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OCTOBER 2011 Volume 1 • Issue 11

A Layout with More than Meets the Eye By Angela Podewils

At first glance the Wisconsin and Michigan Model Railroad Club layout may appear to be a quaint Midwestern scene, but don’t be fooled. Upon closer inspection, both the layout and club unfold to reveal a unique passion for model railroading mixed with a distinct sense of humor. The Wisconsin and Michigan Model Railroad Club was founded in 1986 filling the need for a model railroading club in the Marinette/ Menominee area. One of the founding members is the club’s current president, Dave Rickaby. His brand of personality is evident in the layout. Dave chuckles when recalling his observing a few women looking at the layout during a train show. He asked one of them to find the ghost. As she looked high and low for

that ghost, her understanding of the details and eccentricities of the layout became apparent. When Dave joined up with five friends to form the Wisconsin and Michigan Model Railroad Club, their goal was to create a traveling show layout. Their goal was accomplished within a year. Today, the club has grown to 40 current members. Over the years, 170 people have taken part in the organization. While the club is headquartered in Marinette WI, few members live locally, with some living as far away as Arizona. The club comes together at train shows to exhibit and run the layout. see Wisconsin and Michigan Model Railroad, page 12

What’s Inside Look Back Trainfest Remembered PG 17 From the Caboose PG 3 5 Decades of Scenery Building PG 5 ExactRail - The Next Generation of Model Railroad PG 6 Dave Rickaby - Friendship, Stories and Sharing through Modeling PG 13 Kids Activities Highlights PG 16

Check out the new Trainfest Website! The new website is up and running! With lots of train photos and up to the minute information on the 40th anniversary celebration, get caught up in the excitement for Trainfest 2011. Print out your discount admission coupons too!

Families Insider guide to your First Trainfest As the 40th anniversary of Trainfest approaches, here are some insider tips for families to have a great Trainfest Experience! Since many of the layouts are off the ground, consider bringing along a small stepstool for little ones to get an even better view of them. Be sure to bring a camera to capture your children’s looks of pure joy as the trains make their way around the tracks. Also, don’t worry about having to navigate in tight quarters; the aisles are wide enough to accommodate strollers and wheelchairs. From the many kids activities to demonstrations on getting started in model railroading, Trainfest is fun for the entire family. The 40th anniversary of Trainfest promises to be a great event, so come and see some truly amazing model trains.

Hobbyists Insiders Guide for Trainfest 2011 - Friday Product Showcase This year Trainfest will again be offering exclusive access to Trainfest with the Friday Product Showcase, the evening of November 11. With the purchase of a $40 Friday Product Showcase ticket, hobbyists receive exclusive access to the Friday Product Showcase, single admission tickets for Trainfest’s public show days, Saturday and Sunday, a grab bag of train merchandise and a catered dinner. The Friday Product Showcase offers hobbyists the unique opportunity to meet and greet with over 100 well-known manufacturers and hobby dealers, talk new product releases, and compare products and pricing in a less crowded environment. Tickets are limited. Visit for details.

40th Anniversary Celebration Free Admission for Uniformed Military and Scouts In celebration of our 40th Anniversary, uniformed military and scouts may come to Trainfest free of charge. (Scouts may be of any age but must be uniformed and accompanied by an adult.)

Trainset Giveaway! It may be our 40th anniversary, but on Sunday we are the ones giving out the gifts! Thanks to our sponsors, four lucky Trainfest visitors will win a train set! Winners will be randomly selected at the north and southwest entrances by Trainfest volunteers.

Coming in November Trainfest EXPRESS! Exciting features are in the works for the November issue of Trainfest EXPRESS. The issue is your exclusive peck at what will be pulling into the station for the 40th Anniversary. Get a taste of what Z-Scale is all about as we sit down with Metro Milwaukee Z Scale Club. Get ready for the exciting innovations in scenery that Scenic Express will demonstrate at Trainfest 2011!

