​​Lakes and Pines Division - Train Collectors Association

Roundhouse Rick

Rick's Ramblings


​Gee Whiz! It’s hard to believe that December is here and 2017 is almost history. So what do we have to look forward to in 2018? Lower taxes? Or maybe just more death and taxes. Give to the Max day was in November and the Twin City Model Railroad Museum got $1165 in pledges. Not too shabby. At our Open Meet in November we took in about $331 in admissions and food sales. At my own table I sold $8 worth. I never expected this hobby to make me rich. I’m not worry about how rich or not rich I am because I’m looking forward to our holiday party on December 10th. I’ll bring the krumkake. When I think of Christmastime, I think about going to downtown Minneapolis and the Dayton’s 8th floor auditorium for their holiday display. Alas, that is no more, but there is the Twin City Model Railroad Museum for your family and grandkids to enjoy. Santa Claus (Mike Helde) will be there for Night Trains on December 23rd. TCMRM’s Night Trains runs every Saturday night from 6PM to 9PM, through the month of February. That’s when they turn down all the lights and let the layouts light up the room. See the huge two rail scale O layout, the Corrigan O gauge layout, the Marx layout and many more to delight the kids. WOW, even Roundhouse Rick will be there on December 23rd . On December 2nd, the North Metro Model Railroad Club will have their flea market and open house at the VFW Hall, 1929 Coon Rapids Boulevard NW, in Coon Rapids from 8AM to 2PM. Also on December 2 & 3 will be the Albert Lea Area’s Original 22nd Annual Model Railroad Show and Swap Meet at the National Guard Armory, 410 Prospect Avenue in Albert Lea, Minnesota. That’s two blocks off East Main (turn at Casey’s). Admission is FREE to the public. Saturday 9AM to 4PM. Sunday 10AM to 3PM. Classic Toy Trains Presents the 30th Anniversary Special All-Star Electric Trains Over the years Classic Toy Train magazine has produced eight special issues since 2005, covering a wide variety of subjects of interest to us collectors. Now here is number nine featuring rare Lionel Gems and the best layouts ever. Editor Roger Carp says this is the seventh of the series, but I count nine in my collection. Oh well, seven or nine, who’s really counting. Here are some of the articles in this magazine. Herb and Dagmar Lindsay’s O gauge New York Central & Pennsylvania Railroad. Josef Lesser’s O gauge JL/AT&SF Railway. The Lionel 1951 Cheerios contest layout. Clarke Dunham’s public exhibits featuring O, S and HO trains. Jack Kindler’s work on Lionel’s New York showroom in the postwar era. Art Schmidt and Chris Becker’s photography for CTT. Peter Riddle’s multi-period train displays. Peter Atonna’s Standard, O, and S gauge model railroads. The cover story, “Gems of a great postwar Lionel collection.” Memories of Frank Castiglione, builder at American Flyer. Kent and Carl Johnson’s Talkin’ Toy Trains column. Jim Forbes and William Zuback’s photography for CTT. When winter came to the Lionel showroom. Eric Beheim’s photography of his favorite Marx models. Philip Klopp’s tribute to postwar Lionel. Stan Trzoniec’s O gauge Delaware & Raritan Valley Railroad. Steve Garofalo’s Super O and O gauge layouts and displays. This makes a great 100 page magazine. DID YOU KNOW THAT THE LIONEL #3435 ACTUALLY HAD A PROTOTYPE? Rob DiDomenico pointed out that the Lionel #3435 Aquarium Car actually DID have a prototype. He had known for some time that the fish and wildlife departments of several states used railroad cars to transport live fish for restocking lake and streams. However, here we’re talking about using a rail car to transport adult specimens of exotic fish to an urban location for display in a zoo-like setting. When the John G. Shedd Aquarium opened in Chicago on May 30, 1930, it was the world’s first aquarium to have a permanent salt-water fish collection at an inland location. With Chicago being roughly 1000 miles from the nearest ocean, both the fish and the water had to get there somehow. In 1929-1930, most highways were local in nature; commercial aviation was in its infancy; and so the builders of Shedd Aquarium turned to railroads for their transportation needs. During 1930, a train of twenty tank cars made eight round trips between Chicago and Key West, Florida to supply the one million gallons of sea water required for Shedd’s marine exhibit. The aquarium continued to receive rail shipments of ocean water until 1970, when it began mixing artificial sea water from synthetic chemicals. Shedd Aquarium operated two custom-built rail cars for transporting live marine creatures. “Nautilus” was built by Pullman Car Manufacturing Company in 1930 at a cost of $40,000. It was fitted with tanks that held 4,500 gallons of water; pumps; air compressors; electric refrigeration coils; and steam heat. Pullman claimed it was the most technologically-complex railroad car ever built. “Nautilus” traveled about 20,000 miles per year until it was retired in 1959. It’s replacement, “Nautilus II”, was in the news at the time Lionel #3435 was being developed, and may have inspired the model. “Nautilus II” was rebuilt from a former Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad lunch-counter car, the “Turkey Run”. It was operated by Shedd until the early 1970s, then it was donated to the Monticello Railway Museum near Champaign, Illinois, where it is still displayed today. Admittedly it didn’t have illuminated tanks with picture windows so passers-by could see the fish swimming inside, but it DID transport exotic fish by train.


Life is like a train journey, nothing is permanent. We come empty handed and we leave empty handed. Sharing, caring, forgiving and loving are the key to be happy and successful. Life is like a journey on a train, with its stations, with changes of routes, and occasional accidents. At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel by our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone. As time goes by, other people will board the train, and they will become significant i.e. our siblings, partners, children and friends. This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, pain, expectations, surprises, hellos and good-byes. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers, requiring that we give the best of ourselves. The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty, we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life. Thank-you for being one of the passengers on my train. Have a very pleasant journey. 

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