The 2015 NASG Convention was held at the Howard Johnson Plaza Kansas City Hotel and Conference Center in Kansas City, Missouri from August 5th through August 8th, 2015.
Kansas City, often referred to by its initials, K.C., is the largest city in the state of Missouri and is the predominant city in the metropolitan area with over two million people spanning the Missouri-Kansas border. Kansas City, established in 1838 as the Town of Kansas, at the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas rivers, was incorporated in its present form in 1853. Situated opposite Kansas City, Kansas, the city was the location of several battles during the Civil War, including the Battle of Westport.
The city is well known for its contributions to the musical styles of jazz and blues as well as to cuisine, notably barbeque. In March 2012, downtown Kansas City was selected as one of America's best downtowns by Forbes magazine for its rich culture in arts, numerous fountains, upscale shopping, and various local cuisine.
The Kansas City region was largely built on the economic backbone of trains and cattle. Large stockyards were spread throughout the region (but always near the tracks), fed by trains bringing in the livestock and feed, and hauling the sold livestock eastward and with the advent of refrigeration cars, processed meat. Today, there is only one operating stockyard in the area, the St. Joseph Stockyards. Owner, Mark Servaes, invited us to tour the facility. The track spurs are still present, although suffering from lack of use.
Next up was the KC Union Station. Union Station was built in 1914 and at the time, was one of the largest stations in the country (850,000 sqft). The waiting room (now the Festival Plaza) could hold 10,000 people. The Grand Hall's 85-foot ceiling, three 3,500-pound chandeliers, 6-foot wide clock, and an S-scale layout were just a few of the sights seen. Roy Inman provided a guided tour.
The "First-timers" Meeting was held in the evening to introduce people to NASG Conventions, followed by the "Ice Breaker" Reception.
Our first stop was a visit to the Kansas City Northern Railroad's Line Creek, with a special operating session.
Next up was the Midland Railway, with an excursion train to Ottawa Junction (in Missouri, not Illinois or Canada), a 20-mile roundtrip. The ex-Katy #142, a unique ALCo RS rebuilt by EMD, took the three-car excursion train out to Ottawa, KS for a picnic and some BNSF train watching (100+ trains a day pass by here).
"Trackwork and Crossings and Railroading in Urban Areas" by Ken Zieska (left in photo below) and Dick Karnes
"Turnout Controls" by Rusty Westermeier
"Tool Tips and Techniques" by Dave Jasper
"Decaling" (hands-on) by Tom Lennon
"Bridges, Scale Houses" by John Hronek
The dealers hall was open in the evening hours.
Mike Fyten's S-scale Kaw Valley model railroad, which is set in rural eastern Kansas in the early 1950s, was open for the tour. Mike's layout has been featured in the August 2001 and June 2015 issues of Model Railroader magazine. See photos below.
Jim Eudaly's O-scale C&O layout was open. The layout has five 2-6-6-6 among the 30 steam locos, 20-plus diesels, 300 freight cars, and 75 passenger cars. See photos below. Trivia: Jim is Kevin Eudaly's father, and Kevin's company is the new owner of the Railroad Model Craftsman magazine.
Dave Rogowski's American Flyer layout was open. It is fully operational but not completed. See photos below.
Don Ball's 1895 HO-scale Stockton & Copperopolis Railroad was open. All engines are DCC and sound equipped. See photo below.
In the photo below Monte Heppe is admiring the 15-foot bridge located on Mike Porter's HO-scale Chicago Great Western layout. Mike's layout was featured in the February 2015 issue of the Trainmasters.tv video, where he describes the construction and installation of this bridge.
"Extending New Haven Passenger Cars" by Paul Stevens
(unlabeled clinic) by Will Holt
"Module Models" by Jim Whipple
The dealers hall was open all day.
The dealers hall was open in the morning hours.
The NASG General Membership meeting was held in the afternoon, where the new members of the Board of Trustees were introduced.
The evening consisted of cocktails, the banquet, the awards presentation, and the auction led by Jamie Bothwell (with assistance provided by Sandi Winans).
Jay Mellon provides us with his annual vendor report:
John Parsons had a small display layout set-up to demonstrate his infrared model train detectors, full-featured crossing signal systems, and layout automation controllers.
