Approved Minutes 22 June 2023
ARM Business Meeting June 22, 2023
Meeting opened at 7:36 PM by Vice President Bob Roth
Meeting Minutes from April 13th Business Meeting – Published and sent via E-mail.
April 13th Minutes were Approved as Published.
Treasurer’s Report: April, 2023
Beginning Balance: $21,424.56
Expenses: $ 980.28
Income: $ 630.43
Ending Balance: $21,074.71
Treasurer’s Report: May, 2023
Beginning Balance: $21,074.71
Ending Balance: $23,688.90
Treasurer Brian Veach reported there was nothing significantly out of the ordinary during the month of April other than the $461 spent at Lowes for the new water heater. This is why our expenses were a little higher than normal for this time of year.
The month of May was a little different. First was $200 that had been taken out for change for our Open House. We paid our sales tax for the State of Texas which was nearly $1,000 for this past year, but we’ve had a lot of sales this past year. There was also $100 for the Chamber of Commerce. We had pretty good car sales again this past month with $609.27 from WIX which is a web page directly; 148.94 off of E-Bay; $230 which is listed as our Donation Box (outside of our Open House); $215 from the Open House (sum of $435 taking out $220 for our starting change). Brian noted he was impressed as we stayed busy all day during our Open House. The biggest income in May was $2,373 for the ATSC (radio receiver) equipment for tracking trains. Jerry noted this was kind-of a wash as this was about what we paid for that equipment.
The Treasurer’s Report was Approved as Read.
Car Sales Report/Update:
Jerry stated we had some sales in May (Brian had those numbers) and some sales in June of around $400, but it is getting pretty close to the end of the month.
There is no news on any of the custom cars yet. Jerry stated he had no news from Matt; Bob stated he had asked Matt and he did not have any news. Matt was observed sitting in the back row (semi-hidden) and related he had not heard anything back from Scale Trains.
Layout Construction Update:
Chris Mitchell related that nothing had really been done since the Open House. Tracy has been working on the area where we had been having trouble and thinks he has it squared away.
Phillip Pratt Memorial Garden Railroad:
Bob related he had put some stuff in the garden… There were 3 tomato plants; 2 different varieties of regular tomatoes and a cherry tomato which he thought was a red variety when he picked it up, but it is a yellow cherry tomato plant. Bob wasn’t sure which was which; we can figure it out when they start producing. Just before the meeting Bob had taken a quick walk around the garden and noted most of the plants looked pretty good. He noted the plants he had planted more recently looked the best but of the plants, there were only 2 watermelon plants and they look the smallest. Bob related he had planted a mixture of 2 spots of pumpkins, some cucumbers, cantaloupes, and 2 watermelons.
Building & Grounds Update:
It was noted that both Thomas and Tracy have been mowing around the building. We’ve received a lot of rain and they are having difficulty keeping up with the growth.
Kenneth reported that in the not-so-distant future Kenneth and Tracy will remove the pole to take the antenna down so it can be shipped to the person that bought the equipment. Jerry noted the fellow that bought the equipment said he’s willing to wait until we can get it down; he’s not in any hurry.
Discussion Concerning the Open House on Saturday, June 13; What worked well; what didn’t…
Chris Mitchell stated that with the weather we had it was hard to judge; we were lucky it didn’t turn out to be a disaster. It actually came out good. We had more people inside because of the rain, but the soda pop sales and all that didn’t go very well maybe because they weren’t set out where people could see it. Brian stated none of the food trucks stayed; one had broken down and the other one didn’t show. The snow cone truck stayed; the coffee truck left and the other ones didn’t show up. One had called to say they would not come because of the rain.
We had some issues with parking; Brian reported feedback from one person about a disabled person that couldn’t come up because we had things blocked-off. Previously we’ve had it blocked-off but we’ve had people out there to let them in. With it being rainy this year none of us wanted to be out there; it was cold in addition to rain. We also didn’t have the golf cart this year. This was very unique with the rain.
