Wednesday, November 24, 2010
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Train Club Celebrates Christmas

Madisonville, KY – The members of the Madisonville Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society met for their Christmas Party and train program.

The local chapter of the society has approximately 70 members, most of whom live in the area.

The chapter is made up of train enthusiast who enjoy all aspects of the hobby, known to them as “Railfaning.”

Following the dinner, several members participated in a “show and tell” in which they shared items related to the train industry.

Dr. Fred Ripley of Murray, a former college professor and professional concert violinist, showed the group a book he has been compiling about the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad.  The book talks about research he had conducted on the early years of the railroad, time tables of the passenger car days, and basic operational procedures of the former railroad.

Chuck Hinrichs of Hopkinsville, shared with the group his interest in the hobby which is collecting and reading books about railroads and their history.  He bought with him a book about the steam locomotive days on the Western Pacific Railroad.  Henrichs credited his wife for getting him started in researching the historical aspect of trains and railroads and with collecting the books.  He told of one time when he took off from work early so he could sit track-side and watch trains traveling up and down the “Henderson Sub” an area of tracks that run from Nashville to Henderson which also run through the Madisonville area.

And David Millem of Evansville, brought a set of keys ones used by the former L&N Railroad.  Millem, a former prosecuting attorney from Indianapolis, said he purchased the keys form an estate sale.  The keys date back to the early 1930's.  Two of the keys were used to lock the doors of passenger cars when not in use.  And the others were used to unlock the switches on cross tracks.  The keys use to belong to a former L&N Clerk who worked for the railroad operations in Evansville.

The National Railway Historical Society was established during the depression years of the 1930's. The organization of “Railfans” is dedicated to preserving what has passed, and what lay ahead in railroading.  From fewer than 40 persons when it was established, the NRHS has grown to include over 17,000 men and women of all ages and professions in every state and many foreign countries, making it the nation's largest rail historical society.

Railfans consist of people interested in all areas of trains and railroads.  From model train layouts, to riding Amtrak and other excursion trains around the country, to researching and writing about the history of trains and railroads.  Many local members share interest in the former L&N and IC railroads which had operations in the Madisonville / Hopkins County area.

The Madisonville Chapter was established in 1985.  About 15 charter members began meeting at the St. Mary's Episcopal Church.  The chapter now meets at the former L&N Depot located on West Center Street.  The members are made up of former railroad employees as well as those who have an interest in railroading.  The members range in age from elementary school age to retirement age.

The local organization meets on the fourth Monday of every month at 7pm in the former depot.

Tim Moore – iSurf News Director


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