Rockledge Model Railroad Museum

Rockledge Model Railroad Museum The Rockledge Model Railroad Museum is located in a former hosiery mill. It features exhibits about the history of the industry and local railroads.

Operating as usual

While I was searching for an interesting photo of a boxcar, I found this site: https://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2020/06/...
10/26/2021
old Milwaukee Road railroad boxcars that have been repurposed into covered bridges, and flat cars used as simple bridges

While I was searching for an interesting photo of a boxcar, I found this site: https://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2020/06/old-milwaukee-road-railroad-boxcars.html. Boxcars repurposed into covered bridges and flat cars made into simple bridges. A neat modeling idea for that old shell for which you've no other use.

in Argyle Minnesota http://www.lakesnwoods.com/ArgyleGallery.htm https://michaelwlind.com/2009/10/17/repurposing-a-railr...

Train songs are ostensibly about trains, but as we’ve noted before, they’re also about the things trains represent, such...
10/26/2021

Train songs are ostensibly about trains, but as we’ve noted before, they’re also about the things trains represent, such as freedom and movement. Hank Snow’s “Crack in the Boxcar Door” is one of those songs, a hobo’s ode to not being tied down to the trappings of settlement. It’s romantic—the hobo life was pretty rugged and precarious as much as it was free.

According to Wikipedia, hoboes, tramps and bums are commonly grouped together, but there are distinctions among the groups. Hoboes travel and are willing to work; tramps travel but avoid work as much as possible; and bums neither travel nor work.

The term, “hobo,” originated in the Pacific Northwest in the late 19th century. There are several theories about the word’s origins. It might have come from the term, “hoe-boy” meaning farm hand, or from the railroad greeting “Ho beau,” or even a contraction of “homeless boy.”

It’s unclear exactly when hoboes appeared on the scene. At the close of the Civil War, discharged soldiers hopped freights to travel home, and others followed the freight trains to the American west. The population of hoboes in the U.S. surged during the Great Depression, as men took to the rails in search of work.

A hobo’s life was difficult at best. Not only was he poor and far from home and support, he also faced the hostility of train crews and railroad security agents, called “bulls,” who had a reputation for violence. And riding a freight train is dangerous in itself. Freight cars are neither heated nor cooled (reefers notwithstanding), one could easily become trapped between cars and someone riding in a freight car could easily freeze to death in cold weather.

Nonetheless, there’s a romance in traveling the rails, and Hank Snow’s song is all about romance. We all long for freedom from something. Hank Snow (1914-1999) was a Canadian-American country recording artist who was at the height of his popularity in the 1950s. We wrote about Hank in our June 8 train song, “Canadian Pacific.” He had an expressive baritone voice that could convey a range of emotions, from the joy of freedom to the pain of unrequited love.

Snow grew up in Nova Scotia, in extreme poverty; enduring both psychological and physical abuse and hard, manual labor during the Great Depression. He was nurtured by his musical mother, who gave him support to become a professional musician. Snow settled in Nashville in 1946. He died there of heart failure in 1999.

And, on that cheery note, here he is:
https://youtube.com/watch?v=Jy1VubN5yIU

Train songs are ostensibly about trains, but as we’ve noted before, they’re also about the things trains represent, such as freedom and movement. Hank Snow’s “Crack in the Boxcar Door” is one of those songs, a hobo’s ode to not being tied down to the trappings of settlement. It’s romantic—the hobo life was pretty rugged and precarious as much as it was free.

According to Wikipedia, hoboes, tramps and bums are commonly grouped together, but there are distinctions among the groups. Hoboes travel and are willing to work; tramps travel but avoid work as much as possible; and bums neither travel nor work.

The term, “hobo,” originated in the Pacific Northwest in the late 19th century. There are several theories about the word’s origins. It might have come from the term, “hoe-boy” meaning farm hand, or from the railroad greeting “Ho beau,” or even a contraction of “homeless boy.”

It’s unclear exactly when hoboes appeared on the scene. At the close of the Civil War, discharged soldiers hopped freights to travel home, and others followed the freight trains to the American west. The population of hoboes in the U.S. surged during the Great Depression, as men took to the rails in search of work.

A hobo’s life was difficult at best. Not only was he poor and far from home and support, he also faced the hostility of train crews and railroad security agents, called “bulls,” who had a reputation for violence. And riding a freight train is dangerous in itself. Freight cars are neither heated nor cooled (reefers notwithstanding), one could easily become trapped between cars and someone riding in a freight car could easily freeze to death in cold weather.