Brian stated he liked the set-up we had this year and he felt we had a lot more interaction with people in the Meeting Room looking at the Museum displays which was awesome. The flow seemed to work well. The Escort Coach is a muddy mess; Autumn had mopped the floor in the car a couple of times. Chris noted he had received some comment from folks indicating we’ve made great progress and got a lot done this year.
The Air & Space Museum didn’t show up although one of their members was here. The Pantex Historian brought a couple new flyers and stuff that were nice.
Jerry stated the layout ran real well; we ran 6 trains and we even had helper service on the helix, taking the helper off and running it back down the hill. General running, we always had trains running which was real good and was better than last year; last year we only ran 4 trains and we didn’t always have trains running. We got a lot of compliments on that, like the folks that were watching the helper take the train up to the top and then cut-off and go back down. This showed the layout can do more than just run trains. Jerry stated he had taken a video that Kenneth had edited and he will be putting the video on the website. Chris related he had a lot of fun operating the helper engine. Unfortunately Tracy’s steam engine came apart as it got up to the top.
Kenneth reported on the first shift he had operated a passenger train and while it looked good, he had a fair amount of trouble with it with intermittent stopping. When he got back to the yard, after he took a break, he took a different train out and it ran silky smooth. Jerry stated we need to see where we are at next year relative to getting all the turnouts wired and don’t have dead spots; all the lighted passenger cars are always going to be a problem until we get that taken care-of. There seems to be a time when they can short-out and that will stop that passenger train and if you have 10 lighted cars it will probably stop 10 times. Kenneth stated it did, so he started just pulling the train thru those spots until he hit the next one. Chris stated that Tracy’s steam engine has the keep-alive in it and it ran smooth as can be until it came apart; after that Chris had used Bryce’s engine and it didn’t like those dead frogs either.
Kenneth stated he was undecided if he is in favor of continuing to include the car clubs and the Air & Space Museum. He noted we had such a good turnout without them, but maybe they were part of the draw because they were supposed to be here. “I don’t know…” was voiced by a few folks. Kenneth noted it was just extra complication… A question was asked about food trucks; yes, we need some. Brian noted food trucks were something for a draw to get people to come out here for lunch time.
Bruce Carter asked if we had a total on the number of people; no, we could not count. Any kind of estimate? A bunch. Chris noted we had filled a few pages in the guest log. Bob stated we hit the point in the afternoon when he had been asked to talk to the Boy Scouts and they were sitting in the Meeting Room, so Gail just started funneling people into the Layout Room. Jerry stated there were just too many people; we could have had 500. There was some further discussion and Chris stated that overall it was a great success.
We were busy from the moment go. Brian stated the time period was good. Bob stated that it is possible that people had plans for other activities that day, but with the rain a lot of other activities were probably cancelled and so people looked for something else to do and here we were… Chris and others reported they did not hear anything negative from anybody.
2023 NMRA National Convention
Bob stated that he had redrafted a brief description of the Museum and had sent it to the National Convention Committee. He had needed to put down some hours so he put down that we would be open Saturday, August 19 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM (our normal scheduled hours) for travelers heading to the National Convention. A question was asked if we would have trains going that day; Bob stated that is the intent. Saturday the 26th is a normal “open” day for us. Bob stated he also put down Sunday the 27th and took a wild stab at the hours and stated we would be open from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM for people heading home. These can be changed… Bob stated the 11:00 AM may be a bit early. Jerry stated the hours and dates Bob had quoted pretty-well coincided with the hours he had put on our website; he also put on our website that we would be open Thursday evening. These hours are posted on the Convention website.
A question was asked how long this convention will actually last. Bob stated he had looked at the convention website last night and it opens on Monday, August 21, and it says it goes until Saturday, August 26. The National Train Show opens on Friday, August 25; in the morning it is open only to convention attendees, but in the afternoon it is open to the public. Kenneth noted the website says the convention runs from August 21 to the 26th and the National Train Show is open from the 25th to the 27th.
Jerry related the reason he needed to put something up on our website is that John Emerson, who is a G-scaler, has a number of friends that are coming down for the convention and he wanted to get information out to them now, especially for making hotel reservations.
