Assessing Assets: Part 3

This is the third in the series about managing our donated assets. This follows up on Part 1, expanding the focus on the Miller donation to cover things other than modules. There’s lots of rail-laying jigs and materials, plus other useful things.

Styrofoam Cases for Modules

There’s four of these neatly constructed cases for various modules. They protect the track and allow the modules to be stacked. They take up a lot of space and I’m not sure how useful they could be for us.

Jigs and Test Patterns

Most of these are HOn3, but also some HO standard gauge and others. They could be useful when demonstrating laying track or to build custom-fitted turnouts.

HO/HOn3 Test or Display Track

A handlaid test or display track that is dual gauge, HO/HOn3.

Some WS Dark Cinder Ballast

About half a dozen bags of Woodland Scenics dark Cinder Ballast. I think this matches what covers Module #1.

Vinyl Roadbed

A whole bunch of VinylBed roadbed. Includes a few sheets in large format for yards and to cut turnout shapes from. There’s more of different types roadbed that I still need to take pics of. There is enough here to do the basics if we choose tio build out the modules #2 to #8.

Soldered Points/Frogs plus N-Scale Track

I’m not sure what gauge the point/frog assemblys are and there is more N scale track plus turnouts I still need to get pics of. I’m guessing there’s plenty of N scale track to finish the N Timesaver module.

Treemaking Material

Bob didn’t make much scenery, but he was prepared to make trees the old fashioned way. These are rather dry, but the stems could still make good armatures to build trees on.

Roanoke Electronics Super Horn

Unfortunately, the Super Horn is less than super on this relic from the pre-DCC era, as I can get that to sound only once at a time by shorting it internally. The SH was apparently hacked on a bit before I got my hands on it, so still trying to figure what’s wrong. The bell works great. Appears to be Steam only (no diesel) as there is nothing hooked up to the Diesel side of the selection switch. If I can get the horn working, it would be great for shows as kids would love making the horn and bell sounds.

Buildings and Platforms

This is only a partial documentation of the many structures Bob built and passed on to us. These are all HO scale, but there are a few TT ones, too.

There is more that I still need to document, which I will do here soon in future posts.

These also sum up the task for the disposition committee to sort out. The Module #1 and associated modules should get a representative group to preserve and illustrate Bob’s skills. After that, some form of disposition tio the membership and even sale to the public should be considered. For instance, we probably have enough buildings, etc that once the preservation collection is selected, we could give every member of the division an example to be used to both memorialize Bob and to serve as a example to be emulated as best we can in our own modeling. Thus, I would sum up the three goals for them to determine as preservation, disposition, and income.

Assessing Assets, Part 2: 2019 Anon Donation

During the 2019 Lincoln Square Village Train Show, someone stopped by our display and made an anonymous donation of some circa 1950s HO scale equipment. Most of the cars were equipped with the archaic hook and loop couplings. Here’s a look at what we have.

Mantua General, Plus Misc Parts

This loco was built from a Mantua General kit. There are some extra optional parts included along with an iffy looking sheet of decals and misc stuff. It is tender drive, but no idea if it runs.

Unpowered HO F-unit

This dummy F-unit was part of a 1950s product promotion along with the next few cars enclosed in cardboard shipping packs. Whatever is done with these should happen as a unit because of their common source.

HO Lightweight Passenger Car

Don’t fear.

It’s just a kit for a streamline passenger car.

HO Michigan Central Gondola

Great for open loads.

HO Virginian Hopper Car

The RR, not the TV show.

For coal, etc.

HO Metal 8-wheel Caboose

Caboose is painted but unlettered. Equipped with loop and hook couplers.

HO Texaco Tank Car

A very nice HO scale Texaco tank car. Equipped with loop and hook couplers.

HO Santa Fe Reefer

A classic car. Equipped with loop and hook couplers.

HO Pennsylvania Boxcar

A Pennsy 40′ box equipped with loop and hook couplers.

HO Central of Georgia Gon

A rather rare road name equipped with loop and hook couplers.

HO Central RR of NJ Old Time Boxcar

An old time kit of an old time boxcar. It is partially built.

HO (or a larger scale) 2 pairs of Link and Pin Couplers

A lot of 2 pairs of Link and Pin Couplers. They work in HO, but might be more suitable for a larger scale – and very steady hands.

Some Odd Lots

The rest of things. The track is brass curves (22″?)

Assessing Assets: Part 1

This is the first in a series of posts that document many of the assets currently in the ITD’s hands. The generosity of donors over the last year has been almost breathtaking. It does create the need to decide which the ITD should retain to support our programs and which might be surplus to those needs and might better be disposed of to benefit the division’s finances , where possible. Some of these items would make good donations to other NMRA groups. We need to organize a committee to make some determination of what we plan to do in order gain the maximum benefit to our efforts to promote the hobby. This and future posts are intended to give members access to info on these assets to aid in decision making about them as we move forward with a process we need to devise to get us through these virus-stricken times.

In general, we should plan to prioritize retention of those assets with direct application in support of the division’s efforts to promote the NMRA and the hobby. If there is property in excess of those needs, it could be sold to members with an interest in it. Finally, assets can be disposed of to the general public if it it doesn’t qualify for either of the first options, with any revenue from these sales going to support the ITD’s general fund.

