Cedar Falls RITS Meet

Saturday, March 27


On a rainy spring Saturday, Susan and I left Indianola at 7:15 and drove northeast to Cedar Falls.  We planned to visit the Rock Island Technical Society's meet and stop at her brother's place near Urbana on the way home.  The Cedar Falls meet is organized by Lee Bertholf (at the left in this picture), who always does an excellent job.  The meet was in a roomy seniors' center just a block from the old Rock Island depot.  This year, Lee had arranged for the Iowa Northern RR, which runs on the old CRI&P right of way, to bring a refurbished GeeP to the depot and make it available for inspection by those attending the meet.  I'm sure it helped some that Dan Sabin, the railroad's president, is himself a Rock Island fan.

By mid-morning they were doing a brisk business showing off the engine, not just to 'buffs, but to lots of children and their families.  The Iowa Northern employees in charge of the engine were doing an excellent job of showing it off.  Susan had never been in a cab, and found the view pretty impressive, "Up high!"

We dropped in and out of the meet during the morning, checking out the collectables and models on display.  We also did a little shopping in downtown Cedar Falls, visiting Caboose Stop Hobbies among other stores.  The basement of the hobby shop is occupied by the Cedar Valley "O" gauge layout.  A congenial and well-organized group had the pike going, with two Rock Island trains continuously circling.  I got some pictures of the a tower, turntable, stored locos and a neat wooden elevator model.

After lunch at the Maid-Rite diner near the depot we went to another club layout, this one the large HO Cedar Valley Railroad Modelers Association setup above a warehouse northeast of Cedar Falls.  Several club members were attempting to run trains, but having some trouble with their DCC setup.  A long coal drag with sound-equipped Milwaukee F units was being backed uphill into a siding, derailed and everything stopped.  Rerailing, resetting, reconsisting, etc. seemed not to bring things back to operational status, however.

As repeated attempts were made to get trains moving again, we wandered about the layout, taking pictures of some structures and scenes.  Actually, except for setting out a signup sheet and donation jar, it appeared that the club wasn't very well prepared for to show off for company.  We waited for a time and got our hopes up when a Santa Fe passenger train operated by a youngster lurched ahead.  However, it only advanced a trainlength or so before stopping again, so we left and started our trip to Susan's brother's place.

That's It!