Monthly Archives: April 2015

Exciting Anniversary Vacation Ahead Including Lots Of Rail-Fan Activity

My wife Denise and I are are about to celebrate 26 years together and 25 years married with in three days of each other on April 25th and April 28th. To do this here in 2015, we are taking a trip together starting today that will include lots of great rail-fan activity. What’s even better is, rail stuff is not “her thing” but she does enjoy a good train excursion ride like we did on the Branson Scenic Railway in July, 2014. So, as she began to check into things for us t do, she immediately looked up several rail related activities that she could do with me-primarily for me, along with some cave and other nature activities for her interests.

The first one on our agenda that I have briefly touched on in previous posts is taking the “Murder On The Petulant Express” Mystery Dinner Train ride with the St Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railwayhttp://www.slimrr.com/ . Here are some You Tube videos from them that I found 

 

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Anyone who knows me well knows that I love history and this train ride is so much more than just that for me. It has become a wonderful history lesson. Once I knew we would be taking the “Murder On The Petulant Express” ride and that it is set in the 1930’s, I began to study the period and found that is was such a pivotal time in history with our nation in the heat of the depression, President Roosevelt initiating “The New Deal“, and as a welcome distraction during those times, what I as also a classic movie, music and radio fan consider to be the greatest movies and what we now know as Old Time Radio shows, many featuring my favorite actors, came out of that period. And, just like modern day films, there were books that came out first, that later became the inspiration for those movies, by the same titles. Names like John Steinbeck‘s The Grapes Of Wrath, Margaret Mitchell‘s Gone With The Wind, many Agatha Christie titles including Murder On The Orient Express, Joseph Kesserling‘s Arsenic & Old Lace, and Charles Bernard Nordhoff‘s Mutiny On The Bounty. Moss Hart’s You Can’t Take It With You, Richard Llewellyn’s How Green Was My Valley. The beginnings of the Little House On The Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.

There were radio shows like The Lone Ranger, Superman, Fibber, Mcgee & Molly, Burns & Allen, Jack Benny, The Voice Of Bugle-Ann, Mr Deeds Goes To Town, and Angels With Dirty Faces. My Man Godfrey, and the list goes on…. President Roosevelt even created a theater program as part of “The New Deal“. Some of the same stars that appeared in the movies and on Old Time Radio comedies and dramas, were also the ones whose voices brought musical entertainment as well. Like Judy Garland, Kate Smith, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Bob Hope, Gene Autry, and Frank Sinatra. Bands like Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Harry James and Saturday Night Swings were all the rage.

Many of these groups, individual performers and radio shows were still in their prime during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. This is the era that my great friend and brother in the Lord John Christopher plays on his show (that if you haven’t checked out yet, you should) The Neon Beat http://www.radiogeorge.com/neonbeat/ . I am listening as I write this posting. Also check out The Neon Beat Fan Club on Facebook that I run. We have been shopping for 30’s period clothing for the ride.

But the 1930’s were not only a great era for social and economic reform and entertainment. The St Louis Iron Mountain & Southern is pulled by a former  Pennsylvania Railroad Streamliner and the 30’s were the glory days for the streamliners.

The first one is from the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad that my paternal grandfather and one of his brothers worked for.

I also seem to keep having run-ins with things from the 1930’s. I watch Antiques Roadshow and American Pickers a lot and more often than not these last couple weeks, have been running across items from the 1930’s. Including this recent episode of Antiques Roadshow in Birmingham that even featured my Facebook friend Julie Hedgepeth Williams http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/archive/201403A25.html . Julie has two family members that survived the Titanic that she has written an award winning book about A Rare Titanic Family https://sites.google.com/site/raretitanicfamily/ . The Roadshow episode featured a depression era WPA Poster.

Then, as our daughter had a recent extra credit project that required us taking a trip down to Kansas City’s Loose Park, where my wife and I said “I Do” in the Rose Garden 25 years ago, something caught my eye that had not before. This. Look at the date.

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Ironically enough, my mother, who passed in March of 2012, but was at my wedding at this site, has the maiden name of Smith. Who knows?

Next came an early anniversary present my wife got me of some railroad collector plates. One was from the CB&Q Railroad.

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She got me three of them from our local Disabled American Veterans Thrift Store  http://www.redracksthriftstores.com/wordpress/ on Tuesday, but told me there were more and that they would be having a 50% off sale starting at 7am on Wednesday, so I would have to make the sacrifice of getting up at 6am on my first vacation day. It wasn’t a problem. One of the ones I picked up (even got a duplicate of to eventually donate along with other items to the Cathy Kline Art Gallery where the Legacies On The Rails Art Show is to be held Saturday August 1st from 6-8pm at 8701 NW River Park Dr in Parkville, Mo), was this one.

