OGR Spring 2019 Grand Stand Meeting Minutes
Our meeting was once again held in the “Gold Hall” under the grandstands at the York Fairgrounds during the Eastern Division of the Train Collectors Association meet – their semi-annual meeting. Sort of like semi-sweet chocolates. We had a large crowd this time, and if it keeps growing, we are going to have to move back into the Grand Stand.
Anyway, the meeting started right at 2:00pm with beautiful, clear skies and a temperature of 63 degrees. We had to set up our own chairs again. There are large benches in there with plaques from sponsoring banks that we were not allowed to use because those banks had long since failed and the FDIC was expected at any moment to come and repossess them. There was a commotion as I arrived, almost late, as Alan was trying to recruit another scribe to back me up. That wasn’t going well.
Ed Boyle welcomed the crowd and got things going.
Alan Arnold – CEO, OGR Publishing, Inc.
Alan reported that the Forum is now serving up 8.3 million page views a month and averages 300-400 new members a month. Big increase from a few years ago when they averaged 3 million page views a month. He reminded everyone that OGR is now a virtual company with everyone working out of their homes and invited anyone that gets to AR to visit his layout in Mountainview. The magazine is expanding, and they are offering new digital offerings at a reduced price. The digital version includes access to the digital library – so renew early. He also asked the group to “play nice” on the forum and don’t get personal in your posts.
Scott Mann – Golden Gate Depot
Scott shared with the group that they are making a brass diesel, the Rock Island Rocket TA Diesel and four cars and only 3 remained to order. He has also improved the window cut out process for his passenger cars using a CNC machine which gives them a lot more flexibility. They have announced a new series of Golden Gate Depot aluminum 18” passenger cars including Southern Pacific Daylight; The Broadway Limited; and the 20th Century Limited. Third Rail's website is 3rdrail.com, and GGD is at goldengatedepot.com
Jared Haedrich – CEO, Atlas Model RR Company
Jared talked about their line of O Gauge bridges are available again, including that fabulous Pratt Truss Bridge. Their new signaling system is shipping this fall, and their re-engineered turntable is available. It retails for $299.99 which is 20% of the competitors turntable price. They also announced for October two previous Weaver products – the Wagon Top boxcars and the Pullman Bradley Passenger Coaches.
Dennis Brennan – Brennan’s Better Ballast
I again suggested he change the name to Brennan’s Best Ballast and he told me no – I couldn’t afford the best – better ballast should be good enough for me and to stop making suggestions. Ed agreed. Anyway, he brought his latest kit - #3 in the Frank Ellison Tribute Series called the Richmond Packing Company. Could be used for any kind of factory. A craftsman kit, but easy to assemble. A lot of thought when into its construction. Give him a shout to reserve yours. Priced at $149.95 which is very reasonable, for a guy that normally sells crushed rock, anyway. BTW – his wife accompanied him this trip and helped out in the booth. A big improvement, in my opinion.
Chris Miller – Miller Engineering
They just released Portland Oregon sign, and one for Nathan’s Hot Dogs. New rotating signs for Sonic Drive In and Denny’s. They have two sizes of power adopters for someone that doesn’t want to use batteries. Their line of Christmas items are available, including a couple of three-dimensional items.
Roger Farkash and Mike Reagan from TWTrainWorx
Roger reported that they have a number of new layouts under construction, and several public layouts are being put up for the holiday season. I know there are several in New York City. They brought to the show a new Freight Transfer Company Kit, selling for $200, and I bought one for Mrs Muffin for Christmas – don’t tell. Also a new laser cut wood fence kit they were selling for $50. It’s engineered, like their chain link fence kit, for easy assembly. Mike didn’t say anything – must have been ill. Andy was impressed.
Kevin Davis - Manager of Programs for the National Standard Modular Layouts for the LCCA
Lots of new modular layout clubs forming and several groups, I think 4, came together to build the modular layout shown in the Orange Hall. He encourages everyone to start a modular train club. At the 50th annual LCCA convention in Omaha there will be several modular clubs bringing their railroad. He also showed a Polar Express Car Lionel made for the TCA. Check out their website for more details on the car.
Andy Edleman – MTH Electric Trains
The new catalog is out with 550 products and the one getting the most questions in the DCS remote. The new version we will see in January will be the last run manufactured and will have no new functionality. The internal components are no longer manufactured – chips become obsolete – so the remote has different internal electronics, so that required a new product number. He was suggesting to the group that they need to get over the remote and move to running their trains with the WiFi application. It works much better.
He went on the say that the Halloween items are about sold out, and the Christmas items continue to use LEDs – Lots of LEDs. The Big Boy in the Catalog and the J611 are new items with quillable whistle steam and real sound files recorded from both the restored 4014 and the J611. Once released, you will be able to down load the sound file and install it in your current PS3 Big Boy or J611 – and for free.
The catalog includes the latest run of military flat cars, one with “Jeeps” though they can’t advertise it as a “Jeep” and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
Ryan Kunkle – Chief Project Manager – Lionel, LLC
Ryan reported that he agrees completely with Andy – quit buying DCS remotes. Another great year at Lionel. Record sales. The product keeps coming in, for example, they received 12 overseas containers in a single day. The Lionel Warehouse Sale is 11/7-9. National Train Day is in December. They are working on the 2020 Volume 1 Catalog, and a new Visionline announcement, which will be out in January.
With that, Ed adjourned the meeting and the stacking of the chairs commenced. To the elderly woman that grabbed and stacked mine – my thanks. I think she was in a hurry for me to leave.
Not at the meeting, but worth noting, was Millhouse River Studio which showcased a new Rotary Coal Dumper in their booth. Check it out at studiozphoto.com
Any additions or corrections, please post. Thanks for putting this together, Ed.
MTH's Bradley Fighting Vehicle
TWTrainWorx New Building
TWTrainWorx new fence kit
Pictures of Brennan's new building