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Press Coverage


By Janet Ortegon  Sheboygan Press staff June 28, 2012

Railroad Museum ready to show off

Z-scale enthusiasts, get ready. N, HO, S, O and G scale? Check.

The newly renamed Sheboygan Railroad Museum will open its doors for the first time in more than a year this weekend to show off its extensive new railroad layouts in six scales and give fellow enthusiasts a look at what they've been working on.

The open house will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, June 30-July 1.

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers has been working on its building, which used to be called the Sheboygan Railroad Lodge, at 1001 N. 10th St., for several years.

They started with new floors and basic remodeling, a facelift on the outside of the building (the colors are Wisconsin Central maroon and Burlington Northern cream, for two railroads that operate in Wisconsin) and a new distribution of the space inside, which was once the Moose Lodge.

Last year they closed up again, this time to re-create new model train layouts. In place of the enormous, 15-year-old HO scale model that once was the centerpiece of their display, they now have a variety of models set up in all different scales to appeal to everyone, said Diana Ratz, a member of the SSSMRE

And some of the layouts will be left unenclosed, so people can see how they work.

"The HO-scale has an 8-foot helix," Ratz said. "It's two trains running in opposite directions over four levels. It's tall enough so the train goes around the circle up and down in a 8-foot diameter. There is nothing like this anywhere."

The idea, she said, is to give people a better view of what goes into a model train layout. 

"People like to see the guts," she said. "They like to see how things are made. The big permanent layout … people come in and watch the trains go around and they go out and say, 'OK, now what?' This way … they'll leave part of it open so people can actually see the trains go up and down the helix. There's a lot of interest in 'How do you do that?'"

Dick Pool, a board member in the organization and an engineer, devised the helix and has been hard at work for months putting that and the rest of the layouts together.

"People will be able to see trains wind up that helix," Pool said. "That was an engineering feat."

Board member Dick Pool tests the helix with a pair of engines in preparation for the Museum's Open House.

Three years ago, the organization was in such a slump that members — there were only a few — considered selling the building and disbanding. That's when Ratz and her husband, Jay, who own J&D's Whistle Stop railroad hobby shop, got involved, bringing Diana's marketing know-how with them.

Since then the group has been on an upswing, adding members and finding new ways to spread the word about their organization and the fun of model railroading.

"We are much better shape than we were three, four years ago," Pool said. "Because of renewed interest, because of Diana and her persistence. She helped us see new ways of getting the word out and she had some contacts that helped a lot."

The group now numbers about 20 and the open house will be one of its major fundraisers. Members also hold brat frys a few times a year at Miesfeld's and Piggly Wiggly, Ratz said, but the open house — where donations are gratefully accepted as brats, burgers, soda and water will be sold — is the biggest one.

 

Ice Cream shop tooting it's own horn about it's train

By Janet Ortegon  Sheboygan Press staff  June 29, 2011

If there is an image of the perfect summer evening in a small town, a big ice cream cone at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor might be it.

Throw in a model railroad and the distant sound of children playing at the beach and now you're in summertime nirvana.

That is exactly what Ryan Moeller had in mind when he planned his new business, an ice cream shop called South Pier Parlor on Sheboygan's South Pier.

Striving for a very old-timey feel, he decided what he really needed — in addition to top-notch treats — was a model railroad in his shop. The problem was, he didn't know anything about train sets. So he turned to the experts at the Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers for help.

 

Children enjoy an ice cream soda at the counter of the South Pier Parlor

"I proposed the idea and asked 'Hey can you help me out?'" said Moeller. "They were more than willing to help me out and I think they did a good job. It looks wonderful. Kids come in and the first thing they do is notice it going around the perimeter. They can't keep their eyes off it."

It's exactly the kind of thing the organization loves to do, said society president Leo Schneider.

"Part of our constitution is to educate people where needed," Schneider said. "Somebody comes to us for advice, we're more than willing to offer it. Anything that promotes trains, to us, is great. Because that's what we do. We knew it wouldn't take a long time commitment to accomplish, and he came and asked us for help and sure, we can do that."

After conferring with the railroad society members during a regular meeting, Moeller purchased all the materials his advisers told him he would need.

They chose a garden scale-sized train, which is big enough to be clearly visible from its perch 9 feet above the floor. Reminiscent of the steam locomotives common in the late 1880s, the model has a steam engine, a coal tender, three freight cars and a passenger car.

"It's like an old-time train where they ran freight and passengers behind same engine," Schneider said.

The SSSMRE crew poses in front of the train after completing the installation

For two nights, a few members of the railroad society swarmed the not-yet-open ice cream parlor to install the train and get it wired up and working.

"I think it looks great," Schneider said. "I had kind of envisioned just a plain shelf with maybe shelf brackets or something underneath to hold it up. Actually, it's a 10-inch oak board, stained, with crown molding under it. It looks like piece of furniture. It's very ornate. I think it looks excellent."

In addition to donating a little financial support to the organization, Moeller is going to hang up a plaque to thank the railroad society for their help and expertise.

"I think the emphasis on the train was for the families and kids to experience," Moeller said. "That's what we kind of want to make this — more (than) an ice cream place, but kind of an experience."

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers is continuing to work on its museum, at 1001 N. 10th St. They've spent the past year repairing flooring and working on creating new model train layouts in a variety of scales.

 

The South Pier Parlor, 434 South Pier Drive, is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.

 


By Janet Ortegon  Sheboygan Press staff  July 26, 2010

Scale model railroad group has a bright future in area

Russ and Terri Voege have a monster train set in their basement. In fact, it's three separate train sets, big ones, on homemade tables and intricately connected with bridges.

They started the collection for their 5-year-old son, Damien, and it became a family hobby. And that makes them exactly the kind of people the Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers is looking for.

The Voeges are new members of the railroad group. They're also part of the reason that the organization, which a year ago had put its building up for sale and was considering how, or if, it could continue, now has a bright future.

"We were losing members, morale was down a bit, and then the city decided we were no longer a tax-exempt organization and no amount of arguing with them would change their minds," said society member Dick Pool, 65. "We knew we could win if we fought in court because we had all the evidence, but that takes time and money — two things we didn't have."

Instead, they made the agonizing decision to tear down their enormous HO-scale layout, sell the building and walk away.