Nonetheless, there’s a romance in traveling the rails, and Hank Snow’s song is all about romance. We all long for freedom from something. Hank Snow (1914-1999) was a Canadian-American country recording artist who was at the height of his popularity in the 1950s. We wrote about Hank in our June 8 train song, “Canadian Pacific.” He had an expressive baritone voice that could convey a range of emotions, from the joy of freedom to the pain of unrequited love.

Snow grew up in Nova Scotia, in extreme poverty; enduring both psychological and physical abuse and hard, manual labor during the Great Depression. He was nurtured by his musical mother, who gave him support to become a professional musician. Snow settled in Nashville in 1946. He died there of heart failure in 1999.

And, on that cheery note, here he is:
https://youtube.com/watch?v=Jy1VubN5yIU

Today we have another song—“Waitin’ for a Train,” by Jimmie Rogers—about train travel, this time as a hobo tramping from...
10/19/2021

Today we have another song—“Waitin’ for a Train,” by Jimmie Rogers—about train travel, this time as a hobo tramping from California to somewhere in the American south. He has no money, so the brakeman throws him off the train in Texas, from which he has to walk the rest of the way.

The song opens with a reference to the water tank. According to Jack London, who spent some time hoboing around the country, water tanks served as hobo directories. Hobos would carve their monkias—nicknames—and direction of travel into them so other hobos might find them.

Jimmie Rogers’s recording of “Waitin’ for a Train” was released by the Victor Talking Machine Company in February 1929. It was the flip side of “Blue Yodel #4.” The song became one of Roger’s most popular since the Great Depression made the lyrics relatable to a large number of people.

Rogers was known as “America’s Blue Yodeler” because he both sang and yodeled in his performances. This recording introduced Rogers trademark train whistle, a sound he produced by combining a yodel with a whistle in the back of his throat. (Roger’s “Brakeman’s Blues” was featured here back on May 25; for more information about Jimmie Rogers, look backward to that post.)

“Waitin’ for a Train” has been covered by a number of artists. I’ve included three versions here: Jimmie Rogers’s 1928 version, a blues version by Mississippi John Hurt and finally Johnny Cash’s recording. Enjoy.

Jimmie Rogers: https://youtube.com/watch?v=l4zaGJL2XLg

Mississippi John Hurt: https://youtube.com/watch?v=yMlHgEmCW70

Johnny Cash: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zhNrApAQjgY

Today we have another song—“Waitin’ for a Train,” by Jimmie Rogers—about train travel, this time as a hobo tramping from California to somewhere in the American south. He has no money, so the brakeman throws him off the train in Texas, from which he has to walk the rest of the way.

The song opens with a reference to the water tank. According to Jack London, who spent some time hoboing around the country, water tanks served as hobo directories. Hobos would carve their monkias—nicknames—and direction of travel into them so other hobos might find them.

Jimmie Rogers’s recording of “Waitin’ for a Train” was released by the Victor Talking Machine Company in February 1929. It was the flip side of “Blue Yodel #4.” The song became one of Roger’s most popular since the Great Depression made the lyrics relatable to a large number of people.

Rogers was known as “America’s Blue Yodeler” because he both sang and yodeled in his performances. This recording introduced Rogers trademark train whistle, a sound he produced by combining a yodel with a whistle in the back of his throat. (Roger’s “Brakeman’s Blues” was featured here back on May 25; for more information about Jimmie Rogers, look backward to that post.)

“Waitin’ for a Train” has been covered by a number of artists. I’ve included three versions here: Jimmie Rogers’s 1928 version, a blues version by Mississippi John Hurt and finally Johnny Cash’s recording. Enjoy.

Jimmie Rogers: https://youtube.com/watch?v=l4zaGJL2XLg

Mississippi John Hurt: https://youtube.com/watch?v=yMlHgEmCW70

Johnny Cash: https://youtube.com/watch?v=zhNrApAQjgY

Today’s train song is “Riding on the L&N." This song, as performed by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, doesn't have a wh...
10/12/2021

Today’s train song is “Riding on the L&N." This song, as performed by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, doesn't have a whole lot about railroading in its lyrics and only mentions the L&N without much detail, but it's a good rock/blues number, worth a listen.

The Louisville and Nashville railroad, commonly called the L&N, operated successfully for 132 years. Chartered in 1850, the line survived the Civil War, economic depression and waves of technological change and became one of the south's major railroads, expanding beyond its namesake cities to Memphis, St. Louis, Atlanta and New Orleans. The road was known as “Old Reliable” because it operated both passenger and freight service in a consistent manner.

