Last update 5/21/2019

​​Houston Area G Gaugers

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Houston Area G Gaugers
March 10th, 2019

The March business meeting was held on Sunday, March 10th at the home of Joe and Ula Stucka in Richmond.

Officers in attendance were: Craig Pecora (President), Jim Mitchell (Vice President), Charlie Caggiano (Treasurer), Brenda Cauthen (Secretary), and Chuck Blumentritt (Newsletter editor).  All five officers were present.

Members in attendance were: Marty Steed, Greg Cauthen, Carol Blumentritt, Joe Stucka, Ula Stucka, Paulette Pecora, George Spencer, Steve and Sharon Jones and Ray Hundl.

We had a total of 15 members in attendance. A quorum was present.

1. Call meeting to order (Craig Pecora)—Meeting called to order at 2:40 pm.  Craig thanked Joe and Ula Stucka for hosting the meeting at their lovely home. Joe had his portable layout with a G Gauge track and a Lionel track up in the garage.

2. Presidents opening remarks (Craig Pecora)—Craig reminded members that he had sent out a report on the Stafford show. It was pretty successful. Thanks to all five officers for attending. Had a total of 28 members attend the show. Set up went good; although there was a problem with inner loop three which couldn’t get power so we ran battery operated  trains on that track.   The show host was happy with the show and indicated they want us to be in a larger room so will work on it for next year. During the take down we were in a hurry and caused some damage to the modules. We should use painters tape to mark anywhere we put the jumpers so we know where we need to take them off before we disconnect the modules.

Craig gave the details from Jim’s email a few days ago. You won't want to  miss this rare opportunity to see the premiere of a new documentary titled JOURNEY TO PROMONTORY by famous rail historian, Richard Luckin, on March 30, 2019 at the Galveston Train Museum (2602 Santa Fe Place, Galveston TX 77550).  Mr. Luckin will introduce the film and field questions from the audience after the screening.  Reception 5-to-6 P.M. and screening 6-to-7 P.M.  Admission is free, and reservations are not required although seating is limited. Craig will send out email to see if there are club members interested in going as a group.

3. Vice Presidents Remarks (Jim Mitchell)—We are set up for Texas City Model Train Show on Saturday, October 26, 2019 from 10 am to 4 pm.

The club website has been moved to a new domain ($50 for domain and DNS).  Keith Stratton keeps directing people to the website to answer people’s questions about his new layout construction in Canada. We had 82 hits in one month which is almost a record!

4. Treasurers Report (Charlie Caggiano)—We have not received a check from the Stafford show yet. We have $6,439 in the bank as of the end of February. March expected expenditures: storage unit and reimbursement of trailer for the show. No newsletter costs in 2019 yet. Greg asked what kind of reserve we should keep. Charlie indicated we will have to know what it will cost to store the trailer which will be discussed later in the meeting.

5. Secretary’s report (Brenda Cauthen)—Brenda reported that Club shirt order #7 has arrived. Please pay for and make arrangements to get your shirts as soon as possible.

6. Newsletter Editors Report (Chuck Blumentritt)—Chuck reported that newslsetter costs will be approx. $100 (envelopes, stamps, printing). He reminded everyone he sent out an email requesting newsletter article. He has not received anything back. Joe said he sent an article about the petroleum club and Chuck said he didn’t receive it. Joe will resend. Jim sent pictures from WinterFest but Chuck can’t open them. Bottom line is he needs articles. He will mail the last newsletter soon.

7. Web Site  (Jim Mitchell)—As discussed in item 3, it is up and running, getting lots of hits and all is good.

8. Rosenberg railroad Museum Update (Greg Cauthen)—The museum’s annual spring festival, RailFest 2019,  is on April 6th. This year the museum is joining forces with the Rosenberg Main Street Program for the festival rather than having a separate festival. The Main Street Program is giving the museum some money for advertising. To get visitors into downtown they are hosting a Hobo Walk. If people get their ticket stamped at a certain number of stops on the walk and then return the stamped ticket to the museum they will be entered in a drawing for a basket of goodies from the downtown merchants.

On the garden railroad, we have identified a lot of maintenance issues: out of gauge track, electrical issues, pneumatic switches that need to be pulled out and worked on. Greg will schedule work sessions in the coming weeks. If weather is good next Saturday, March 16, there will be a workday Saturday morning.
The next Garden Railroad Run Day is on March 24th from 1-5 pm.

