Monthly Archives: September 2014

Heartland N-Trak Of KC Is A Hidden Gem In Liberty

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Between 2010 and 2011 a great venue for model railroaders in the Northland area of Kansas City opened but because of its location, a lot of folks, like me, may not have known about it. That is Heartland N Trak Of Kansas City. N Trak is the scale of model railroading that is smaller in size than HO Scale. I have two people to thank for helping me find it. Brandon Gott-my friend and owner of nearby Barista De Casa http://baristadecasa.com/ and Jan Bratcher of Bratcher Cooperage http://www.bratchercooperage.com/ .

This 1000 square foot facility, located at 131 S Water St in the basement (Garden Level) of the Corbin Mill Square building in Liberty, Missouri, below the Stars Dance Studio, couldn’t ask for a better venue, despite its obscurity, as tracks that saw railroads service the building up until about 25 years ago, are right outside. Through World War II, it saw about 100 rail carloads of coal a year and if you dig down in some of its surrounding soil, you will likely find some leftover coal.

The group currently has 25 members, including President Dick Cooper, Tom Williams, Terry Downs and Bob Osbourne who brought his Grandson Shane Mason to the N Trak facility a while back and got talked into joining with him. Shane, with help from Mark Myers, is the group’s tech expert. He also posts You-Tube videos as promos for the group, as well as under his own tag of TheBrakeman17 like these:

Membership to the Heartland N-Trak Of Kansas City is $35.00 to join and $25.00 a year thereafter. You get a hat when you join, and there are t-shirts available for purchase. They meet the first Sunday of each month, usually gathering about 1pm and having the  official meeting at 3pm. They are open Saturdays 10am-3pm (sometimes as late as 4pm).

Here are some photos I took inside the Heartland N-Trak facility that will give you a better idea of their layout.

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The folks at Heartland N-Trak Of Kansas City want you to know that they will be open during the 2014 Liberty Fall Festival this coming weekend http://www.libertyfallfest.com/ and will also have a booth at Gladfest 2014
http://www.gladstonechamber.com/events/gladfest .

If you are in the Northland, or don’t mind driving to it and are looking for a great place to hang out with a wonderful group of fellow train nuts, then you need to come visit Heartland N-Trak Of Kansas City, in Liberty, Missouri! You know I’m famous for saying it-You’ll be glad you did!  They are just one more great venue in the KC Metro area that are leaving Legacies…….On The Rails!!

Here is some more railroad music for your listening pleasure!

 

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Operation Lifesaver Brings Law Enforcement Along For The Ride

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When I went in to work on Sunday 9/14/14, imagine how thrilled  this rail-fan was to find this flier hanging in the kitchen of my unit, that was from the Union Pacific Railroad, inviting Law Enforcement employees for a ride with them the following morning, to take in a presentation on rail safety from Operation Lifesaver  http://oli.org/ .  I had met some of their volunteers a couple other times this year. The first was at the Midwest Toy & Train Show at the KCI Expo Center back in March. The next was meeting John Sulzer at Parkville Days about a month ago and had been tossing around the idea of becoming a volunteer.

I loved how the location the ride would start at was just minutes from my home, and was early enough on 9/15/14, I could get it in before my shift that evening. When I arrived at the 2300 Manchester site, I met up with other folks that would be going on the ride as well from MODOT, KC Scout and the Union Pacific Police.

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While we waited for our transportation to arrive, I was able to take photos like these.

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And some video like this

What I want you to notice is-these are a prime example of why responsible rail-fan behavior is an important part of overall rail safety. They were taken from a safe distance. We were even visited by an example of why it is not smart to be on railroad property where you don’t belong. Then, our train soon arrived in the form of this beautiful Locomotive Union Pacific Flag Unit straight out of GE, pulling passenger cars.

Gotta love that sound! We all soon boarded and once we found our choice of seats, we were given an Operation Lifesaver presentation by Julie Lacombe -Executive Director of Operation Lifesaver-Kansas.

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Judy Le from Fox 4 News was also on the ride with us and had this article on their site later in the day.

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http://fox4kc.com/2014/09/15/train-operators-warn-about-the-dangers-of-being-around-railroad-tracks/

I was able to take these shots (just a few of many I took along the way. I was in train heaven!

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This was 90 minutes well spent as myself and my fellow passengers not only got to enjoy all this, but I was convinced that being an Operation Lifesaver Volunteer and helping get the all-important life-saving message they share out, was definitely an immediate goal. I have since submitted and had my application approved, and completed their online classroom, and am awaiting the next step in the training process! I will keep you posted on my progress in this area! Why not join me?

Again, my thanks to the Union Pacific Railroad, Operation Lifesaver, and my employer for their cooperative efforts in making this Rail Safety Ride a reality for all of us that took part! I hope they will continue events like this in the future! They are definitely helping to leave important Legacies……On The Rails!!

Let’s finish this up with some railroad music, shall we?

 

Big River Train Town Beckons Model Train Collectors

Recently my wife and I took a trip to Hannibal, Missouri just to get away for a few days. Of course,  the main two attractions there in town are the Mark Twain themed places, including the Mark Twain Riverboat and the railroad. Me being a rail-fan, am going to be attracted to anything railroad related. And in addition to watching trains run next to the Mississippi River, I found a diamond in the rough at Big River Train Townhttp://bigrivertraintown.com/ .

This must visit for rail enthusiasts of all ages is located at 320 N 3rd St and has several mini towns with model trains running through them like these.

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It has shelves full of lots and lots of model trains, from individual rolling stock to full trains like these.

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One such piece had special significance for me as it was a car that represents the Johnny Cash special Ridin’ The Rails that my friend and recent radio guest on Losh-Man’s Hollywood Classics, Bill Dennington from Austell, Georgia was an extra in, as a confederate soldier.

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After I took this picture, I uploaded it to Bill’s Facebook page. Currently, Bill is an Engineer  with both the Stone Mountain Park and  Six Flags railroads in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area, as well as being the Pastor of the Harvest Fire Church he also founded. Of course, there were general railroad items on display as well.

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Big River Train Town is open Mon-Sat from 10am-5pm and Sundays Noon-3pm. They are Seasonally closed Sunday through Tuesday January through march. You can e-mail them at bigrivertraintown@att.net and reach them by phone at

(573) 221-1966

You can find their E-Bay store at http://stores.ebay.com/BIG-RIVER-TRAIN-TOWN .

You can find them on You-Tube.

They are definitely a facility that are sure to continue to attract visitors for years to come as they are another important part of the enthusiast community that is leaving Legacies….On The Rails!!