The railroad grew continuously; by 1970 it operated 6,000 miles of road over 10,000 miles of track, not including the Carroliton Railroad.

In 1971, the L&N became a subsidiary of the Seaboard Coast Line, which purchased all of the outstanding L&N shares it didn’t own. In the 1980s, a time of rapid rail consolidation, the L&N was absorbed completely into the Seaboard system, which itself merged with the B&O and the C&O to form the Chessie System, now CSX Transportation. CSX operates all of the former L&N.

John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers are an English blues rock band led by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist John Mayall. The band has never had a hit of its own but has been noted as a seminal band influencing blues and rock music in the United Kingdom. The band has a shifting makeup; many recognized stars of rock and blues music have passed through its ranks, including Eric Clapton (Cream), Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac), and Mick Taylor (Rolling Stones), among others.

So, turn up your speakers for John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers "Riding on the L&N."
https://youtube.com/watch?v=8zyaHyCCG3o

Today's train song is Jimmy Forrest's "Night Train."“Night Train” is a 12-bar instrumental blues standard first recorded...
10/05/2021

Today's train song is Jimmy Forrest's "Night Train."

“Night Train” is a 12-bar instrumental blues standard first recorded in 1951 by Jimmy Forrest. Forrest’s famous instrumental composition was actually based upon segments of two earlier Duke Ellington recordings: “That’s The Blues, Old Man” and “Happy-Go-Lucky Local.” The song was sometimes recorded under the title “All Nite Long.”

Several different lyrics have been written for this composition. The first set was a typical blues story about a man lamenting having treated his girlfriend badly after she leaves him. One critic described the lyrics as “fairly awful,” and suggested they were a throwaway that allowed the composer to share in songwriting credits and therefore the royalties. A second set of lyrics describes a woman returning to her man on the night train.

A number of other performers have recorded this song notably James Brown, who performed the song to close out the 1964 concert film "The T. A. M. I. Show.” He replaced the lyrics with shouted cities on his east coast touring itinerary (and the Black radio stations he hoped would play his music), along with repeatedly shouting the song’s title.

Here's the link to Jimmy Forrest's recording: https://youtube.com/watch?v=jaFWKYqGrP0

And I couldn't not include James Brown: https://youtube.com/watch?v=ZF_rZrH4yBY

Today's train song is Jimmy Forrest's "Night Train."

“Night Train” is a 12-bar instrumental blues standard first recorded in 1951 by Jimmy Forrest. Forrest’s famous instrumental composition was actually based upon segments of two earlier Duke Ellington recordings: “That’s The Blues, Old Man” and “Happy-Go-Lucky Local.” The song was sometimes recorded under the title “All Nite Long.”

Several different lyrics have been written for this composition. The first set was a typical blues story about a man lamenting having treated his girlfriend badly after she leaves him. One critic described the lyrics as “fairly awful,” and suggested they were a throwaway that allowed the composer to share in songwriting credits and therefore the royalties. A second set of lyrics describes a woman returning to her man on the night train.

A number of other performers have recorded this song notably James Brown, who performed the song to close out the 1964 concert film "The T. A. M. I. Show.” He replaced the lyrics with shouted cities on his east coast touring itinerary (and the Black radio stations he hoped would play his music), along with repeatedly shouting the song’s title.

Here's the link to Jimmy Forrest's recording: https://youtube.com/watch?v=jaFWKYqGrP0

And I couldn't not include James Brown: https://youtube.com/watch?v=ZF_rZrH4yBY

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Only one way to find out! Come see us this Saturday, Oct. 9th, from noon-3pm!
10/05/2021

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Only one way to find out! Come see us this Saturday, Oct. 9th, from noon-3pm!

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Only one way to find out! Come see us this Saturday, Oct. 9th, from noon-3pm!

Today's train song is a calypso number that’s not really about a train at all, but rather a girl named Dorothy who’s hav...
09/28/2021

Today's train song is a calypso number that’s not really about a train at all, but rather a girl named Dorothy who’s having a last fling before her marriage the following day. She needs to be on the last train to San Fernando so she can make her wedding on time.

Dorothy’s last train is often mistaken for the last train that ever ran to San Fernando, but it’s just the last train of the day. The song goes back at least to 1950, when it was a Monarch Calypso Competition winner; the composer was listed as the Mighty Dictator, aka Kenny St. Bernard. The very last train to San Fernando ran in 1965. And we should note that the story takes place in Trinidad, not San Fernando, Colorado.

