Tag Archives: Ted Tschirhart

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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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!

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Kansas City Union Station Model Rail Experience Weekly Volume Four

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Welcome back to Kansas City Union Station Model Rail Experience Weekly. This is for the week ending March 13th, 2015 and I apologize for my tardiness in getting this posted but I have been dealing with some technical issues. There will not be a blog for the week ending 3/20/15 as I was not at Union Station but was instead meeting with Cathy Kline of the Cathy Kline Art Gallery housed in the former CB&Q Depot in Parkville, Missouri to discuss details for the Legacies On The Rails Art Show that will be held in August, 2015 with the official date yet TBD. I will post an update as soon as possible (has to do wit my work schedule) but I am happy to say that 10% of the proceeds from the sale will benefit the Kansas City Union Station Model Rail Experience! Ted had asked me about looking into a fundraiser for the MRE so there’s a great start!

After I arrived and got the above photos and video from Union Station‘s back lot , I went in to the Model Rail Experience and found Ted Tschirhart and Fritz Gastreich hard at work on model rail road piece repairs-Ted on a steam engine, and Fritz on one of the G Gauge Amtrak passenger cars, repairing a coupling that had come off. Louis Seibel was dealing with some issues with cars on one of the mixed gauges layout tracks.

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I soon discovered something else I thought was cool. I had thought I was the youngest member of the Model Rail Experience volunteer staff, until I met Steve Cassity and his eight-year old son Jaden Cassity. Steve brought Jaden down to the MRE a few years ago, where he became simply enamored with the various model train sets and now Jaden is a volunteer right along with his Dad. Below is Steve, and Jaden is working on righting one of the G Gauge trains that had derailed. Steve and Jaden both commented on how Jaden’s current size is a real advantage because when one of the trains breaks down or derails in part of a layout that would be hard for one of the adults to reach, Steve can simply lift Jaden up over the plexi-glass and let Jordan either retrieve the piece for repair, set the train back on the track, back it up, or pull it forward. Or even simply move a piece that is simply needing transfer from one track or layout to another, return a piece to a track after it leaves the Model Rail Experience Office/Repair Shop. Steve says that Ted has become a great mentor to Jaden who admires Ted very much. There was also a bonus for me in the fact that I got to meet Steve’s brother Fred Cassity, who invited me to come and tour New York Air Brake in Riverside, Missouri where they refurbish braking systems and other parts for trains. I took him up on that on Wednesday 3/18/15 and my next blog posting will cover that. It will actually be the first of likely a series of postings as I make more visits to their facility in the near future.

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So, as usual, a few different things to focus on this session. One of those is yet another of the various scales of model rail layouts that can be found in the Model Rail Experience facility.  this time, it’s N & Z Scale. Here is the wall hanging in the MRE that tells you about the two similar scales, followed by a video that I was able to get.

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Here are  internet links regarding the N & Z Scales. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N_scale
http://www.raildig.com/introduction/beginning/ . There is a local N Scale club, Heartland N Trak of Greater Kansas City https://www.facebook.com/pages/Heartland-N-Trak-of-Greater-Kansas-City/146824552150060?fref=ts that I frequent and that some of our Model Rail Experience volunteers are part of, in case you’d like to check it out.

Next is our guest spotlight. My next door neighbor and Kansas City, Missouri Firefighter John Donnelly recently brought his son to visit the Union Station and the Model Rail Experience and when his wife Tanya Donnelly shared these photos, I requested and was granted permission to share these photos. She said they both had a great time and will definitely come again soon! I so appreciate her willingness to allow  me to share these!

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Next, want to continue to share some of the assorted railroad company pieces we have at the Model Rail Experience, including a Union Station Tribute car, Union Pacific, Santa Fe and Missouri Pacific. Here are some pics and a video for you.

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Again, I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing more of the people-from visitors to volunteer staff, to the displays that make the Kansas City Union Station’s Model Rail Experience a must visit!

I’m John Losh. For Legacies On The Rails, and the Kansas City Union Station Model Rail Experience, thanking you for what you have done in this area and reminding you to continue leaving Legacies…………..On The Rails!

Kansas City Union Station Model Rail Experience Weekly Volume Three

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And, last but not least on this week’s agenda, last time I said we hoped to see you at the Mid-America Train And Toy Show at the KCI Expo Center. http://www.midamericatrainandtoyshow.com/ Though I hope you were able to make it, here is a short video and some pics from that.

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Well, that about wraps it up for this edition of Kansas City Union Station Model Rail Experience Weekly. I’ll see you next time, hoping that you come pay Union Station and the Model Rail Experience a visit soon, and keep coming back. It promises to be a great time for the whole family!

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

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!

Union Station’s Model Rail Experience-Many Towns, One Facility

Who  would have thought that being on vacation this week, not being ready to leave town yet, and looking for inexpensive things to do here in Kansas City, would lead to a new, regular addition to my life? That’s just what happened today.

My wife wanted to check out the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank Of Kansas City, which is just around the corner from Union Station, where I wanted to check out the Model Rail Experience. 

Once we arrived at Union Station, it was clear that from outside and all along the way leading inside, there was much for any railroad fan to take in. But what was about to captivate this rail fan was the 8,000 square foot facility known as the aforementioned Model Rail Experience that was featured in the Summer, 2014 edition of Union Station‘s On Track Magazine.

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Many folks will come into their area of Union Station, and marvel at the many virtual towns they have set up and the many train sets that are constantly running through them, maybe watch the staff of volunteers headed up by Ted Tschirhart at work, constantly changing the rail layouts, the mini-buildings, the lighting.

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They may snap a few photos. Obviously I did. And more than just a few. I was again looking for trains related to those in my family and my wife’s family who have, or do work on railroads as well as other things of personal interest like these KC Southern cars.

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Or this building that is obviously a Jazz establishment that looks like someplace you would go to hear music like that played in my friend John Christopher’s show The Neon Beat that you can check out at http://www.radiogeorge.com/neonbeat/.

Or this model of the Western Auto building in Downtown Kansas City that is very near one of the lots I park in for work.

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Or this scene that has another of my favorite things-a classic diner. (Right side)

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Or many people’s favorite fast food venue, Mcdonald‘s .

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I am likely not the only one, but I’m an inquiring mind. And. when I started asking questions, I was directed to the aforementioned Ted Tschirhart who was more than happy to not only answer my questions, but also to have me share about why I love trains, and was soon asking me to volunteer with the Model Rail Experience. An invitation I was all too happy to accept and hope to start doing in the next week.

The Model Rail Experience has more than just virtual towns containing often familiar buildings with model trains constantly running through them. It features info on the walls that educates on the history of model railroading, the different sizes of model railroad sets like these.

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As well as educating on special trains that have been a part of railroad’s past in America like this feature on the Portland Rose.

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Or these that feature a California mountain rail trip.

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But to keep this facility running, so that the thousands of visitors they receive each year can continue to come to this free experience and continue to learn about model railroading, they need your help! They need volunteers with model railroading experience, or even those who are simply willing to learn about building the many rail towns they feature, doing electrical work, gluing things together, working with computers and printers, helping give tours and much more!

If you would like to help with Union Station‘s Model Rail Experience  you can contact Union Station Volunteer Coordinator Rebekah Caneles at rcaneles@unionstation.org or when you come to visit, seek out Ted Tschirhart or e-mail him at tedtsci@kc.rr.com . I know you’ll be glad ya’ did! This is definitely a place dedicated to leaving Legacies…..On The Rails!