"It was 15 years worth of work and a lot of tears," Pool said.

Then, some astonishing things happened.

 

First, Diana and Jay Ratz got involved. The couple was looking for a place to move their home-based model-train sales business and briefly considered the society's railroad lodge. The building wasn't right for their business, but the organization was right for them.

"We didn't know that much about them," said Ratz, 54, who moved with her husband to Sheboygan from Plymouth in 2003. "We went to a meeting, met them, saw what was going on. Our hearts just broke for them, ripping down 15 years of work and dedication to this layout. You could see in their faces, they just looked so defeated. It was horrible. Horrible, horrible, horrible to watch."

Luckily for everyone, Ratz has a background in marketing and promotions, and she came up with a few ideas.

"We started talking to them," she said. "They had their minds set, they were going to have to sell the building because of the taxes the city was imposing. (We told them) 'No, wait a minute, you guys, listen to me. We can do this."

So, the Society members gave it a shot.

They took down their centerpiece layout, cleaned out the display room and set up a smaller modular train layout, and then hosted an open house in January, relying on Ratz's talent for promotion to bring people in. And she ended up with four pages of names of people interested in the society.

"Diana is a marketing genius," Pool said. "She said, 'This is what you've gotta do,' and sure enough, it worked. We are actively recruiting new members and getting them, and they're quality people who have been looking for a place and never knew we existed."

The Ratz's model train and hobby shop, J&D's Whistle Stop, 730 Erie Ave., is now an adjunct headquarters for the society, and is often the first place people hear about the railroad society.

For example, Terri Voege, 26, was long overdue for a train set of her own when she went to J&D's to get accessories for her son.

"I never personally had a train set when I was a kid," she said. "My brothers had a train set, and I occasionally played with it behind their backs."

So when Damion started to show an interest, both Terri Voege and her husband jumped on it.

"I told my wife right off the bat, if the kid don't play with it anymore, I'll stick into it," said Russ, 32. "This is something I can do, the wife can do, the kid can do. I always liked the model trains."

The railroad enthusiasts took a large portable layout to the National Train Show in Milwaukee earlier this month, and the group is now preparing for an open house at its lodge, 1001 N. 10th St., Aug. 14-15, its biggest fundraiser.

After that, they're going to replace the floor, improve the insulation, paint and generally spruce up and refurbish the building in time for Trainfest, the largest model railroad show in the country, which will be Nov. 13-14 at State Fair Park in Milwaukee.

That means the society will create three new layouts for its newly redesigned display space, each a different scale to appeal to a wider base of enthusiasts. They'll also create museum space for the roughly $5 million worth of historic railroad artifacts that are currently in storage, Pool said.

And that elaborate 15-year-old layout? It's scattered among about 400 boxes, never to be duplicated, Pool said. Instead, its pieces will become part of the new layouts, and of the society's new life.

"Things are looking up," Pool said. "I was pretty disheartened myself because I put in most of the work on the old layout. It was a labor of love and I hated to see it go. But we're looking at a new rebirth."


Published April 12. 2010

Back on track

Model railroaders hope better days ahead

A year after it looked like the Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers would have to shut down its home at 1001 N. 10th St., the group appears to be chugging along nicely and picking up steam. The for sale sign is still in front of the building, but dozens of people showed up Saturday at the group's second open house of the year to see the group's portable display at the Lodge.

They included Chris and Shelby Matter and their six-year-old son, Gavin, watching the HO-scale trains make their way through miniature mountain passes, industrial areas and even a downtown street where a circus was taking place.

"I like watching them go around," Gavin said.

The Matters are in the process of building their own two-tier, 12-by-12 foot train table in their Sheboygan home. They like to come to shows like the one held by the model railroaders to get ideas for their project.

Kiera Brem, 7, of Adell, watches the trains go by during the Railroad Lodge open house Saturday in Sheboygan. Kiera made the trip with her mom, Karen; dad, John; and brother, Trent. 5. Photo by Mike Brunette for The Sheboygan Press

Both Chris and Shelby said they grew up with trains and they're passing that passion on to their son.

"It's a nice pastime for a young kid," Shelby said.

It's people like the Matters that lead club President Leo Schneider, 60, to believe that better days are just around the bend.

Last year the group was faced with having to pay property taxes on the Lodge for the first time. Combined with declining membership, there didn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, Schneider said.

"At the time, we felt the only course of action open to us was to sell the building," he said. "Obviously, that has not happened thanks to the economy."

Since then, the group dismantled its permanent display in the Lodge and resurrected a temporary display that was built in the 1980s but had laid in storage for several years.

The group improved on the portable display and showed it off locally for the first time at an open house in January. The 26-by-34-foot display, which can be expanded to 34-by-38 feet, was showcased again on Saturday.

As a result, the group has picked up some new members and, coupled with a cash donation late last year, they're looking at possibly keeping the building

"That doesn't mean we won't consider selling the building if a good offer comes along," Schneider said.

The building is listed for $74,900. Its assessed value is $51,200 and has a 2009 tax liability of $1,260.79, half of which has been paid, according to the Sheboygan County Treasurer's office.

Until last year, the non-profit group had not paid tax on the property since it was purchased in 1993. That tax-exempt status was rescinded last year, however, by the city because a review of state statutes showed there is no tax exemption provided for model railroading organizations.

"That was the straw that broke the camel's back, to say the least," Schneider said. "We're still not happy about it. But it's hard to fight city hall."

With its portable display scheduled to be showcased at other shows later this year in Green Bay and Milwaukee, Schneider said the group is looking at renovating the interior of the Lodge and expanding its museum exhibits and library.

"We're down, but we're not gone," he said.

More information on the Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers can be found online at www.sssmre.org.

Reach Dan Benson at dbenson2@sheboyganpress.com and 920-453-5125. 


Published January 29, 2010

Seldom-seen traveling layout will be on display at model railroad society's open houses

Throughout the years, rail fans of all ages have enjoyed attending the Railroad Lodge Open Houses.   They watched the progression of a miniature wonderland as it evolved from bare wood to spectacular scenery and detail.  Due to changing conditions that display no longer exists.  However, the Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers (SSSMRE) had developed a modular layout dating back to the late 1980s.  It was built in sections and designed to travel to a variety of events throughout the year to promote model railroading, and is scheduled to be featured at the 75th anniversary convention of the National Model Railroad Association in July.  With its own unique charm and intricate detail, this layout has been enjoyed by thousands throughout the state.  It is seldom seen locally.  The last time this wonderful piece of artwork was on display in Sheboygan was in 1993.  There has been a great deal of work done on it to improve its appearance and operation over the past 17 years.  Including the addition of digital control and operating signals, something rarely seen on a modular layout.

