Next General Membership Meeting – 13 March, 6:30pm, Thomaston Town Hall
RMNE Annual Dinner – 10 April, details to be announced
NORAC Book of Rules Classes will be held in March and April, dates to be announced
MANY THANKS – President Ralph Harris would like to thank all members who helped to set, staff, and take down our display at the Amherst Ry. Society Show. We had an impressive display. Ralph also would like to thank Tony Pratt who successfully made a mighty and successful effort to get the 2010 brochure designed, produced, and printed on short notice in time for the show. Also special thanks go to Howard Pincus for his photos, Al Galanty for logistics, and Joan Jackson, Barb Walcott, and Jan Harris for handling the retail area. Barbara Walcott also sends her thanks for the help the retail department received moving their stock to and from out tables.
The 2010 Amherst Railway Society’s Railroad Hobby Show is now history, and it was very successful, especially considering that were still mired in the Great Recession. The cold but dry weather no doubt helped to build the attendance to 21,458 visitors over the 2 day event, which included a number of new exhibitors as the show expanded deeper into building 4 then last year.
The RMNE crew began of this year’s event shortly after the end of the 2009 edition, as the ARS’s show promotion begins over a year in advance. Al Galanty has been handling our reservations there for more years than some members have been alive, back into the 1980s when the show only occupied one building, not the four it uses now. Kevin Meehan has been very active in organizing the transport and setup of our displays over the past several years but could not attend this year’s – so he worked with Ralph Harris, who took over most of Kevin’s planning activities. Ralph also takes his portable HO model layout, which in the past has displayed Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. This year Ralph updated the rolling stock to reflect our planned visit by Flagg Coal Company 75, a 0-4-0 saddle tank engine, in May. And among many of Ralph’s show efforts this year, one literally stood out from all the others: our two new fold-out display panel stands, one a floor-standing model and the other a table-top variant, both brand new and very impressive. These display units replace the cumbersome folding stands used for many years, which had to be transported in a unwieldy carrying case not so affectionately know as “the coffin” – an item that required a large wagon or van for transport. Our new stands are pretty much state-of-the-art: a carpeted surface that hangs from a pantograph-like framework, all of which fits into small carrying cases that could even by transported in a Mini if need be. Ralph intently watched over this new investment like a parent would a child, making sure that it was treated with care and respect as we hope to get many years of use out of these panels. And what would the panels be without something to display? Once again, Howard Pincus came through with another up-to-date edition of “The RMNE At Work,” showing various photographs that recorded our activities and progress through the past year, plus a selected few favorites of years gone by. Retail activities mainly dealt with clearing out some of our Thomas the Tank Engine merchandise, and this activity was managed by Joan Jackson, Jan Harris, and Barb Walcott.
Overall, there were a number of changes to the show. We were amongst the exhibitors that were moved, going about “4 blocks north” of our previous and long time location. Our new block neighbor was Sylvan Scale Models from Ontario, a company that specializes in HO scale vehicles and freight car models. The ARS made these moves either by request of the exhibitor or to improve space utilization. The 4th building, the Mallary Complex, now is about 75% occupied by the show exhibitors, and in this building you could witness unit coal trains and large locomotive passing the Thomaston Station in HO scale, courtesy of the Torrington Area Model Railroaders layout. Many other new exhibitors and those with “broken service” (returning after taking a year or two off) also occupied the Mallary, which is primarily used for farm animal exhibitions during the fair season.
Pam and Kent Larson have announced that they have completed the 2009 RMNE membership revisions, dropping around 100 members for non-payment of dues. The dropped members (who have not yet paid for 2009) will receive one final newsletter mailing, with the label marked with a red dot. Most of the dropped members were inactive and had joined the RMNE as part of the Engineer for an Hour program. 2010 dues billings are being sent out in January. We have kept the same rates. How about helping your museum with a membership upgrade?
Bob Harrington reports that Gene Pfeiffer has reached a milestone and successfully overcame many obstacles such as finding rare spare parts to get the entire rubber-tired fleet into operation. Next project will be work on the boom truck to get it ready for over the road use for trips to Saybrook Yard.
No details received, but locomotive, car, and building improvement work continues inside the cheery and warm confines of the Thomaston Shop. Stop by, check it out, and lend a hand!
—Bill Sample, Editor