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


2019 Club Calendar

Feb - Cindy Roerig
Mar - Ron & Peggy Trees
Apr - Dave & Gerry Minna
May - Scottish Rite Train Run
May - Cumbres Toltec Texas Visitation
Jun - Annual Meeting - Lane & Brenda Haviland
Jul - Home Meeting TBD
Aug - Cook's Childrens Hospital/
National Garden Railway Convention/
Clark Gardens Festival
Sep - Home Meeting TBD
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 our combined January/February Newsletter.  The Club just completed our display at the Dallas Area Train Show at the Plano Centre on January 19 – 20 and I think it was one of our better layouts, and many of our members brought some interesting trains to run.  I knew our display was a success when I saw the reaction when one young man walked into our display room, checked out the wide variety of trains running on our eight tracks, and said: “Wow!”   Read on the see Thomas’ and Lane’s thoughts on the Plano Show and give you a preview of coming activities, review Pete’s advice for bringing an outdoor layout out of Winter hibernation, and check out JC’s column on getting to know each other a little better as we provide a little more background on two more of our Board members.

The President’s Car

By Thomas Lytle

Beginning the New Year

This year your club is expanding out to try and get new members (or old members to return) from the mid-cities and to the west.  When I joined this club, most of our members were mid-cities and to the west, then Will Rogers got so expensive the North Texas Council of Trains could no longer afford to hold the Fall Train Show in Ft Worth.  Our western membership started to decline.  But with two train shows in Dallas, our membership in the mid-cities and east has grown.

Our dilemma is to have more western members join or return and for us to try to balance our meetings; train-runs; children’s hospital runs, and train shows.  It sounds so easy.  And with your help it can be really easy.

We need a heated/airconditioned room of about 50,000 sq. ft. with lots of parking.  Empty grocery store, warehouse, closed car dealership.  Anyone know of this type of space?  Let us know.

Thank You to all who came to set up for the Plano show and then enjoy a great dinner at the Bavarian Grill. (Thank you Jurgen for a great discount on our meals).  I am grateful for those who still were working and could not do setup, but came for the comradery and great food at the Grill.  Also, thank you to all who came and ran trains and then also those of you who helped pack it all up safe and sound until the Scottish Rite train run in May.

Clark Gardens East

Your club is working with a garden in the Dallas area that wants trains.  Garden trains.  Talks are under way and when final approval is reached, we will inform all our members.  Ron Natinsky, club member, has donated his trains and about 700 ft. of track.  Eventually, the idea is to run local Rail name trains.  Frisco, Katy, Cotton Belt Santa Fe and DART etc.  Structures like the Cotton Bowl, Fair Park Ferris wheel, Big Tex etc.  In addition, another 700 plus feet of Nickel-plated brass track has been acquired.  We are excited to have this opportunity east of the mid-cities.  We are not committing the club any more that we have committed the club at Clark Gardens. It will be a member, volunteer only.  No other commitment from the club. The difference, so far, is that this might be an opportunity to run your trains on a large out door piece of track in a beautiful setting without an hour plus drive to Weatherford.  Enjoying the trains, the children and the gardens all at the same time in the Dallas area.  Also, free admission and free parking.  As this is going to press, a water feature is in the final planning stages, then walk-ways, electric and a small control building will need to be installed.  Track bed leveling and finally track laying.  Lots happening.  Donations are being made to accomplish all of this from some great corporate sponsors.

Clark Gardens

Speaking of Clark Gardens.  They will open on March 1st.   At the mid to end of February, Pete, JC and crew will do an assessment of the trains and condition of the track, track beds and bridges and trestles.   I am sure we will need a crew to finalize preparations prior to opening.  Tentative date now is February 26th, weather permitting.


FEBRUARY 24th, 2:00 - 4:00 PM - HOME MEETING at Cindy Roerig's home:  3710 Poplar Court, Carrollton, TX 75007

MARCH 24th 2:00 - 4:00 PM - HOME MEETING at Peggy & Ron Trees' home: 3513 Pinnacle Bay Pt, Little Elm, TX 75068

APRIL 14th 2:00 - 4:00 PM - HOME MEETING at Dave and Gerry Minna's home:  6519 Deloache Ave, Dallas, TX 75225
MAY --TBD — SCOTTISH RITE children’s Hospital Train Run (Set-up Sunday, run 2 days)

May 4th Cumbres & Toltec  meeting in Austin Texas. Location and times to be announced   Train rides, short meeting and lunch will be provided.  When they were last here (North Texas), it was well worth attending.  Talk to Pete or Tom if you have any questions.

