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


2018 Club Calendar

Oct - Dave and Cindy Valdez
Nov - Thomas & M'Lou Lytle
Dec - Christmas Party Lane & Brenda Haviland

2019 Club Calendar

Jan - Plano Winter Train Show
Feb - Home Meeting TBD
Mar - Thomas & M'Lou Lytle
Apr - Scottish Rite Train Run
May - Cumbres Toltec Texas Visitation
Jun - Annual Meeting TBD
Jul - Home Meeting TBD
Aug - Cook's Childrens Hospital/
National Garden Railway Convention/
Clark Gardens Festival
Sep - Fall Plano Train Show
OctHome Meeting TBD

Nov - Possible Scottish Rite Frisco
Dec - Christmas Party

Details at

NTGRC Events Update


Welcome to the October Newsletter!  With the recent changes in our North Texas weather, it feels like we're finally getting into the Fall season.  As usual though, the Club has not let weather deter us, and has been busy with the Fall Plano Train Show.    Read on to find out about recent Club events as well as updates on upcoming activities.

The President’s Car

By Thomas Lytle

Make A Wish

Lane will cover the Fall Plano Show in his column below.  However, we as a club, want to thank Mike Pritchett for stepping up for a young boy in the “MAKE A WISH” program.  Angel lives in Amarillo with his mom, Gabriella and dad Santino.  Angel is about 9 and has had numerous brain surgeries.  His wish was to ride a train, but the next best thing was a visit to the Plano Train Show.  Mike presented Angel with numerous “train” items and a club hat.  Angel received a GOLD Rail Spike; a rail yard safety vest; a UP safety jacket; a limited-edition HO scale rail passenger car in traditional UP colors (only available through a UP employee). He was thrilled as he got to ‘drive’ one of our trains on the layout.  After the train show, he and his family went to the Cowboy game.  So, it was nice that he got to see his favorite team win on their home turf. Does not happen often.  Below is a picture of Angel and Gabriella with Mike and me at the Plano show.

Friends of the CUMBRES & TOLTEC

Yes, the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec is coming to Austin on 4 May 2019.  In 2013, Tim and his presentation came to Rusk, Texas.  That is where I first heard about how the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec support the 64-mile scenic railroad.  It is why I joined the group and also why a couple of our members go out in June and July to the work sessions every year.  Our club has voted to support this valuable organization.  In 2013, they did a 55-minute presentation, fed us a terrific Texas style BBQ of brisket, BBQ chicken, sausage, chicken and beef fajitas, sides of corn on the cob, BBQ beans, and cole slaw, finished by peach cobbler with ice cream.  The end of the afternoon was a special steam locomotive driven train ride and 3 run-byes, with a visit to the oldest working steam powered turn-a-round in Texas.

The location and time for this May, 2019 event is yet to be announced.  Let us go as a large group from the best Club in Texas.

New Items

Here are some new items I thought you all might be interested in.  We are not promoting either of these items.  They are presented for informational purposes only.

38501 Clean Machine Track Cleaning Loco, incl. 4 Cleaning Shoes
With the “Clean Machine “version of the GE 25-Ton diesel, PIKO introduces a completely new concept in track cleaning. Common household rechargeable batteries provide extensive running time.
Track cleaning operation is simple - just turn it on and let it run around the layout till even heavily oxidized track is polished clean. Once the Clean Machine has cleared the way, track-powered locos can run smoothly!
The loco is equipped with a power switch on the bottom of the chassis that can easily be reached while the loco is on the track. The switch controls Forward, Stop and Reverse. This makes it easy to run two Clean Machines coupled back-to-back for even faster track cleaning. The Clean Machine is exclusively powered by 6 ‘AAA ‘batteries (not included - high-capacity rechargeable cells are recommended), which provide up to two hours of running time for cleaning even large layouts. The front “radiator panel “of the engine hood opens for easy access to the quick-change battery clip.

35416 Track Cleaning Shoes, 2 Sets
Package of 4 cleaning shoes with very long-lasting, highly-effective mesh cleaning pads. Clever Snap-On / snap-off installation makes changing cleaning shoes quick and easy, with no tools or disassembly required.


