Evolution: Trackers to Hi Railers
By Vernon Vercoe
In the fall of 1986 Neil Yerger and I secured copies of the Tinplate Trackers specs from Bill Baily of Calf.
We also received information that Greenberg Shows had a set of corner modules built to the Tinplate Trackers
specs and anyone who was willing to build straight Tinplate Trackers modules could use them to set up at there shows.
Neil and I decided to avail ourselves of the Greenberg offer. We did several shows under the name Delaware Valley Tinplate Trackers.
At the shows we had sign up sheets and flyers inviting others to join us.
Our first expansion was a father and son team from Cinnaminson, N.J.
The first official meeting of the Delaware Valley Tinplate Trackers was held May 31, 1987 in Cinnaminson, N.J. A number of items were brought up: first and foremost the club was to be for the fun of its members and to promote “O” Gauge Model Railroading. After reviewing a number of modular specs; it was decided to stay with the Tinplate Trackers. Two changes, for our group, from the standard Tinplate Trackers specs were made: (1) the use of either Tinplate or Gargraves track (2) run electrical lines straight across the under side of the modules to barrier strips and connect barrier strips with jumper cables between modules moving away from standard Jones Plugs (we figured if we were to set-up with other Tinplate Trackers [the only other group on the East Coast was a group in Albany N.Y.] we could make pig tails using the Jones connectors). We also decided to make our own corner modules so we could be independent of Greenberg before our next outing. We would continue to use the Delaware Valley Tinplate Trackers name. We continued to meet and our next outing was Greenberg, Cherry Hill, Nov. 1987.
DVTT continued to do Greenberg Shows in South East Penna. and N.J. The first foray away from Greenberg was Abington Police Association Train Meet. The club remained small with several members coming and going. Another change from the Tinplate standards was made; to lower our modules to 36” plus or minus 1”.
We were invited to participate in the LOTS 1990 Convention in Baltimore. In late 1989 Steve Horvath visited us and asked if he (being a LOTS member) could make some modules and join us at the convention. We invited him to do so. Not knowing Steve we were a little apprehensive as to how much scenery he might have on his modules, as we had put aside some other issues to concentrate on scenery. We had two show set-ups to do in preparation for the convention. Steve WOWed us at the first show by showing up with two fully scenic highly detailed modules. Steve had used Gargraves track ballasted it and painted the side rails a rust color. Had a working signal bridge and crossing gates where a road crossed the tracks, trees, grass and weeds making his modules very life like. The new scale and detailed train equipment the manufactures were coming out with i.e.: Lionel Reading T1 Locomotive, K-line heavyweight coaches looked great running on his modules. We made a big hit at the LOTS Convention. Steve after the LOTS convention set-up with us once again then started his own club (Raritan Valley Hi Railers) in New Jersey. The RVHR’s used Steve’s specs as a base for there modules and was the Genesis of the Independent Hi Railers Network. I also took several of my modules to Detroit for a LOTS area meet that summer. Steve and Co. also did away with the use of the “022” switch cross over between the two mains (the new equipment couldn’t handle the “S” curves) and laid a third main line between the two main lines of the Tinplate Trackers. Delaware Valley adjusted our modules to the Hi Railers specs and joined the Network. We changed our name in 1999 to Delaware Valley Hi Railers. With the advent of “O” gauge Digital Command Control Delaware Valley adopted the Lionel TMCC (Train Master Command Control) system to our operations.
DEL-VAL HAS EXHIBITED AT THE FOLLOWING:
- Abington Police Asso. Train Meet, Abington, PA
- East Coast Hobby Show, Fort Washington, PA
- Great American Train Shows, PA
- Great Scale Model Train Show, Timonium, MD
- Greenberg Shows, DE, MD, NJ, PA
- LOTS (Lionel Operating Train Society) 1990 National Convention, Baltimore, MD
- LOTS 2001 National Convention, Baltimore, MD
- LOTS 2003 National Convention, Lancaster, PA
- LOTS 1993 Train Meet, Brunswick, NJ
- NMRA (National Model Railroad Asso.) 1993 National Convention;
- "National Train Show" Valley Forge, PA
- Opening of the "Great Hall" Penna. Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA
- Railroad Museum of Penna., Strasburg, PA