Tag Archives: Olathe Kansas

Wichita Railfanning Nearly Goes Bust

Welcome back to another 2017 edition of Legacies…On The Rails! I truly appreciate you continuing to follow the blog and hope you are checking out the soon to be updated podcast on Podomatic.com as well!

As you know, this past weekend was destination Wichita, Kansas. The drive down on Saturday 2/18/18 after attending a birthday party was smooth and uneventful and as my wife drove first, I was able to make notes of some potential railfan sites, either for those of you who may not have been there, or for myself in the future, as I guarantee there will be return trips to Wichita. Those sites include:

I can’t recall the exact exit but it is shortly after SB I-35/Lamar Ave

I-35/119th Olathe, Kansas as the bridge goes over the tracks

SB I-35 just before Exit #148 (Hwy 131 to Lebo, Ks) tracks run under the highway

SB I-35/Burlingame Rd (Exit #131 to Emporia, Ks)

City of Cassaday, Ks

On the drive down, we ate at Braum’s Ice Cream & Burgers in Emporia, Ks. Check them out at http://www.braums.com/stores/emporia-ks-store-265/ . The food was good, their prices are reasonable, the facility was clean and the staff was friendly and quick with service. The only issue I had was the fact that instead of paper towels in the restroom, there was a hand dryer. Now for some, that may be acceptable but let me tell you why it is not for me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that deals with this. 1. I’m a Diabetic and often go into restaurant restrooms to test my sugar before eating. I would like a clean, dry place to lay my supplies on the counter. Most people don’t clean up after themselves and leave the counter and the floor all wet. If there are paper towels, I can rectify this for myself and 2. I would also clean up after myself and leave the restroom better than I found it as is my normal practice. This is why I am giving Braum’s 4 out of 5 LOTR Railroad Cross-Bucks.
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Once in Wichita, we stayed at the Quality Inn Airport. Check out their site by visiting  https://www.choicehotels.com/kansas/wichita/quality-inn-hotels/ks041 . Our room was clean, modern, very spacious and nicely decorated, though the restroom was in need of some serious updating. The staff was very friendly, there was a full breakfast served each morning in their dining area whose ornate ironwork and trees reminded us of something you would likely see in the French Quarter of New Orleans. So, again, I am giving 4 out of 5 LOTR Railroad Cross-Bucks.
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On Sunday 2/19/17, we attended  the service at The Foundry Christian Church
http://www.thewichitafoundry.com/ where the congregation and staff including my buddy Craig Coffey were all very friendly and welcoming, and we enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship and worship (giving 5 out of 5 LOTR Railroad Cross-Bucks)

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Then went on to  have lunch at Spangles http://www.spanglesinc.com/ . It was another clean, friendly place that in this case had that classic diner feel with lots of classic TV, Movie and Rock & Roll items on display. We were there to have lunch with with Craig & Cynthia Coffey, and we all took  advantage of their Classic All American Meal package that came with a burger, fries, a soda and either a a sundae, shake or mud-slide. I had my burger with bbq sauce and Denise had the strawberry mud-slide while I had the Reese’s Peanut Butter mud-slide. I never had to use their restroom so I can’t comment on it but I am giving them 5 out of 5 LOTR Railroad Cross-Bucks
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We then headed to Downtown Wichita expecting to check out the Great Plains Transportation Museum. see their website by checking out the following link: http://www.kansastravel.org/wichita/greatplainstransportationmuseum.htm only to find out that I missed seeing on their site that they are only open Sundays from April to October. I took these pics from outside the facility.

At first, I thought they were the best I was going to get of the locomotives and rolling stock in their collection. But, thanks to a later visit to Hewitt’s Antiques  Check them out at:
http://www.hewittsantiques.com/www.hewittsantiques.com/Welcome.html where I picked up three HO Scale Spirit Of 76 Bicentennial train cars, and met some older railfans that also come to Kansas City on a regular basis in addition to having a regular first Friday of the month gathering at Hog Wild Barbecue http://www.hogwildpitbbq.com/ there in Wichita, they clued me in to a nearby ramp that would allow me to walk up and get pics of all the Transportation Museum’s equipment. Between the unique layout of the store, friendly guy running the place and the great info I picked up  that led to these pics:

I am giving Hewitt’s Antiques 5 out 0f 5 LOTR Railroad Cross-Bucks!
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Also tried stopping by the Wichita Toy Train Club & Museum: you guessed it: Closed.

I gave them my contact info, and hope to meet up with them when they come to Kansas City and even hope to get back down to Wichita for a weekend for one of their gatherings in the near future. After taking pics of all the awesome equipment, I was able to catch this BNSF led auto rack train that has also been shared on my Railroad Auto Racks Facebook page. It was appropriate to catch some Kansas City Southern 125th Anniversary cars on my 250th LOTR Fan Video. The reason the bottom of the the train is obscured is similar to the reason I only caught the trailing DPU’s of the coal train in St Joseph, Missouri.