As you may have heard, Marc Horovitz, founder and longtime editor of Garden Railways Magazine has been fired. Kalmbach Publishing has decided to change Garden Railways from six issues per year to four issues. The magazine will also be reduced in size (number of pages, not physical size). A lot of folks are dropping their subscriptions and many are predicting the demise of the magazine.
Sadly, this greatly reduces available published content and information for Garden Railroaders. There is, however, another resource available.
Model Railroad Hobbyist is a free online magazine serving the model railroad hobby. It is an all-scale magazine. At present, it does not have a lot of Garden Railway content, however, many of the articles can be adapted to G-gauge operations. They are interested in more Garden Railroad content. I would like to encourage you to publicize this magazine and suggest folks submit Garden Railroad content for publication.
Model Railroad Hobbyist is published weekly. You can get more information at They also have a nice weekly video program called TrainMasters TV which is available on a subscription basis. More info is at
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.   Mail your dues to Pete Dahlberg, 4519 Willow Bend, Arlington, TX 76017.


October 21st - Home meeting at Dave and Cindy Valdez's train and plane stop, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM. 129 Hidden Valley Airpark, Shady Shores, TX 76208. Bring your mosquito spray, they are bad this time of the year.

November 4th - Home meeting 4:00 PM at M’Lou and Tom Lytle’s home, 2524 Willowdale Drive, Carrollton, TX 75006.  A special presentation by our guests from Clark Gardens: Executive Director Carol and her husband Mark Montgomery and Garden owner Max and his bride Beverly Clark.

May 4th, 2019 - Cumbres & Toltec meeting in Austin Texas

August 27th - 30th, 2019 - 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., and Thomas Lytle

Howdy Folks:

We had a great Train Run at the Fall Plano Train Show September 29 - 30th.  We started on Friday afternoon setting up and we did it in almost record time.  The trailer arrived and was unloaded in the blink of an eye. People stepped forward and took charge of different areas; outside loop; inside loop; over & under; 3 rail siding; criss-cross track laying; power controllers; buildings; trees and finally the little munchkins.
Most members reassembled at the Bavarian Grill for a wonderful meal. (Did anyone else have the wild venison schnitzel?  Wow, so good).  Five more joined us there that could not make the setup because of lame excuses of things like making a living and working at a job.  Thanks to Jurgen Mahneke (club member) for the discount on the meal.  Wes did a super job; all the meals were hot.  And we only had a short delay of a goulash which was remedied in short order.
Two days of running trains.  Lots of members got more time than they thought as we had open slots and trains breaking down.  Gee just like the real-world trains! Below are some photos from the run.

The came tear down.  Right at 4:00 PM all the room became silent as the trains were stopped.  People flooded the area and we were packed up ready to depart for home in record time.  We closed the back door to the trailer, took a group photo (below) at 5:02 PM.  One hour and two minutes from the time the trains fell silent.  Wow. (Now we just have to wait until January 18th when we open the trailer back doors to set up again to find it all on the floor in a huge heap.)  Just kidding (I hope!)

I would like to thank the following for joining us and all the help, work and assistance they gave to each other:  Frank Corcoran, Pete Dahlberg, Paul Gramza, JC Greenlee, Lane & Brenda Haviland, Jack & Joyce Huffman, John Kersey, Thomas & M’Lou Lytle, Thom Maier, Wayne & Dick Meyer, Patrick Miller, Gerry & David Minna, Johnny Nelson, Donna Orr & Roger Shank, Jim Pipkin, Mike & Brandy Pritchett, Ryan Reed, Cindy Roerig, Allie & Ryan Rosa, Shel Travis, Ron Trees, David & Cindy Valdez, PJ Vicknair, Mike Weatherford, and past member Russ Foster.  I would like to add a thanks to Lori Gouge and her mother (Ryan Reed’s grandmother) for bringing Ryan to his first Plano Show.  I think he really enjoyed it and I know they did (they went to a Spa treatment on Sunday).
We had one member pay his dues for next year and one person join us - Joshua Chlapek and his wife Beth and daughter Katy.  We also had two people who were really interested and I hope we will hear from them soon.

Finally, I recently found this list of repair shops if anyone is interested in passing on.

Last, I ordered more Club hats, and hope to have them available at our next meeting at Dave and Cindy Valdez's home on October 21st.
Stay on track---Lane

The Mail Car

By Pete Dahlberg and Thomas Lytle

Q: I’ve been asked to help dispose of some trains that are no longer wanted or needed. How do I do that?

A: Our club is approached many times throughout the year on selling trains.  Trains that were their Dad’s trains; trains that were their uncle’s trains, or brother’s, husband’s and yes sometimes sadly, their son’s trains.  We are sensitive that most come with memories of the loved one that owned them.  Yes, most are G scale, but sometimes there will be Lionel, American Flyer, and HO scales. As part of the club mission we try to help all of those that come to us with information on the various ways to sell their locomotives, rolling stock, and accessories.  Most have no idea about trains or how to approach selling them.