Are you a Trainfest Facebook Fan? 2

“Like” the Trainfest page today to get the latest updates about Trainfest and to connect with other model railroad fans.

From the

Caboose This is our 11th issue of Trainfest EXPRESS and the compliments continue to flow and the circulation keeps on growing. We have become an international newsletter, with subscribers in New Zealand, Wales, England, Ireland, France, Spain, several Canadian provinces, the Mideast, and almost all of the United States. As I write this From the Caboose article, our new Trainfest website is populating the internet. Check it out at and send me your comments and suggestions. For 2011, we have introduced a new “two-day ticket” ($18.00). Tickets are available at participating hobby shops listed in our new website. The Friday Product Showcase promises to be a great time to meet and chat with our over 65 manufacturers and view some great model railroad layouts. Plan on attending. You’ll get a grab bag of donated model railroad goodies and enjoy a nicely catered dinner. FPS tickets are also good for admission into Trainfest on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are limited but some are still available. The Trainfest floor plan is progressing as I include the new layouts, hobby dealers and manufacturers. Let me assure

Don’t forget to visit for up-tothe-moment information on Trainfest 2011 you that our 40th Anniversary Show is shaping up nicely. Yet planning the locations of the layouts, displays, hobby dealers and manufacturers is kind of like trying to complete a massive jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces … and the puzzle is about 200,000 square feet or nearly 4 football fields! Kalmbach Publishing will be releasing a second issue of Trains 4 Kids magazine and premiering it at Trainfest. They’ll also be sponsoring kid’s activities and story times on Saturday and Sunday, along with a Rest Area for parents too. Trainfest is only a month away – Mark your calendars. We continue to look for your input on articles you would like to see in the EXPRESS. Send them to us at john@ or In the spirit of Model railroading, Clear Signals Always,

John John H. Tews, MMR Executive Director – Trainfest Trainfest EXPRESS is sent free via email as a PDF and can be seen on the Trainfest website in an interactive, online paging-style format. You can also print out the pages or articles you desire.

Trainfest Sponsoring Publisher Wisconsin Southeastern (WISE) Division, Inc., NMRA


John H. Tews, MMR

Contributing Editors Jody Delie Angela Podewils Bonnie Topczewski

Newsletter Design, Web & Advertising Mercury Communication Partners, LLC 262-782-4637

Photos Contributed by ExactRail Marcel Trautwein Dave Rickaby

TRAINFEST, Trainfest EXPRESS and the Trainfest LOGO are registered trademarks of the Wisconsin Southeastern (WISE) Division, Inc., NMRA.

Trainfest Committee John H. Tews, MMR Executive Director, E-mail: Richard Cecil Asst. to the Director Cedor Aronow Security Scott Porinsky Computer Services

Gary Kamin Trainfest Treasurer

Terry Thompson HMA-MRD Advisor

Ed Padgett Volunteer Coordinator

Mercury Communications Advertising Agency

Kurt Wamser Floor Director

Trainfest is possible due to the dedication and hard work of our volunteers and board members. If you would like to volunteer for America’s largest operating model railroad show, contact us via email: volunteer@trainfest. com. Trainfest is sponsored by the Wisconsin 3 Southeastern (WISE) Division, Inc., NMRA

Linda Sukup Ticket Coordinator

Tips from 5 Decades of Scenery Building with Marcel Trautwein Marcel Trautwein’s highly detailed personal layout solidified his reputation for creating and building ultra realistic scenery and layouts. Called “The Grand D’ Elusion,” his freelance layout depicting the early 1950’s is stunning. (A freelance layout is a layout placed in a fictitious setting.) Set in a mountainous area of northwest USA, one of the layout’s more unique features is a small resort village nestled into the mountainside aptly named “Little Switzerland.” “The Grand D’Elusion” is art in continual process. The layout continues to grow and change as new ideas and inspiration comes to Marcel.

an underwater seascape with its steep ocean cliffs and deep blue lights reflecting on to William BB’s spherical Bathyscaphe in the 1940s which made it appear as in a deep ocean dive. While continually implementing his scenery building techniques on his own layout, Marcel also builds custom layouts for other model railroaders. He’ll tackle any scale and enjoys constructing all elements of a layout -- from stone arch bridges, retaining walls and bridge columns to scratch building and kit bashing. The high level of realistic detail in Marcel’s layout speaks to his dedication to scenery building.