            The SSSMRE, now in its 33rd year of providing railroading opportunities for young and old alike, is pleased to announce its January Open House featuring this rare opportunity to view the Society’s first traveling layout.  As always, admission is FREE but donations are welcome.  The Open House will be held on January 30 and 31 from 10:00am – 4:00pm at the Railroad Lodge ( 1001 N. 10th St .).  There will be a door prize of a complete model train set, courtesy of J & D’s Whistle Stop.  There will also be a brat fry for those Sheboyganites who are itching for the winter to be over.  Additionally there will be a number of historical railroad artifacts on display including a full sized control stand from the cab of a locomotive built in 1959 which the Society recently acquired, emphasizing the Society’s commitment to the preservation of railroad history.  


Last model train leaves station

SHEBOYGAN - After 15 years at the Railroad Lodge in Sheboygan, the last model train has left the station.

"The only thing that isn't down is the expenses," said Leo Schneider, president of the Sheboygan Scale Model Railroad Engineers. Schneider said the group only has eight dues paying members. On Sunday, the group held its final open house and brat fry.

"For financial reasons we just need to give it up. It's a sign of the time I guess. Expenses are up, membership is down and we just can't afford to maintain a building," Schneider said.

Judging by the crowds on Sunday, this place will be missed.

"Its too bad. I think it's a big loss for the Sheboygan community," said Mary Manz from Kiel. "Every year that they have the open house we bring our grandkids down. We've made it a yearly thing. They really enjoy it and so do we," she added.

Bob Schoenenberger said the display brings back memories and helps create them.

"I had a train set when I was young. My dad did too. We have now in the works so it's nice to see a finished set like this," Schoenenberger said.

 

While the group is closing the Railroad Lodge members say they will stay organized. They also hope to re-open at some point in the future. "It would make us happy if somebody with deep pockets walked in the front door and said we'd like to help you out," Schneider said. But that has not happened yet. So Schneider said as much as the group doesn't want to, it has no choice but to call it quits.

Schneider also said an area historical society has expressed interest in buying the building so the train exhibit could continue. But right, now, that remains just a possibility.


Posted April 19, 2009

Derailed: Scale model railroad group packs its caboose

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers is packing up its $500,000 display and chugging out of town.

After 15 years on display and 32 years as a society, the group, which meets at The Railroad Lodge at 1001 N. 10th St., will close its doors Sunday night.

The display is like a mini-city that spans time and is home to more than 70 scale miles — or 4,200 feet — of track.

Trains whiz by an amusement park, a barbershop and the scene of a crash. They also trek around and through mountains, made from more than 1,000 pounds of plaster that reach to the ceiling.

"It was a labor of love, and it's not going to be anymore," said Dick Pool, board director of the society. "We are a victim of the economic times. We have depended upon the generosity of donors over the years to keep going. That has basically dried up."

 

Jericho Marshall, 18 months, and his dad, Joel, of Sheboygan, watch Saturday as a train passes by at The Railroad Lodge in Sheboygan. Photo by Sam Castro/The Sheboygan Press

The members — who say they have one of the most detailed model railroad displays in the region — also had to pull out of the convention of the National Model Railroaders' Association, which is set to be in Milwaukee next year, and said they received e-mails from around the world when news broke.

"That was the toughest decision we've ever had to make, because we knew how much we invested in it — not just in money, but in time and effort to try to teach people what railroads were all about," Pool said.

Society members — who have regularly welcomed school and youth groups and hosted seminars on railroading — are capping off their non-profit service with one final weekend of public display.

A slow but steady stream of children, parents and grandparents wandered through the narrow aisles. They pointed out the detailed scenery, and the youngest excitedly compared the trains to "Thomas the Tank Engine," a popular series of books and toys that has also been made into a PBS show.

Dale Bogenschuetz, 42, of Sheboygan, brought his children for their first glimpse at a model railroad. He carried his 3-year-old son around, who eagerly asked questions about where the trains were headed.

"The little one is interested in my dad's (setup), so I told him we'd see a big one," Bogenschuetz said.

His 6-year-old daughter, Ella, zeroed in on a small village: "Look at the little people!"

Chuck Collins, 38, of Sheboygan, revived a childhood love of trains recently with his 6-year-old son. He appreciated the labor that went into building the tracks.

"It reminds me of the way things used to be," he said. "It reminds me of simpler times."

The group will begin packing up its display later this week. Some pieces will be shipped to a museum, but most will be stored into a handful of area garages.

"We're going to try to preserve some intact parts of the layout that are so gorgeous that they cannot be destroyed, no matter what," Pool said.

The 10 members of the Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers plan to remain active and said they hope they can someday rebuild the display.

Reach Kate McGinty at kmcginty@sheboyganpress.com and 453-5125.


Posted January 15, 2009

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers Ltd. will hold its Winter Open House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17 and 18, at the Railroad Lodge, 1001 N. 10th St., Sheboygan. The event is free but donations will be accepted.

The open house will show off recent projects that the group has been working on and the progress of its walk-through permanent layout.

The society has added remote-controlled power switches to the track work of the layout. Digital block detection and a dispatch center monitors train operations via computer as well as the operators at the layout.

Work has been done on the automotive industrial area as has preliminary work on adding an automotive/scrap metal salvage yard to the layout. Recently received donations of historical items like stamps and paperwork will be on display as well.

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers is primarily an HO scale club (1:87), but it is looking to start an N scale group (1:160). Recently, the upstairs of the lodge was cleaned up and bench work for a layout was donated for the startup of an N scale group.

 

                              Posted July 24, 2008

             Open House gets modelers on track

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers, which is celebrating its 31st year of service and participates in displays and clinics throughout the state on model railroading and railroad history, is hosting a mid-summer open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 26-27 at the Railroad Lodge, 1001 N. 10th St.

