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

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Greenbrook Lines

I was looking for something today on the Internet and was checking the index of model railroad magazines online. Searched for a few things then searched for OO generally. One article I found was in the June, 1955 issue of Railroad Model Crafstman, "Greenbrook Lines--David Sacks' Fine OO Gauge Pike." I recently purchased RMC for 1955 from an estate, I had to find the article.

Back a few posts I mentioned that my first steamer, a S-C 4-6-0, had been purchased from David Sacks who by then lived in California. I purchased that engine and four or five more cars (one of them is the S-C reefer seen in the layout photos in the previous post--completely rebuilt). I also know I purchased a copy of the Scale-Craft Round Lake catalog from him, their last catalog.

In the earlier post I mentioned that Sacks had been active in the New Jersey OO group. It was known as the North Jersey Midland Model Railroad Association, a group of at that time 14 OO gaugers that had layouts and met on a round robin basis. The best known of the group was probably Bill Johann, who was later editor of The OO Road and also produced a kit for a 2-8-2 (which I will post more on soon). It sounds like it was a fun group.

According to the article Sacks started working in OO in 1940; I purchased my models from him in the late 70s. The article itself has seven photos (including this one with a can of lite beer by a depot--oops) and also the cover photo is of the engine house. Sacks is not however in the cover photo. The cover caption reads “Engine house holster Neil Van Duyk, youngest member of the North Jersey Midland Club, keeps plenty busy during club night on the large Greenbrook Lines of David Sacks.”

It was a large layout with 42 turnouts and 525 feet of mainline. Lots of Scale-Craft is evident as is a Kemtron GP-7, several Nason items, and at least one SC 4-6-0 very similar to the one I purchased (but not the same one, I think, or perhaps before some later rebuilding). The best part though is the photo of David Sacks himself with a Johann 2-8-2 and his drill press. Click on any photo for a better view.

As time allows I will post on other "OOdtimers," they do give a window into OO history.

UPDATE: For more see also:

Newspaper articles on his layout, 1954-61 --

His later layout in California --

Passenger cars --

Diesel locomotives --

Hoppers and a caboose --

For even more, there was a second feature article on his layout, published in Model Railroader in August, 1961, and also this great photo of Sacks with the final iteration of his layout may be found in the November, 1984 issue of Model Railroader. The caption there reads,
David Sacks, in OO since 1939, built two OO railroads in New Jersey, then two more in California. As many as six trains can be run on any of the Green Brook lines, if six engineers can be found. The railroad occupies a special 12x30-foot building at his house.
And note what is on the layout just to his right--another beer can!

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