NMRA Atlanta National: My First Three Days… pt 2

As far as giving clinics, I had two 90 minute clinics back to back and showed 235 Powerpoint slides to two slightly overlapping audiences of apparently intrigued model railroaders (?) on two very different topics. In my first clinic, “The Delicate Stomach of the Iron Horse:Water Supply, Purification, and Water Engineering Practice on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, 1918-1948,” I explained the importance of university trained chemists hired by the railroad to successfully respond to the a quest to lower locomotive and operating efficiency costs by avoiding mechanical breakdown due to hard water. To be honest… it is more interesting than it sounds! In my second clinic “‘Going to War with the Railroad You Have:’ Designing and Operating the Chesapeake & Ohio’s Olby Branch in 1944,” I explored the possibilities of designing, operating, and building a C&O layout during WWII using the industrial expansion of the American chemical industry to diversify/complicate operations through increased traffic density. I had 30-40 in the audience through both sessions and received some very nice comments. As far as being a clinic audience member, I attended a number of different clinics in the last 48 hours and especially enjoyed two by Tony Koester on double deck layout design and another on the limits of kit bashing in addition to a great presentation by master modeler John Wilkes’s on the evolution of Appalachian coal tipples from the 1940s through the 1980s. I think I learned more form Mr. Wilkes in 60 minutes than I have by reading any number of books and magazine and journal articles in the past few years.

Let me sign off (for the moment) by noting that there is so MUCH to say about the layout tours and the models in the NMRA contest room…and as time is short…I will just provide you with some photos and captions.

More to follow,


Gerard J. Fitzgerald
Charlottesville, Virginia


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