Des Plaines Hobbies:
Ron Sebastian had a large selection of S Scale America products. The big news from Ron was a new brass kit for the Alco RS-1 that is being developed. It is designed to accept the American Models drive train (RS-3) as well as other options. Details on the model were very nice.
Jeff Wilson was there with a large selection of parts, rolling stock, structure kits, and Smoky Mountain Model Works kits. Jeff has announced that he will be closing his business down at the end of 2015.
He had his usual array of S-scale vehicles (mostly truck vehicles).
Roy had his line of custom truck vehicles and girder bridges. He also handled the NASG "Company Store".
Tom Hawley had rolling stock, American Models train sets and track, and Smoky Mountain Model Works kits.
Mile Post 169:
Tom Lennon had a selection of S structure kits from Monster Models; Alpine Division Scale Models, as well as his usual large selection of the 'classic' Enhorning decals.
Dave Blum had a very large selection of classic American Flyer models and sets, as well as American Models inventory. Since MTH produced the convention car hoppers, they decided to put out several additional road names on this model. Dave was the first dealer to receive these additional models.
Pre-Size Model Specialties:
Steve Wolcott had a nice selection of S tunnel portals, bridge piers, and culverts (resin products). He also had 'barren' trees (no leaves) made from sagebrush/salt bush stems/branches. Very unique item. He produces these items in all scales (Z, N. HO, S, O, On3, G), but since he is a S scale modeler, we get special attention.
The Railroad Crossing:
Richard Krieg had a nice selection of finished S structure models.
River Raisin Models:
Dan Navarre had his beautiful SP models on display, as well as multiple S brass items. The F-19 (steam engine model) project had to be canceled for lack of support. His newest brass project is the 'Early Berkshires' (B&A, B&M, ATSF, SP, TH&B).
S Scale Resource:
Glenn Guerra was there to promote their online S magazine. The response to this publication has been very positive since the first issue came out in the Fall of 2014.
The Crescent City S-Gaugers, from New Orleans, brought their layout for display at the hotel. The layout is a hi-rail type modular layout with a 15' by 25' donut shape in its largest configuration. It incorporates American Models code 148 flex track and turnouts. The layout includes a number of scenes including a double-ended yard, a turntable module, a refinery area, and various industrial scenes. They mostly run equipment made by American Models, S-Helper Service, and Lionel/AF, with an occasional custom modified Gilbert AF piece. The layout is fully scenicked, including ballasted track. Our "vendors reporter", Jay Mellon, is shown with his club's layout in the second photo below.
The photo below is of the 2015 Convention car model (two road numbers were available: #286707 and #286815). These are $60 per car, and active NASG membership is required to purchase them. The "scale" version is sold out. Shipping is $8 for the first car, and $4 for each additional car. Online ordering of the Convention Car is available on our NASG web site's Store page. If you prefer to mail in your order, see the Convention Car Order Form.
The Convention car matches the prototype's actual paint scheme (although the type of cars are different), as is shown by this photo by professional photographer Roy Inman.
M.T.H. Electric Trains donated an F3 A/B set from their 2013 catalog (winner's choice). The winner of this raffle was Art Weller. Congratulations!
Lionel donated a model of the SD70, shown below. The winner of this raffle was John Nosari. Congratulations!
Jamie Bothwell's special contest this year required participants to modify an American Flyer caboose in some way. Instead of the previous 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards, this year there were awards in the following categories: "Best Scale Caboose", "Best Highrail Caboose", "Best Non-caboose". The "Non-caboose" category included any model that has had its trucks removed to be used as a structure. Jamie reported that Dick Karnes won the "Best Non-caboose" category with a boxcab diesel, and that Andy Malette's entry was a snowplow.
Willy Monaghan had two Delaware & Ulster passenger cars for which he used a 3D printer. A hi-rail Union Pacific 4-12-2 and "Veranda" turbine were also shown. Please see the September/October 2015 Dispatch issue for photos and a listing of the contests winners.
The Convention was sponsored by the NASG (former) Executive-Vice President David Blum, and assisted by local volunteers. In the photo below are the area volunteers who made this event happen. Front row from left to right: Paul Stevens, David Cooper, Dave Blum, and Roy Inman; back row from left to right: Bill Winans (NASG President), Dan Hartman, Karl Damon, Mike Korando, Dave Rogowski, and Bill Hutton.