The building, purchased in 1993, now houses one of the largest model railroads in the Midwest. Visitors will see spectacular scenery, intricate detail and state-of-the-art operation. The 46ft long west wall is covered with a mountain range going from floor to ceiling. There are "can you find it" games hidden around the layout and a number of details that will make you want to look twice.

For people who had trains as a child or played with them in any way, this is a must see. Model Railroading is a hobby that the whole family can enjoy. “Part of the attraction is being able to actually run something you have created” said the group’s president Leo Schneider. “One is never too old for trains. We have members ranging in age from 10 to 80”.

The large operating layout is constantly evolving. Some new areas have been added recently and some older displays have been revamped. Because of this, a model railroad is never done, as you can always find something to do.

 

 

The little details that make a scene include yard equipment and a garage under construction

 

The hobby has been around for generations, but didn’t stay stuck in the past. Unlike video games, this is something you can operate that moves in three dimensions, makes sounds, and can make you feel that you are part of it. Keeping up with today’s technology in order to maintain interest and attract new -comers was made possible with the development of miniature computer chips.  

Digital Command Control came along more than 15 years ago. Different from the standard transformer or power pack, which simply controlled the voltage on the rails, DCC communicates via a computer chip to each engine, telling it what to do with a constant voltage on the tracks. This allows multiple trains on the same track, controlled separately. “It adds a whole new dimension to the realism”.  

“The hobby has something for everyone” adds Schneider. There are products ready to run, “shake the box” kits that practically put themselves together, craftsman kits that require some skill, and metal, plastic, and wood pieces with which you can create something completely  unique from scratch. Millions of products are available in many scales, including many starter sets. From there you are only limited by your imagination. If one is looking for a hobby that can grow with you for your entire life, this is it.

A number of railroad artifacts are also on display and members will be on hand to answer questions about model railroading or railroads in general. Food and refreshments will be available. Admission is free, donations are welcome. For more information, call Dick Pool at 254.2135

 

   

Posted October 18, 2007

Sheboygan County 's railroad history saluted in 'Third Saturday' program

Pull the rope to sound the diesel horn, climb aboard a speeder cart used by workmen doing maintenance on the rails and view the hundreds of historic photos of trains and railroad buildings in Sheboygan County at "Rails Across Sheboygan County: Connecting Communities With Rails to Build The Future," the last Sheboygan County Historical Museum's "Third Saturday" program for the season.

The program will be held from 10AM to 3PM. Saturday, Oct. 20 at the museum, 3110 Erie Av., Sheboygan .

This "Third Saturday" program will feature many hands-on opportunities for guests to enjoy local railroad history. Photo displays will include trains through the decades, depots, rail yards, round houses, turntables, scenic views, section crews, bridges and more.

Even though much of the county's railroad tracks have already been removed, paved over or converted to other uses, railroads were critical in the development of businesses through the efficient transportation of materials and people.

Like most industries, railroads have changed a great deal with each decade from the 1850s to today. In 1856, the Sheboygan & Mississippi railroad broke ground at Seeley Hill (near today's Blue Line Ice Rink) for its new line to Fond du Lac .

The railroad name changed to the Sheboygan & Fond du Lac and was completed to Fond du Lac in 1869. It was extended to Ripon in 1872 and the trip from Sheboygan to Ripon would take five hours. The Milwaukee and Northern opened rail traffic to Plymouth in 1872 and the Milwaukee , Lake Shore & Western began regular service in 1873.

Several railroad historians, including Peter Fetterer and Jerry Thompson, along with other railroad photographers and enthusiasts, will be available to share this local history. Trueman Koehn, who worked much of his career on the trains along the lakeshore, will share his experiences of working on the trains in Sheboygan County

A wide variety of handouts will also be available. "Learn the Lingo" will include the definition to the terms of "air monkey," "beagle," "wigwag," "mail hook" and many more.

In addition, the Railroad Lodge of Sheboygan will have an open house at which visitors will see model railroad displays being operated.

Museum admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children ages 7 to 12. Children ages 6 and under are free. Members and their guests are free.

The event is sponsored in part by The Sheboygan Press, celebrating its 100th year in 2007, Kohler Foundation, Great Lakes Blue Printers, Alliant Energy Foundation, Bitter Neumann Appliance-TV-Furniture and Sargento Foods.

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers Railroad Lodge will hold its Autumn Public Open House Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20 and 21 — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days — at the Railroad Lodge, 1001 N. 10th St., Sheboygan, one block south of Erie Avenue and one block west of Fountain Park..

Admission to the lodge is free. There will be food available for sale.

The train layout at the lodge is computer-driven, with a complete signaling system run by the same setup. A dispatcher monitors the entire 1,700-plus-foot layout from a computer screen in the next room. In some places, there is floor-to-ceiling scenery.

 

A busy day a the Chicago & North Western passenger station in Sheboygan in the 1940s. As many as 16 passenger trains per day once stopped at the 12th and Penn Ave. depot. Opened in November 1906, the depot closed with the departure of the last scheduled passenger train in April, 1971. Photo by John Sachse.

 

"South yard" in Sheboygan in the 1930s. The railroad facility on South 21st Street and Union Ave. included an eight-stall roundhouse, 80-foot turntable, 50,000-gallon water tank, ash pit, sand house and a 100-ton, 87 foot high concrete coaling tower from which this picture was taken.

 

The Santa Fe "Texas Chief" and an Erie Railroad time-freight pass each other in the Railroad Lodge model railroad layout. Submitted photo


A tongue-in-cheek scene of meat-packing company protesters is part of the HO-scale display at the Railroad Lodge in Sheboygan. Submitted photo

Posted September 27, 2007

Railroad Lodge open to public for fall meet

 

The Sheboygan Society of Model Railroad Engineers Ltd. will open its Railroad Lodge at 1001 N. 10th St. in Sheboygan to the public for free from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29 as part of the National Model Railroad Association fall meet being held in Sheboygan Falls this year.

The National Model Railroad Association Winnebagoland Division meet at the Sheboygan Falls Municipal Auditorium, 375 Buffalo St., will also be open to the public on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission to the Falls show is $5 per person.

