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SABOTAGE OF NYSME LAYOUT

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  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Duluth, MN
  • 214 posts
SABOTAGE OF NYSME LAYOUT
Posted by OT Dean on Monday, April 16, 2018 3:42 PM

I recently bought the back issues of Railroad Model Craftsman magazines containing articles by the late, great Paul E. Larson.  He had a huge file of professional quality photos and discussed his insights into real railroading as applied to our model railroads.  However, in the July, 1967, issue of RMC I found an article by the late Hal Cartens, editor and publisher, with the headline "Sabotage Hits NYSME Layout."  (Strangely, I'd had no idea about this until I built a library of RMC some years ago, as I'd seen no reference to the incident in Model Railroader at the time.)

 

The New York Society of Model Engineers had impressive model railroads in both HO and 17/64" O in their headquarters in the former waiting room of theLackawanna Railroad’s disused Passenger Terminal in Hoboken, NJ.  On the night of April 27, 1967, a vandal or vandals broke into the building and sabotaged the O scale model railroad.  The HO railroad and the extensive archives weren’t touched.  This person singled out the O scale layout, destroying the catenary system, which had taken five years to complete, plus extensive special trackwork of crossings, turnouts, and dozens of double slip-switches.  Strangely, no rolling stock was touched.

 

Is there anyone in the group who can shed any light on whether or not the perpetrator was ever caught?  This is the worst case of vandalism against a model railroad I’ve ever heard of, done by a truly sick individual.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, April 16, 2018 6:29 PM

I have never heard of this incident before.

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Since it happened over 50 years ago, I doub t there is much knowledge about it to be found.

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I would like to hear more about it also if anyone knows.

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    March, 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
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Posted by dknelson on Monday, April 16, 2018 6:40 PM

There was mention in MR but not a feature article.  

I remember that RMC article clearly and those photos, one of which was of the elderly guy who had spent years scratchbuilding the catenary holding part of it.  Every catenary mast was snapped in half.  All the work was ruined.  They also specially attacked complex handlaid trackwork. 

As I recall there WAS minor damage - scrached paint -- to some rolling stock when the destroyed scratchbuilt catenary fell on it, or when it was pushed over to get at the track work.  Yet one entire passenger train was rolled into a tunnel to prevent damage evidently.  It was all very odd.  I believe the electrical system was also attacked in such a way as to destroy it.

In a followup letter to the editor, one guy (not a member of the club) speculated that it was one or some HO members of the club who did this, and that he himself as an O gauger hated HO gaugers.  The response by Hal Carstens was that the HO members all stepped in to help with repairs and that there were some clear indications that it was an O scale member of the club who was the perp because of the specialized, unusual, and targeted nature of the vandalism.  It was clearly not just random kids, it was someone who really knew trains and knew that layout

Knowing it was likely a member and not an outsider -- that would really tear a group apart with mutual mistrust. 

After the RMC article there was another brief mention in MR that the club found that some valuable railroadiana (old interurban marker lights and a UP tailsign) was missing and presumed stolen.

I never read about anyone being apprehended.

Dave Nelson

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Monday, April 16, 2018 7:45 PM

 They're still a going concern, just in a different place. I visited there some 22-23 years ago. HO was being rebuilt, so little had scenery. The O side was amazing.

                                       --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
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  • 89 posts
Posted by xboxtravis7992 on Monday, April 16, 2018 10:29 PM

As previously mentioned, it sounds like it was a club member. Now what would cause someone to be so spitefull to strike out at such a beautiful layout? Probably lost in the sands of time the logic behind that attack. But no doubt it was some personal vendetta of a club member versus another club member.

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Posted by NWP SWP on Saturday, April 21, 2018 7:02 AM

Very strange indeed, at my first club they had a problem previously with a young member whom was on the autism spectrum (not Aspergers which is considered higher functioning, that said there's people like me who are Aspergers and are able to have a conversation and such and have a higher IQ, but aren't social skilled, and have EQ problems, but then there's guys with higher IQs that don't talk and stuff that have aspergers) anyways he would get trains and the line them up for collision, now the club has cameras to safeguard against this.

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

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  • 91 posts
Posted by drgwcs on Saturday, April 21, 2018 9:01 AM

Probably 25 or so years a go I was in a club and we had a former member and another guy break into the club's building and steal a bunch of stuff. Every member marked any of their equipment on the bottom. I went over to a hobby shop about 1 1/2 hours away. Lo and behold I spotted some of our stuff. Among the stuff spotted were the things of one of the members who was a policemen. We came back and called in the police. Having another policeman there really helped. They arested the guys but basicly the judge slapped their hands but we got most all of our stuff back.

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  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
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Posted by wjstix on Saturday, April 21, 2018 2:40 PM

There was a fairly large operating HO display layout at the Minnesota State Fair for many years. Back around 1980 one or more people broke into the building and smashed up the layout. It wasn't a club layout, it was owned by one guy, who just had the layout to promote the hobby (I think there was a nominal charge like $1 to get into see it). He couldn't afford to rebuild it, and the building sat vacant for decades after that. No one was ever caught IIRC, it was suspected the vandals were teens.

Stix
  • Member since
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  • From: Duluth, MN
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Posted by OT Dean on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 12:51 AM

Thanks. guys, for the information.  I don't know how I missed the mentions in MR.  I used to reread my bound volumes every year, sometimes more than once, but now I think I probably thought the sabotage incident was in the '50s and I didn't pore over them as often or as much, so maybe I just plain missed it.

That the damage was done by an "O-gauger" in the club makes a sort of twisted sense, as some of those old-timers were quite vitriolic in their opinions of "HO-gaugers"--witness the nasty accusation in RMC.  I've never understood that and the attitude lingered on into the '90s, in some cases.  F'rinstance, a guy came into my shop and found me reading the latest issue of MR, made a face, and said something to the effect of: "I never read that rag; it's run by a bunch of HO-gaugers who don't publish anything in O gauge."  (Both magazines pointed out, when they received letters to the editor about "Why don't you print more articles about ______?" that they mostly publish articles contributed to them--and when the writer mentioned O scale, pointed out that several of their editors modeled in O scale.)

Anyway, I wish I could've seen more of the NYSME's layout...  As Mork from Ork used to say, "Heavy sigh..."

Deano

  • Member since
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Posted by NNJRailfan on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 12:55 PM

All,

NYSME is still around and their layouts in their new home are just as amazing.  Their massive HO layout even has a complete working signal system.  Visit modelengineers.org for further info, and whenever you're in northern NJ please stop by!  NYSME co-hosts a train meet/sale with METCA just up the street in early April and November, and show attendees can then visit the layouts for free.

This car stops at ALL railroad crossings!

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