This article is based upon a document that is sent via email, fax, or sometimes text messaging. 

The first step is to determine exactly what you have to sell.  Family members should take out those pieces that they would like to keep for memories or seasonal displays.  The rest need to be inventoried.  We supply a blank, but labeled, Excel spreadsheet to assist in doing this inventory.

The second step is to determine the condition of the items.  If the family is close by or if there are items that we know Club members are looking for, we will visit the family and help them assess the condition of their train sets.  We have seen the spectrum of new-in-box to cardboard cartons with pieces of the units in them.

If we cannot visit the items, without detailed pictures we will assume that they are in average condition.  Sometimes, they are worse and sometimes they are better than average condition.  We do this, and explain to the family member selling the train sets and trains that older trains do not appreciate in value like fine china, or antiques.  The price is based upon what the market will bear.  A hot item will draw a higher price than an item that is plentiful and may not sell at all.  Unfortunately, most of the time families have a super high expectation of a high price.  Fights among family members are not uncommon, so we try to stay out of that infighting.  We try to be a guiding influence only.

We explain that there are companies that will come and buy the whole lot.  We supply their names.  We also will tell them that they only pay about 40% of the current market valve.  Why - because they may or may not have seen the items.  Usually, they have one or two people they trust in larger cities that will go look at the items.  But not always.  Some pay to have them shipped to them, and some do not.  Boxing up those items is always on the seller.

If it is a G scale train set, we also explain that there is a fairly new website of G scale enthusiasts, and that if they list the items there, they can be contacted directly by a person interested in the item.
There are also individuals who will take the items and sell them on eBay for them.  Again, it is up to the family member to get those items to the eBay seller.  Either drive them over or mail them to the eBay specialist.  Again, she/he will attempt to sell them on eBay, which is an auction, and will keep up to 60% of the selling price. Why do they keep so much?  Well, they take up to 6 pictures of each item, write up the condition and the description, box the item for shipping (if it sells) and they have to pay shipping, a fee to eBay and a fee to PayPal for using their services.  The family member has to determine the lowest amount they will take for an item.  This is where we will have hopefully supplied a fair market price for the item that the family member can compare with the amount the eBay seller thinks they can get for it on the auction site.
Of course, the family member can do all of the above with eBay.  It is time consuming and shipping each item in a timely manner sometimes conflicts with their full-time job.  But it can be done.

Sometimes there may be something that might require moving the complete train set in a hurry.  (The house is sold and closing date is approaching; money is needed for expenses; family members do not live in the area; etc.)  Whatever the reason, occasionally two or more Club members will purchase the entire lot of train equipment and then try to resell it to other Club members or whoever they can.  However, again, their money is now tied up in the items, sometimes for long periods of time.  In addition, sometimes locomotives do not run.  They might have been stored in attics, barns, garages, or hangers for long periods of inactivity.  High heat, like in Texas, takes its toll on moving parts, especially gear boxes of motors where grease might have solidified or just hardened.  That means opening up the gear boxes, dissolving the hardened grease, and replacing it with a synthetic grease, and also oiling all moving parts, journals, and wheel bearings with a synthetic oil.

When a list is sent and a monetary amount put with each item or an amount for the whole lot, family members may think it is too low.  We understand that and we are NOT in the resale business.  Our mission is to advise them.  We do that at no charge.  We also will publish a list of items to our members, if the family members approve, to see if any member is interested in purchasing an item or items directly from the family member.  Again, we do this at no charge to either the family or the Club member.  In the past we have even sent the train set list to other clubs, if they are close to the items being sold.  We do not broadcast the items to ALL G scale clubs however.

To advise a family, is again, we believe, part of our mission.  We are here to assist where we can.