For nearly 50 years, Marcel has been modeling and has been interested in trains and building miniatures for most of his life. He began to build his first layout at age twelve. Marcel first discovered his love of building scenery through building various dioramas. He would work on these projects with his father, who would build the cases with glass windows while Marcel built the scenery. His imagination was inspired by science fiction movies, National Geographic’s and Mechanics magazines and the dioramas at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Some favorite dioramas he remembers building at 10 and 12 years old include a dinosaur diorama, and see Decades of Scenery, page 7



n f es ai ING 40 YE t T RA



72 - 2011

New Trainfest Exhibitor ®




Hobby Shops are Your Ticket Resource All three ticket types (Early Bird, Advance and Friday Product Showcase) are available at the following local hobby shops.

Greenfield News and Hobbies Greenfield, WI (414) 281-1800

South Side Trains Milwaukee, WI (414) 482-1566

Jetco Hiawatha Hobbies Waukesha, WI (262) 544-4131

Walthers (Terminal Hobbies) Milwaukee, WI (414) 461-1050

Sommerfeld’s Trains Butler, WI (262) 783-7797

Madison Hobby Stop Madison, WI (608) 829-3820

Engine House Services LLC Green Bay, WI (920) 490-4839

J & D’s Whistle Stop Sheboygan, WI (920) 458-7246

Lombard Hobbies Lombard, IL (630) 620-1084

Park Lane Hobbies Dyer, Indiana (219) 322-1123


ExactRail. Their tagline says it all – The Next Generation of Model Railroading The goal of ExactRail is to revolutionize the model railroad industry -- and it appears they are doing just that. In just two short years, the company has influenced how other consumers think about product development and releases. Founded in February 2009, ExactRail immediately had a number of new products ready to be released and continue to produce and release at this pace. To date, they have released an extraordinary amount of 50 high-quality “all new” products. Blaine Hadfield, Vice President of Product Development and Dan Larson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, do more than agree with ExactRail’s vision of product development and revolutionizing the model railroad industry; they live it. Product development accuracy and detail are the most important elements in producing prototype replicas as their name indicates, ExactRail. “Each time we start a new project, we look at every opportunity to make the car better than the last one we built,” says Dan Larson.

All molding and engineering is done in the United States at their Utah facilities. While this helps them maintain control through all the aspects of this process, it also requires a high level of expertise in the field. “We feel that we are better able to do an excellent job in manufacturing by managing our production close to home, rather than from afar,” says Blaine Hadfield. ExactRail is unique in that when a new product is announced it is available to customers within a few weeks. “We announce a product after we’ve already produced it and have it available for sale quickly. We like how this keeps the excitement level up for each product we sell,” says Dan Larson, “rather than announcing a product, taking preorders, and then having that product available on a date far in the future.” The company manufacturers HO and N scale products, which are categorized into three product series: Platinum, Evolution and Express. The Platinum see ExactRail, page 15

DECADES OF SCENERY continued from page 5 Teaching others his unique style and techniques is a talent Marcel shares matter how often he is asked on how he achieves such a high level of realistic detail on the mountains, cliff faces, and other scenic features of his layout. So it wasn’t surprising when Trainfest EXPRESS asked Marcel to share a special look at his techniques that he immediately agreed. While his complete tips and recommendations on scenery building products and materials could fill more than a few pages of a book, highlights are presented here.

