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


2019 Club Calendar

Oct -  Fall Plano Train Show
Nov - Discovery Gardens
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
Oct -  Fall Plano Train Show

Nov - Home Meeting TBD
Dec - Christmas Party - TBD

Details at

NTGRC Events Update


It's finally starting to seem like our long hot summer is coming to an end.  The State Fair is here, football season is in full swing, and the temperatures are grudgingly starting to drop a bit.  The Club has a number of activities lined up for the remainder of the year though, so read on to get up to speed on what's going on in garden railroading in North Texas.

The President’s Car

By Thomas Lytle

It seems I just wrote the article for last month yesterday.  Well, we had our board meeting at a new more central location.  JC Greenlee has to drive further. Pete has to drive much less and the rest of us are saving about 15 to 20 minutes.  We meet the 4th Tuesday of every month unless we hold a special meeting during a train run, as we did out at Clark Gardens.  PLEASE, ALL OF YOU MARK YOUR CALENDARS AND COME TO A BOARD MEETING.  We hold them at 6 PM (because we go through and get our dinner, and eat and discuss our club) at Spring Creek BBQ, 3514 W Airport Freeway, Irving 75062.  Watch for BOGO coupons in your mailer.

Discovery Gardens (Note that the trains are now highlighted on their web page!)

Three loops are installed, leveled, DG installed, powered and running trains.  Corporate sponsors (guys with the big bucks) will not receive their money until October 1st, and the Gardens will receive money after that for the big stuff.  BUT our club members stepped up under the control of Ron Natinsky and got the job done in two weekends. 

Now they need volunteers to come run the trains during the fair.  See below on how to do it and how to get your free pass and parking into the fair.

Contact:  Ron Natinsky,,    972-732-4000

The next big thing is to get as many volunteers as possible to help run the trains during the State Fair. If you’re interested, please contact Evann Whitt at Texas Discovery Gardens, and let her know what you’re interested in doing.  She is trying to set up 2 time frames each day, from opening to early afternoon and then from early afternoon till about 7-8. She is very flexible on the times, so if you can’t do those slots exactly then; get with her and she’ll make adjustments. She also has TDG volunteers that want to help but they know nothing yet about the trains so they can be a good support team. They really need someone there at all times to be the key train person at the control station.

Now, what do you get if you volunteer you ask?  She will supply you with a pass to get into the State Fair for free and there is parking right next to the TDG. Those two things themselves are priceless, getting in for free and really close in parking, it can’t get much better. Evann can use help at whatever times and days you can schedule.

So if you’re interested, contact Evann and remember that if you have a spouse/partner/significant other/friend/child/ etc., that will be coming with you  (to help you run the trains) please get their name on the list as a volunteer so they can get a pass to get in also. Obviously, they won’t need a parking pass.  Evann is waiting for your email to volunteer at  If I’ve missed anything please email me with any questions about the trains at, but Evann is the person keeping the schedule. The dates for the State Fair are Sept 27 thru Oct 20.  Let’s show TDG and the State Fair that the NTGRC can step up to the plate and help. This will expose garden railroading to a huge number of people (almost 3,000,000 people attend the fair) that could get interested and even join the club.

Oh yes, one final item, if anyone has their own trains that they want to run at TDG while you’re volunteering, the answer is yes, you can bring them and run them on the layouts. The Bridgewerks power packs are waiting.

Oops, one more thing. This is a permanent layout, so after the State Fair the Texas Discovery Gardens will be running the trains on a to be developed schedule. So not only will they be looking for volunteers but this can also be a place for those that either don’t have their own layout or just want to get together and run trains to meet and run their trains.

Pondering of the Month

Stop trying to make everybody happy.  You’re not Tequila. 

What is your Club thinking about?

Since we are on the “Thank YOU” train.  My thanks to David Valdez, who discovered a blown-out buddy bearing on our trailer while he was hooking up and going to go get the tire pressure checked.  Last week Patrick Miller, yours truly and David spent the day working on the trailer.  Wheel bearings were removed and replaced or repacked; four new seals; four new buddy bearings.  LED lighting installed in the trailer with one more to go.  WOW what a difference.  We can see in there now.


October 12th Fall Plano Train Show, Plano Events Center, One Day, Set up October 11th at 1 PM.  No host dinner to follow at the Bavarian Grill, 221 W Parker Road, Plano, TX on Friday 11 Oct.

November 10th Swap Shop/Train Run Meeting,  Discovery Gardens 1 PM to 4 PM.  Tables will be provided and 3 loops to run your trains on.  Meeting extended 1 hour.  Do you have stuff to sell or swap?  Contact Vard Moore if you want a table.  Yes the club still has some items so we will have a table also.

December 8th 4 PM Christmas Gathering,  Donna Orr and Roger Shank’s home: 2625 Rolling Meadows Dr., Rockwall, TX 75087.  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)


To those that purchased trains and accessories at Clark’s, Thank You.  The money has gone into our Treasury.

