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


2018 Club Calendar

Apr - Scottish Rite Hospital
May - Donna Orr & Roger Shank
Jun - Annual Membership Meeting Patrick & Donna Miller
Jul - Mike Weatherford
Aug - Cook Children's Hospital
Sep - Clark Gardens / Fall Plano Train Show
Oct - Dave and Cindy Valdez
Nov - OPEN
Dec - Christmas Party Lane & Brenda Haviland

2019 Club Calendar

Jan - Plano Winter Train Show

Details at

NTGRC Events Update


We’ve gotten to April, the time of year that Uncle Sam requires us to submit our tax returns for last year.  Hopefully, you’ll get a nice refund so you can spend a little extra on your favorite hobby, but if not, most of us seem to find a way to rationalize the cost of buying that new piece of equipment for our layout anyway.  Read on to find out about the Club’s activities last month, as well as some of the events we’ve got lined up for the future.  Our resident expert on all things trains, Pete Dahlberg, also shares some of his go-to sources for G scale equipment.

The President’s Car

By Thomas Lytle

Hard to believe that I have been back in the state of Texas for over a whole month.  My wife and I hosted a meeting at our house (more on that from Lane), but we had a great turn out.  Just under 35 folks came and enjoyed hearing about DCC (Digital Command Control) from a local company.

For the last two months, I’ve written about what we need to accomplish at Clark Garden’s spring opening to return the train railroad to the masterpiece that it is.  Workers like JC Green, Pete Dahlberg, David and Cindy Valdez, and Mike Pritchett have volunteered their knowledge and time for the last six weeks or so.  Bridges have new supports, trestles have been replaced, and foliage has been trimmed back.  Track has been tested; locomotives repaired (replacement parts ordered and some already installed), power controllers have been cleaned out.  Trains were run on Tuesday, 3 April. All that is left is for the grounds crew to install retaining walls and then our club members show up in force to drop and distribute decomposed granite over the rails.  Once that is completed, FOUR DATES will be sent out.  We will monitor the forecast for inclement weather and, if necessary, cancel (via email) that date.  However, the first date with good weather we will need at least a dozen volunteers to distribute the decomposed granite and brush it into place.  If we do not finish, then the next good weather date will be used to finish the project.   Yours truly will be working on the interior display buildings to convert the incandescent lighting into LED.  That will reduce heat, the amount of electricity used, and the bulbs will last for 10 to 15 years.

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 medical restrictions, but you can sure supervise !!!!!!!!!!!!!!  WATCH THE EMAILS FOR POSTED DATES.

At the June home meeting we will be voting for Board Members for next year.  Be sure to attend the Miller’s home meeting in June.

I am asking members to go to this link and sign the petition to ask AMTRAK to rescind the current ban on taking private cars and charter cars on their routes.  They have been doing this for over 20 years and without notice just stopped.  They have not given any reason.  BTW they charge .57 per mile and a $150 hook up and drop charge.  So, it is not money as it is a real money maker for them.  Private cars are required to be inspected within 45 days of a proposed trip by an authorized inspector/inspection team and issued a certificate of inspection.

I just signed the petition, “Amtrak: Rescind Ban on Charter Trains and Private Car Movements.” I think this is important. Will you sign it too?  Click HERE for the petition.

Thank you in advance
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 to Pete Dahlberg, 4519 Willow Bend, Arlington, TX 76017


April Train Display at Scottish Rite Hospital.  Set up is Sunday afternoon,  April 22nd, 1 PM, run Trains Monday, April 23rd, 7 AM to 2:30/3:00:  2222 Welborn Street, Dallas 75219

May Home meeting - Donna Orr and Roger Shank, Sunday, May 20th, 2 – 4 PM, 2625 Rolling Meadows Drive, Rockwall 75087

June Home meeting - Date & time TBD.  Patrick and Donna Miller’s: 1508 Rodden Dr., Decatur TX 76234

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 had a great meeting at Tom and M’Lou’s home last month.  Large turn out and great food as usual.  A few pictures from the meeting (courtesy of Donna Orr - thanks again Donna!) are below. We had new members join us, Richard and Carolann Blanco.

