Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The 2019 Chicagoland RPM meet

The 26th annual RPM event now called Chicagoland (long known as “Naperville” when we met in a hotel in that town) took place last week. As always, it functions as one of the “Freight Car Nationals” and was well attended by lots of the usual suspects. And also as always, the fellowship was an important part of the proceedings, something we all value.
     Mike Skibbe did an excellent organizing job again, as he has done for I think four years now, and that really helps everything run smoothly. He knows the importance of the clinic program at an event like this, and it was up to the usual high standard. There is rarely a clinic time slot that doesn’t find me in a meeting room, and I enjoyed every one I viewed this year. For just a single example, below is Craig Wilson, about to begin his talk, “Loads on Open Cars,” which was quite interesting.

     The hotel ballroom hosts two quite large modular layouts during the meeting, along with model displays (more on that in a moment) and a very active array of dealer tables. I can rarely get out of there without picking up a few irresistible items. Here’s an overview.

     The model displays always fill a number of very large tables, and this year was no exception. I can only give the tiniest glimpse of what I saw, and will arbitrarily pick a couple of examples that I especially liked. Certainly one of those was this CPR reefer, a Trueline Trains model with metal ladders and lettering from Black Cat, modeled by John Riddell.

Another model I thought looked “just right” was this D&H box car by Hunter Hughson, one of the cars included in his fine clinic on car weathering.

Lastly, I really liked this load of boxcar doors, by Craig Wilson (shown above at his clinic), and in fact it’s one of the reasons I went to his clinic. We all have a few doors like this in our “parts box” (or scrap box, if you will), and Craig did confess that not all of these are actually doors; only the outermost parts of each stack need be an actual door, the rest can be pieces of styrene sheet . . .    

     One item of news I especially liked at this meet was the emergence of yet another Shippers Guide from Ted Schnepf of Rails Unlimited, this one for the Chicago & North Western. (For more on these publications, see my discussion at: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2015/11/waybills-part-44-shipper-guides.html .) I of course bought one immediately.

     I always enjoy this event — I have only missed a couple of the 26 that have been held so far — and look forward to many more. If you haven’t attended, and have any chance to attend this meet next year, I would urge you to give it a try. It’s a good one.
Tony Thompson

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