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The Santa Fe “Super Chief” from 1937. I am not a believer in coincidence but rather that God puts us in “the right place…at the right time”. I feel that not only about the train ride on Saturday, but my marriage to Denise, our family, and certainly about this whole thing of my having become a growing  rail-fan these last several years and everywhere that journey has taken me. Other than maybe my love of our Kansas City Royals who I also collect things related to, love going to watching and listening to games and who I blog about at https://loshmansportslive.wordpress.com/ this feels more like where I belong, I think because of the rich family history I have in it than any other hobby or interest I have had,

Also on our trip will be visits to the  Historic Railpark & Train Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who I have recently messaged and told of our impending visit

as well as the Tennessee Central Railway Museum in Nashville, Tennessee

Overall, should be a great trip! I’ll take lots of pics and video to share with all my followers on Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, Flipboard,Twitter and here on the blog! Was going to share my videos from this week but though they are uploaded, they didn’t show up when I brought up You-Tube, but I will next time!

As always, here is a railroad action and music compilation for you to finish up this session!

I’m John Losh-reminding you to continue leaving Legacies……On The Rails!

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Legacies On The Rails Roadshow Heads East To Historic Lee’s Summit

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Just as promised in my last posting, since I also had a hospital visit to make there, the Legacies On The Rails Road Show destination yesterday was historic Downtown Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Hometown of my buddy Fred Liggett, of the Lee’s Summit Tribune. Anytime that I can visit a depot that is for one of the railroads that I have family history in, that’s always an extra plus for me and since the one there is the former Missouri Pacific Depot, I was thrilled.

Not only that but this has now become another of my favorite regular spots to visit for rail-fanning, as Union Pacific trains, much like they do at the depots I have visited in Weston and Parkville, rumble by there multiple times a day, and my timing was perfect as I had just stepped out of my car when it was clear that my first video catch of the day was upon me, with the blast of a UP 7982’s air horn. Here are both videos that I took during my visit.

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The former Missouri Pacific Depot in Lee’s Summit is third generation. The very first depot was a box-car. Later a wooden building that later burned, and was then replaced by the current brick structure that like the depot in Parkville,housing its Chamber Of Commerce, this one  currently houses the Lee’s Summit Chamber Of Commerce. One of their ladies was kind enough to oblige me in taking my  photo shown above with the caboose that sits next to it. The Depot is currently undergoing renovations. When I asked if someone could share with me about the history of the depot,I was directed to Kathy Smith-Executive Director of the Historical Society Of Lee’s Summit Museum http://www.leessummithistory.net/ .

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Kathy was so gracious in taking time to ask if I needed anything as I looked around the facility, where a Lee’s Summit Veterans display is currently housed, as well as in taking time to share the information I sought with me. I was thrilled to find out that the museum is housed in a former WPA Post Office since I have been studying the 1930’s as I eluded to in my last posting in preparation for doing the 1930’s murder mystery ride wit the St Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway  on 4/25/15.

Kathy shared about how important the railroad has always been to the city of Lee’s Summit. It helped them rebuild after the ravages of the Civil War. A time period that saw the likes of Cole Younger and Bloody Bill Anderson. And Dr Pleasant Lea. Ir brought jobs, and made sure that farmers could ship their goods, receive supplies, and send equipment out for repairs and get it back. It has provided for the transportation of people, and still does today with the Amtrak Missouri River Runner coming through several times a day. It is one of the reasons behind the rich history of Lee’s Summit. History represented by murals like these on buildings around town. Speaking of Cole Younger, Kathy Smith was also well acquainted with our own Cathy Kline of the Cathy Kline Art Gallery, as Cathy Kline also has a Cole Younger mural there in town, which I missed on this trip but hope to catch next time.

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I also found this mural inside the Lee’s Summit Historical Society Museum by Aileen Franklin-which is among many of her circa 1960 Lee’s Summit history murals including The Community Church, The First School, Dr Pleasant Lea, Early Settlers, and The Star Route.

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Unfortunately, like some of my other Legacies On The Rails Road Show trips, a technical issue bit me in that the audio of my conversation with Kathy that I thought recorded and that I planned to upload as Legacies On The Rails-The Podcast Volume Two did not record. Even If I had known this as soon as we were done, she would not have had time for a re-take. I should have taken video to upload to You-Tube as I seemed to be doing well with that on the day. But, more opportunities will come very soon when I return to the Lee’s Summit Historical Society Museum to help bring several railroad artifacts up from their basement to display on the  main floor.

I hope you have enjoyed this snipit of the fabulous history of the railroad in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. I assure you that like my blogs about Kansas City Union Station’s Model Rail Experience, (which I hope to return to soon if my personal schedule allows), there will be much more Lee’s Summit highlights to share in the near future!