9. Old Business--nothing

10. New Business
       a. Next Show – Galveston Railroad Museum, Galveston TX., April 27 & 28.
             We need a volunteer to pull the trailer—Brenda raised the question about could we rent a truck if we don’t have someone with a vehicle to pull a trailer. Joe responded that is problematic because the bed of a truck is higher (12-14”) than a trailer so getting the modules up the ramp may not work. Would take more people and there is just not room around the modules to get more people to push it. Brenda suggested you could take some of the modules off the dolly so it wasn’t so heavy. Then manually load the modules we took off one by one. We have proved we can load them on the Life Storage truck and it is a few inches higher than a U-Haul truck. Greg suggested we investigate the U-Haul truck further and see if we can list a couple of people as the drivers. That way we could have one person drive it down and a different person to drive it back. Craig noted this would help get people to run trains on both days. We were light on people running trains last year on Sunday.

ACTION ITEM: Jim will do a cost estimate of renting a truck vs trailer so we can see what the incremental cost is and make a decision. Craig/Jim will put out an email to see who plans to attend on which days so we can make a decision if we need to cancel if we don’t have enough people to set up.

           Preliminary schedule:
           1. Friday Afternoon, April 26th: Pick up trailer and meet at storage facilities to load trailer. Drive trailer down to                               Galveston. Jim has a doctor appointment on Friday and won’t be able to make it and therefore, cannot pull the                             trailer.
            2. Saturday Morning, April 27th: Meet at Galveston Railroad Museum to unload trailer and set up layout. Time to                          meet has yet to be determined. Look for an email when we get closer to the show. Layout has to be running by 10:00 AM
            3.  Sunday, April 28th:  Take down layout after the show closes, load trailer and return modules to storage facility.
            4.  Monday, April 29th:  Return trailer to rental facility.                    
       b. May Meeting – Need Location—May meeting is on May 19th. Greg proposed we have the meeting at the Museum because it is free museum day. Craig thought that was a good idea.
c. Run day at Museum – Because of the Galveston show and Easter Sunday, Run day will be the second Sunday of April (April 14th). Chuck indicated he won’t be able to go to the Galveston show this year so he can run trains at the museum on the fourth Sunday, April 28th.                         
     d. Trailer Committee Report—The Trailer committee, especially Joe, has done a lot of work. They’ve gone to places to make measurements, called 7 insurance companies looked at numerous trailers, took an inventory of the things in storage that would be stored in a trailer and more. And, they have looked at storage costs.
Joe gave a report that included a cost comparison of what we are doing today vs storing the modules in a non-climate controlled facility and lastly vs purchasing a trailer and storing at a non-climate controlled facility. Joe elaborated that some insurance companies will not provide insurance that will carry a trailer only. They want a car or home attached to it.
The cost study is scanned and attached to this report. It is for a 6x12 trailer.
The committee met and their recommendation is that we not purchase a trailer at this time. Our largest cost is storage costs under both scenarios.
Joe also did a complete inventory of what is in storage and there are things we are not using and may want to sell. If anyone wants to see the inventory let him know.
Joe covered the advantage of purchasing a trailer…takes less people to get trailer ready to go to a show as already loaded and would only need 2 people to help hook up the trailer.
Disadvantages are we would purchase a single axle. If something goes wrong on the road, it would be a considerable cost to the club to have repairs made. Right now we rent a double axle. If you have a problem U-Haul will come out and fix at their expense. Brenda asked Joe to prepare a report summary listing the pros and cons for the members to review and he will do so.
The next step is for the board to vote on whether purchasing a club trailer should be taken to the full membership. Based on the cost analysis, we do not have enough money in the bank to purchase a trailer. It also points out that our current dues do not cover our annual costs.
Greg suggested a new business item that someone should find a non-climate controlled cheaper storage unit to reduce our costs right away.
Greg made a motion and Jim seconded that the club sell the excess track and other items and dispose of any other unneeded items currently stored at the storage facility. Chuck will pick up his items he had donated to decorate the modules since we have decided not to decorate the modules. All was in favor.
11. Adjourn Business portion of meeting—Marty moved the meeting be adjourned at 4:15 pm. Greg seconded. All was in favor. 
Minutes were taken by Brenda cauthen