Preparation is Key. Successful scenery building starts with having all the materials and tools together before beginning. Marcel recommends working with Gypsolite plaster and #1 molding plaster for casting rock and stone detail. Both require only water be mixed with them. Gypsolite plaster will provide strength and uniform hardness. Whereas #1 molding plaster is easy to sculpt, scrape and contour and produces excellent detail when casting rock molds onto the Gypsolite. Further, he likes working with construction foam board by Owen’s Corning®, styrene and bass wood. Ultimately, the products used depend on the pieces being built. “For rolling hills I would use the pink ‘Owens Corning Styrofoam’ says Marcel. Marcel also shared where he goes to get his materials for his layouts. “I get the plaster and Gypsolite at building supply centers, and I get ground covers from landscape supply stores,” says Marcel. For making pine trees he uses natural branches and caspia. Once all the materials have been collected, Marcel adds a few more tips to help create a great scenery building experience. Firstly, it is important to visualize what you want to build and have a good idea of the look and detail you desire for your layout. Secondly, make sure the supporting framework is solid and able to support your work. “You don’t want to spend countless hours detailing and then have the base come apart,” warns Marcel. Finally, organize your workspace by having all necessary tools ready and easy to access. Also protect your workspace flooring by putting down a drop cloth. see Decades of Scenery, page 9


DECADES OF SCENERY continued from page 7

101 of Layout Scenery and Rolling Hills Marcel shares here the basic processes in building a layout including creating the effect of rolling hills.

Step 1: Build the frame work or skeleton of the layout. This forms the bare bones of the scenery.

Step 2: Create the desired shape with wire mesh or Styrofoam.

Step 2a: When working with Styrofoam™, Marcel will glue the layers of Styrofoam together to form the rough shape of the scenery. He uses “Liquid Nails®” to bond the layers because the product sets up fast. At this point the scenery begins to take form; again it is important to always have your vision for the layout in mind during construction. Use a rough file and a wire brush to break the edges and to shape the contours of the hills to fit the desired shape. Step 2b: Cover the wire mesh or foam with cloth soaked in Gypsolite that will set into a hard shell over night. “I use old bed sheets to make my own plaster cloth,” says Marcel. He makes the plaster cloth by tearing up old sheets into 1-foot squares and dips them into Gypsolite to coat both sides of the cloth.

Step 3: Detail rock out-cropping, cliffs, rock

faces, and other features with #1 molding plaster and rock molds or use a stiff wire brush “while the plaster sets hard,” to get a sandstone effect. Rolling Hills Tip: When creating a layout with rolling hills, Marcel starts with a foundation of Styrofoam. Once the glue has set, he uses a rough file and a stiff wire brush to break the edges and to shape the contours of the hills to fit the desired shape. After creating the contours in the foam, Marcel covers the foam with the plaster cloth, and left overnight to set into a hard shell that can be painted.

Step 4: Once the Gypsolite cloth has set

hard, Marcel colors the terrain. He typically chooses between two different methods dependent upon his vision for the final scene:

see Decades of Scenery, page 10


DECADES OF SCENERY continued from page 9 Option A: Paint the terrain with latex house paint in a basic ground earth color of brown, gray, forest green, black and white and seal the Gypsolite. Option B: Dye the #1 plaster using a paintbrush and water based dyes. This technique is especially effective when done on small areas at a time.

Step 5: Once the paint or dye has thoroughly dried, the surface is ready for further detailing. Marcel recommends beginning with fine screed real stone, ground foam, field grass, and detailing with varied colors. Step 6:

From this point, modelers can let their imaginations go to create and build the railroad they have envisioned.


Patience is crucial. The entire process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, to years, depending on the size, what is being built, and the level of detail desired. Marcel generally focuses on covering the whole layout first and then detailing the scenery in sections. Editor’s Note: For beginner modelers, Marcel shares a few tips to help achieve a successful build. He stresses the most important aspect to model building is to plan ahead and to know what you want to build. Secondly, get familiar with the products and techniques you plan to use—practice with them. Finally, do not be afraid to ask experienced modelers about different techniques.

