More Memories of Bob Miller’s Skills

Pic of 6 jigs used to solder turnout components. They are made of wooden blocks with channels that holds the rails in specific positions.
Jigs used by Bob Miller to solder up turnout points and frogs

I ran out of the allotted space in the lead article remembering Bob Miller by means of the items of material culture he left behind. I will finish up here by moving on to right side of the memorial. The pic above fulfills the promise at the end of the first article to show how Bob did some of his work.

Bob Miller Memorial Detail #3

The green card file box contained a record of railroad passes Bob sent and received in exchange with others in the hobby. This mimicked a prototype form of professional courtesy, where officials of a railroad gave free rides on their lines to their colleagues from other railroads, an exchange facilitated by the issuance of cards bestowing this privilege on the named card holder. The file card that is lifted up happens to be of a correspondent in Switzerland. The pass that is inserted is a card printer’s example one of the form the card took, basically a means to publicize one’s model layout’s fictional or actual details, often plus any elaboration on the issuer’s views on the hobby or life more generally.

Near the front of the case, on the same track as the TT scale rolling stock is a single truck pulled from a pair that were in the small plastic box. They are also gauged to run on the same 12 mm track as the TT cars. After some research I found they were something even more exotic than TT already was. The trucks were in 5.5 mm scale, in which case the track beneath represented a 2′ gauge track. In the US, the use of 2′ gauge track (except for a few scattered, mostly industrial lines) was confined to a few short common carrier lines in Maine. Based on what I found, it appears this was all the farther Bob went with this scale/gauge combination, although I’d be happy to be proven wrong. He did have a interest in the prototype in Maine, based on other evidence, but assembling one pair of the two sets of trucks I found was what he did in this niche area of the model railroading universe.

Finally, another nice pic taken by his friend Jim of Bob as he adjusted something on the layout below finishes out this quick tour of some of the highlights of Bob’s life. Insight’s offered by Jim Phillips and others who knew Bob helped me piece together greater meaning from the physical remnants of Bob’s passage on Earth. It was an honor to be given the opportunity to preserve this material. Bob was a longtime subscriber to Model Railroader magazine, contributing to the nearly complete collection of MR passed on to us that started in February 1939, but which also included a bound volume of the first year of the magazine in 1934. It and other periodicals and books in his collection that we received from his estate led us to rename the divisional library the Robert Miller Memorial Library in his honor. I hope this pair of articles is able to stir more memories among those who knew Bob. It’s intriguing to think about what might be learned if it turns out he had attended any of the National Narrow Gauge Conventions or participated in one of the Illini Railroad Clubs several trips by rail to Colorado to see the Rio Grande still operating its narrowgauge lines with steam into the late 1960s. If you have a memory of Bob, please post it as a comment below or in the comments of the first article or send it to me so I can record it for posterity. Thanks again to Jim Phillips and others who have generously given me insights and pictures used here.

All aboard for Loon Lake…and points beyond!


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