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

RhB – LGB’s Favorite Prototype Railroad - by Vard Moore, 1st VP

Even collectors of American narrow gauge can’t help but notice LGB’s catalog is loaded with RhB models. What is the RhB?
RhB stands for Rhätische Bahn (spelled Rhaetische Bahn if you don’t have umlauts). You will also sometimes see Viafier Retica on RhB equipment.  Rhätische Bahn is German, and Viafier Retica is Romansh. The RhB is the main railroad for the easternmost canton of Switzerland, Graubünden  (or Grisons).  By the way, the Romansh language is unique to the Graubünden. German and Italian are the other official languages in the canton.

The RhB connects to the Swiss national standard gauge railroad SBB at Landquart and to the narrow gauge Furka-Oberalp-Bahn at Disentis. You can also transfer to the Italian rail system at Tirano, Italy. Two cities St. Moritz and Davos are well known tourist destinations in the canton. Davos is famous for hosting the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.  A sanatorium in Davos was the model for Thomas Mann’s famous novel, The Magic Mountain (Der Zauberberg). The two most famous trains are the Glacier Express from Zermatt to St. Moritz and the Bernina Express to Tirano from Chur (or Landquart, Davos, or St Moritz). The stretch from Thusis to Tirano is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and includes the famous Landwasser Viaduct.

                                           Landwasser Viaduct
Lord Koxinga [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]
The RhB rail network is entirely meter gauge and electrified. The 45mm track of G scale works out to about 1 to 22.2. LGB models may take a little liberty with this for appearance sake.  Grades up to 7% are handled without using a rack system, for instance on the Brusio spiral viaduct.

                                                   Brusio Viaduct
By Kabelleger / David Gubler ( - Own work:, CC BY 3.0,

Probably the most well known of the LGB models of RhB rolling stock are the Crocodile Locomotives. Fifteen were built between 1921 and 1929. Two are still in operation for special trains. My LGB model seems just as hardy as the prototype.  Bright red is the current color scheme for the railroad, making for some very attractive trains. Special paint jobs for locomotives are common, providing opportunity for LGB to produce a variety of colorful variants on a basic model. The Gourmino dining cars in blue are another exception to the red color scheme.


The Mail Car

By Pete Dahlberg

Q:  How do I know when to replace my track or wheels?

A:   If you are using metal wheels and lubricating the axles regularly, the need to replace wheels is very infrequent. The examples shown below are after several thousand hours of operation.

If a car is derailing on a regular basis it would be a good idea to check the condition of the wheels. If the flange is very thin, then the wheel/axle should be replaced.

Worn axle – note thin-ness of right flange

If the tire portion of the wheel appears to be significantly below the top of the flange or if there is a groove worn in the tire, then the wheel/axle should be replaced. If the end of the axle appears to be significantly smaller than the rest of the axle, then the wheel/axle should be replaced.

New axle on top – worn axle on bottom, note ridge on left wheel

If the journal (where the end of the axle goes into the sideframe) is not round, the sideframe should be replaced. Note: if the sideframe needs replacement, then the axle probably should be replaced at the same time.

New Freight sideframe – note that holes are round

If a locomotive is derailing on a regular basis or if it is making grinding noises or if it does not seem to be pulling well, it is a good idea to check the condition of the wheels.

New locomotive axle – note that gear teeth are square

Used locomotive axle – note cupped gear teeth and groove on left wheel

As with car wheels, if the flange is very thin, then the axle should be replaced. If there is a groove in the tire, check to see if the other wheel on the axle has a similar groove (or traction tire). If this is the case, then all that may be needed is a new traction tire in the groove to replace the traction tire which has come off. Also as with car wheels, if the end of the axle is significantly smaller than the body of the axle, the axle should be replaced.

Worn locomotive axles – note almost missing end on bottom axle

An additional item which needs to be checked on locomotive axles is the drive gear for the axle. If this gear has a “cup” on the teeth, then the axle should be replaced. A cupped gear means that the axle can not get full power from the motor.
For most personal layouts, track will NOT wear out. However, it can become damaged which would necessitate replacement. For example, if you drop a large rock on the track, it probably will be bent and may be out of gauge. You can try to repair the damaged section using a two-rail railbender, but it is usually easier to just replace the damaged section. A less common form of damage can occur if a train is running unattended and gets stuck. In this case the engine can grind “divots” into the rail. There is no option to repair divots, the track must be replaced.

 Track divots – caused by engine running but not moving

If the track is heavily used, i.e., over 2000 hours of run time, it will eventually wear out. In this case, the rail head will become flattened (it normally will have a rounded top), and will wear so that the inside of the head is flush with the supporting web. When this happens you may see very thin brass “wires” along the inside of the track. When you start seeing these conditions, the track is worn out and needs to be replaced. When track is this worn, you will experience a greater frequency of derailments.

That wraps up our October Newsletter. I hope to see many of our members at the Fall Plano Train Show, setting up this Friday, October 11th with just a one-day train run event on Saturday, October 12th.
As always, thanks for reading.
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