The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Thursday, July 11, 2013

American OO for ’47: Part VI, Club Action …

In 1947 we really start to see some club action in the OO gauge world. The most visible of the OO clubs was the North Jersey Midland club. The club was the topic of a feature article in the February issue of Model Craftsman; more on this article and three photos may be found here. The article itself is a fun read, with a track plan of the Newton & Northern layout of club member Newton Guerin and ten photos. This photo below caught my attention because of the caption -- I have an engine decorated for the Oreland. Is it an engine from this layout? Guerin clearly owned a number of stock and modified S-C ten-wheelers and my Oreland engine runs beautifully today. Also clearly visible in the photo is an Ideal diner.

David Sacks was club secretary of the North Jersey Midland club and was a steady contributor to the “Along the Division” column in Model Railroader over some years, doing his part to promote OO. An item in the March issue notes how “he and other members are still scratching their heads in wonderment trying to figure out how George Jones’s built up three-unit OO gauge Diesel pulled 50 die-cast freight cars (the total on hand) up a 1 per cent grade with apparent ease. George is from Rochelle Park, N. J., and seemed a bit surprised himself at the performance….”

And they were thinking big, considered purchasing a property! From the June issue of MR,
Secretary Dave Sacks of the OO gauge North Jersey Midland Model Railroad Club tells us that his outfit was all set to purchase a property and remodel it into suitable clubrooms but found that a building code ordinance would restrain them from having the changes made. President Newton Guerin went into the matter thoroughly and found the fly in the ointment before the deal was made.
A very social bunch, they also did some railfanning as reported in the September issue of MR.
One highlight of the summer schedule for members of the North Jersey Midland Model Railorad (OO) was a ride in the caboose of an Erie RR. freight train. Ten members took the jaunt, five on each of two week ends. This arrangement was made necessary by safety regulations. Dave Sacks, club secretary, went his fellow members one better by wangling a ride in the engine cab. Summer meetings have been light on work and heavy on motion pictures. Films provided by the New York Central and the American Association of Railroads, were shown at several meetings. Any OO gaugers in the areas not already in the club fold are invited ….
And then there were two OO clubs in New Jersey! We read in the December issue of MR,
Although we haven’t the figures to prove it, we think that New Jersey has more OO gauge model railroaders and clubs than any other state in the nation. At least so it seems from correspondence. At any rate, here’s another OO club to swell the list. It’s the Newark Model Railroad Club. Sam Cicchini is president; Ed Reilly, vice president; and Charles Green … is secretary.
And there were clubs in other areas. In the April MR we read,
The show put on last December by the Miniature Railroad Club of York (Pa.), turned out to be an unqualified success with over 4000 attending during its 10 day run. The OO gauge York Connecting RR. is L shaped and has over 600 ft. of track. It was started back in December, 1943, by six OO gauge fans and has since grown to 21, which includes the crew of the HO gauge division established late in 1946.
The October MC also has an item on the York PA group having HO and OO layouts; they were getting the word out.

Then in May of 1947 we see in MR a notice about a club in the Midwest.
The new Rockford, Ill, OO Model Railroad Club was organized by Dean Wilson and Lyle Baie just to prove among other things, according to Dean, that OO gauge isn’t dead by a long shot. The club is located at Dean’s home…. There are no dues and none will be necessary, since the layout is already in existence. All rolling stock belongs to the various members. There is a 4-6-0, a 4-6-4, a 4-8-4 and a 600 HP Diesel switcher. Under construction at present are: 1 Electro-Motive freight Diesel, 1 Electro-Motive passenger Diesel, 1 1000 HP Alco Diesel, 2 4-8-4 steam locos, 1 M.U. car, 8 passenger coaches, 30 freights, and 2 crummies. 
It is an interesting roster and luckily for us in the previous issue of MR (April 47) picture parade shows a nice SW-1 model built by the very same Lyle Baie and Dean Wilson of Rockford, Ill. It appears to be scratchbuilt, utilizing the new (1946) version of the S-C drive that they marketed for their Gas-Electric cars (more here). There are some nice details to the model and note the Scale-Craft passenger car side frames.

Looking west, yet another club, this one in California, is mentioned in the September issue of MR. “The Oroville Model Railroaders pike, Oroville, Calif., is OO gauge piked and is being built in a 16 x 85 ft. room donated for the purpose by the municipal auditorium. The club has 10 charter members ….”

They could certainly build quite a layout in that space! In the last installment of the 1947 series the topic will be even more of what is going on in the world of OO gaugers.

Continue reading 1947 Series

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