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


2019 Club Calendar

Jun - Annual Meeting - Lane & Brenda Haviland
Jul - Work session - Discovery Gardens
Aug - Cook's Childrens Hospital/
National Garden Railway Convention/
Clark Gardens Festival
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


Welcome to the May newsletter!  I’ve always viewed May as a transition month between the end of Spring and the beginning of our nice long, hot Texas Summer.  The month starts of course with May Day, observed on May 1st each year, which marks the halfway point between the first day of Spring and the Summer solstice.  May Day dates back to the days of the Romans and involved many pagan rituals and ancient customs which were slowly phased out with the arrival of Christianity. Festivals, dances, and rituals related to agriculture and fertility were practiced by many Germanic and European countries.   On the last Monday in May, we celebrate Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor those who died in our Nation's service.  The original name for the holiday was Decoration Day, and it was originally started to commemorate the deceased of the Civil War.  Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5th, 1868 and was first observed on May 30th, 1868.  Most people now view Memorial Day as the unofficial start of Summer.

This May is also special to train enthusiasts because if was 150 years ago on May 10th, 1869 that the ceremonial final “golden spike” was driven by Leland Stanford to join the rails of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States, connecting the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory.  For the 1869 ceremony, Union Pacific No. 119 and Central Pacific No. 60 (better known as the Jupiter) locomotives were drawn up face-to-face on Promontory Summit.  For this year's ceremony to honor the occasion, it was estimated that more than 38,000 people from throughout the United States and six countries attended events related to the Golden Spike 150 celebration at Promontory Summit on and around May 10 of this year.  Club members Gary and Glenda Vigen and Johnny Nelson (below) were there to represent the club with some great smiles and photos, and have promised to provide the Newsletter a writeup of their experiences of the event for a future edition.

It’s been a busy month for the Club, so read on to find out about April’s home meeting, the train run this month at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, the upcoming annual meeting where we’ll elect new Board members, and Pete’s column about the different scales involved in the G scale lineup.  

The President’s Car

By Thomas Lytle

We had a Wonderful Meeting in April

Gerry and David Minna opened up their home to a wonderful weather day and a really enjoyable train display.  Gerry out did herself with a wonderful lunch.  Sandwiches looked so good I actually talked a member into cutting off a bite to share as they are off my diet list and my wife was not around.  Desserts were also great (well, I looked at them and I think just by looking I gained weight).  David had his trains running on a raised track - I thought it was unique the way he did it.  Being new to outdoor trains (just 10 years now), I had never seen it done this way.  Super idea and it looked easy to do.  He was using NCE DCC to control his trains and track.  He has done a wonderful job - super system to use in lieu of lots of brick and dirt to raise up that track.  A few pictures of the meeting are below.

The door prize was taken home by the same person who won the door prize last month - Joyce Huffman took home a USAT Intermodal Carrier.  (I think there is hanky-panky going on here with a rigged drawing.  I have asked Mr. Barr, the Attorney General, to look into it.  If he appoints a special investigator, we get to the bottom of it in, oh 24 to 30 months.)

On May 4th, several Club members, including Pete Dahlberg, Thomas and M’Lou Lytle, Johnny and Chris Nelson, and Ron & Peggy Trees attended the meeting of the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in Cedar Park, TX.   There was a short 50-minute meeting at 8:30 AM and then a bus ride to Bertram, TX where we boarded a train with a private car for the Friends members from Bertram to Burnett, TX, where lunch was provided.  Following lunch, we again boarded the train for the return to Bertram, and then the bus ride back to Cedar Park.  It was a great experience and the Friends group plays a critical role in continuing  their efforts to preserve, restore and interpret the Cumbres & Toltec.  A few pictures of the event are below.

Pondering of the Month

A recent study found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than men who mention it.
This is repeated because you may have missed reading this last month

Calling on ALL Members.  It is that time to elect board members.  We elect 50% of our board every year.  Those elected are ONLY elected to the board, not a position.  Once the full board convenes, various positions will be assigned.  (New/old members not in attendance get the hard jobs.)

Haviland, Lytle and Roerig terms end this year.  Cindy Roerig has notified the board she will not seek re-election. (This is a great opportunity to get rid of the other two old coots as well)

Greenlee, Nelson, Trees & Dahlberg terms expire in 2020.

We need you to step forward and offer you name on the ballot for 2019. 

Elections will be held June 9th at the Annual Meeting.


JUNE 9th – 2:00 PM: ANNUAL HOME MEETING Lane and Brenda Haviland Home - 302 Bluff Ridge Rd, Weatherford, TX 76087. Click HERE for a map.