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Later, we walked the trails at Chisholm Creek Park http://www.gpnc.org/chisholm.htm and got some great exercise as we enjoyed their paved and wooden trails, streams, prairie land, and enjoyed watch a deer as another couple that were there were taking pics and video of it. Nothing better than a walk in a gorgeous park on an equally gorgeous day, and I am giving the park 5 out of 5 LOTR Railroad Cross-Bucks.
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Dinner that night was at the Monterrey Mexican Grill. You can check them out on their Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/monterreymexicangrillwichita/  . They offered a clean enjoyable atmosphere with decor that made you feel like you are walking the sidewalk of a classic Mexican town, taking in all the business storefronts.  The staff was friendly, and were quick with service. The food was excellent. The fajita meals Denise and I ordered were each big enough that we could have just shared one. I did have to go find our server when we were ready to go and needed our guest check, but she was again quick to respond and even got us refills on our sodas to go. And hey, there were real paper towels in the restroom (even if the paper towel dispenser was motion activated). I’m going to rant a bit here and say, have we grown so lazy, or so germophobic, (or both) as a society that we need motion-activated lighting, motion-activated sinks, motion-activated flushing urinals or toilets, or motion-activated paper towel dispensers? What happens when those fancy gadgets break down? I’m a firm believer in the following phrase (and say it frequently in many places that are part of my life) as Mr Scott said in Star Trek 3: The Search For Spock: “The more ya’ overtake tha’ plumbin’……tha easier it is ta’ stop up tha’ drain!” And when people rave about how much easier some things will make life, I again refer to Scotty “Aye, and if me grandmother had wheels, she’d be a wagon!” But anyway, I’m giving the Monterrey Mexican Grill of Wichita 5 out of 5 LOTR Railroad Cross-Bucks

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On Monday 2/20/17, after breakfast at our hotel, we stopped at the Wichita Kmart that like most these days is going out of business where among many other things we bought, I purchased a Caterpillar Train Set that was originally $17.99 but with the discount was just $9.00. I have a Caterpillar Train Set in I believe O Scale and I’m not big into Caterpillar items, but I figured I am always adding to the other various areas of my train collection, so why not Caterpillar? I may even start a Facebook page for Caterpillar Train Collectors as I have done a search as I do before I start other pages to make sure my idea would not be boringly redundant, and there doesn’t seem to be one currently. I’ll update you in my next posting if I do. Not going to rate Kmart as the fact that they are going out of business, and you already know whet most stores in that process look like, it would be pointless.

On our way to have lunch at the home of Craig & Cynthia Coffey, I saw the Kansas & Oklahoma https://www.watcocompanies.com/services/rail/kansas-and-oklahoma-railroad-ko/ train and though I wasn’t sure if it was coming our way or going away from us as it was on switching operations, it was something unique that I had never seen  and that is always a thrill, so here you go:

Well, there you have it. The trip wasn’t a total bust, as I got a weekend away with my wife, got to fellowship with some great friends, get lots of exercise and still came away with several great rail pics, a couple videos and something else to report about here on the blog.

Again, hope you will check out the Legacies On The Rails Podcast on Podomatic.com and I will be updating it most likely on March 2nd, and that you will also check out all the LOTR Fan Videos on my You Tube Channel, as well as the following Facebook pages:

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (Burlington Route)

Fans Of The Kansas City Terminal Railway

Rail Box Freight Car Fans

Railroad Bridges, Related Photos & Video

Railroad Auto Racks

Union Pacific Flag Units

As always, this is John LoshThe Losh-Man“, encouraging you to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior if you have not already, and follow him through His word and prayer each day, stay in an uncompromisingly Bible believing, Bible preaching church, as these are the only way to truly stay on track. And, when it comes to trains, and everything that is railroading, continue leaving “Legacies…On The Rails!” I’ll see you next time!

 

Kansas City Union Station Model Rail Experience Weekly Volume One

Welcome to the first edition of Model Rail Experience Weekly. This will be an effort to document the weekly activities and special events at, as well as the history and volunteer staff that make the Model Rail Experience at Union Station possible. I am a relatively new volunteer there and am not sure just what my role will be but I suspect as I am a less than technical or mechanical person, though I am willing to try anything asked of me, I suspect  that it will be largely in a documentary role through this blog, pictures and videos.

