model train set on track

Drumheads Along the Hudson

e*Train Issue: Jan 2017   |   Posted in: ,

By J. S. Halajko, TCA 84-20653                                      Winter 2017 

The New York Society of Model Engineers (NYSME) has a rich history of multiple locations in the New York City Area for over 90 years. Each of their operating layouts featured the modeling of real locations in the New York City Area.

At their place you will find interesting artifacts like WW II B17 relays, repurposed as relays controlling their switch tracks, and other cool stuff. Their current site is located across both the Hudson and Hackensack Rivers. Alas my title reads better as Drumheads Along the Hudson instead of Drumheads Along the Hackensack because most people don’t know that the Hackensack River is located just west of the Hudson.

Several reviews of their fabulous Scale O-Gauge Layout have appeared in multiple publications. The few pictures below do not do justice to their museum quality layout.

It’s time now to talk about something that most people don’t realize the sheer magnitude or appreciate its presence. Not only do they have a really cool clock from the 1930’s (shown below), but located just above the O-gauge and HO Layouts are a collection of real Drumheads from the crack trains of yesterday.

For you younger railroad engineers, a Drumhead is the marker plaque at the rear of the passenger train. Looks like their collection Drumheads is not present in the world of three rail Passenger Trains by Lionel, MTH , Weaver, Williams, 3rd Rail, Right of Way or K-Line. Enjoy the Kodak Memories.  

The Broadway Limited Sign below did not ride the rails. It is believed that it was a station platform sign. The White Pass also came from a station. The very large Central of New Jersey may have come from a ferryboat making it the only known railroad “drumhead” from a railroad’s “navy”. 

Other collections of Drumheads are open to the public, but none are located as close to most TCA members as the New York Society of Model Engineers. The METCA Division of the TCA has joint train meets with NYSME. 

Contact the METCA Division or the NYSME for future events.  It is best to call ahead to learn when the trains will be running. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch their layout in full operation.

Many thanks to NYSME members Andrew Brusgard and Bob Lavezzi for their assistance.