bob died suddenly in 2012 of a heart attack.   I open the backyard up for a couple more seasons with the help of a Boy Scout troop that had been helping us for several years.  I also started downsizing our collection and downsizing the layout.  The layout has gone from 6 legs to 3 and the collection from over 1000 items to about 150. They are displayed on the walls of my study and all of them hold dear memories for me.

I am retried now and enjoy spending time with family, friends and traveling.
Below is some pictures of my layout area.

Until the next station.- JC Greenlee

Unfortunately, I again have to close with a sad note to pass along.  Our previous webmaster, Michael Barnes, notified us that Barry Olsen from Barry's Big Trains is in the hospital.  Michael says:  I know that some of you are familiar with Barry and his work with Bachman and other large scale stuff. Barry was a real champion for the hobby. Barry is in pretty bad shape. His recent tests have not had good results. I understand he may be headed to a rehab/hospice facility soon.  Please pass on to the membership for prayers for Barry and his family. There is also a GoFundMe page set up to help with his expenses.

That's a wrap for our December Newsletter and for the year 2018!  I'm sure 2019 will be an eventful year for the Club as well, and I hope to see many of our members at the Plano Train Show in January.

Thanks for reading.
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