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Over a year ago, Dan & Betty Soller, contacted N.M.R.H.A. With the idea of building a large scale track layout all around one of their display area rooms in their Ace Hardware store in Crosslake, MN. Jerry Creighton was contacted and delegated with the responsibility of coming up with a plan and the cost involved. It soon became apparent that to go all around the room with over 200 feet of track was cost prohibitive. The decision was made to build the layout over the cashiers station in the home decor area.

Few know it, but Jerry Creighton was a pre-engineering student before he received the call to become a minister in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. His engineering background was put to full use in designing the suspended layout. The first step was to design and build the framework for the G scale track to lay in. This was done by ripping a 1x10x10 foot board into 1/8 strips. He then took the strips home to his workshop and glued three strips together on each side forming the curves and straight sections. Cross pieces were glued and nailed in place to eventually support the track. The ends were staggered so when the sections were put together there was ample room to connect the sections with bolts. The mechanics involved were impressive to say the least.

trainclub 2) Jerry brought the track decking up to the club room so that we could lay everything out on the floor.
The track sections were assembled with small sections hand cut and drilled to
accept the rail joiners. Also, each section had black and white wires attached for good measure for electrical continuity.
The wood was stained to add to the appearance.

1) Two bridge kits were assembled by Jay and
Jerry, each fitting perfectly between
the curves on each end.






3) We were ready for the final move up to the store to start the assembly. The bridges on each end were hung first with the help on several club members. Then the curved section were installed that were attached on to the bridges. The track frame was attached to the soffit, and threaded rods were attached. Then the bottom support boards were attached.

4) Joe Duerr suggested covering the
threaded rods with a wooden casing
that he designed.
Each one had to be individually cut,
glued and tightened into position.
5) The power lines were threaded in along side the track. Then suitcase connectors were used to connect the track pig-tails to the mains.
Then came the big test. Would it work??? Did Jerry have everything planned out??
6) It should be noted that the engine and cars belong to Ted Martin. Eventually, Dick & Betty will purchase their own engine and cars. The engine and caboose will be painted with our club initials. A boxcar will be painted with the Ace logo. A flat car will have some kind of Ace delivery truck on it.
Appropriate club signage will hang under
the two bridges for publicity. There is no
cost to the club other than the sweat
and blood of the builders.

trainclubOur trip was delayed a while while we waited for a "special" to come through from Dresser, pulling a long set of ballast/rip-rap cars.

Our Engineer and source of data about the train was Robert Hawkins.

After the Special went through, a ballast tamper and ballast car moved out onto the main and went back up the rail to go to work.

There was a lot of discussion by the members on "couplers". We could write a book on the many styles and features, but everything came down to consideration of the awesome strength they conveyed.

This caboose was relatively modern and had a lot of features. The scenery was beautiful as we traveled along, and eventually crossed the St Croix river. The clearance between the car and the girders was
pretty close.

trainoneThe line has been cut through the bluffs.

Sometimes it is fun to go where others fear to tread. Our car was #1096. It was built for the Chicago, Northwestern, "400". We had a cooperative Conductor and brakeman, who led us back through the Cars to the A11. This car was built in 1910 by Barney & Smith as a compartment observation car for the Great Northern. It has been rebuilt many times through the years. Our Conductor unlocked door to
the platform for a photo op.

The 6234 pulled us out, and is shown being pulled back to Osceola by the 325. Many thanks to Dennis & Joanne Olson, and Joe and Carol Duerr for making this trip possible. Today, I check Google Maps, and found where this old Soo line was  hooked up to four older passengers cars and was making its way down the line, from Osceola.

Are we having fun yet? 
train2 terain3  train3
Don and Mary Ann Bennett took the photos to the left during their recent trip to Germany.

We went to the Berlin address of an advertised model train operation and found ourselves looking at a train station that didn't look like any trains would be moving there soon.


Later on we found the site of the advertised HO layout and found the centerpiece was a train station. It took some inspection to realize that the model was of the same station - as it existed before world war II. The size of the station can be realized by using the cars in the first picture to see the size of the ruins, and then finding the part of the station model that corresponds to them.
N.M.R.H.A. "Tracker" members are shown with their sale display at the Granite City Train Show. Sales like this let a group pick up some revenue, and it clears out a lot of items that are not being used that are taking up space. Bargains are in the eye of the beholder!
Member Bob Moengen, Dick Elmquist and Dave Johnson took our portable layout and set it up at the local library to demonstrate how model railroads work.


While vacationing near Foley, Alabama Dick Elmquist found the Foley City Train Museum. The city built the building adjacent to the museum. The building contains a 22' by 60' O Gauage layout that was donated by the city. It took the members 14 months to rebuild the layout in the building.

Dick visited the layout four times and found something new to look at each time.



While on the road again, Bob Moengen and his family gathered at the Rockwoods Grill & Bar in Ostego, MN, and founds this G scale, suspended, self-reversing layout.
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