I’m John Losh, reminding you to keep leaving Legacies……On The Rails!

Plenty Of Rail-Fanning Going On!

As you probably imagined, I have not been idle as far as overall rail-fanning activity these past few weeks. Usually, if I’m not at work, or with family, or behind the computer blogging about rail-fanning, I’m out doing it. Whether it is stopping to take pics or video on my route to or from work, a quick run over to Parkville to do the same, while dropping in on Cathy Kline at the Cathy Kline Art Gallery, or even taking a Legacies On The Rails Road Show trip like I am planning tomorrow, to Lee’s Summit,Missouri where I will visit my Cousin Renita Tilton who is hospitalized there with Cancer, as well as visiting the Missouri Pacific and Amtrak Depots there. http://www.greatamericanstations.com/Stations/LEE .

If I have not already mentioned it in a previous posting, I am proud to announce that the Legacies On The Rails Art Show at the Cathy Kline Art Gallery will be Saturday, August 1st from 6pm-8pm. 8701 NW River Park Dr in Parkville, Missouri. 10% of sales will benefit the Model Rail Experience that I volunteer at in Kansas City’s Union Station! Hope you will mark your calendars and plan to attend!

Here are some of my recent photos and videos. In addition to taking video now, anytime I can get it from my car, I have started playing Christian music CD’s while the train passes and calling it (still as a Legacies On The Rails Fan Video) Gospel Trains. Have done three of those that I will share.

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Harry s Truman Amtrak Depot in Independence, Mo

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Near the former Sam’s Town Casino in KC North. Definitely getting an enlargement made of this one!

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23rd Street area in Kansas City, Mo

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Outside the former CB&Q Depot/Cathy Kline Art Gallery in Parkville, Mo

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North Kansas City, Missouri. The BNSF Loco is another that is likely getting an enlargement made of.

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Riverside, Missouri

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Liberty, Missouri at the Canadian Pacific Depot and off Stockdale Rd

And, as my wife and I are gathering funds for our 25th Anniversary trip later this month which will include some great rail-fan activities like riding the St Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway on their “Murder On The Petulant Express” dinner train that I am definitely looking forward to http://www.slimrr.com/ , we have had some garage sales and I have sold some items on Facebook Swap & Shop pages. This led to one of our garage sale visitors being Joe Debane, who worked for 40 years testing railroad freight scales  Joe is a daily regular at the Timeless Treasures Antique Mall that my family and I shop at often. Joe has a booth there and sells primarily Hot Wheels cars. He has bought pretty much my entire die cast collection, as I have enjoyed them for many years, but as we need the funds, and I need the room in my several-themed rec-room to expand my railroad collection, it was time to part with them. Joe gave me several polaroids and some post-cards from his time in the rail industry that I took these pics of, that I have also now  shared on several railroad Facebook pages.

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I almost forgot to mention my newest Legacies On The Rails project, just started yesterday, the Legacies On The Rails Pod-Cast!
http://legaciesontherails.podomatic.com/entry/2015-04-13T11_49_53-07_00 . Many more entries to come. Hope you enjoy this inaugural episode!

 

As usual, let’s wrap up with a railroad music video, led off by the man in black, Johnny Cash!

I’m John Losh, reminding you to keep leaving Legacies……On The Rails!

Legacies On The Rails Road Show Visits New York Air Brake

I have been very focused lately on the blogs regarding the Kansas City Union Station Model Rail Experience here on the blog lately, but I have been doing so much other rail fan activity lately that I have not taken time to share. I assure you it has not been out of lack of desire, but it’s a work schedule/sleep schedule thing, as well as the fact that I have been very busy selling things between a garage sale we had at our home a couple weeks ago, and one we will be having this Saturday 4/11/15 from 8am-4pm as well as postings on various Facebook pages that have led to some sales, as we are raising additional funds for the 25th Anniversary trip my wife and I will be taking later this month. We will have been together 26 years on 4/25 and married 25 years on 4/28.

In my last Model Rail Experience blog, I made mention of the fact that Fred Cassity, brother to a fellow MRE volunteer had invited me to come tour New York Air Brake in Riverside http://www.nyab.com/en/aboutus/locations/riversidemo/address_1.jsp where they refurbish braking systems for trains but also do air horns and various other systems. I took Fred up on this on Monday 3/18/15. I have been having issues with my camera having been broken recently, making me mostly dependent on my phone’s camera for both pics and video, so this creates a data shortage issue, so I can’t take nearly as much as I was able to when I first started the blog and most of my rail-fan activity in June, 2014.  But here is the short video I took at New York Air Brake.