August 27th - 30th, - 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.

Howdy Folks:

So here we are in the New Year and the first Council show at the Plano Convention Center on January 19-20.  We were overwhelmed with members helping so thanks for that.  Here are some pictures from the Show.

We all gathered together for a great meal on Friday night at The Bavarian Grill. Our host, Jorgen, gave us a 20% discount thanks to our leader Tom, whose help rebuilding the restaurant’s massive train display was a great success.  Here a couple of pictures from the Grill: 

I believe everyone who wanted to run trains did so because of our new schedule for time slots. This seems to be working out well and gives all members the opportunity to be involved. Here are a few shots of your train engineers hard at work.

The change of watch for the Board is coming up in a couple of months and there will be openings on the Board for new members to be involved.  Please, email or call Tom Lytle or myself if you are interested in helping the Club by joining the Board.
The next meeting will be at the home of Cindy Roerig on February 24th from 2:00 – 4:00 PM.  Try to make it if possible - Cindy has a nice outdoor layout.

Stay on track---Lane

The Mail Car

By Pete Dahlberg

Q: What sort of steps do I need to follow to be ready for running following the winter?

A: This is a very good question since we are just getting the Clark Gardens layouts ready for their opening on March 3rd.

For those of you who have not visited Clark Gardens, they have a permanent layout with 4 independent loops. Two of the loops go into and out of the depot while the remaining two are completely outdoors. The two depot loops each run 2 trains which will alternate. Each loop has a single power drop. The track inside the depot is well protected and has minimal weathering. The outdoor track is fully exposed to the elements including flooding which has occasionally occurred in some of our recent rains. The other major issue on the outdoor portion of the layouts is that they are under trees which drop a significant amount of leaves (and acorns). Because the Gardens don’t have much to look at during the winter, they shut down from December 1st through the first weekend in March.

The first thing we do to make everything ready is to lubricate each of the locomotives that will be running during the opening. In a prior article, we discussed how to lubricate your trains so I won’t repeat it here.  I do not worry about cleaning electrical pickups.

The second thing we do is walk the outdoor portion of each loop clearing out debris. Because the gardeners will be preparing the Gardens for the opening, they had will probably already have removed most of the leaves, acorns and dead branches.

The next step will be to take some Dexron Automatic Transmission Fluid, and using a small paint brush, apply the ATF to the rail. We have found that covering about 6” of rail for each 150’ of track is enough. We will then run the trains to spread the ATF around the track.

The next step is to separately start each loop and watch the trains go around. In each case the initial pass of the train required some assistance to get through “dirty” spots. If there was a significant amount of dirt on the track, we would apply a bit more ATF to the track at that point. In some cases, the train only requires a single lap to start running on its own. In all cases, it took under 5 laps for the trains to begin running without assistance. Once a train was running on its own, we allow it to continue running and we go on to the next loop.  We allow all loops to run for at least 30 minutes before we begin shutting down.

In most cases, we do not have to “sand” the rail to get the train to run.

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 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. I am going to start out for the first few months on members of the board, and then move to other members. 
This month we get to know more about Pete Dahlberg and Ron Trees. 
The Bio of Pete Dahlberg – our Treasurer

Pete is one of the straight shooters and doesn’t mince words.  Here is his Bio according to Pete:
  • Born in Chicago in 1947.
  • Lived on the west side in Broadview (2 blocks from IC west line) until 1957.
  • Family moved to the south side, Flossmoor (1 mile from the IC main north south line) in 1957 due to my father getting a job in Chicago Heights.
  • Went to public schools and graduated from Homewood-Flossmoor HS in 1965.
  • Attended Michigan State from 1965 – 1970. Got a BA in Accounting in 1969 and an MBA in Accounting in 1970.
  • Went to work for Arthur Young & Co in Chicago as a staff auditor in 1970.
  • Went into Computer Audit in 1973 and was promoted to Manager in 1975.
  • Was transferred to New Orleans in 1978 and was promoted to Principal in 1980.
  • Sometime in the early 1980s Arthur Young merged with Ernst & Whinney to become Ernst & Young.
  • Was transferred to the Southwest Regional office in Dallas in 1985.
  • In 1990 had a title change to Senior Manager due to the firm adjusting titles to be consistent with the other firms.
  • Retired from Ernst & Young in 2009.
  • Started volunteering at Clark Gardens in 2009.
  • Started driving the steam train at Six Flags in 2010.
  • Took the Fireman School at the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR in 2011
  • Took the Engineer School at the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR in 2012
  • Joined the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR in 2013 and began working on buildings at Cumbres Pass – have continued to-date.
 The Bio of Ron Trees – our Webmaster (and Newsletter Editor)