The first group of assets will be the many modules the estate of Bob Miller brought to us. I’ll list them and comment on each as much as possible.

Module #1

HOn3, Loon Lake

This is the most scenic of all Bob’s modules. Track and wiring is complete, with a few attached structures. With a bridge adapter, it connects with a new HOn3 4×8 I built that together can serve to display the many unique structures built by Bob that we received, as well as a way to display projects by other members from time to time. The switch machines are all remote-operated snappers with switch stands to display position. I added the shelf underneath to help keep things organized and hold power supplies, etc.


Module’s #2 to #8

Connects with Module #1

Modules #2 through #8 are the rest of a larger layout Bob apparently planned to build that would’ve been an “O”-shaped one about 10′ square. There are 3 more straight sections and 4 corner sections, plus legs and hardware. Module #1 above was the only section Bob brought to the substantially complete state seen above. Since I am currently the only narrowgauger in the division, it doesn’t make much sense to pursue this as an HOn3 project. Instead, it would make a good layout for shows that would be within our organizational capacity to build and operate in HO standard gaige or N scale.On the other hand, it might be something another division or NMRA project could use. The missing 4th section that is our Module #1 would be easy to duplicate to complate it as a roundy round or it could be adapted to be a Free-mo or other module set.

Module #9

On30 or HO

This module is HO gauge, but the tie spacing, etc all scream On30. It seems complete, but I haven’t hooked up the electricity yet. Turnout controls on this one are manual. This would be a good one for kids to test the cars they might build in the make -n-take.


Module #10

This module is HOn3 and is complete, with hand throws on the turnouts. An excellent example of Bob’s handiwork with track, code 55 in this case. The question with this and the next one is does the ITD need more than one HOn3 module besides Module #1?

Module #11

HOn3, incomplete track

This HOn3 module is quite similar in appearance and construction to Module #10, but has a portion of the track yet to be completed on the right side in the pic above. There is more than enough rail available to complete it in our stock, so would make a good project to demonstrate hand-laying track for one of our future shows..

Module #12, #13, & #14

??? x3

These three modules are similar in construction to #10 and #11 from what I remember when we put them up there carefully, but I couldn’t get them down without help to see what’s there. Will advise when I get help to check them out and take pics.

Module #15

This module is blank, but similar to others in this series in basically being a hollow door that is 80″ long and 16″ or less in width.

Module #16

another blank

Another blank without any track.

Module #17

This one has some commercial N gauge track present, plus a lot of additional rubbery roadbed. We have a bunch of N gauge turnouts and some sectional track in our stock.

Module #18

Sort of N scale Timesaver

Similar to a Timesaver, but different, this module is laid out in the rubbery roadbed material on a shorter piece of extruded foam, about 4′ to 5′ long. No track is present, but we have some. This one is the most portable of all those we have available.


While not part of the many modules sections themselves, we received a number of brackets that can be used to hang the various modules on the wall.

Zoom for Help: Model RR Advice, Division Library Now Available Online thru ITD

While the COVID-19 pandemic has a lot of downsides, these circumstances are bringing about some positive changes that we have long contemplated. In the Illinois Terminal Division, we’ve just begun meeting using Zoom, an applications for videoconferencing that is free and easy to use for your computer, smartphone or tablet device. To get it, search your app store or go to

Besides meetings, I’ve started using it to help members solve problems, consult and plan, and generally work through issues they may encounter, but can’t get immediate help with due to time, distance, or the restrictions they may face due to the pandemic. Zoom is pretty straightforward to use, so don’t be intimidated if it’s new to you.

While there has been some discussion in the media about privacy and other issues, mostly this happens when you allow it to access your contacts list and other file areas on your device. That does make it a little easier to set-up a meeting, but aren’t needed for the app to function. If Zoom requests those, just “Don’t Allow” it and it will keep working without that info

How do you connect with the ITD via Zoom? Right now, I’m the only one working this, but others may join in as they are comfortable to help. Once you have the Zoom app installed on whatever device you’re using, send a message or call me to set up a Zoom session if you have my personal contact info or send a message via email to:

Since the ITD’s Robert Miller Memorial Library is housed here, with Zoom available I can also assist you with looking up old articles and other materials found in our collection. We have almost complete collections of Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman, and Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette available among other materials. I can also use my personal library to help you, with its extensive collection of narrowgauge books, including some rare and hard to find ones.

I am generally available after 10am until late evening, although the scope of your problem may need more time to research in a few cases. One of the great features of Zoom is how you can add in additional feeds and share your screen in order to facilitate the meeting. Zoom is more than just making talking heads available for this reason.

Using Zoom, I hope that the ITD becomes more usefully available to all members in between our monthly meetings (now temporarily suspended except via Zoom), but I especially hope those who are too distant to attend can enjoy greater participation with those of us concentrated in the north part of the ITD. The upcoming May 9 at 1pm annual business meeting will be the first ITD membership meeting to be televised via Zoom. We hope to see you there, but contact us sooner if you need assistance with any prototype or model railroad-related subject or any NMRA-related topic.