At the Railroad Lodge, the train displays include a tongue-in-cheek scene featuring a meat-packing company along the railroad — and many HO-scale protesters gathered outside, complete with HO-scale protest signs such as "Ban the Burger" and "Celebrate Soy," created by member Dan Lindow. Other scenery includes floor-to-ceiling Rocky Mountains, a West Virginia coal mine and mining town and EdgeTable power plant. Visitors also will see the computer control station. Much of the train traffic is run by computer with chips in each individual locomotive, with the whole layout tracked on a PC screen by a dispatcher.

 

 

October 15, 2006 

Railroad Society Open House set

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers, which is celebrating nearly 30 years of service and participates in displays and clinics throughout the state on model railroading and railroad history, is hosting its annual fall open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. October 21-22 at the Railroad Lodge, 1001 N. 10th St.

The building, purchased in 1993, now houses one of the largest model railroads in the Midwest . Visitors will see spectacular scenery, intricate detail and state-of-the-art operation. The west wall is covered with a mountain range going from floor to ceiling. There are "can you find it" games hidden around the layout and a number of details that will make you want to look twice.

Many people who attended the last open house saw a lot of this, but there are several changes. The entire layout is now run by a digital control using a computer, which is set up in the reception area for all to see upon entering. You can watch the progression of the trains going around the layout on the computer screen as the dispatcher keeps track of the traffic just as the real railroads do.

Other additions include radio communications with the engineers and, on the layout, a new meat processing plant, and an automotive plant. Older areas of the layout are being revamped and renewed to give them a more improved appearance.

One of the newest innovations is fully operational signaling, just as it is done on the real railroads. The computer, using information sent to it from nearly 100 sensors, controls more than 40 signals placed around the layout to aid in traffic control. Engineers now know what is ahead by observing the signals.

Trains meet each other along track on a Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers model. Submitted photo

 

 

Signal lights control traffic just like the real railroads

A number of railroad artifacts are on display and members will be on hand to answer questions about model railroading or railroads in general. Food and refreshments will be available. Admission is free, donations are welcome. For more information, call Dick Pool at 452-0166


October 12, 2006 

Railroad buff is city's official expert

By Allison Thompson
Press correspondent

Before Jerry Thompson was old enough to walk, he would crawl to the front window in his Waupaca home, pull himself up on the window sill and watch the trains roll by his family's dairy farm.

"I've always liked trains," said Thompson, 53, who today serves as the City of Plymouth's official railroad coordinator in a volunteer position.

 During those days on the farm, his fascination for trains continued to grow. He enjoyed walking along the tracks to the one-room schoolhouse he attended.

 

 

"It was a shorter walk if you followed the tracks, about a mile," he explained.

The bonus: "Occasionally, the section techs — guys repairing the tracks — they would give me a ride on the section cars."

His infatuation with railways led to Thompson studying train lines in and around Wisconsin as well as taking up model railroading as a hobby.

"You pay attention to the real railroads and what's going on," said Thompson, who works for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. "You acquire info and contacts over the years."

While serving as president of the Soo Line Railroad Historical Society, Thompson developed friendships with many individuals in the railroading community.

"In that position, I had to make contacts with railroads to set up banquets, annual meetings and conventions for 1,200," he said.

While in that position, he also had the opportunity of a lifetime. He rode in the cab of a locomotive on the same tracks he used to walk as a boy, right past his old home.

"It was a different perspective to pass by," he said.

His involvement in the Soo Line Historical Society gave Thompson additional knowledge of the rail system.

Plymouth residents and businesses learned that if they had a question about the trains, Thompson was the man to call.

Two years ago, his knowledge of the rail system was officially recognized when former mayor of Plymouth William Kiley appointed Thompson as volunteer railroad coordinator.

As railroad coordinator for Plymouth, Thompson helps local industries and individuals who may have a need for railroad services.

"None of the people at City Hall are experts in that area, so myself being basically interested in railroads for years, getting to know various railroads," qualified him as a person who could help local industries and businesses who have questions.

"So if the mayor or anyone gets a question, they speak with me and I get them in touch with the right person."

Volunteering as the city's train coordinator is just one of many ways Thompson gives back to the Plymouth community.

This father of four, ages 21, 23, 25 and 26, also serves as vice president of the Plymouth Model Railroad Club, chairman of Plymouth Downtown Revitalization Committee, treasurer for Plymouth Public Library Foundation, board member of the Plymouth Historical Society, board member of Sheboygan County Historical Society, member of the Million Dollar Round Table (the Premier Association of Financial Professionals) and belongs to St. John's Lutheran Church in Plymouth.

"It's nice to give back to the community what you can," Thompson said. "Not everyone can be paid for everything. It's important that people volunteer."

The reward for all his volunteerism, Thompson stated simply, is the "good feeling when you accomplish a project. I like to be one of the workers and stay in the background."

For those who think railroading is an outdated industry, he said that's not the case.

"There is more freight shipped by railway than ever before," Thompson said. "Everything you own has probably been touched by a railway at some time; even when you flip on a light, the electricity is … because of a railroad."

Two to three trains a day travel from Wyoming to Sheboygan bringing tons of coal, he explained.

"Bulk commodities, that's where they shine," Thompson said, adding trains can carry more bulk product quickly and at a lower rate.

According to Thompson, trains save the highways from the wear and tear of more than 8,000 semi trailers every day.

"Railroads keep the cost down," he said. "One train can transport 240 semis and it only takes two men, an engineer and conductor to run it — it's very efficient to move things by rail."

"I have nothing against trucking," said Thompson, adding that trucks are an important part of our lives as well. But "if we don't utilize railroads, our roads will take a beating."


April 17, 2006 

Railroaders celebrate 30 years with open house

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers, which is celebrating nearly 30 years of service and participates in displays and clinics throughout the state on model railroading and railroad history, is hosting its annual spring open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 22-23 at the Railroad Lodge, 1001 N. 10th St.

The building, purchased in 1993, now houses one of the largest model railroads in the Midwest. Visitors will see spectacular scenery, intricate detail and state-of-the-art operation. The west wall is covered with a mountain range going from floor to ceiling. There are "can you find it" games hidden around the layout and a number of details that will make you want to look twice.

Many people who attended the last open house saw a lot of this, but there are several changes. The entire layout is now run by a digital control using a computer, which is set up in the reception area for all to see upon entering. You can watch the progression of the trains going around the layout on the computer screen as the dispatcher keeps track of the traffic just as the real railroads do.