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On Friday, February 13th as I was arriving to put in some volunteer hours at the Model Rail Experience, I parked and began my day with what every rail fan loves to do, especially at Union Station, getting pictures and video. This  Union Pacific stack train was preparing to move out West-Bound, so I go the photo and the video. That’s one thing that visiting Union Station will always provide any rail-fan with, picture and video opportunities. So be sure to visit the rear lot when you come and see what you can catch. Once I was inside the Model Rail Experience, Ted Tschirhart who heads up the volunteer staff at the MRE, informed me that it had been a pretty typical week at the MRE  and that the MRE staff were preparing for a layout at the Johnson County Home & Garden Show at the Overland Park Convention Center this past weekend 2/20-2/22 . I will have a report for you on how that went in the next edition of Model Rail Experience Weekly. Ted also shared that one of the greatest needs the MRE has right now is someone that could put lighting inside the many buildings featured in the various scale layouts. If you are someone with that skillset and would like to help, please come see Ted at the Model Rail Experience.

One of the things we at the MRE seek to begin doing is to educate folks about the various different scales of model trains being run at the MRE and to eventually create a user guide to have at each layout so those observing can do more than just that, but be able to begin to comprehend what they are seeing and the operations, locomotives and cars that make up the set. I chose to begin with concentrating on the HO Scale. This is the most popular gauge of model railroads out there, and provides for the most track, car, locomotive, scenery and other supplies to help HO Scale modelers create the best and most interesting layouts that their imaginations, as well as help from online videos, model rail publications, podcasts, clinics and tv shows can create. Here are a couple of pictures of the HO Scale layouts featured at the Model Rail Experience. HO Scale is actually 1/87 so one foot equals 87 feet. Here is something from Wikipedia about HO Scale Trainshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HO_scale .

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This particular HO Scale layout got its start in Match, 2014. It had two mountains recently added. Some of the rocks you see are real, some are made from plaster and are painted. It can run up to 13 trains on the layout. The day I was there, Ted had trains running from CB&Q, Santa Fe, Rio Grande, Union Pacific, Baltimore & Ohio, KC Southern, Norfolk & Western, Perie Marquette, Ashley Drew & Northern, and Reading. There were many, many other railroads represented by locomotives and cars that were just serving in a display role. I asked Ted if he knew how many individual rail cars and locomotives make up any certain layout and he said too many to guess. There are easily hundreds just on this layout alone, and more are added as the MRE acquires more pieces through donations or purchases allowed by the MRE budget, that comes strictly through donations. Some of the buildings on display in this, or any of the MRE layouts represent actual businesses past or present in Kansas City, Missouri. Most are donated while others are scratch-built by MRE volunteers, either at the MRE facility, or in their own model rail workshops at home, and brought in to be added to the layouts. My next step was to begin to get to know more of my fellow Model Rail Experience volunteers, and sought their wisdom to learn more about the history and operations of some of the MRE layouts. Here they are with one of the layouts that is made up of
several different scales.

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Left to right are Louis Seibel, Dave Taylor and Bob Ryan. Louis resides in Olathe, Kansas. He was formerly a part of the volunteers that ran a model rail layout that was on display at the Kansas City Museum. It was started in 1985. When the layout was moved to Union Station in 1991 (and is now a part of the layouts the guys are with in the picture), he came with it. He is a member of the Mokan Rail Joiners that turns 35 years old this year as well as being part of the Turkey Creek Division on the National Model Rail Association. He prefers working with HO Scale and also does garden railroading.

Dave has been a Model Rail Experience volunteer since 2005 and prefers to work with all the various scales that we feature.Bob Ryan started at the MRE in 2008 after a church family member brought him down and got him into it. Bob enjoys the variety of activity that being a MRE volunteer provides and especially enjoys doing projects here from scratch into a finished product. Bob has a Lionel layout in his home.

While I was there on 2/13/15, I had the opportunity to speak with Bob Deaddy from Lenexa, Kansas who was visiting the MRE with his wife and four grandchildren, ranging from age four to ten. He said he has never seen such a diverse model rail facility like the MRE before but did remember seeing a layout that the Model Rail Experience had in the main lobby about five years ago. He said his family had a 4×8 layout in their home when his children were young. He has fond memories of actually jumping on and trains in the early 1950’s when he lived near Springfield, Ohio. Not a practice that anyone in the rail community will encourage today that I certainly understand as a certified speaker (still looking for my first presentation or table opportunity) for Operation Lifesaver-the rail safety program, since December, 2014.

Another thing that made Friday 2/13/15 interesting is that we had a visit from Larry Elmore of Discover Vintage America Magazine, who interviewed all the MRE volunteer staff for an upcoming edition of the popular magazine that you will find in antique stores/malls, flea markets and much more. https://www.facebook.com/DiscoverVintageAmerica

We hope you will come see us at the Kansas City Union Station’s Model Rail Experience soon and maybe think about joining the volunteer staff or making donations that will help us continue to leave Legacies………..On The Rails!