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A View from the Cab by Bill Harryman, Spring 2017

I want to share a couple of the benefits of the Big Train Operator Club and the “G” scale railroading hobby with you.

We took an overseas train trip with John Rogers several years ago. We went to the LGB 125th Anniversary party. If I’d realized it was also a dispersal sale in preparation for the ensuing legal matters, I might have bought some trains and equipment, but be that as it may, we met a bunch of great people.

One couple was from Hamburg, Germany. They spoke very little English (American?) and we spoke no other foreign language, so communication was slow. But, we became friends and have been exchanging Christmas cards ever since. The first year was difficult because of the language difference. Then we realized that our computers would do a translation (of sorts) for us. So, we now write up our Christmas note to them, and have Word translate it to German. Yes, a purist would cringe at the result, but it is passable to share a thought or two. They now do the same thing, but have the computer translate to English on their note. The result is most fascinating, good English, no!, but fully understandable.

This year’s card was, in my opinion, drop dead gorgeous! It was a photo of the Matterhorn that they took – clear blue skies, a few wispy clouds around the peak, and beautiful mountain pastures at the base of the mountain. They also included two photos of their LGB layout.

BTOC doesn’t have a specific travel program, but we do link with John Rogers, Narrow Gauge Paradise who specializes in “Train tours”, also known as LGBTOURS. We’ve been on four or five of his trips and are considering a sixth. He does a great job, and we get to see many different trains and the surrounding countryside. Riding through Switzerland was like being inside a story book – beautiful.

I have Googled “Train Trips” and found several pages of available trips. Another BTOC club member is enjoying “history trips” offered through Public Radio, in which you travel the country in a private train and visit various historical locations. They sound quite nice as well.

While we don’t have a specific travel program, attending the annual conference is a great chance to see the country as well as many friends. Through professional conventions and BTOC meetings, we’ve had a chance to be in every state of the Union. Railroads go through some beautiful areas and for out and out fun, try a photo excursion on an American Historic Railroad. Skagway to Carcross, Yukon, for example was beautiful.
At least when the snow is on the ground, the wind blowing 40 miles an hour and the weather not fit for anything, it’s fun to day dream and look through travel brochures. Keep on “Having fun running trains!”


No matter how much Bill Gates may claim otherwise, he missed the Internet, like a barreling freight train that he didn't hear or see coming. - Jim Clark


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