Other additions include radio communications with the engineers and, on the layout, a new meat processing plant. Older areas of the layout are being revamped and renewed to give them a more improved appearance. One of the newest innovations is the "track" car, which has a tiny wireless camera and light built in so it can do inspections in areas that are hard to reach, such as finding that wayward car or other debris that might hinder operation. The camera is tied directly to the television in the reception area where all can see what it is seeing. 

A wide variety of passenger trains utilize Union Station on the Society's layout

 

 

Jeff Klauser, a member of the Society, eases a passenger train into the terminal

A number of railroad artifacts are on display and members will be on hand to answer questions about model railroading or railroads in general. Food and refreshments will be available. Admission is free, donations are welcome. For more information, call Dick Pool at 452-0166


April 22, 2005


Dick Pool sprinkles material that will become grass on part of an immense railroad display in preparation for this weekend's open house at the Railroad Lodge in Sheboygan. Press photo/Sam Castro

OPEN HOUSE

The annual spring open house of the Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Railroad Lodge, 1001 N. 10th St. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

For more information on the society or the open house, see its Web site at http://www.sssmre.org/.


Model railroaders invite ‘kids of all ages’ to make tracks for open house

 

By Emmitt B. Feldner
Sheboygan Press staff

Model railroad buffs of all ages are awaiting the “all aboard” call this weekend at the Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers headquarters, where scale-model trains of all kinds will entertain visitors during a free open house.

“Children are never too old for this,” said club president Dick Pool, 60. “There are children who are 80 years old and some who are 8. I don’t know what it is about trains that has fascinated people for so many years, but their love for trains never dies.” he said.

The public will get a chance to see for themselves when the society opens it doors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 1001 N. 10th St.

“We’ll have a ton of trains running all the time,” Pool said Thursday as he worked on some of the detail on the club’s HO-scale layout. It’s one of the largest model railroads in the Midwest, with 60 scale miles of track on five different levels, according to Pool.

The modular layout rambles through two large rooms, so that only about one-third of it is visible from any one vantage point.

“The layout is designed so the trains can go in a circle, but the people can’t,” said Ken Bailey, 49, a former club president.

Narrow aisles throughout the layout provide room for spectators to move around and see the entire track.

The layout covers a wide area, both geographically and historically, according to 76-year-old Carter Pawlus, another former club president.

“We go from an old-time steam (engine) roundhouse to the other aisle where we get into a modern-day diesel facility,” he said. “There’s a little of everything.”

The geographical variety includes the Rocky Mountains -- which took 800 pounds of plaster to build -- a West Virginia coal mine and a Detroit-style automotive industrial complex, Bailey said.

The annual open houses, held in April and October, draw 500 to 600 people a day, Pool said. The 38-foot by 46-foot layout, begun in 1994, is a work in progress that’s about 80 percent finished, with all of the club’s 22 active members participating in the designing, building and running of the railroad.

Because the layout continually changes, visitors to previous open houses will see new things, including a veteran’s park with a miniature golf course, an operating children’s train ride and a playground.

“It’s the little things that add so much to the scene,” Pool said, pointing to the children on the swing and a skateboarder in the park.

 


December 23, 2004

Hobbyists hopping on board model train express

By Emmitt B. Feldner
Sheboygan Press staff

Model trains have been circling underneath Christmas trees for almost as long as the real thing has been running on iron rails.

While the number of real railroads may be declining, the interest in model railroading shows no signs of decline — or even slowing down. More than half a million people across the country consider themselves model railroad hobbyists, according to the National Model Railroad Association, and the number is growing.

What’s the attraction?

“It’s the little kid in all of us,” says Ken Bailey of the Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers, a local model railroading club.

“And there’s a child in all of us, at all ages,” added fellow society member Carter Pawlus.

The combination of the holidays, when model trains and train sets are a traditional gift, and the recently-released movie “The Polar Express,” should make the hobby even more popular, the NMRA says.

It’s a hobby that offers a range of commitments and interests, according to Pawlus, and appeals to all ages.

“Children can experience it and it can become a true family endeavor, more fruitful and productive than some other things we can get involved in,” Pawlus said.

“Your level of interest might just be playing with it, or you may be more creative,” he said. “You can vary it to whatever level you want to. It depends on your level of interest.”

Model railroaders can indulge any number of talents, from model building to construction, from artistic talent to mechanical skill. It can be as simple as running a train around a circle of track, or as involved as recreating existing railroads in small scale or creating a railroad out of your own imagination.

“There are really two groups that deal with trains; the model train hobby and the toy train hobby,” Bailey said.

Pawlus noted that there are 262 scales of model trains worldwide, each replicating in miniature. Hobbyists can re-create specific eras and equipment, from early steam engines and vintage equipment to modern diesel engines and rolling stock. Depending on the scale selected a layout can fit on a small tabletop, fill an entire room or building, or even fill a yard or garden.

While a full-scale layout can prove to be a major investment of time and money for the serious model railroaders, beginners can get their feet wet with a simple boxed train set, available in most department and hobby stores for as little as $50 or so, Pawlus said. The beginner sets encompass the variety of eras and equipment available to all model railroaders.

The Sheboygan society is a good place to be introduced to the hobby, he added. The club holds an open house for the public twice a year, in April and October, at The Railroad Lodge, their clubhouse at 1001 N. 10th St. in Sheboygan, and hosts a Family Railroad Expo every September at the Sheboygan Falls Municipal Auditorium. The Railroad Lodge is also open to the public every Tuesday night.

“Sometimes that’s a very good place to start,” Pawlus said of the lodge. “Instead of going in to a store and being sold something you’re not interested in, you can come here. By talking to model railroaders, it doesn’t cost you anything and you can find out where your interests are and not waste your time and money. It’s an opportunity to take a look at it, get hands-on experience and take off from there.”

The hands-on experience is often all that’s needed to turn a casual interest into a lifelong passion, according to Pawlus.

“Because it’s a toy, children love toys and it’s an action toy, something that’s moving,” Pawlus said. “For older people, there’s still the child in them. There’s nothing immature about it. People love to recreate a little empire, if you will.

“I think it goes back to the fact that trains have always been a major part of transportation, so there’s always been a fascination with trains,” Pawlus said. “That was something that was real, that was tangible and was a real excitement to people.”