After taking this video, Fred explained that New York Air Brake has a Westinghouse Side as well as the New York Air Brake side to their remanufacture facility where about 85 employees turn out hundreds of braking conversion valves a day, many for the Amtrak trains, that their work is crucial in saving Amtrak lots of money on, since they don’t have to ship these units to Germany for remanufacturing.

Our first stop on the tour was the recondition station. I was shown how the braking units are dis-assembled, the parts are washed, how the station is set up with green totes indicating used parts that have been cleaned, and blue totes indicating new parts. I was shown how, once the units are re-assembled, they are tested on either a single-car test device that has been in use for freight cars for over 50 years, or a newer automated version that resembles a suit-case.

These units are then given a yellow test sticker, and a bolt-on tag that has the test date, and the warranty date-which is one year out from the test date, though most units are still in good working order way past the warranty date. I saw several recently tested and tagged units sitting on pallets.

Fred explained that older locomotive equipment has the designation of 26L and then there is the CCB-New York Air Brake‘s primary locomotive control valve that replaces the 26L. I saw some of those units that according to markings on them came from CSX and GE units, though those are just two of many railroad companies that New York Air Brake services units for.

There are many stations at New York Air Brake that are more simple, and then there are some that are very high-tech, with computers that have step-by-step instructions including photos, that Fred is instrumental in implementing.

Because of my technical issues, Fred gave me an open invitation to return to New York Air Brake later to take more pictures and video, and learn more about New York Air Brake‘s process. I also hope to meet more of the employees one-on-one and talk with them about their jobs with New York Air Brake.

Let’s wrap up with a music video from the Durango & Silverton Railroad in Colorado!

I’m John Losh, reminding you to continue leaving Legacies…….On The Rails!

Kansas City Union Station Model Rail Experience Weekly Volume Five

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Welcome on in to our rail-fans of all ages, to this edition of Kansas City Union Station Model Rail Experience Weekly for the week ending 3/27/15. Hope you enjoy the musical twist I put on this week’s rail video as I will likely be doing it every week from here on, using various genres of music, including some Christian artists.

When I arrived this week, instead of individual train car repairs being done in the MRE shop/office, I found Gary Whittaker-grandson of fellow volunteer Fritz Gastreich, and Ted Tschirhart working on a possible electrical issue on the HO Scale “Centennial Layout”.

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Gary has been volunteering at the Kansas City Union Station Model Rail Experience for about two years, and says he really enjoys working with all the small parts that go on the many, many trains and individual cars that make up the various consists. Here is a video I took of trains running on the HO/Centennial Layout.

I want to remind everyone that  we are always in need of more volunteers at the Model Rail Experience, as well as donations-both financially and of model trains and the various supplies. Anything that can help keep our operating costs low yet still provide a quality visual and overall experience for our guests is always greatly appreciated.

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Rather than focusing on a specific train scale this week, thought I would just share more of the sites, including the great variety of model train pieces we have, representing the various different railroads all over the world, and even some pics from our Amtrak Station inside Union Station. I hope to start meeting with them and start including some updates from them and eventually the KC Rail Experience here in the blog. May even have to rename it the Kansas City Union Station Rail Experience, who knows. But I think  including those other great parts of your overall railroad experience at Union Station would be a good thing.

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Another of our Model Rail Experience volunteer staff I had the privilege to meet during my time there this week is Mike Laroi, who has been volunteering with the MRE for ten years and feels it is a great way to spend his retirement.

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http://www.pierponts.com/

But, unfortunately after a little mustard mishap while eating my Train Burger during lunch at Pierponts (my fault, not theirs) but during which, the idea was being tossed around among our staff of a table in the Model Rail Experience where we could sell our excess pieces to raise funds for the operation-nothing definite on that to report at this juncture, I had to skip out early this week so I did not have a chance to get a guest profile, or even get down to the basement to see if I wanted to buy myself any new HO Scale toys.

I am also proud to announce that we now have an official date for the Legacies On The Rails Art Show at the Cathy Kline Art Gallery 8701 NW River Park Dr in the former CB&Q Depot in Parkville, Missouri! It will be  Saturday, August 1st 6pm-8pm. Admission is free and 10% of art sales will benefit the Model Rail Experience! Hope we will see you there!

In the interim, you are looking for a great place to take the train lovers in your family (or even yourself), please make a point to visit Kansas City Union Station soon and certainly stop in and see us at the Model Rail Experience, visit Amtrak, the KC Rail Experience, and step out into the back lot and get some train pics and video. With every visit, you’ll be glad ya’did!

I’m John Losh for Kansas City Union Station’s Model Rail Experience,. Until next time, reminding you to keep leaving Legacies………On The Rails!