New to the

Trainfest Experience?

60 Amazing Railroads


odel railroading is a great hobby for enthusiasts of all ages – and it doesn’t take an avid modeler to appreciate them.

Fans of arts and crafts enjoy the countless design features on display at Trainfest. With customization applied to nearly every aspect of a railroad model, the possibilities are endless. Favorites include the realistic handmade scenery, beautifully designed skylines, and intricately-painted townspeople – the skilled modelers at Trainfest are true artisans. Fans of minute technology and intricate procedures enjoy the precision craftsmanship that goes into each individual module. Model train hobbyists are always happy to answer questions about everything from blinking lights, to automatically occurring sounds, to digital train controls. Many modelers prefer to keep their railroads sharp and precise, but technologically simple. Others prefer to employ electronic gadgetry wherever possible. Be sure to browse them all and take in all the impressive design details that Trainfest’s modelers have to offer. A walk through Trainfest is a chance to explore different trains, different places, and even different times. Being the largest operating model railroad show in America means we have the most set-up and fully operating model train railroads and modules in one place, at any one time. It’s quite impressive. Over 200,000 square feet of model trains! Come to Trainfest and be entertained, and perhaps even be inspired to become a model train hobbyist yourself.


Endless Discovery Enormous Fun!


WISCONSIN AND MICHIGAN MODEL RAILROAD continued from cover On average they attend 8-10 shows a year, preferring to exhibit the layout at train shows rather than entering contests. Yet, Dave speaks for all the Wisconsin and Michigan Model Railroad members when he says that it was – and still is – one of the Club’s most proud moments when they won First Place at Trainfest. The Wisconsin and Michigan Model Railroad layout is 10’ x 40’ and has a generic Midwestern theme. The layout has an analog wiring system and was designed for quick set-up and take down. While the layout theme is not limited to a particular time or place, the stratified rock face on the layout was inspired by the rock formations on the western “coast” of Wisconsin along the Mississippi River. While the setting may be general, the scenes depicted are anything but ordinary. As the track winds around the layout, four distinct scenes flow together. From wooded areas to cliffs to a river, the scenic Midwestern landscape unfolds across the entire layout. Tucked among limestone cliffs is a small town with a passenger train station. One side features Midwestern industry including an ore mine, gravel pit, and a large gain elevator. Another side houses the round house/ station with a four-track staging area. The layout has several vignettes throughout; these small scenes draw the viewer in to look closely at the layout. On one edge of the layout a bridge goes over the tracks and suddenly drops off at the end of the layout. At the drop off


area, onlookers are gathered peering over the edge of the bridge next to emergency vehicles with their flashing lights. A monk stands a few inches away holding a sign: “Repent. The end is near.” Layout viewers are left to wonder exactly what has happened. Wisconsin and Michigan Model Railroad built their current layout over a two year span of time in the mid 1990’s. As members crowded into the basement of a local hobby shop, they realized the space was too small for everyone to work at the same time. So, they decided to take turns building while still keeping true to their layout vision of a congruent flowing scene. The result is unlike other layouts where different builders depict many different seasons and terrains in one layout. The Wisconsin and Michigan Model Railroad layout scenes flow seamlessly. Since its initial construction, the basic layout remains the same featuring vignette details like the welder working right next to a propane tank! see Wisconsin and Michigan Model Railroad, page 14