Dick Pool is adding plaster to a mountain display at the Railroad Lodge

 
MODEL RAILROAD SCALES

As the name scale model railroad indicates, model railroading is a scaled-down version of the real thing. Model railroading is divided into various scales, designated by letters, which indicate the ratio between the models and real life. The following are the model railroading scales, from the largest to the smallest:

G — The largest size, typically about 1/24th the size of real equipment (one inch of model equals 24 inches or 2 feet of the real thing). Based on the German 1/22.5 scale, it is also called garden scale, as most G scale layouts are set up outdoors, often in garden settings.

O — The largest primarily indoor size trains, 1/48th scale (one inch 48 inches or 4 feet). The popular Lionel trains are a variation of O scale.

S — The next largest size, 1/64th ratio (one inch equals 64 inches, or 5 feet 4 inches). American Flyer trains generally are S scale.

HO — Sometimes referred to as half O, although the ratio is 1/87 (one inch equals 87 inches, or 7 feet 3 inches). HO and O are the most popular scales on the market.

TT — 1/120th scale (one inch equals 120 inches, or 10 feet).

N — 1/160th scale (one inch equals 160 inches, or 13 feet 4 inches).

Z — 1/220 scale (one inch equals 220 inches, or 18 feet), and that’s really small.

WHERE TO LEARN MORE about model railroading

n The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers maintains an extensive Web site with information and links to other sites on model railroading at www.sssmre.org.

n The National Model Railroad Association Web site offers lots of information for beginners and long-time hobbyists alike at www.nmra.org.

n The North American Model Railroading directory and Internet search engine can be found at www.modelrailroads.net.

n The two most popular magazines on model railroading are Model Railroader (www.modelrailroader.com), published by Kalmbach Publishing in Waukesha and Railroad Model Craftsman (www.rrmodelcraftsman.com), published by Carstens Publications in New Jersey. Both magazines offer tips for newcomers to model railroading, along with specialty books and magazines on the hobby. The Mead Public Library in Sheboygan carries Model Railroader and has 10 years of back issues of the magazine in its collection.


September 18, 2003


Ken Bailey cleans locomotive wheels Tuesday at the Railroad Lodge in anticipation of this weekend’s expo. Dirt accumulates on the tracks and wheels, preventing the trains from working properly. Press photos/Bruce Halmo
Family Railroad Expo

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Sheboygan Falls Municipal Auditorium

What: Vendors, swap tables, displays, layouts, door prizes and a brat fry

Dick Pool adds plaster to a display at the Railroad Lodge in preparation for their upcoming open house October 25th and 26th.

Train expo pulling into station

Event in Falls this weekend

By Mary Ann Holley
Sheboygan Press staff

Ken Bailey says he’s always loved trains, but it wasn’t until he became an adult that he was able to truly get on track.

“It’s the little kid in all of us,” Bailey said. “It’s like a kid collecting baseball cards. They used to say in the ’50s and ’60s that when grown men went to buy trains, they’d say they were buying for their sons and wink. Now, it’s mainstream. We can buy them for ourselves.”

Saturday and Sunday, Bailey and his friends from the Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers will set up their trains and tracks and all that goes with them and celebrate their love of the choo-choo at the Family Railroad Expo to be held at the Sheboygan Falls Municipal Auditorium.

Bailey’s main interest is diesel locomotives. His collection spans early types from the 1950s to the present.

“We’ve learned the ropes when it comes to putting on the show, but each year has its own challenges,” Bailey said. “Each year we try to have something a little different.”

The special feature this year will be a display from a West Bend man who will bring a portable, ride able train that will be set up behind the building. Children will be allowed to ride the train, he said.

About 50 exhibitors are expected, offering just about anything and everything pertaining to trains — trains for sale, Thomas the Tank Engine trains, railroad photographs and prints of trains of times gone by.

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers will feature a 20-by-30-foot modular layout that will be assembled and run at the site.

“There are really two groups that deal with trains: the model train hobby and the toy train hobby,” Bailey said. “The model trains measure out exactly to the blueprints of a full-sized train. The model is an exact representation of the real thing.”

The scale model club deals in “HO” scale trains, a replica that measures to 1/87th of the real thing, Bailey said.

“It would take 87 of our little locomotives to equal one big one,” Bailey said. “The 1/87th scale, or HO Scale, is half of O-scale or the size of the Lionel trains that were the standard at the turn of the century.”

It wasn’t until the mid-1930s that model trains were developed with the half scale — a scale that was pioneered in 1932 by William K. Walters Corp. of Milwaukee.

“They are still in the business of building model trains and are one of the largest distributors of model trains in the United States,” Bailey said. “So the HO-scale model train was kind of invented right next door.”

Model-train collecting is practiced worldwide. Bailey says it’s one of the most popular hobbies in the world.

“Model-train enthusiasts are found all over the world and recently, its popularity has exploded,” Bailey said. “There have been some famous people into trains. Frank Sinatra liked model trains, and there have been others.”

The Family Railroad Expo and shows like it are one of the best places to see what’s new on the market, Bailey said. The show provides an opportunity to get a good price on some of the best trains and products, and there are a greater variety of things because of the number of dealers coming together.


November 28, 2002

Holiday windows' tradition revived

by Nhia C. Yang

Sheboygan Press staff

As a boy, Philipp Kalchthaler would loyaly follow his Thanksgiving Day routine. He'd excitedly wake up and walk to The Sheboygan Theater in the morning to watch Warner Brothers cartoons. After a traditional holiday dinner, the whole family would trek over to the H.C. Prange store to marvel at the popular holiday displays of animated figures.

But Kalchthaler's excitement did not end with the window displays. He would also head to Prange's basement to marvel at the elaborate Lionel train setup.

And now, years later, Kalchthaler will recreate that special holiday for later generations who never experienced the Prange window tradition. The display recreations will be unveiled today at 6 p.m. at the River Pointe Building on the corner of Eighth street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

Sheboygan Society Of Scale Model Railroad Engineers members Dick Pool, top, and Ken Bailey make final adjustments to an O scale railroad scene, Saturday. The display will be featured in the window of an office building on the corner of Eighth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Press photo/Jeffrey Machtig

"I want for there to be enjoyment and nostalgia again," said Kalchthaler, who owns the office building. I want to see another tradition started. Assisting Kalchthaler in his endeavor is the Railroad Lodge and toy train enthusiast Ralph Maffongelli.