The song was a big hit for Johnny Duncan in 1957. Duncan’s publicist was married to a Caribbean woman who brought the song to Duncan’s attention.

For the record, the last train to San Fernando departed Port of Spain on August 30, 1965, pulled by Trinidad Government Railway engine 27, a 4-6-0, class 21 locomotive. The train consisted of three steel passenger cars and two TGR brake vans.

You can read more about the actual last train to San Fernando and see a video of the train’s departure here: https://guyaneseonline.net/2011/10/09/the-last-train-to-san-fernando/.

And hear Johnny Duncan's song here: https://youtube.com/watch?v=_KvitoS5WBI

Today's train song is a calypso number that’s not really about a train at all, but rather a girl named Dorothy who’s having a last fling before her marriage the following day. She needs to be on the last train to San Fernando so she can make her wedding on time.

Dorothy’s last train is often mistaken for the last train that ever ran to San Fernando, but it’s just the last train of the day. The song goes back at least to 1950, when it was a Monarch Calypso Competition winner; the composer was listed as the Mighty Dictator, aka Kenny St. Bernard. The very last train to San Fernando ran in 1965. And we should note that the story takes place in Trinidad, not San Fernando, Colorado.

The song was a big hit for Johnny Duncan in 1957. Duncan’s publicist was married to a Caribbean woman who brought the song to Duncan’s attention.

For the record, the last train to San Fernando departed Port of Spain on August 30, 1965, pulled by Trinidad Government Railway engine 27, a 4-6-0, class 21 locomotive. The train consisted of three steel passenger cars and two TGR brake vans.

You can read more about the actual last train to San Fernando and see a video of the train’s departure here: https://guyaneseonline.net/2011/10/09/the-last-train-to-san-fernando/.

And hear Johnny Duncan's song here: https://youtube.com/watch?v=_KvitoS5WBI

“The Atlantic Coastal Line” is a story about a hobo riding trains for all the reasons one might think: travel; a woman, ...
09/21/2021

“The Atlantic Coastal Line” is a story about a hobo riding trains for all the reasons one might think: travel; a woman, of course; and freedom.

The Atlantic Coast Line was formed in 1900, but its predecessors used the ACL moniker since 1871. The line served the southeastern United States, primarily Florida, and was a major contributor to Florida’s development in the first half of the 20th Century. The ACL was heavily invested in passenger service and ran numerous named passenger trains bringing northern tourists into the state. Among the New York to Florida trains was the “Florida Special,” a rival to Seaboard Lines “Orange Blossom Special,” and the “Dixie Flyer” from Chicago (both the “Orange Blossom Special” and “Dixie Flyer” were featured in previous posts).

In its early years, the ACL primarily carried seasonal agricultural products, but by WWII freight traffic became more diverse. During the 1950s, the ACL invested in new freight cars and focus on express freight service that allowed it to compete successfully with trucking firms over the new Interstate highways.

In 1967, the ACL merged with its competitor, the Seaboard Coast Line, to form the Atlantic Coast Line. Since 1986, most of the ACL has been part of the CSX transportation system.

“The Atlantic Coastal Line” has been covered by some number of country and bluegrass musicians. Today we have two versions of the song, one by Burl Ives and the other by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.

Burl Ives is probably best known for two holiday songs, “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Silver and Gold,” both of which were featured in the 1964 holiday special, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” Ives began his career as an itinerant musician, doing odd jobs and playing his banjo. He appeared on Broadway in the mid-1940s and in films in the 1950s, he also appeared in numerous television performances. Ives retired from performing on his 80th birthday in 1989; a long time smoker of pipes and cigars, he died of oral cancer in 1995.

Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs are perhaps the best known bluegrass duo in country music. Their appearing in Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys led to the name, bluegrass as a style of music.

The pair met in 1945, and by 1948 had formed their own band, The Foggy Mountain Boys. Scruggs perfected a roll technique using his thumb and first two fingers which allowed him to use the banjo as a lead instrument playing fiddle or guitar parts. The sound brought them a host of followers. The group was most popular in the early 1960s. Musical differences brought their collaboration to an end in 1969. Both men continued to perform despite illnesses. Scruggs died of natural causes in 2012; Flatt died of heart failure in 1979.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=GxWJcRop6GI

https://youtube.com/watch?v=kT-7PSIMlf4

“The Atlantic Coastal Line” is a story about a hobo riding trains for all the reasons one might think: travel; a woman, of course; and freedom.