Tracy stated he hoped folks didn’t want to see the G-scale railroad. Jerry stated that Milt may come out here that weekend. Tracy stated the garden is not showable… Bob stated he had walked around the garden right before the meeting and saw the weeds. Tracy stated it was the biggest goathead patch he had ever seen in his life… Tracy stated the garden is a pain in the butt; he had been watering it every day and that if you miss a day, its dead. Bob thanked him for doing it while he had been gone.
Saturday, June 10:
Bob asked how much traffic we had out here. Kenneth related we had 3 members and maybe 10 people. We had more guests than members. Brian had also been out in the morning which made 4 members, but he had his boys with him. Brian related he had given a tour to a family group in the morning; Chris stated he gave 3 tours himself and pawned one off on someone else. The reason Bob had asked was because this was the last day of the Route 66 Anniversary Celebration. Bob had been out of town that day.
Santa Fe Railway Museum at the Historical Santa Fe Depot
We had received an invitation so Bob and Jerry had attended a walkdown of the depot on Wednesday. Bob assumed the group taking the tour was mostly their board members. A question was asked how bad it was and Bob stated it wasn’t all that bad; upstairs there were places where ceiling had fallen because of leaks. Kenneth asked what their goal was; was it trying to build enthusiasm? Bob stated he felt is was trying to build enthusiasm and trying to show off some of what they are thinking of. One of the things expressed was a plan to move the Madam Queen back over by the Depot. What they are proposing is to put the Madam Queen to the South of the Depot with some railcars which would be set-up to serve as hotel rooms to help bring in revenue. A booklet with a diagram of the proposed layout was shown.
Jerry related he hadn’t been inside the Depot since we had looked at it years ago and that it didn’t look any worse than it had years ago. There was only one room where it appeared floor boards were buckled. There is definitely work that needs to be done. Funding is a big issue; the last page of the one document mentioned they had started and were encouraging donations to the Walter Wolfram Endowment Fund.
ATCS System: Jerry related that we sold the ATCS equipment because BNSF had changed their way of reporting where trains were located. We can’t pick it up any more so we sold the equipment to a fellow that does webcams as his business. Jerry asked him if he was possibly interested in what Amarillo has to offer. Jerry noted he observed during our Depot tour yesterday where the Santa Fe Depot has a great spot up under the gables where a camera could look around the curve toward the East that comes around the bridge over Third Street, and another spot on the South end of the Depot or the Railway Express building looking down the track to the South. Jerry wondered about looking at a plan to put 3 cams up. We could have a cam here at the ARM to look at trains zooming down the Transcon and 2 downtown. We’ve got the ability to put one in if we can afford it and it seems like a worthwhile site. Downtown they don’t have electricity or water and Jerry wonders if they could possibly be run with solar power.
There was further discussion on this subject about possibilities and exploring it further. Brian related he had been talking to Virtual Railfan about installing a railcam at the ARM and this is not dead in the water, but it is definitely adrift. The problem is the distance from our building to the tracks; it is greater than they want. This does not mean we can’t do it on our own, but it’s not up to their standards. Brian stated they charge people. Brian stated they might be interested downtown, but they need Wi-Fi.
Mousetraps: Bob related the last time he had been here there was some complaining because someone had set a couple of mousetraps and neither Tracy or Bob had known about it. We caught a couple of mice in those traps and they got “over-ripe.” These mice were plastered to the floor and needed to be scraped-off, thus if anyone sets the mousetraps, either they need to let Tracy and Bob know, or come out to check them regularly.
Website: Jerry stated he is changing the website a lot; check it out. He is trying to make it a lot less cluttered and giving more ability to jump back to a previous page. He is always up for new stuff to add to it.
Helium Car Pictures: Tracy asked if we had received our pictures of the helium car back from Scale Trains; No. We need to get those pictures back. Chris related he had taken the blueprints downtown and had made copies of the blueprints which they paid for, but he had also sent them the photos. We need to get them back.