The Trees Chronicles

I’m originally from the North Texas area – the Trees family was among some of the earliest settlers here.  My great grandfather and grandmother arrived in the area in 1845 and were issued marriage license #1 for Dallas County.  I grew up in DeSoto when it was a small suburb (my graduating class was a total of 60) and went to college at SMU.  After graduation though, I had a low draft number and Uncle Sam informed me that he was interested in my services, so I joined the Air Force in lieu of being drafted by the Army.  I went to pilot training and ended up flying B-52s in Abilene, Fort Worth, and off the island of Guam.  Interspersed with my flying tours, I had two staff tours at the Pentagon.  My office, CHECKMATE, was the group that came up with the original air campaign plan for Desert Storm in 1991.  In my Air Staff tours, I got involved in doing operations research and running computer models that simulated major theater wars.  After a 22-year military career, I retired from the Air Force at the Pentagon, and found that there was a demand in the Washington DC area for people with my background and skills, so we stayed in Northern Virginia and I became a Government contractor working for AT&T and then the RAND Corporation.  I supported the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the Army as well as some others.  After my second 20-year career as a contractor, we moved back to North Texas five years ago to be closer to our two sons and their families, who live in Frisco and Carrollton.  We wanted to be close to them, but not too close, so we ended up in Little Elm.  While I’m now mostly retired, I’m still an Adjunct with RAND, and I work about a month per year providing email and telephone support for their computer model.  I also go back to Northern Virginia about once a year for a couple of weeks to teach a class for the Army at Fort Belvoir, VA on how to use the model.   When I semi-retired, I was advised to stay active, so in addition to serving on the NTGRC Board and compiling this newsletter, I’ve gotten involved in several Little Elm and Denton County volunteer groups.  I’m the Vice President/Secretary of the Little Elm Fire Department Auxiliary; a driver for Little Elm Box 620 Support Company, which provides rehabilitation, safety and assistance to the Fire and Police Departments within Denton County; a member of the Little Elm Citizens on Patrol, a group which assists the Police Department; and a member of the Denton County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).  I also represent Little Elm on the Board of Directors of the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA), and serve on the Little Elm Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Adjustments.   

Peggy and I got involved in G-scale model railroading in the early 1980s when Peggy’s parents gave us an LGB starter set for our sons.  We kept adding track, engines and cars to it over the years, but only ran it indoors and seasonally during Christmas.  When Peggy worked as the manager of the gift shop of a retirement home in Alexandria VA, they had a large display room off the hallway outside the store, and we set up a two or three track train display for the residents for the Christmas season.  After our sons grew up and moved on, we kept all our train equipment mainly stored away in the basement, figuring we would save it for our grandchildren to enjoy (we now have four: three girls ages 8, 4, and 2, and a boy, 6).  Our home has a good-sized back yard, so we brought the trains out of storage and set up an outdoor layout mostly using the existing landscaping.  After a hailstorm in our area required that we get a new roof a few years ago, the roofers advised us to take up the outdoor track since they would probably tear it up during the process of replacing the roof.  I was grateful to get a new roof through the insurance company, but hated to have to start over with the outdoor layout.  I still enjoy getting creative when setting up a layout (as you’ve probably noticed when we create the dogbones around the over/under at the Club’s displays at the Plano train shows and at Clark Gardens), so I still have fun experimenting with new ideas for rebuilding the layout.  A few pictures of our layout are below.     

We’ve almost finished with the Bios of our Board members – Johnny Nelson is up next, and then we’re looking for other members who will step and send me their Bio.  If anyone else would like to send something to share with the members, please let me know.
As for what I’m doing, right now it’s too cold to get out and do any work outside so I’m working on other things.
I discovered this new device called the Glue Looper on a MicroMark’s ad which will help you put glue where you want it.  Check it out at

Until the next station

JC Greenlee

That’s a wrap for this combined newsletter for January and February.  I hope many of our members can make it to this month’s meeting at Cindy Roerig’s home on Sunday, February 24th at 2:00 – 4:00 PM (3710 Poplar Court Carrollton, TX 75007).   See your there!

Thanks for reading.
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