Dave Rickaby Discovers Friendship, Stories and Sharing through Modeling Through his years in the hobby, Dave Rickaby has developed a large network of peer modelers. He enjoys the fellowship among model railroaders, and their willingness to share techniques and to help one another. Dave encourages new modelers to get involved and to not be afraid to make mistakes. He does not consider himself to be a master, but works through his challenges looking to his club and network of friends to help him through. To Dave, the beauty of being part of a club is always having someone to turn to for help, and utilizing everyone’s specialties to create an amazing layout. “It’s like a job, but an enjoyable one,” says Dave. He loves the history of the railroad industry and passing that love onto the next generation of modelers. Model railroading continues to run in Dave’s family as his son is a member of the club Dave himself co-founded, Wisconsin and Michigan Model Railroad Club. Dave’s interest in model railroading began at an early age; both of his grandfathers had model railroads. One of his fondest childhood memories occurred when his grandfather took him into the train room where an HO scale train was set up on a circular track. As Dave watched the train “go round and round,” his grandfather shut off the lights. To Dave’s amazement, the locomotive’s headlight lit up the entire room.

From that moment on, Dave aspired to deliver the same feeling of awe in others. Not possessing the patience needed to recreate a railroad with fine tuned details, Dave realized early on that he wouldn’t become a prototype modeler like he had wanted. So he turned his creative skills toward building fictional-type layouts. Dave furthers his enthusiasm by writing articles on model railroading. One story he wrote, in particular, touched Dave’s heart. The article featured a WWII veteran from Merrill, WI who had lost his left hand in battle and how he wouldn’t let his disability stop him from doing his hobby. The article highlighted his inventive ways to build a layout. Word then came how a teacher of physically handicapped students was using that same article to reinforce his message to the students that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to. Another article had a wider impact than Dave could ever imagine. Two months after its publishing, a reader wrote in about how the article had helped him recover from bi-pass surgery. Knowing his article has touched lives is indescribable to Dave. It fuels his fire for the hobby. Dave’s passion for model railroading is constantly on his mind. “Whether I am reading or writing articles, working on a layout, participating in a show, or trackside chasing a train, model railroading is a major part of my life every day,” says Dave. He even has a train scanner to let him know which trains are traveling in the area!


WISCONSIN AND MICHIGAN MODEL RAILROAD continued from page 12 One of the most popular features of the layout is the stratified rockwork. Visitors frequently ask how it was done. (The rock was constructed with stacked broken ceiling tiles then painted with textured paint in desired colors.) The layout includes information posts throughout the layout describing how the club constructed the different layout elements. The club is looking to eventually retire the current layout to their clubhouse. Meanwhile, a club member is working on a new layout which will be 8’ x 32’ and will represent Canadian scenery. The current layout travels in several pieces; there are two sides, each side is broken into 3 sections and stored on two-three shelf racks; the 5’ x 10’ ends are stored on an a-frame; the buildings and tall elements are stored in a wooden box which has a spot for everything. Most of the maintenance and cleaning of the layout is completed at the train shows they exhibit, including maintenance set-up which takes about an hour. The club enjoys having races during take down. The members will time each other to see how quickly they can get the layout taken down and in the trailer; so far the record is 22 minutes.

attempted to draw up a schedule for running the cars but members found that it did not work as well as their usual arrangement. On a whim once, the club put 255 ore cars, two locomotives, and a caboose on their layout just to see how many cars could be pulled at one time. The front locomotive and caboose where 1 ½ ft. from each other as the train filled the rest of the layout. As the train made its way around the layout, the front locomotive came loose crashing into the caboose. A train wreck unfolded, or rather folded up, as the cars were pushed together like an accordion. After having performed this experiment, Dave does not recommend other modelers to attempt this! When it comes to shows, Dave estimates the club has been to about 200. The Wisconsin and Michigan Model Railroad Club does not rope off their layout; rather they encourage visitors to get close to the layout. He delights at the delight he sees in visitors’ faces when they spot something new like a Boy Scout troop hiking and camping or newly added wild animals. “At every show children seem to gravitate to counting the cars, especially with our ore and coal trains which are sometimes over 100 cars long!” states Dave. Train show visitors are urged to talk with exhibitors and to ask questions about the layout. It’s fun for all.

