Myrtle Beach is home to the Grand Strand Model Railroaders. This local club has operated from a storefront at the Myrtle Beach Mall on Highway 17 for the last three years. I decided to pay the group a visit while the others in my party were elsewhere in the mall! I'm glad I did. These guys run a good operation and were most generous with their time for a visiting 'snowbird'. Club PR Officer and Long Island native Joe Corsetti (at right of above photo, with Don, Bob, Bobby and Derek from left) told me the club's story, showed me the entire operation and is pictured running the operating container crane at the intermodal terminal. Spot the CN Intermodal container?
The club started with six members in 1986, now rostering 63, modelling in N, HO and O scales. Joe is the fifth-youngest, with a fine Carolina Southern stone train modelled by Bobby that emerged from staging, with CSXT and AEX-lettered loaded cars. Check out the busy locomotive terminal, replete with N&W and Southern influences:
I was shown the staging areas (the group operates HO, N and Lionel layouts), club room and sales area, and a very neat, modular N-gauge staging area that Joe built, complete with removable plexiglas cover. Spot another, freelanced Canadian car? It's at the steel mill which is modelled in its entirety; also visible in the two top photos. I missed out taking a photo of the back-to-back Seaboard Centipedes that were pulling a long train, but you can still see and hear them. And the most ginormous trestle ever.
The club's oldest member is Bob Kern, at a spry 93 years old. Bob is a US Army veteran, having served with the 749th Railway Operating Battalion in the Phillipines in 1945. Before and after the war, Bob amassed a career of over 39 years in a steel mill railway in Pittsburgh, PA. With Bob is Derek Blanton, who is a Fairbanks-Morse fan and Horry County magistrate, and was also involved with the depot preservation and its history. Like most of us, these gentlemen were happy to talk trains. I could do that all day, too! But the others in my party were waiting...
I was invited to sign the club's guestbook, with my page quickly filling from the other visitors that day. The group has free items to get visitors interested, and invites donations, and I was happy to contribute. Here's what caught my eye and got me interested in the club...the club's old clubroom door next to Ed's Hobby Shop in downtown Myrtle Beach. Doesn't it remind you of the colours of VIA's LRC's?
If you find yourself marooned by the siren call of the shopping outlets on a Monday evening, Wednesday afternoon or Saturday, there's always the Myrtle Beach Mall and the GSMRRC! Life is a beach, and then you dry...
Joining a plethora of motorhomes, Floridians in Cadillacs, and my favourites: Omaha's own Werner Enterprises transports, we headed north. Swinging off I-95 into sleep Selma, NC as we did on our southward journey in Part 1, nothing was rolling. Some Norfolk Southern locomotives and cars were soaking up some sun with their black paint. Looking east into the yard, 2512 and 9520 wait alongside 1008.
Traversing the Pine Level Selma Road, north of the yard, an opposing view of the power:
NS coal hoppers were the only railroad-owned cars visible, with the yard awash in AEX covered hoppers, NDYX gons, Procor tank cars and other leased cars.
NS 9813 asks the motive power question...is this the head-end? Is it the tail-end? Is it a DPU? Is it a road train? Is is a yard switcher? Who can tell? The Norfolk & Western and Southern Railway were both partial to high-hood road units. While NS retains some, they have overwhelmingly converted to low-hood units, and retro-fitted high-hood units with Admiral cabs.
The vista from the east end of the yard. Spot the railfan vehicle? The local Lions Club provides a handy turning spot. Home of tail-ends and tail-twisters:
Alex, I'll take Things That Are Black for 400? Black NS units. The Black Watch play The Black Bear!
Tim Horton's new 50th anniversary commercial channels the Man in Black. I've Been Everywhere. You be the judge - is that a VIA passenger at the 00:27 mark? I can't believe it includes Boucherville sung as Boo-shur-vil. Butchered it. Here's a location list.
A black day for media events. Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak gets ejected from a subway car trailing politicos, flacks and PC social media people! It's Toronto - they have rules. Tim can ride the subway, cameramen can ride the subway. But the moment you are campaigning or turning on video lights, ya gotta have a permit, Sir. Cameramen cannot explain technical details to transit cops. Hudak can only smile benignly as TTC customers heckle. Politely. Mind The credibility Gap!