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


2018 Club Calendar

Jan -
Plano Winter Train Show
Feb - Ron & Peggy Trees
Mar - Tom & M'Lou Lytle
Apr - Scottish Rite Hospital
May - Donna Orr & Roger Shank
Jun - Annual Membership Meeting Patrick & Donna Miller
Jul - OPEN
Aug - Cook Children's Hospital
Sep - Clark Gardens
Oct - Dave and Cindy Valdez
Nov - Texas Western Train Show
Dec - Christmas Party

Details at

NTGRC Events Update


Happy 2018!  The year 2017 has left the building and the new year has brought us some frigid temperatures to date.  The Club has completed a very successful 2017, and we're looking for another exciting year in 2018, starting with the Plano Winter Train Show.  You can find the show details, and the latest news from the Club, below.

The President’s Car

By Thomas Lytle

What a wonderful start to a new year.  Lower teens outside and those temperatures keep me inside helping my boss take down the 20 plus storage boxes of Christmas decorations she puts up around the house every Christmas. That does not count the 15 or so storage boxes of outside lights and blow ups.  Yes, blow ups.  I picked up a Train with Santa and two animated elfs from Verna Mueller this fall.  A few repair stitches and they were up and running.  Then a neighbor gave me a brand new “hill – billy” Santa car.

This article will focus on our favorite venue, Clark Gardens.  The trains at the gardens have been running for about 20 years.  Lots of planning and forethought (and expense) went into the initial layouts.  Today, the loops need lots of TLC and rebuilding. This whole list is below, but the two main items are trestle support and leveling; new decomposed granite on the rail beds.  Our goal is to complete the projects before the spring opening of the gardens in March.  Laying the new rail beds will take lots of members to make the job easier, and enable us to do it in a short time period.
Vegetation has been cut back/removed.  Support bases have been acquired for the trestle supports and will be put in place as soon as the weather warms up.

Here is a list of projects for the Gardens.
  • Level the track on loop #3 (overhead) and upgrade the supports
  • Replace the missing cosmetic edging on loop #3
  • Fix the dip in the walkthrough bridge on loop #3.
  • Trim trees and vines on loop #3
  • Replace ballast on all 3 other loops where needed
  • Repair and refurbish outside (Project headed by Mike Pritchett)
  • Repair and refurbish buildings on loop #4 (Mineral Wells) (LED installation by Lytle)
  • Spec out bridges that are in need of replacement or repair
  • Repair engines and cars which are not in 100% condition (Project headed by Pete Dahlberg)
WE NEED HELP FOR PLACING THE BALLAST AND BRUSHING IT IN AROUND ALL THE LOOPS.  YOU DO NOT EVEN NEED TO KNOW HOW TO SPELL TRAIN TO DO THIS SIMPLE TASK.  This is for the strong backs and weak minds like me.  Even if not so strong, carry a ½ filled bucket and pour out on the track.  I know of two people (members) who can not lift because of medial restrictions, but you can sure supervise !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have a sweat shirt that was left at our last show in Plano.  It has been laundered and I will bring it to the Winter Plano show. 

Also, I still have a plaid long sleeve men’s shirt that was left at the last year’s winter Plano show. I even took it to the laundry. If not claimed at the Winter Plano show, I will add it to my shirts as it fits nicely.  
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.  2017 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.  

Remember, if you come help us set up at the Plano show, you and your significant other are invited to join us for a no host dinner at the Bavarian Grill on Friday, 19 January at approximately 5:00 PM. Jurgen will, again, discount the meal, but remember to TIP your waitstaff on the normal menu price. (TIPs at the Grill are shared, Waitstaff shares the TIPs with food runners and bus staff)


January 20th & 21st Plano Annual Winter Train Show, setup January 19th time approximately 1:00 PM.  Click HERE for show details.

February Home meeting is at Ron and Peggy Trees: Sunday, February 18th at 2:00 PM

March Home meeting is at Thomas and M’Lou Lytle’s, Sunday, March 25th at 2:00 PM

April Train Display at Scottish Rite Children's Hospital.  Date and Time TBD

May your tracks be true; do not take any dead end sidings and keep her between the ditches

The Combo Car

By Lane Haviland, VP.

Our Christmas party at Donna and Roger’s was a fun finale to a great year.  Many thanks to Donna and Roger for their food and light show.  We had our usual Chinese Christmas and here’s hoping everyone went home with something to cherish---at least until next year. Below are some pictures from the event.

Next on the agenda for our group is the Winter Plano show Jan. 20th-21st, with a set up on Friday, Jan 19th at approx 1:00 PM.    Click HERE for show details.

We are hoping to set up a swap table so bring the stuff you can’t use any more and lets do some bartering or whatever.

