The 42nd Annual Fall S Fest was held at the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wisconsin this year. I don't usuially buy the patches anymore, but this one is a nice one:
I normally make both days, but sustained a road hazard flat on the tollway going home Friday night, so Saturday was taken up with dealing that trauma and getting new tires as the old ones were, well old. It's disgusting having to spend my irresponsible money on necessities. Anyhow…
The Fest seemed a little more subdued this year, but still offered up a good mix of old Flyer, new Flyer and yes, even scale. There also seemed to be a bounty of SHS cars available this year.
Overheard by the registration desk were advance registrations were down from the last time State-Line hosted, but also had about 35 walk-ins Friday. They anticipated more on Saturday.
Notably missing this year were Scenery Unlimited (reports were Don was on tour in Italy) and American models (probably because they’re building a new factory.) Otherwise, the vendors were pretty much the usual suspects.
There were two operating layouts in the foyer, Badgerland’s(?) little 4x6 display and Buck Guthrie’s animation-o-ramma.
The Fest cars were a trio of American Models Burlington (BREX) “reefers,.” Insulated plug door boxcars in reality, but very nice stand in cars as a suitable reefer isn’t manufactured right now.
The slogan car has the appropriate slogan on opposite sides:
The more austere car:
And a National Car Co. lease to the Burlington:
A 4th car lettered for Armour was available to State Line members only, or by raffle or auction:
I really like where State Line placed the S Fest labeling:
The cars were available as hirail only, therefore I’ve scalified my three cars…
Now, I wasn’t looking for anything in particular this year and I wasn’t disappointed. I did pick up two unremarkable scale AM freight cars and an old Pacific Rail Shops Burlington reefer kit.
So, nothing unique to be had...
Or was there?
There was one gem hiding in plain sight that I missed for most of the day. A scratch-built (using some AM components) 50’ PFE mechanical reefer by Tom Lennon. The stirrups under the plug doors had broken off. I have one, but will have to fabricate the other and the car should really have roller bearing trucks. I should have a spare pair kicking around here somewhere… But, Tom did a really nice job building this car. Glad I found it. Would be a nice car for someone to manufacture.
Finally, the one that got away. An assembled S Scale locomotive and Supply Light USRA Mikado. I looked at it during two orbits of the trading floor. By my third third orbit, it had been purchased. Oh well, I snooze, I lose.
But, it didn't get too far away. Turns out my friend had purchased the Mikado. As he is currently without a layout, he’s left it in my temporary care for pictures and testing.
Man, I would hate to be the fireman that has to hurl those chunks of coal into the firebox…
The thing is heavy, could be classified as a blunt instrument. Runs pretty well, the wheels could use a little cleaning and there is a rather formidable spade connector used to get power from the tender that could cause the tender to derail on curves. It barely fits on the KGB’s poor little 14” turntable, but it does fit. A brass bargain for for my friend for less than $300.00.
I would have liked to get back to Janesville today to see the model contest, but by the time I got the tires taken care of, it was too late to make the trip worthwhile.