Another way the Wisconsin and Michigan Model Railroad is unique and unlike other layouts, is the club does not have a regular set of trains which they run at shows. Rather, the members bring their own personal trains to run throughout the show. The layout has three tracks and can run up to four trains at any time. The club has a kind of “gentlemen’s” agreement when it comes to running trains -each member can run their cars for a few hours. They had


Which when asked to finish the story of the woman urged to hunt for a ghost, he acknowledges she couldn’t find it. Chuckling, Dave finally told her, “Of course you didn’t, they don’t exist!” The woman laughed herself, and then thanked him for challenging her to really look at all the layout details because she saw too many things she had previously missed. (In this writer’s opinion the Wisconsin and Michigan Model Railroad layout is worth the second look with or without a ghost appearance!)

EXACTRAIL continued from page 6 series is their highest quality line in terms of detail and accuracy. The Evolution line is performance orientated and more affordable, while the Express line is directed toward the more budget conscious modeler.

What the future holds… With no signs of slowing down, ExactRail is working hard to bring innovation to the model railroad hobby industry and deliver even more of what customers want. It won’t be long before ExactRail is known for more than its amazing freight cars, but for a whole line of incredible model railroading products. “We have a good reputation for producing freight cars,” says Blaine, “but recently we have released a 72” plate girder bridge which represents a diversion from producing primarily rolling stock.” This year, ExactRail makes their first appearance at Trainfest. As Blaine anticipates his first Trainfest as well, he looks forward to hearing feedback on ExactRail products so to even better meet the end-user’s needs.. On the other hand, Dan looks forward to the opportunity to meet other manufacturers as well as modelers, and to build relationships within the modeling community. Their common goal is to take the feedback about their products and make future decisions based on what matters most to modelers. see ExactRail, page 16


EXACTRAIL continued from page 15

Kids Activities Trainfest 2011 brings back many favorite activities and adds some new activities for the whole family to enjoy!

Returning Favorites: Trains4Kids, sponsored by Kalmbach Publishing, will be entertaining kids at Trainfest 2011 on both Saturday Nov 12th and Sunday, Nov 13th. Trains4Kids will feature story time, as well as a train themed coloring area. The newest issue of Trains4Kids will be premiering at Trainfest as well!

ExactRail Origins ExactRail was created through a partnership between Chris Clune and John Pestana in 2009. Chris initially operated Cascade Micro-Tooling, a contract tooling and engineering company for other model railroad manufacturers. John originally owned Omniture, the world’s largest web analytics company at that time, which he sold in 2009 to Adobe. Drawn to the model railroading industry through a family tradition in the hobby, John had the desire for a business that manufactured a tangible product. Chris retired in 2010 and John is now the sole owner and CEO. In 2011, ExactRail was awarded the Utah Genius Award, this is an honor given to the top start-up company in Utah.

Editor’s Note: Be on the lookout for other new exhibitors to Trainfest in 2011, including: Model Builders Supply, Train Tek, Piko America, Azatrak, Motrak, Ring Engineering, Spring Mills Depot and the Duplainville Clock Company.

Radio Disney® will be cranking up the fun on Sunday at Trainfest! Kids can make a craft, jam with the Road Crew, and register to win a Muppets® prize pack, that includes tickets to the new movie (opening Thanksgiving weekend) along with some other cool Muppets merchandise. The Radio Disney Road Crew will have two fun-filled sessions on Sunday, November 13th at 10-11:30 am & 1:30-3 pm. Even More! Other Trainfest hits will be returning for Trainfest 2011 to help make the 40th Anniversary the biggest Trainfest yet! Face painting has been extended for both Saturday and Sunday. Step up to the challenge and race trains around a dog-bone shaped track. Don’t miss the circus train exhibit, see the layout and then take a ride on a circus train (additional fee).