August 27th - 30th, - 35th NATIONAL GARDEN RAILWAY CONVENTION, Portland, OR.  Will you be there? Or will you be at Clark Gardens?

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:

This is just a filler from Thomas Lytle for our esteemed 1st VP, Lane Haviland, for our newsletter.

On May 20 – 21, we ran trains at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas.  Set up was about 2 ½ hours on Sunday, May 19th, with a great turnout of members to assist.

Monday morning came early with the first arrivals of children at 7 AM.  Yes, 7 AM.  As the kids arrived for scheduled therapy and surgery, 16 trains were running on 9 loops to greet them.  The same happened on Tuesday.  We ran the trains until after 3 PM on Monday and until 2:15 PM on Tuesday.  We were packed up and the last of us were on the road home by 3:35 PM.

Biggest hits were the circus diorama and circus trains (we had two circus trains running); Of course, Thomas and his friends; then came the 3-train chase.  Yes, 3 trains on the same loop.  That was fun.  I only remember two rear end collisions.  Lots of lights and action.  One young lady had a really good time giving her unipony (as we called it; a small blue unicorn) a ride in the open gondolas of the passing freight trains.

Sad part of the days was that no one slept.  All were afraid of the DNR signage and having their picture in this issue of our newsletter.

Fun was the understatement for all.  The staff asked us to stay another day and the board discussed doing so, however the space was booked for another event this year.  So, the board approved a 3-day run next year.  We will set a date and set up on Sunday, then run trains Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 7 AM to 2 PM daily.

Sunday the set-up group had a no host dinner at El Bolero on Oak Lawn.  Food was modestly priced and excellent.  Most of us had breakfast at the Crayon cafeteria on Monday and Tuesday and Scottish Rite hosted us to lunch each day.

Thank YOU!!!!  David and Gerry Minna; Pat Miller; Paul and Jill Gramza; Mike Pritchett; Jack and Joyce Huffman; Vard Moore; Pete Dahlberg; Edi and David St. John; Thomas Lytle, Cindy and David Valdez (brought us our trailer and took it back home - double thank you); Ron Trees; and Jerry Raskin.  I hope that I did not forget anyone, if I have, I am sorry.

Stay on track---Lane (via Thomas)

The Mail Car

By Pete Dahlberg

Q:  What manufacturers do what different scales in the G scale lineup?  Both now and those that are defunct?

A:   To the best of my knowledge (alphabetically):

Accucraft (including subsidiaries AML and AMS) does both 1:20.3 and 1:32. The 20.3 scale is to represent narrow (3 ft.) gauge trains on gauge 1 track and the 32 scale is to represent standard (4’-8.5”) on gauge 1 track. They additionally do 1:19 and 1:13.7 which represent European industrial / narrow gauge trains. Accucraft does live steam locomotives in addition to electric power. Accucraft produces very detailed models in limited runs which are not reproduced. Needless to say they are expensive.

Aristocraft (no longer in existence) produced primarily in 1:29. Their equipment represented standard gauge trains from approximately the 1930s to 1970s (steam and diesel). Their equipment had a reasonable amount of detail and was reasonably priced.

