2023 Urbana Train Show, March 25 & 26, Postcards Are Out!

After massaging the revised mailing list into Mail Merge, we can now relatively easily update and print the train show mailing list. The “save the date” reminder post card went out Monday. I received mine today. Those on the mailing list, plus ITD members, should receive a neon yellow card soon.

If you don’t receive a card, but wish to be on the reminder list, send a brief note to me, trainshow@illinoisterminaldivision.org , and I’ll add you to the list. There will be a mailing with the vendor and display layout applications going out at New Year’s as the next mailing

You can also reach us every Wednesday on Zoom at 819 5434 5485, code 088555.

RR Days in Monticello: A Good Time Was Had by All

Live steam at Railroad Days in Monticello, Illinois.
The workers are short and the steam trains are not very big, but they keep running round and round at Monticello Railway Museum’s 2022 Railroad Days on Sept. 17-18.
The Midwest Live Steamer’s brought their scale trains out to run alongside the Museum’s 1:1 steamers.

ITD Member Ernie Noa is the local organizer for the live steamers and provided this video
Ernie also captured a pic of yours truly holding down the ITD table featuring audience operation on one of Bob Miller’s modules.

Another goal beyond helping ensure crowd safety around the live steam was promoting ITD’s 2023 Lincoln Square Train Show next March 25 & 26

ITD Meeting and Helping Live Steam during Railroad Days @ Monticello Railway Museum, Sept 17 & 18

ITD member Ernie Noa brings his live steam buddies from across the Midwest to run at the Monticello Railway Museums Railroad Days on Sept. 17 & 18. As we have in years past, ITD will be helping the live steamers with assisting public interaction and ensuring safety for engineers and the public alike.

We’ll have one of the Bob Miller handlaid modules there for the public to also operate on and will also be publicizing the 2023 Lincoln Square Train Show, March 25 & 26.

Due to the usual second Saturday of the month being a major conflict for holding our meeting this month – even before Buzz Swett passed away and provided an even more compelling reason to not meet then except in support of him and his family at the services – we also will be holding the monthly meeting at Monticello. We also hope to make it available via Zoom using the usual monthly meeting number and code on Saturday at 1pm.

So join us live, in person of via the wonders of the internet,

RIP: Long-time ITD Director Augustus “Buzz” Swett Passes

It is with heavy heart that I note the passing of Buzz Swett , long-time ITD member and director, at the age of 77. Services are today, Saturday, Sept. 10 in Cisco, IL at the Cisco United Methodist Church. Visitation is 10am-noon with a Memorial Service at noon.

Buzz was an Air Force veteran, as well as a model railroader. He will be missed by family and friends. Memorably, he was present when the B-36 landed at Chanute AFB, where it was on display for more than three decades before the based closed. Later in service, Buzz served on base in the Titan missile maintenance program and was the base Sovietologist prior to his retirement.

Chief Clerk/Paymaster Allen Byrne Wins NMRA President’s Award for Division Service in MWR

It’s with great satisfaction that I get to write this brief article on Allen Byrne, ITD’s longtime Chief Clerk and Paymaster, winning the NMRA President’s Award for Division Service. This award is presented annually to one member in each Region who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help a division maintain service to members and other duties that make them an exceptional representative of what service to our organization represents.

Allen riding on the live steam in Decatur during a ITD visit a few years back

While I have been Superintendent for many years. Allen’s service as an officer extends all the way back to the revival of what was formerly know as the “Southern Illinois Division.” The SID had been inactive for many years when we revived what we renamed the Illinois Terminal Division in 2005. Without Allen’s steady hand on our records and finances, ITD would not exist. Without his further extending his efforts to do the paperwork associated with being a non-profit, it’s quite possible we wouldn’t be sponsoring the annual Lincoln Square Train Show.

It’s hard for me to find words that express my personal appreciation for Allen’s reliable help when I need to call on him at various times. He has always come through to make what needs to happen, happen. I urge every member to personally express your appreciation to Allen when you get a chance to congratulate him on earning this award. Thanks, Allen, you are someone I know I can count on to do all the detail work needed to serve our membership. It is much appreciated!

Big Railroad Garage Sale in Monticello, July 16 & 17

In conjunction with the > Monticello Railway Museum < and this Saturday’s > Donut Train <, the Illinois Terminal Division is participating in the Museum’s Garage Sale this weekend, Saturday July 16 (11am-5pm) and Sunday, July 17 (10am-5pm). The sale will be held at the VFW Hall/Wabash Center at 108 E. Livingston in downtown Monticello. Wabash Center is across the parking lot just south of the downtown train station.

The Museum has an immense offering of railroadania, books, magazines, and other RR-related items. Proceeds will go toward supporting the Museum’s historical preservation work.

ITD has a nice collection of model railroad equipment and supplies, both donated items and things surplus to some of our members, which like the Museum’s stuff, is priced to move. Proceeds will support ITD’s promotion of the hobby, as well as the annual Lincoln Square Train Show in Urbana >(next year’s show will be March 25 & 26, 2023.)<

We have lots of items in HO, plus some N scale. Most of the cars are equipped with Kadee couplers and are priced in the $3 to $5 range. There are a couple of nice HO Atlas S-2 switchers (Santa Fe and Boston & Maine) in like new condition @ $40, as well as a N Kato SD45 ($50). In an sense, pretty run of the mill stuff, but with encouraging prices.