The 2018 Home Show Meeting for July is still OPEN!  Please let me know BY EMAIL ( if you are interested in having a meeting and we will get you on the schedule.
Stay on track --- Lane

The Mail Car

By Pete Dahlberg

Q:  There was no real question posed this month, but Ed Acklin, a member of NTGRC, sent in this tip on how to inexpensively light buildings on your layout.

A (1):  Great Way to Light Our Railroad Layouts (And It is Cheap) - By Ed Acklin

If your attic is like mine, you have boxes of old Christmas lights (mini-lights or Italian style lights).  They are the type that had very little small bulbs that were wired in series so that if one went out a whole section of a string of lights went out and you spent hours trying to find that one bad bulb.
LED strings are replacing those lights and the replacement lamps for those old light stringers are no longer available.
Don’t throw them out.  They are a lifetime supply of bulbs for lighting our railroads!
Those bulbs are rated 2.5Volts.  6 of them in series make them are perfect for our 12 volt Auxiliary Circuit.  Six of them in series give them a rating of 15Volts (6x2.5) which will make them last much longer when operated on 12 volts.  They will burn a little dimmer which is also desirable.
Here is yet another great use for small jars (baby food jars, spice jars, jelly/preserve jars, and some energy drink jars).  Cut a section of 6 of lights from those old Christmas stringers and stuff them into one of the jars.  Run the ends out of holes drilled in the lids.  If you deem necessary to keep the ants out. put a little sealant around the wires.  Put the jars in your layout houses and let the windows shine.
6 light strings can also be hidden under roof, bridges and other areas for accent where they are protected from the weather.
My train yard lights burn about 4-6 hours each night.  After 6-7 years of constant use, I just now needing to start replacing lights.  But I don’t look for the burned out bulb because they are ALL at the end of their life.  I throw away the whole 6-light string and cut a new one out of my old Christmas Light Stockpile.
Super simple, super cheap, and really easy.

A (2):  Another lighting tip - By Ron Trees 
This nifty item was found at a local Costco store:  

You don’t have to use the directional base, and the LED puck lights are great for G-scale model buildings.  You can turn them on and off, as well as change their colors, with the remote control, and they were only $10 for this set of five in the store.  They can be very useful for an indoor seasonal layout you might set up around the holiday season.

The Dining Car

By Kim Lazzari

One of my very first Railroad-themed cookbooks, which I received as a gift, was The Harvey House Cookbook and it has been used many times, with many recipes displaying dog-eared pages containing more tidbits that I still want to try! I consider myself fortunate to have dined at a Harvey establishment some 20+ years ago on Steve's and my roadtrip which I may now refer to as our Engagement Trip. It was the El Tovar Lodge, at Grand Canyon National Park, depicted briefly being robbed by Clark Griswold in the now classic movie Vacation, and we dined there when we road in the beautiful parlor car of the Grand Canyon Railway back in 1994. There are two recipes that I still NEED to try … both pies, of course. The first, Banana Pie, I cannot try until I find a substitution for an unfamiliar/outdated ingredient--and please inform me if it is something you know!! I have never heard of acid syrup, but I'm thinking it may be syrup made with either citrus juice or vinegar, or something only available in the restaurant industry. I love the idea that it is a baked banana pie rather than cream. The other, Scrambled Fruit Pie, I just have not found the time as of yet and I could not experiment with it before this article because my poor oven is dead and I am STILL waiting on its replacement since before Christmas. Those who know me KNOW this is driving me insane. In any case, I am sharing these wonderful recipes that I hope to taste soon. This article was sent to our club late, and I apologize. With the holidays, and my 22nd Anniversary only two days ago, I am behind again! Cheers!
Banana Pie
Acid Syrup
Allspice or ginger
Lemon or Orange Juice
Peel and slice the bananas thin; add sugar, a little butter, some spice, a little acid syrup, and lemon or orange juice. Bake with full cover (top crust) or put on a meringue when done. Another way is to make syrup with ½ pint of water and vinegar, one pound of sugar, and some allspice, and season the bananas with syrup.
Scrambled Fruit Pie
1 cup flour
¼ cup sugar
½ cup margarine
Mix well and pat into an 8-inch square pan Bake in moderate oven (350⁰) for about 20 minutes.
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup dried coconut
2/3 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
½ cup chopped nuts/not peanuts
2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup fruitcake mixture (or any dried fruit cut into small pieces)
Mix all together, spread on the finished crust and bake 15 minutes. It's almost painting the lily, but for gala effect you might top with whipped cream or balls if ice cream.

That's a wrap for our January Newsletter.  I hope to see many of our members at the Plano Winter Train Show on Saturday and Sunday, January 20th and 21st.  Thanks for reading.

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