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 two members of our club and publish a mini bio on what that member would like others in the club to know about them. The following is the format of what we would ask you to share with us:
  • Where are you from and how long have you been in North Texas?
  • What do you do for a living? If you are retired what was your claim to fame?
  • How long have you been into G Scale or Garden Railroading?
  • Have you done other scales? If so, what scale: Z N HO On3 Large Scale?
  • What is your favorite Railroad? Why? If you don’t have one, is there a particular type of locomotive that you like or a certain time period that you like?
  • Are you into all brands or are you into specific brands: LGB, Pico, Aristocraft, Bachmann or ???
  • Do you currently have a layout that you would want to share with us? Pictures etc., or a small story about it.
  • As we have our home meetings where we see each other’s layouts could you take some pictures that we could post before coming to your house?
  • Anything else that you would like to share with us?
  • Any advice that you might pass along that would help us with our layouts?
  • Last but not least, we would like to see anything that you might be working on that you want to share with the club.
Okay there you have the format.  If each of you would write something about you we will get it into the newsletter in the coming months. The more that share, the more we will have to put in this section. I am going to start out for the first few months on members of the board, and then move to other members.  We will start with Tom Lytle and me, JC Greenlee - one old member and one new.  Next month I will ask for a write up of Lane Haviland and Johnny Nelson.
Here is Thomas Lytle’s Bio - Our President

I am from Glendale California. I spent winters in Mammoth Lakes and summers in Newport Beach, though our family was not wealthy by any means. I am married to a wonderful wife, M’Lou with two great kids. Russell 38, employed by Verizon, who with one other person, controls the call centers worldwide and the NOC (National Operation Control - fiber optic traffic from city to city). Russ lives in Denton. My daughter, M’Lee 34, is the mother of my two grand kids (Charlotte 3 ½ and Zachary 5 ½). She is a Speech Pathologist and lives in Spring Texas (Houston area).
I came to Texas in 1966, via Uncle Sam for pilot training at Fort Wolters (Mineral Wells) at the Primary Helicopter Training Center. I returned to Texas briefly in 1977 to 1980 for an assignment at Fort Hood, Texas and to attend the University to complete my bachelor’s and a master’s degree (thank you Uncle Sam and the US taxpayers).  Upon my retirement from the military in December of 1988, my family and I returned to Texas and we have been here ever since.
I am retired from the military and also had 11 to 12 years in the corporate life. In 2001 I started to substitute at NSHS and found early on that babysitting high schoolers was not my thing. So, I approached various science and math teachers and started teaching during the days they were gone. The word quickly spread, that I would teach during the teacher’s absence and my services were booked weeks in advance of a teacher’s absence.
I entered G scale (garden railroading) in 2010. My wife wanted me to install a loop around my home office. I had Lionel as a child and knew I did not want that because back then you had to pull apart the track a couple of times every four to six weeks due to osmosis of the metals (steel and aluminum). My son and I did the HO thing, but we sold that when he started middle school and I knew that HO was too small to see at 7 feet from the floor. At the Plano Train show someone said I needed to go see “the BIG trains” in the far back room. I did. I talked with a couple of members and decided that this was what I needed. I mean, indoor, and outdoor, and I would only run my train indoors, so “no maintenance.”  Pete Dahlberg and others still laugh at that statement today. Thank goodness most of the people I said that in front of have either moved, died, or their memory has failed. Pete however, has a great memory and will not let me forget it.  I joined for one year - just to learn how to install my little loop properly. Then the club went to Cook’s Children’s Hospital and a patient there ripped my heart out. Before this I was not “into” trains and not sure I really wanted to be “into” trains. But after Cook’s, I knew that I wanted to further this hobby to ALL kids of ALL ages. Been in it ever since.
I love doing the ‘heavy-weight era’ and the ‘stream-liner era’. I learned early on that there were “purists” when I was told not only not to run my ATSF heavy-weights, but to take them off the track at a Union Pacific corporate day train run. Shoot, I thought trains are trains. Nope, there are even rivet counters and another lesson I learned on freight trains (especially the older ones with steam locomotives) is that there is a certain order the cars must be in for safety. OK, so I was on my way to learning about trains.
Early on I did all brands of trains, but quickly learned there are ‘cheap’ trains and there are ‘better’ trains and there are ‘exceptional’ trains. So, I have settled into a comfort zone of LGB and USAT, with a couple of special highly detailed or coumarate units.
I have no outdoor layout, but only a single loop with two dead-end sidings and one passing siding. I run my train while working on my computer and running this club and other organizations I am affiliated with at this time (MOAA Military Officers Association of America, MOWW Military Officers of the World Wars, Honor Flight Dallas-Fort Worth and Patriot Paws, service dogs for first responders and veterans, and Food 4 Kids through the North Texas Food Bank) (Write me a check for any of these wonderful organizations and I will take it. They are all 501(c) 3 organizations though the last three are the best of the five.)
As your President, we have grown the Club in membership, BUT I would like to see the following: Grow more members that live in the west (we used to be heavy in the east, then we were heavy in members to the west and now it has shifted back to the east again); more female members; more younger members (we are greying in membership and if we do not get younger members into trains and especially into the Club, the hobby will die out as will the Club).  And last but not least, get our members that are currently members more active. At least once or twice a year. AND not just at our Christmas get together. Bring in kids, grand-kids, great grand-kids, and neighborhood kids to our train runs.
Tell your board members what you would like to see different or changes to be made. Better yet, come attend a board meeting or two or three or all of them. They’re held on the 4th Tuesday of the month, currently at the Spring Creek BBQ off of Bedford road, BUT we might be moving to Spring Creek BBQ at 183 and Hi-way 360 once construction is over.
J C (Charlie) Greenlee Bio – Board Member