In one of the two window displays will be a train set on two 4 by 8 foot tables that will nearly fill the display space, Kalchthaler said. Trains belonging to Maffongelli and the Railroad Lodge will chug around the displays' tracks

Carter Pawlus of the Railroad Lodge received his first train in 1936 and still recalls the magical pull the models had on him. "The first day the store opened, we were there to watch the trains running." Pawlus said.

Maffongelli, who has collected trains for more than 25 years, hopes the nostalgic display will spark a resurgence in model railroading popularity. "I'd like to see people get involved in the hobby," Maffongelli said. "There was a time when all a boy wanted for Christmas was a toy train."

In another window will be a Nativity scene that has special meaning for Kalchthaler. He modeled his display after his grandmother's annual Nativity scene. His grandmother, Elizabeth Kalchthaler was very religious and prayed for a new home every day, Kalchthaler said. When Kalchthaler's dad and Elizabeth built their new house, she promised to display a Nativity scene every Christmas. She even won the Christmas lighting contest one year, he said.

Kalchthaler said he's not sure just how many people will come to watch the unveiling of the windows, but he hopes to bring back some of that holiday nostalgia. "I hope for a positive reaction," he said. "And if it goes well, it may turn into an annual event."


October, 1999 Model Railroader

25 Years Of Sharing

Twenty-five years ago, I had a letter published in the then-new Student Fare collection. I asked if anyone was interested in corresponding with me and received letters from around the world.   But, most importantly, I received a call from someone in my hometown of Sheboygan, WI.  "Casey" Buteyn looked me up in the phone book and invited me over to see his trains. Casey had been a modeler in the 1930s, and he even went to Milwaukee to check out a new outfit called Walthers. Work had taken him away from the hobby until the 1960s when he had taken it up again.

   Casey took me under his wing and introduced me to train shows, swap meets, and rail fanning all over East-Central Wisconsin. He recently celebrated his 91st birthday. The photo of us was taken at one of his last open houses, regular events at which I had been helping to operate the trains for 25 years. Casey has hung up his engineer's hat due to failing eyesight, but I wanted to say thank you to him and to Model Railroader for bringing us together. I'd also like to tell other modelers not to be afraid of reaching out to young modelers - it could be the beginning of a lifelong friendship. - Ken Bailey, Sheboygan, WIs.

Casey Buteyn passed away in 1999 shortly after this was published.


Douglass Leonhard (left) and Tom Lorenz (right), Sheboygan Falls, watch the trains pass through the mountain at the Roswell Air Force Base exhibit. David Kesner (right), 4, Sheboygan, talks with Tom Butzke, Fond Du Lac, about the train going around the track.

Mon 22-May-2000

On track with trains
Model railroad expo attracts over 1,000 rail enthusiasts
By Troy Laack of The Press Staff

There were miles of smiles, track and moving trains at the Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers Ltd. Family Railroad Expo this weekend.

Do you like trains?

"Yeah, really a lot," said 4-year-old David Kesner of Sheboygan as he stood on a chair Sunday watching the model trains go round and round on a display from Fond du Lac.

Michelle Kesner, David's mother, said her family, which includes her husband, Regis, and daughter, Veronica, are rail fanatics.

"Anything with trains, we're there," Michelle said. "It's funny, Veronica doesn't play with dolls. She plays with trains. David will stand here all night if we let him."

Highlights of the show included a train wreck with fire and smoke, the "Moola" train with cow-like features on the locomotive, train paintings and the Car 26 trolley that ran between Sheboygan Falls and Elkhart Lake, which is being restored.

"We've had a good year," said Ken Bailey, the society's president. "We're quite pleased with the steady flow of people and we've had a lot more kids than in the past."


More than 1,000 people and 17 exhibitors were at the Expo, always held the third weekend in May, at the Sheboygan Falls Municipal Auditorium. It was the sixth annual Expo and prior to that, the group did smaller shows in the basement at Lakeshore Lanes, Bailey said.

Dave Martiny, Kiel, displayed his Roswell Air Force Base depot complete with a UFO crashing into the side of a mountain. Also flying overhead was Boxcar, the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.

"Everything is historically correct, even down to the movie on the marquee,"

Martiny said. "We went on the Internet to find out the movies playing in 1947."

Mike Phalen, Green Bay, also had a huge HO scale display with many different scenes, including people swimming, picnic, cemetery, downtown, police traffic stop, farm, lumber mill and then something a bit out of place, but very cool - right out of Star Trek, the Enterprise car, which has unique abilities to get around the terrain.

"It uses phasers for tunnels and photon torpedoes for bridges," Phalen said.

The society has a permanent display at its Railroad Lodge at 1001 N. 10th St., Sheboygan, which is open for viewing 7-9 p.m. Tuesdays, Bailey said.

.

The group also holds an open house twice a year, usually in June and December, where model train enthusiasts can see the locomotives and boxcars in action. There may not be an open house in June this year because of street construction, but if that happens a later date will be announced. The society also is thinking of starting a September open house. The Railroad Lodge also includes historical railroad magazines that date back to the early 1950s, Bailey said. The organization also is available for displays and talks as time permits by calling Bailey at 451-0311.

Dick Pool and Carter Pawlus run two web sites associated with the group that can be accessed at
www.sssmre.org. Pawlus has more than 17,200 railroads that existed in North America listed on the site he maintains. Why did he do it?

"Because nobody else did," Pool answers before Pawlus can respond.

"I had an interest in logos and collected them," Pawlus said. "When the numbers got high, I had to list them by railroad. I realized there was no one on the Internet listing all the railroads and it gradually grew to what it is now. I spend one, two hours on it every day. It's just for fun."

The society's web site includes a calendar of its activities, the history of the group, photographs and more, Pool said.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

December 9, 2000

Car 26 is now complete and made its inaugural run on the 11 mile track at the East Troy Railroad Museum on October 7, 2005. It is being placed on the National Registry as the oldest operating wooden Interurban car. A number of local model railroaders, including members of the Society, helped fund the restoration.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Online

Photos and text on this site are 1977 - 2011 Sheboygan Society Of Scale Model Railroad Engineers, Ltd. All rights reserved.

Updated: Monday, July 16, 2012