The Atlantic Coast Line was formed in 1900, but its predecessors used the ACL moniker since 1871. The line served the southeastern United States, primarily Florida, and was a major contributor to Florida’s development in the first half of the 20th Century. The ACL was heavily invested in passenger service and ran numerous named passenger trains bringing northern tourists into the state. Among the New York to Florida trains was the “Florida Special,” a rival to Seaboard Lines “Orange Blossom Special,” and the “Dixie Flyer” from Chicago (both the “Orange Blossom Special” and “Dixie Flyer” were featured in previous posts).

In its early years, the ACL primarily carried seasonal agricultural products, but by WWII freight traffic became more diverse. During the 1950s, the ACL invested in new freight cars and focus on express freight service that allowed it to compete successfully with trucking firms over the new Interstate highways.

In 1967, the ACL merged with its competitor, the Seaboard Coast Line, to form the Atlantic Coast Line. Since 1986, most of the ACL has been part of the CSX transportation system.

“The Atlantic Coastal Line” has been covered by some number of country and bluegrass musicians. Today we have two versions of the song, one by Burl Ives and the other by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.

Burl Ives is probably best known for two holiday songs, “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Silver and Gold,” both of which were featured in the 1964 holiday special, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” Ives began his career as an itinerant musician, doing odd jobs and playing his banjo. He appeared on Broadway in the mid-1940s and in films in the 1950s, he also appeared in numerous television performances. Ives retired from performing on his 80th birthday in 1989; a long time smoker of pipes and cigars, he died of oral cancer in 1995.

Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs are perhaps the best known bluegrass duo in country music. Their appearing in Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys led to the name, bluegrass as a style of music.

The pair met in 1945, and by 1948 had formed their own band, The Foggy Mountain Boys. Scruggs perfected a roll technique using his thumb and first two fingers which allowed him to use the banjo as a lead instrument playing fiddle or guitar parts. The sound brought them a host of followers. The group was most popular in the early 1960s. Musical differences brought their collaboration to an end in 1969. Both men continued to perform despite illnesses. Scruggs died of natural causes in 2012; Flatt died of heart failure in 1979.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=GxWJcRop6GI

https://youtube.com/watch?v=kT-7PSIMlf4

Address

323 Montgomery Ave.
Rockledge, PA
19046

The SEPTA Regional Rail Fox Chase station is three blocks east of the museum. SEPTA buses run on Huntingdon Pike a block away.

General information

The museum had the grand opening in September 2018. We are open the second Saturday of each month from noon to 3 PM. Memberships are available and we are looking for friends that can help us.

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An educational experience viewing our collection of artifacts and our historical model railroad.

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Our nice new entrance

The museum has a nice new entrance which is welcoming to all. On the outside a large landing leads to our donated yellow door with a railroad type handle. Inside is an air lock and the second donated door. Lights inside and outside guide your way. Note the new sign donated by a club member. The decorations are for Independence Day 2018.

Nearby museums

Comments

We are working on projects at home preparing for the day we can get back to the museum.
We enjoyed seeing the huge layout here. Keep up the good work.
Some guys have all the luck! Sir Rod’s amazing layout revealed:
A few photos from our first Operations Training Session on the new layout. It has been 6 1/2 years since we were last able to do this!! Many of the participating members were trying ops for the first time - it was simplified - no car cards, timetable or fast clock. But we did start learning location names, radio etiquette, some basic switching skills and the fun of an ops session. It’s also a good way to ‘stress’ the layout and test things we may not usually use during our museum day running. That just makes the layout better! We look forward to many more sessions in the future!
Something of a minor milestone for the layout today: the first test run of an Operations schedule!! One of the interesting aspects of the hobby is modeling not just the locomotives or stations accurately, but we also plan to model a representation of what the railroad did as a regional transportation system. Today, Operations Superintendent, Chris O’Brien, Guy Frick IV, and Tyler O’Brien ran through a basic schedule of 13 trains with minimal problems! Crew training will commence in the coming weeks. The operations will grow as the layout grows! Fun stuff!
Merry Christmas everyone
A little trivia associated with the passing of President Bush, 41. The Union Pacific has a locomotive in storage dedicated to him. Initially his wishes were to be taken to DC on the railroads behind this unit. Not sure if that changes or not.
Location?
We had a great time at the Rockledge Community Day/ Car Show. Thanks to all those who stopped by the Train Museum and made our opening a great success. We've had hundreds and hundreds of visitors and an extremely positive response.
Larry Greenblatt