I was born in Ysleta, Texas which was annexed by El Paso, Texas as they expanded. I am married to my High School Sweetheart and have 2 boys: Jimmy (52) who works at AT&T and has my grandson Charles, and my other son Brian who lives in Henderson, Nevada and is a manager for a Home Health Group.
We moved to North Texas when we retired from the box business 4 years ago to be nearer our son and grandson that live in White Settlement.  We live out in Hudson Oaks which is on the east side of Weatherford.
I was raised on a farm where we planted, hoed, watered, and picked cotton. Had a few gardens and farm animals also. I went to work on the Southern Pacific as a clerk which meant there was about 30 different jobs we did and at the same time had a painting contracting business in the day. After this I worked for the Santa Fe as a telegrapher and worked at most of the cities in New Mexico. I worked in the railroad business for 25 years and gave it up and went into the manufacturing of boxes business. I worked for Stone Container, Smurfit Stone Container, and Green Bay container. I was a packaging engineer and along the way got a couple of patents for some of the ideas that I developed. My last job was for Green Bay Packaging where we (Sharon and I) moved from Seattle where I had put in a design facility for Stone to take care of Costco and started a plant from scratch. When we retired she was the office manager and I was the Territory Manager and we had helped to create a 35-million-dollar facility that we are proud of.
One of the hobbies that I have been in for years was R/C boats. I built scale ships mainly tugboats and one aircraft carrier. Raced R/C gas boats around the southwest and raced R/C sailboats. Still belong to a group that sails over at White Rock lake.
Over the years I have been in different types of hobbies. I have built a couple of HO layouts, one N scale layout that drove me nuts, an O scale layout and am now into G Scale. I just started in G scale when I joined the club last year so I could learn from Pete, Mike, and Tom and others what not to buy and what to do in building your layout. The long-range plan is to have one outdoor layout, hopefully a 17 by 40 or there about. I am also going to put a loop inside the shop so I can have a place to test stuff out on. The era that I look at is generally the 40s and 50s so that you have steam along with diesels. I like the older style passenger cars and different freight cars. I enjoyed my time when I worked at the SP so that is my favorite railroad but I am mainly looking at doing most of my stuff from the Colorado area. I like the galloping goose, the railbuses and the shorter type equipment that was used in that area.
Right now I have some Bachmann, Piko, and LGB - mostly LGB because it seemed like it might be easier to get parts for maybe??
Below is a picture of my layout area.

I bought a utility cover, pictured below, from Lowe’s for $89 that looks like it might make a good mountain when I get buildings. It’s made of high impact plastic and I plan to put a tunnel through it.  Also, I have bought some stuff from the Hot Wire Foam Factory so that I can try building some different things to see how it would hold up.

Until the next station.- JC Greenlee

Unfortunately, I have to close with a sad note to pass along.  Former Club Vice President Steve Lazzari and his wife Kim, editor of our Dining Car column, who moved out of the North Texas area last year, were in a Jeep wreck early Saturday morning, October 6th.  Kim is mostly OK with a broken left arm and is home, but Steve however broke his pelvis, every rib, left arm, many bones in his spine and both shoulders. He says every movement hurts, every cough is a nightmare, and walking is not possible.  He was hospitalized for a week and was then transferred to Encompass Health Rehab in Round Rock, TX.  He expects to be there at least 2 weeks. He still can’t walk or even barely move but the Rehab facility specializes in physical and occupational rehab, so hopefully he will be able to go home in a couple of weeks.  We wish Steve and Kim a full and speedy recovery and ask that you please keep them both in your thoughts and prayers!

That completes our October Newsletter.  I hope to see many of our members this Sunday, October 21st, at Dave and Cindy Valdez's home from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM. 129 Hidden Valley Airpark, Shady Shores, TX 76208..

Thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2018 North Texas Garden Railroad Club, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp