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


2019 Club Calendar

Aug - 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


Thanks for checking out the August NTGRC Newsletter!  I'm afraid we're past the (relatively) mild weather months we've had here in North Texas in June and July, and are back to the blast furnace we're used to for  August.  But Fall is now just around the corner, so there is hope on the horizon. In any event, read on to catch up on what the Club has been doing in July and early August, and what's planned for the Labor Day weekend and beyond. 

The President’s Car

By Thomas Lytle

First, my personal thanks to our Webmaster and Newsletter editor, Ron Trees.  AGAIN, he has saved us from forgetting to write and submit our news articles to him so he can do his job.  It is my job to remind the Board to write those articles and again I have failed.  So, Ron……. Thank YOU.

Now, below is information to help a fellow club member who is spearheading a project at the Discovery Center at Fair Park.  A quick history lesson.  Our Club, in the past, ran trains at the Discovery Center, then at the feet of Big-Tex and then back at the Discovery Center.  The director of the Discovery Center, Dick Davis, has wanted G Scale trains to return.  The first of the year he contacted us and one of our members, Ron Natinsky, donated his trains and the track that used to highlight his backyard and Koi pond.  I added another 800 feet of stainless-steel track to enhance this effort.

However, large corporations who have pledged money to accomplish this, could not do so under this year’s budget, but their donations are in their 2019-2020 budgets.  So, hopefully, we will see the large water feature take shape this fall and winter.

But Ron and Dick wanted to have some running trains for this year’s State Fair.  Two smaller loops are planned in the Shade Gardens.  One is almost completed and it just needs some minor touches.  The second is well on its way to have trains running on it also.  The power is there, it just needs some connection to the track and a place for an operator to monitor the trains and control them.

Ron wrote the following:

This will help make the trains a huge success which will expose the hobby to many and probably bring in some new club members. The are 3,000,000 people that attend the State Fair each year - that's a bunch of eyes on trains.

TDC (The Discovery Center) needs help before the Fair too. If there are club members that want to help with the construction have them contact me to arrange times. I could use all the various work skills from construction to supervision skills, ha ha.

We have the 2 track layouts started and need more hands to get it completed before the Fair.

Shooting for next Saturday and Sunday with follow-up dates.

Can you get this email out to the club members and interested people email list and have them respond to me at if they are interested and when they could help. Or they can give me a call.

Thanks Ron
Ron Natinsky

Pondering of the Month

This is from a 104-year-old neighbors’ mom that lives in an Independent living home in Longview Texas.

The Home gave her a birthday party and the local TV station interviewed her.  When asked what she attributed her longevity to, she gave this answer without much thought.
“To help my digestion – I drink beer.
In the case of appetite loss, I drink White wine.
In the case of low blood pressure, I drink Red wine.
In the case of high blood pressure, I drink Scotch.
And when I have a cold, I drink Schnapps.”

Then she was asked “When do you drink water?”

“Oh, I have never been that sick!”

What is your Club thinking about?

We are upgrading all of the electronics and power supplies at Clark Gardens.  Currently trains are running on electronics that are about 15 years old, but designed over 25 years ago.  Power supplies are not pure DC (direct current), but pulse wave DC.  That type of power plays havoc with locomotive controller boards and motors.  All systems have been purchased and will be installed as temperatures permits.  Come to the next Board meeting and join in the discussion.  Total for all systems and a backup piece for each different type of equipment was about $2,100.00.  Almost $500 under budget thanks to Pete and JC.


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

August 31st, September 1st Train Run at Clark Gardens Train Festival and Opening Day - Set up August 30th at 1:30 PM No Host dinner following set up at Mesquite Pit.  Clark Gardens Hosted dinner on 31 August for Club members. (RSVP - Let Tom Lytle know if you are attending for a head count) (Best Western Mineral Wells has a $69 per night room rate if you book now.  Last year it went up to $175 two days before the event.   You can always cancel.)

October 19th Train Show, Plano Events Center, One Day, Set up October 18th at 2 PM.  No host dinner to follow at the Bavarian Grill, 221 W Parker Road, Plano, TX on Friday 18 Oct.

November TBD Home Meeting Can you host?

December 8th 4 PM Christmas Gathering Donna Orr and Roger Shank’s home.  Christmas light show to music.  Something to see.  Can we get 100% of our members to attend?  Mark your calendars now!

One Last Item

I have lost many good train club members in the past couple of years.  Some have been harder to say my good-byes to, but one thing most have had in common is they did not leave their spouse or family members and up to date or accurate inventory of their train collection.  Please do not do this to your loved ones.  The club has stepped in to many homes to gather, clean, box and inventory for the surviving spouse or family.  As we are all aging (that’s getting older in years and longer in tooth) (and if you do not know what the last comment means then you are not yet old).  We cannot climb up into attics in the middle of the summer or dead of winter to look for trains and boxes that your trains might go into.

The club has an excel spread sheet with titles that will assist you in gathering the information your family will need to know upon your demise.  Ask the president for a blank copy if you would like to start your accountability.  (You will need your list should your home have issues like a flood, fire, high winds or a tornado for your insurance company)


One (other) last item.  There will be many cars and locomotives available for purchase at Clarks.  Lots of rolling stock (Bachmann, AristoCraft, USAT and LGB) starting at $5.00 and TOP price at $15 to $20.  Various locomotives, both new and gently used starting at $55 and TOP price $175.  USAT, Bachmann, and LGB are known to be involved.  All, run.  What a chance to finish off that freight or passenger train.

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 Vard Moore

We have had two recent meetings, July 21st and Aug 5th.
The first was at the dental offices of Dr. Jon Williamson on Sunday, July 21st. Dr. Williamson, with the assistance of Rusty Wells, have created a wonderful overhead layout that runs throughout the offices. The food was very nice and included a cake train where each car was a small cake. The meeting was attended by 26 members and a guest. Thanks to Jon, Rusty and his wife Carolyn for an usual and creative outing. Some pictures of the event and venue are below.

We had a very successful one-day outing at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth on Monday, August 5th.  We had a great turnout of viewers, thanks in part to flyers produced and set out by Jillian, our point of contact at Cook. We even had a pair of clowns in costume, who come to the hospital to entertain the kids, stop by.

Our layout had plenty of action and featured the circus and train that was also popular when we visited The Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. A short video is on our Facebook page. Here is a still picture.

Members attending included Jeff Boggess, Pete Dahlberg, Paul Gramza and Julie Spencer, Jack and Joyce Huffman, Tom Lytle, Robert Milow, David and Gerry Minna, Vard Moore, Johnny Nelson, and Edi and David St. John. Jeff Boggess provided milk, juice and quite a few donuts. Tom Lytle hauled the trailer. As usual our members showed their youthful vigor and mature wisdom.


The Mail Car

By Pete Dahlberg

Q:  Power supplies and controllers - What voltages work on different scales
  • HO
  • On30
  • O
  • N
  • Z
  • G
Will this used power controller work on my stuff?

What about accessories?  Are voltages different in the different scales?  How many VA do I really need or how many Amperes “Amps”

A:   For track power you have 3 basic options for powering the track: DC, AC or DCC.

3-rail O gauge (Lionel and MTH) engines use AC and typically can accept up to 18 volts. The smaller gauges typically will operate on 12 – 16 volts DC. G gauge typically will accept up to 24 volts DC.

DCC supplies a constant voltage to the track and individual controllers/receivers on each locomotive will translate signals received from the base station into direction, lighting, speed and sounds. Typically in a DCC setup there is a base station which generates the control signals and one or more boosters which will provide the constant voltage to the track. Typically the voltage for the smaller scales is 16 – 18 volts and for G gauge equipment 24 volts. It should be noted that MTH has a proprietary version of DCC called DCS.

To determine if a used power controller will handle equipment you merely need to add up the amperage draw (motors, lights, accessories) which will be operating at the same time and determine whether the amperage capacity of the control unit is greater than the maximum combined load which will be operating. A rule of thumb is that G gauge engines will draw between .5 and 1.5 amps each. Incandescent lamps on cars will typically draw .5 amps per car.

Accessories are typically operated on DC but may require AC. Voltages are typically in the 14 -18 volt range and amperages can vary greatly.

VA or Volt-ampere is merely the product of the voltage and current (ampere). If your power supply is 100va and you are operating at 20 volts, then you will be able to have a current of 5 amps. If you are operating at 10 volts, then you will be able to handle a current of 10 amps.

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.  The intent is for 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.   We started out for the first few months with members of the Board, and then plan to move to other members.  This month we will provide the bio of our newly elected Secretary, Patrick Miller. 

Hello all in the NTGRC. I’m now the new Secretary for the club taking over for Cindy Roerig after her fine work over the past few years. I’m having a bit of a slow start due to some health issues and thank Tom, Ron, and others who are taking up the temporary slack.

I’m originally from California (stop laughing) and retired to North Texas in 2016. Yes, I got here as quick as I could. My wife Donna had lived in Houston many years ago and grew up in Indiana. This makes her immune to the weather that I had to get used to.

After graduating from USC with a B.A. in Telecommunications I went to work for a Los Angeles based Television station. After a year of that I “walked in at the right time” to be hired for a new business. I trained as a “colorist” for a company called Video Duplication Inc. in Hollywood. I started color correcting film for transfer to video for commercials, TV shows and the getting popular Home Video Motion Picture business. Thank God and Sony for VHS (which Sony invented but didn’t think it looked good enough so they created the BETA U-matic system) which people couldn’t wait to buy and take home the most recent theatrical release of their favorite films.

I spent the next 38 years doing this and the last 22 years I worked as a Mastering Colorist for Warner Bros.Studios.

I started, like many people, with a Lionel train set that I got for Christmas in 1962. I loved running that with my favorites the missile launch car and the helicopter launch car. I forget the locos exact model but I loved blowing the whistle with the transformer button and using the little white pills to create smoke. In the mid 60’s I bought a HO train from a friend and did a layout on a 4x8 sheet of plywood. I then got a birthday present of a Kenner building set and the Kenner Monorail that you could attach to the girder buildings with the snap on wall panels. Having those running at the same time was real fun.

I went on to have other hobbies, Amateur radio, model helicopters and airplanes, then my pilot’s license and for a while owned a Cessna 182 with two other friends. Luckily Donna and my kids put up with my fun!

In 2004 at Warner’s I mastered The Polar Express for DVD release. Donna bought me the Lionel version that came out that year for Christmas and it ran around our tree. But I always talked about something bigger and had visited with friends some G scale layouts. I wanted and the next year Donna came through and my first LGB Christmas train cruised around the tree.

Finally in 2014, with friends from the local G scale club and others, I build my first outdoor layout. About 110’ dog bone running in the back yard. I had purchased in 2011 a USA trains GP9 and multiple USA rolling stock and lighted caboose from a store that was closing. Good price and in 2014 it finally got to cruise around my pool.

My layout here in Decatur started at the end of 2017 and the main line was finished 3 days before we hosted the June 2018 club meeting.  Some pictures of my layout are below.

I’m very happy to be a member of NTGRC. I’ve met great people, seen nice layouts, and learned much in the last three years
Enough for now. See you soon at the next event!

That's a wrap for our August Newsletter.  I hope to see many of our members on August 30th for set up and then on August 31st and September 1st for the Train Run at Clark Gardens Train Festival and Opening Day -

As always, thanks for reading.
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