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From the Caboose – Conductor’s view
by Charles Bartel, Spring 2020
It’s 2020 and the new year is off with a bang. Every year brings
changes to ones life. We look forward to the opportunities that are open
to us. This year will have special opportunities for me as I become the
President of the Big Train Operator Club. Thank you for the honor of
being president of the BTOC.
I have titled this “From the Caboose” because I believe the President is
like the conductor of an old freight train. (Miss that little red
caboose on the end of the train!) Other board members that you have
elected run the train in various position equivalent to the train crew,
i.e., engineer and fireman, brakeman, etc. From the caboose, the
conductor is not running the train but is working to keep the train on
schedule, keeping the paperwork in order, and spending time looking
forward from the cupola to make sure there are no issues with the cars
on the train. He is also in a position to look back to where the train
has been which allows him to make comparisons of the past to the future.
And that is what I hope to do in my term of office.
In this issue, you will find information on the summer convention in St.
Louis. Marshall Adams and his convention committee are tying down the
bits and pieces of the convention. I urge you to look over this issue
and the convention data. If you have not done so and are planning on
coming to the convention, please send in your registration forms and
make your hotel reservations. The sooner that we know how many are
coming, the better that the committee can plan the various events and
make sure that we have reserved spaces for everyone interested in
If you are wondering why to go to this convention versus other train
events, I can only stress that you will be coming together in a “family
reunion”. I say family reunion because we are family. We are
enthusiastic about trains and the G scale models of these trains. Some
have operating layouts indoors, some outdoors. Some are collectors and
love special models that we are proud to display in our homes. We love
to share stories about our trains, train rides, train vacations and our
families. This common interest is what makes us a “family.” We are
spread all over the country, and for that matter all over the world.
Some we can see at other events, or even stop in and visit when
traveling. But for the majority of us, we only get to see each other
once a year and spend the whole week catching up on the past year’s
events, sharing train stories while making new memories during the
This year, we are looking to visiting the National Museum of
Transportation with a BBQ lunch, Union Station with lunch, Trolley Tour
of downtown St. Louis, Grant’s Farm with a picnic lunch, Terminal
Railroad Rail Yard Tour, and a ‘Mighty Mississippi River’ Boat Ride with
light snacks. I love museums and looking at things from our past,
visiting rail yards and seeing the activity that it takes to keep the
trains running. I have read of river boats all my life with Mark Twain
one of my boyhood heroes. I look forward to this opportunity to ride a
working river boat on the mighty Mississippi. And of course, we have the
banquet on the last day, trivia contest each night, and the opportunity
I look forward to meeting as many of you that can make it to the
convention. I am interested in your thoughts as to what you would like
to see the club do. Where would you like to see future conventions?
Marshall is always interested in new locations of member interest.
Please share your comments with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy New Year. May it be filled with trains, fellowship and lots of