Charles City Layout Tour

Saturday, August 7

Saturday August 7 from 10:00am to 4:00pm there will be a layout tour. The
Headquarters will be at the Floyd County Museum, 500 Gilbert Street in
Charles City where you will pick up your maps and badges to the layouts.
There will be seven stops including G gauge and live stream. There is *NO
CHARGE*, but each person attending must have a badge for admittance. Any
questions call 1-800-642-7012. The tour is sponsored by Caboose Stop Hobbies
of Cedar Falls.

Responding to the above post on the Ames Railfan list, Susan and I drove to Charles City on Saturday morning.  There had been some light rain early in the morning, but the day cleared and was quite pleasant by the end of our three-hour drive up Hwy. 14.  A few weeks ago, I'd commented to my friend Mark VanWyk that I thought a full day of layout tours was something the Des Moines area modelers should try, instead of always trying to have a meet (the last was cancelled) followed by tours.  I'd be happy to be on such a tour (HO and G here) and I'm sure there are a number of others in various scales that would, too.

We went first to the Floyd County Museum, which is itself pretty impressive.  We spent some time looking around at the various exhibits there before starting on the train tour.  At the museum, we received maps and took in the Charles City Model Railroad Club HO layout upstairs in the museum, which was the first of seven stops open from 11:00 to 4:00.

The Charles City Club layout was running trains, with a couple of members in charge.  The layout is in a fairly modest space, and packed with equipment:

Charles City Club 1
Charles City Club 2

The second stop on the tour was "Denny's Railroad", a large (1 1/2") scale "ride on it" size setup occupying several lots behind a home and cabinet shop.  The tracks ran on a loop-to-loop scheme with a narrow passageway behind the shop and loops on each end.  Gasoline-powered trains were running and visitors were being treated to rides:

Denny's Railroad 1
Denny's Railroad 2
Denny's Railroad 3
Denny's Railroad 4

A garden railroad was next, at the home of Wayne Wiltse and Mary Ann Townsend.  This was a fairly recently-constructed affair, basically just set into the turf without elevation.  Wayne commented that with all the rain we've been receiving, he found he had to frequently add ballast:

Garden Railroad 1
Garden Railroad 2

Pete Fullard's O-Scale traction basement layout was next.  This outfit, along with some On3 equipment in an adjacent room, occupied most of the available space.  Pete said that some of it had originally been modular before moving permanently to the basement.  The layout was elevated to eye level in the basement, with lots of storage and work space beneath:

O Traction 1
O Traction 2
O Traction 3

The last stop on the city tour was at the Lessin Family acreage southeast of town, where a very spacious garden railroad had been built.  Rails meandered around the yard north of the home.  The Lessins had a couple of trains running while we were there, and encouraged us to walk around anywhere we liked:

Garden Railroad 1
Garden Railroad 2
Garden Railroad 3

Two more stops remained for us, both well outside Charles City.  One was, "Trains on the Farm", Francis Edeker's personal museum of toy and real trains, which I'd visited some years ago as part of a Rock Island Technical Society convention.  The other was Bob Drenth's live steam, 1 1/2" gauge setup on an acreage near Nora Springs, northwest of Charles City a few miles.  There was a pretty large crowd on hand, with several trains running and visitors enjoying rides:

Drenth 1
Drenth 2
Drenth 3
Drenth 4

At this point it looked like it would be pretty close to closing time for the one remaining open house, so we headed back south toward home.

That's It!