There are some items that are rather unusual or demonstrate some exceptional skill. These include four HO standard gauge freight cars scratchbuilt ($20 each) by the late Bob Miller (on the right in the pic above), similar to his HOn3 narrowgauge cars that we were running on his HOn3 module at this year’s Lincoln Square Show.

If you are into narrowgauge (or N), there are several modules he built with handlaid track available. One is an HOn3 Timesaver-based switching module ($100) with about a dozen turnouts, all handlaid.

Pic of part of the HOn3 module

Another is a HOn30/N scale ($100), also with Bob’s signature flowing trackwork. Both are complete with hand throws for the turnouts and are wired, so you can take them home and start running trains right away.

There are also several other “blank canvasses” of panels of various widths and 80″ long, along with wall brackets to make mounting them easily on walls.

There’s even an original Moto-Tool ($10)

Want something to build that is a little more ambitious, but still fitting in a reasonable amount of room? We are also offering a nearly complete set of module framework ($100) that bolts together to form a layout that is about 10′ x 10′. It is composed of 4 corner sections and 3 side sections.

The fourth side section is what Bob built the HOn3 module on that we show at the train show. To complete the framework to make a continuous run all that would be needed would be to reconstruct it as a complete square would be to replicate one of the other side sections. Adjustable legs and all hardware are included and everything is numbered to make assembly easy. The sections are about 16″ wide, so this framework is suitable for everything from N to Z up through HO, plus may work for a narrowgauge or traction layout in larger scales.

Drop by and see what’s on offer. There are some great deals and plenty of railroad enthusiast discussion that will cost you nothing. And you will be contributing to a good cause.

Cornfield Free-mo Report

Back in April 2022, the 7th Cornfield Free-Mo Meet was held in McLean, IL. Organized loosely by Tom Ludlam, these meets happen in the gym of a local school. I’d heard of them happening, which they generally do in the spring and fall, but this was my first visit. UPDATE: The fall 2022 Cornfield Free-Mo meet will be October 7th to 9th. I brought back a bunch of pics of the April meet and meant to post these some time back, then our cat died and it took some catching up to get back around to this. Enjoy!

The first two pics give an over all view of this meet’s layou
Free-Mo provides an end-connection and power control standard that allows for variations in how the modules are arranged

Here’s the track diagram of this meet’s layout.

One end had a fair-sized yard

There were several junctions present that could provide alternative arrangements in future meets

Kimble’s Viaduct was pretty impressive

Another view of Kimble’s Viaduct
You can almost feel the cool breezes from those pines

A Midwest RR downtown

Free-Mo module construction relied on a basic design of plywood, with foam filler to lighten things
This layout was built on one level, except for Kimble’s Viaduct, but Free-Mo allows for grades, too

After passing through the large yard that started the pics here, the line terminates in this triple staging loop

Work goes on as people operate. Free-Mo is a satisfying combination of display, camaraderie, trading tips and advice and operations while hanging out with others who share4 a passion for model railroading.

The Cornfield Free-Mo group has a Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/378027159768342/

Like many social functions, there has been some uncertainty due to the pandemic, but the Cornfield Free-Mo meet will most like happen next this fall in late September/early October. For further info, check in with the Facebook group or contact Tom at McLean Depot:


All Steamed Up at Al’s

Ernie Noa traveled a little further west to meet up with a number of other Midwest Live Steamers at his friend Al’s place recently. Ernie passed along a couple of Youtube videos to share with everyone.

The first is composed of various still images and available at:

Stills from steaming at Al’s by Ernie Noa

Here’s video featuring lots of cool pacing shots by Ernie:

Video of live steam running at Al’s

Thanks for sharing, Ernie!

Thanks for a Great Train Show!

I wanted to take the opportunity to thank the many who helped put on this year’s Lincoln Square Train Show. Public attendance was significant, despite our being a bit short on vendor attendance. We’re certainly looking for more vendors for next year’s show, which will be March 25 and 26, 2023.

Hundred year-old+ Illini Railroad Club’s Free-mo modules
Ernie Noa video of Midwest Live Steamer’s layout

We had a great turnout of display layouts, including several for which this was the first public show. People stayed busy building during the pandemic and it showed.

Financially, we’re in good shape for next year. Due to table sales being down somewhat, this was a good result. Once expenses were accounted for, we broke even and preserved our $500~ cushion of seed money to put on next year’s show. We are particularly looking for one or more multi-table vendors carrying new and currently carried model train equipment and supplies in HO and N. Info on next years show can be found at our Show page, found at http://www.illinoisterminaldivision.org/show/show.htm

Here are some more pics from the 2022 show. First of all, the Illinois Terminal Division tables, where the make-and-take organized by Assistant Superintendent Larry Tschopp was almost constantly busy with new modelers trying their hand at building a car.

Building some kits

Want to join the fun or need help with your model railroad dreams? We be thrilled to have you as a member!

I brought my HOn3 4×8 for it’s first showing, along with the HOn3 handlaid module built by late member Bob Miller.

Thanks to Ernie Noa for the last three pics!

Here are some more of the many layouts seen at the 2022 show.

Jon Crawford’s layout in a guitar case

Brian Huang’s switching layout
Crawford County modular group layout

Another N-scale layout.