January 2019 Print


David Matthews, editor  [email protected]

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Fort Pitt Division News

Enjoy the Trains!

Excerpted from President Bob Hazlett’s Message from April 2007

Imagine 1977.  The Lionel Fundimensions Catalog that year featured The Mickey Mouse Express.  Back then current collecting interest sought rare 6464 box cars, or an Orange Cab Milwaukee.  Thirty years ago, many of today’s enthusiasts had yet to collect or operate their first train. Some had not been born.

The Fort Pitt Division (evolved from the Fort Pitt Chapter of the Eastern Division) of the TCA held the first meet as a Division thirty years ago.

And they have been good meets!

Have a look at Historian Bob MacDowell’s picture notebooks at a Meet: We’ve been having fun for a long time.  And in those thirty years, the TCA has grown and evolved: information about trains has increased and become more accessible; beyond TCA and local Meets, internet access as well as general economic prosperity has supported interest in trains, as well as for our club structure.

The formal organization of the TCA – and of our Fort Pitt Division – is a strength in this sharing of knowledge and interest.  We who have been part of Fort Pitt for thirty years – or more – are lucky. Equally lucky are those more recently on board, who will build on all that’s gone before.

Enjoy the trains, Bob Hazlett



The Fort Pitt Division Website

In the May 2013 Lock-On, then Fort Pitt Division President, Rick Baugh laid out a vision for the Division’s website.  The initial goal was “to create a website-based newsletter and eliminate the paper version.”  He explained that the cost of printing and mailing the Lockon was becoming a burden that the Division might not be able to afford.

Much time and effort went into the development of our website by Matt Irvin and his committee, Rick Baugh, Jim Burke and Bill Livolsi.  Their desire was to develop sections that would provide information about who the Fort Pitt Division is and how to join (About Us, Join Club).

Primarily however, the website was intended to be a tool that would be useful to the division members.  One could quickly find upcoming events or view a calendar of future events.  Recent and past photos would be available in a Photos section while a Resources section would contain train collecting tips, TCA Standards, links to train related websites and much more.

A major area of the website would be a Members Only section. Here, members could find the National and Ft. Pitt By-Laws, research past Lockons, maintain their own membership information and look at Treasurer’s reports and secretary’s minutes.

We know that many of our members never use the Division website.  If you have not taken advantage of this service, we encourage you to log on soon. For our part, we will do our best to keep it current and easy to use.


Locomotion Days

The 2019 Locomotion Days, which took place on January 12 & 13 at the Carnegie Science Center was a huge success.  On display were toy trains in gauges N, HO, S, and O.  Patty Everly, the Science Center’s Curator of Historic Exhibits reported more than 4,000 visitors over the course of the two days. 

Fort Pitt Division Members played a large role in the festivities.  The Hi-Railers and the Kids Club set up their traveling layouts on the third floor in the beautiful, new PointView Hall.  Endless streams of families were educated and entertained, and many young enthusiasts took advantage of the opportunity to run trains using modern controllers.

On the second floor, George Starz and a group of our members greeted visitors, handing out catalogs and die cast cars.  “Loco Doc” Alan Forester looked at approximately 70 trains and performed repairs on ten locomotives, all at no charge. George’s crew totaled over 65 volunteer hours.  Thank you to all Fort Pitt Division members whose dedication and love of trains made the 2019 Locomotion Days so successful.


Election Year

2019 is an election year for the Fort Pitt Division. This year, we will choose a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, two board members and two representatives to the Redman Fraley Fund.  We are currently in the process of formulating a ballot.  If you are interested in running for a position, please contact Chris DiCianna, Nomination Committee Chairman before March 1. Ballots will be mailed on April 1 to all members whose dues are paid.  Ballots must be received by the ballot committee by May 1.  Be sure to read and follow all ballot instructions.


The Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show

The Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show will take place on March 1 through 10 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.  Once again, John DeSantis has invited the Ft. Pitt Hi-Railers and the Kids Club to setup displays in the second floor lobby area.  The Hi-Railers will demonstrate their amazing 48’ x 54’ modular layout.  The Kids Club layout will include a large circus display as well as Wizard of Oz, coal and steel modules.  New this year will be an operating module where children will have the opportunity to activate accessories at the push of a button. Stop by to visit or if you have a few spare hours, additional helpers are always welcome!  Hours of the Home and Garden Show are Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.  Hope to see you there!  If you are interested in helping, please contact Tom Garrity at the meet or Sam Merando [email protected]

Ft. Pitt Hi-Railers Modules at Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show


Summer Outing 2019

The Fort Pitt Division Summer Outing will take place on Saturday, September 21.  We will ride the Everett Railroad's Steam into the Cove.  This three-hour round-trip journey departs from the Hollidaysburg Depot at 1:00 p.m. and travels through Morrison’s Cove to Martinsburg, PA. 

Bus transportation will again be courtesy of the Ft. Pitt Division.  Members and one guest will travel by air conditioned coach equipped with restroom facilities. 

The Everett Railroad only runs a steam locomotive twice a year, one ride in April and one in September so don’t miss this exciting opportunity.  Stay tuned for more information!


 Pictures from 2018 Summer outing to Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad

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Community Service

Fort Pitt Division Kids Club, contributed by Tom Garrity

The TCA Kids Club was created in 1999 to generate an interest in model railroading and involve younger family members in this wonderful hobby we share. The Ft Pitt Division Kids Club has a long history of promoting model railroading by providing interactive layouts at all Ft Pitt Division Train Meets and teaching members the basics of operating and displaying their trains. In addition to Division train meets, the Ft Pitt Division Kids Club has also participated in various public events over the years such as Train Days at the Trolley Museum, Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show, Homewood Cemetery Founder's Day, and Locomotion Weekend at the Carnegie Science Center. These public events provide an excellent opportunity to promote model trains and attract new members for both TCA and the Kids Club.

Most recently the Ft Pitt Division Kids Club participated in the 2 day Locomotion Weekend at the Carnegie Science Center where we set up a 13' by 13' layout. We enjoyed talking about trains and meeting train enthusiasts both young and old alike and signed up 8 new members to the Kids Club.

The highpoint of the weekend came when we noticed a little girl holding a caboose. Thinking she might have won a door prize, we asked if she got a new caboose. Her dad replied that we had given her the caboose at the 2017 National Convention and that she wanted to bring it with her to see the trains!  We asked her if she would like to add it to one of the trains we were running and she grinned ear to ear as we added it and ran it on the layout.  To 5yr old Ruby - Thank You, you made our day!

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Thank you

Congratulations and a big tip of the hat to the following members who have achieved 50 or more years of service to the Fort Pitt Division of the TCA:

Harry Flock, John Evans, Carl Abinanti, Jim Burke and Alan Forester.

The following members who have contributed 45 – 49 years to our Division:

Barry Kline, Bob Hazlett, David Dudt, John Kavinsky, Tony Hay, Neil Curran, George McKee, Lawrence Claus, Robert Harrison, Russell Foeks, Joseph DeNardo, Harry Ayers, William Loop, Kenneth Nagel, Robert Foster, Thomas Jones, Ernest DeMonte, Jeffrey Hummert, Mark Barnhart, James Winterhalter, Paul Simpson, John Mailki, James Piper, Paul Kornblith, Bob MacDowell and Gervase Gumbita.

Thank you very much for all you have contributed to the success of our Division.

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Calendar of Events

January 27: Fort Pitt Division Meet, Syria Shrine Conference Center 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

March 1-10: Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show, David L Lawrence Convention

March 10: Fort Pitt Division Meet, Syria Shrine Conference Center 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

April 1: Ft. Division ballots are mailed to members with dues paid

April 11-13: Eastern Division Train Meet, York, PA

May 1:  Deadline for completed ballots to be received by the ballot committee

September 21: 2019 Ft. Pitt Division Summer Outing to Hollidaysburg, PA for the Everett Railroad's Steam into the Cove

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