Aster produced fine scale brass models in the late 1990s for LGB including some live steam. There were some live steam in addition to electric power. Because they produced for LGB, there may have been some tweaking of scale to make them run on the gauge 1 track.
Bachmann has two major lines of gauge 1 trains. The first is the “Big Hauler” line which is approximately 1:24 scale. These trains have limited detail and are relatively inexpensive. To my knowledge there is only one locomotive which is a 4-6-0. There are two models one of which the “Anniversary” or “Annie” has more detail and is slightly more expensive. The second line is the “Spectrum” line which is 1:20.3. The Spectrum line has done a series of narrow gauge geared locomotives; Shays; Climax; and Heisler. Additionally they have done a K-27 which was a common narrow gauge engine in Colorado and an early center cab diesel. The Spectrum line has a good amount of detail but not as much as Accucraft. The Spectrum line is more expensive than the Big Hauler line but not as expensive as Accucraft.
Berlyn Locomotive Works built 1:20.3 models of selected Colorado narrow gauge trains. There were very limited numbers of each train built. Their level of detail was equivalent to Accucraft and pricing was equivalent.
Delton Locomotive Works was one of the very early manufacturers for large scale. Their equipment was approximately 1:24 scale and represented late 1880s style trains. They made a C-16 (2-8-0) steam engine as well as a railbus. To my eye the C-16 was smaller than the LGB Mogul which would have been an equivalent engine. Delton’s level of detail was adequate and prices were reasonable. When Delton went out of business its tooling was acquired by Aristocraft and in particular the C-16 and railbus continued to be marketed by Aristocraft.
Hartland Locomotive Works was another of the early manufacturers. Their scale was approximately 1:24 although they did not really try to model too many prototypes. They are still in business. Their notable products were some interurban and trolleys. A unique factor is that they are still manufactured in the US.
Kalamazoo Trains was another of the early manufacturers. Like Delton their scale was approximately 1:24. When they went out of business, their tooling was acquired by Delton.
LGB was the original large scale manufacturer. They have indicated that the scale of their equipment is 1:22.5 which represents European narrow/meter gauge. LGB has stated that when they build equipment they want it to run on the smallest curve that they make (R1 ~ 24”) and that it must have the proper “look”. What this means is that LGB equipment is close to scale but they are NOT trying for true scale. LGB primarily makes European prototype equipment but has made some successful American style equipment albeit not necessarily to a specific prototype. It should be noted that LGB started with their manufacturing in Germany but eventually moved production to China. They are in the process of moving their manufacturing back to Germany / Eastern Europe.
Marklin is another manufacturer that started early although they are perhaps best known for smaller gauges including Z. They did manufacture some “Gauge 1” equipment (1:32) but this was primarily of European prototype. When LGB went through their first bankruptcy, Marklin purchased the LGB lines and continued the LGB lines. Marklin itself went through a bankruptcy several years after the initial LGB bankruptcy. The Marklin lines including LGB were then purchased by a private German toy manufacturer. That company is continuing both the LGB and Marklin lines albeit with smaller selections of equipment. To date the new company has issued very few American prototype equipment.
MDC was another of the early manufacturers. They indicated that their equipment was approximately 1:24 scale. They had a limited selection of freight cars with not a lot of detail. I believe they also had several models of diesel locomotives. I believe they went out of business.
Piko is a German manufacturer which is relatively new to the large scale train market. It should be noted that they have been manufacturing buildings and building kits for large scale for years and have been manufacturing smaller scale trains also. They do not indicate what scale their equipment is although it appears to be similar in size and profile to LGB. They appear to follow European prototypes primarily but do have a fair number of US prototype equipment. It appears that like LGB they do take liberties with proportions to make it look good. It appears that the Piko equipment is moderately priced and a large number of the engines come with sound. If the engines sound as good as the sample sounds on the Piko website this may be a benefit.
Polk’s Next Generation (PNG) is the successor to Aristocraft. When Aristocraft went out of business, the son of the Aristocraft president created PNG. To date PNG has issued only items which were previously manufactured for Aristocraft but not shipped from China. Presumably the scale is 1:29. PNG has now gone out of business.
REA was another of the early manufacturers. They did indicate that their scale was 1:24, however when they went out of business their lines were acquired by Aristocraft and continued to be made. I am unaware if Aristocraft made any adjustments to the size of the equipment to match their (Aristocraft) 1:29 scale.
Ro Trains / USA Trains came into existence about the same time as Aristocraft. Like Aristocraft, they were an answer to modelers wanting American prototype trains in addition to the few being offered by LGB. USA Trains has 3 major lines. The “American series” is 1:24 and is manufactured entirely in the US. The American series only has American prototype freight cars which have a fair amount of user applied detail parts. The “Ultimate series” is 1:29 and is manufactured in China and the US. This series has not only American prototype freight cars, but also streamlined passenger cars and diesel engines. All of the Ultimate series come with metal wheels and have a large amount of detail. The third series is the “Prestige series” and like the Ultimate series is 1:29. The Prestige series consists of die cast locomotives (3 steam and a GG1 electric). All are highly detailed and expensive. USAT has announced a new Prestige steam engine (FEF3 or 4-8-4) and a set of Ultimate Heavyweight passenger cars for delivery scheduled in 2019.

That’s about it for this month’s newsletter.  One final item to make you aware of though – it seems that one of the long-time retailers supporting G-scale modeling, Split Jaw Products, will be closing in November of 2019, although the last day to order some of their products is as early as August 1st.  Below is their ad which appeared in the Summer, 2019 edition of Garden Railways magazine:

The Club will be getting our last orders in for some of their products, so order soon if you need any items.  They will surely be missed by G-scale enthusiasts!

I hope to see many of our members at Lane and Brenda’s home for our annual meeting on June 9th, where we’ll be electing new Board members.  This is your chance to elect the people who will be representing you and your interests in running the Club for the next year, so please be there or provide your vote.

Thanks for reading.
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