Our guest speaker was Leonard Siemantel.  Leonard discussed DCC and batteries for model trains.  Leonard is our local repair service for engines.

Had a surprise visit from Mary and William Smith, always love to have them as they brighten up any party.

Sold a bunch of hats, only 3 left so grab one as soon as you can, more at $13.00 each.

This month is the Scottish Rite Hospital show. SET UP is SUNDAY, APRIL 22 AT 1PM AND RUN MONDAY AT 7 AM.  This is for one day.

Bring your rolling stock and join the fun.

Stay on track---Lane

The Mail Car

By Pete Dahlberg

Q:  What are reputable sources for the different G scale manufacturers?

A:  Following are dealers that I have successfully dealt with in the past. This is NOT an inclusive list of all reputable dealers, just those that I go to when I want/need something.

To the best of my knowledge (alphabetically):

eBay – In general this is a “buyer beware” situation, however a number of the hobby shops will have a presence on eBay. One of the earliest adopters of this approach was Al Kramer (ana.kramer) who started on eBay when he had a brick and mortar store (SanVal Trains). Al closed SanVal and now sells primarily off eBay. He does other on-line presences (Al’s Discount Trains and Roll-EZ Wheels). The Favorite Spot is also a significant eBay presence.

Al’s Discount Trains (Roll-EZ Wheels) – this is Al Kramer formerly of SanVal Trains. Al handles USA Trains, Aristocraft (when available), Bachmann, Kadee, Phoenix Sound and his own line of metal wheels (Roll-EZ).

Gold Coast Station – This is a brick and mortar store (2 locations) in California ( They handle primarily LGB, Piko, USA Trains and GCS customs.

Kidman Tree Farm (Reindeer Pass RR) – This is a brick and mortar store in Ankeny, Iowa with a significant on-line presence ( Reindeer Pass has a website which is very similar to the site of RLD Hobbies. The two companies are not related but do share a similar shipping location. They handle Accucraft (including AML and AMS), Bachmann, Bridgewerks, Hartland Locomotive Works, Kadee, LGB, Phoenix Sound, Piko, SplitJaw, USA Trains and Reindeer Pass customs.

Rio Grande Southern Railroad Hobbies – This is a brick and mortar store in Whitewater, Colorado ( They handle Accucraft and Berlyn Locomotive Works. They are primarily a source of 1:20.3 equipment.

RLD Hobbies – This is a brick and mortar store in Albion, Illinois with a significant on-line presence ( RLD (Robbie Dascott) has a website which is very similar to the site of Reindeer Pass. The two companies are not related but do share a similar shipping location. Robbie handles Accucraft (including AML and AMS), Bachmann, Bridgewerks, Hartland Locomotive Works, Kadee, LGB, Phoenix Sound, Piko, SplitJaw,  USA Trains and RLD customs.

Star Hobby – This is a brick and mortar store in Annapolis, Maryland ( They handle Bachmann, LGB and USA Trains.

The Favorite Spot – This is a brick and mortar store in Ponder, Texas (west of Denton) with an on-line presence ( They handle Bachmann and some Piko equipment.

TrainLi – This is a brick and mortar store in Reno, Nevada with a significant on-line presence ( They handle LGB as well as Trainli customs.
TrainWorld – This is a brick and mortar store in NYC with a significant on-line presence ( They handle all scales but the “G” manufacturers include Bachmann, LGB, MRC, MTH, Piko, Pola, and SplitJaw.

That wraps up this month’s newsletter.  I hope to see many of our members at Scottish Rite Hospital next week.  It’s always rewarding to see the enjoyment the children (as well as the adults on the staff) have as they watch our train display.  Thanks for reading.

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