New to Trainfest 2011: The Station Stop game for kids 12 and under will take place on Saturday, Nov 12th. This adventure through Trainfest will lead kids to many “Stations” on the show floor. Before beginning your adventure, pick up your Station Stop Card at the show office. At each station the cards will be initialed by the exhibitors at the booth. Once the card has been completed, turn it in to the show office for a chance to win a train set! The cards must be turned in by 3:00pm for the drawing at 3:30. Participants must be present to win. Children must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult. Building with LEGO®. The Milwaukee chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) will be presenting the kids LEGO area at Trainfest 2011. Buckets and buckets of LEGOs will be available for kids to build and play. While the kids enjoy playtime, parents can explore the AIA’s presentation of the proposed Milwaukee Streetcar plan.


We’ve asked Trainfest Committee and Wisconsin Southeastern (WISE) Division Board Members of the NMRA to answer “Remember When Trainfest…?” We share their memories throughout 2011.


REMEMBERED By Scott Porinsky

One day, when I was working in operations for The Milwaukee Road, I was innocently routing trains at Duplainville interlocking tower when John Tews, now Trainfest Executive Director, wandered in to watch trains. As an onagain/off-again model railroader, I spoke at length with John about trains and model railroading. He invited me to visit his Timber River Railway model railroad, and also extended an invitation to me to attend the Trainfest model railroad show in November. Little did I know he was setting a trap leading me into a lifetime commitment working with Trainfest. At first I casually attended Trainfest, for both my own enjoyment and in an attempt to lure my sons into the hobby. In the years following my introduction to John, a number of significant changes occurred for Trainfest and in my own life as well. I departed my career at the railroad as a train dispatcher and entered the field of Information Technology as a software developer. As my career moved from trains to technology, I combined the two interests in the development of a new administrative system for Trainfest. As the size and scope of Trainfest grew very quickly the administrative requirements and demands increased

dramatically. With John Tews as Executive Director of Trainfest, he and I started working together to improve and streamline the administrative process for Trainfest. A show the size and quality of Trainfest requires a great deal of work, business knowledge and information. Information for each show used to be stored in various locations and documents with little or no integration. It was very labor intensive to make it all work, it was necessary to memorize where everything was located. All Trainfest information is stored in one central location thanks to database technology and administration computer software. In addition, one computer application manages the processes of registration, invoicing and name badge printing. Historical information for each Trainfest show year is organized to allow for quick and accurate analysis and comparison from year to year. Another way technology has changed and improved has been in the printer hardware used to generate name badges. In the past, name badge printing was one of the most aggravating and time-consuming tasks. The dot matrix printers would literally take days to print close to 2,000 name badges each year for Trainfest. Not only did printing seem to take forever, but the old printers needed to be watched as they were printing, due to the frequent paper jams. It always seemed to fall on me to babysit those printers. I remember spending many long hours and many very late nights thinking “How did I ever get roped into this and why did I ever let that Tews guy into the tower?” With the recent purchase of high speed label printers, the long days of printing name badges have been reduced to one afternoon. Besides the show administration modifications I have witnessed many other changes during my involvement with Trainfest. The move to the new facility at Wisconsin State Fair Park and introduction of the manufacturer’s trade show are just a few examples of the innovations and improvements over the years. Like many of the other committee members and volunteers, I continue to spend a great deal of time each year helping to ensure that the show is successful and runs smoothly. It has been my privilege to have been involved with Trainfest and John Tews, and to have played a part in making this train show better through computer technology. I look forward to implementing new technology in the future, helping to keep Trainfest the world-class show that it is.

Share your Trainfest memory with us, email


Saturday & Sunday Nov. 12 – 13, 2011 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Demonstrations and “how-to” clinics •

60 Amazing Railroads. Enormous Fun. Endless Discovery.

Learn tips and techniques • 60 manufacturers • 50 hobby dealers • 12 historical groups

WI Expo Center at State Fair Park


8200 W. Greenfield Ave. Milwaukee (West Allis), WI

n f es aTiING 40 YEAR t G YOUR C















Visit – Coupons, Details, Lodging!



Trainfest, America's Largest Model Railroad Show, newsletter.