What's New @ The Spike - Claire Saucier

Published by Claire Saucier, Oct 25, 2021


Since Cub Reporter Risley has been otherwise occupied building an HO layout for one of our fans, we'll step in with a Fall update for you.

Late in September we received a VERY generous grant from Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Heritage Foundation to assist with the expense of restoring the caboose. So you may have noticed our fund has increased by $5000! We have sponsors for 13 of the 19 windows. Only room for 6 more. YOU could be a window sponsor for a donation of just $200. Stop by or send us a check or donate on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/IronSpikeModelTrainMuseum).

During the month of October we've had a Halloween Decoration Scavenger hunt that has been very popular. Only a few more days left to participate in that. This Sunday we have a Trunk or Treat for little train fans. We could use a few more trunks!! The event will run from 1-4 pm with set up starting at 12 noon.

Monday and Tuesday next week we will get busy putting out all our military trains. They will be running during the month of November as we honor all military veterans. And remember, all military (active or veteran) and their immediate dependents are ALWAYS given free admission to Iron Spike Model Train Museum. We are so grateful for their service and sacrifice.

Our Monthly Model Train Market will celebrate the holiday shopping season with a Black Saturday Sale on Nov 20th and Black Friday on Nov 26th. All outdoor sale items will be 50% OFF on both days.

We also look forward to the Washington Optimist Club and the Future Farmers of America setting up their annual Christmas Tree lot sometime in November. Just waiting to find out when the trees will be delivered!

And of course, changes continue throughout the Museum. Make plans to visit during the coming months. Next update should contain our holiday schedule and we hope to be making an announcement about our New Year's Day Open House! Stay tuned!


What's New @ The Spike - Darrell Risley

Published by Darrell Risley, July 27, 2021

Work continues on the renovation of our caboose! Electricity has been run and scaffolding has been set up for the bead blasting that will be done before it can be painted. We have a donor for the primer and paint and Claire found the right number of the red paint that will be used. The windows will be removed before the bead blasting also, and Don is going to rebuild the doors.

There’s been so much going on it’s hard to keep up with it all!

We had a request to build an outdoor G-scale layout for a client here in Washington, and work is progressing well on that. It will be about 125 feet of G-scale track in a dogbone design with 3 bridges. The client came by and approved the layout plan. Work was going to start on site preparation and leveling last week, so I’m sure things are getting done.

We’ve been joined by a few more volunteers and they have been a big help on getting things done. And as usual, work is progressing on several projects in the layout as Don and the other volunteers continue to add even more detail.

We also received a large O-scale donation that we will be incorporating into the layout. It will be quite a project, but the gracious donor will be helping to install the new track, buildings, and trains. Plans have not been finalized but will probably involve totally removing, replacing, and drastically enlarging our current O-scale track setup.

Back in June a class was held for a group of Boy Scouts to get their Boy Scouts Railroading Merit Badge. I understand there are plans to offer the class again in August. The last class included 4 different instructors covering train operation, railroad safety, as well as Model Railroading. About 8 Scouts earned their badge. Call the office for details on when the class will be held and the price.

We've been experimenting with a tiny camera that can "ride the rails"! So far we have been able to get some "engineer's cab" views on several of the N-scale and HO-scale layouts. Check out the Gallery page on this site, or search for them on YouTube! We're trying to work the bugs out and come up with the most interesting views. Eventually you may have the opportunity to bring in your locomotives and have them "star" in your personalized videos!

And we still hear “WOW” from every group of visitors that come thru. If you haven’t seen the layouts yet, you need to make plans to come by! You will not be disappointed! The details are AMAZING!

If you have some spare time, we can always use more volunteers! Come by and grab a volunteer form and join us! It is a great group of people to work with, AND we get to play with the trains!!!! TOOT! TOOT!


Published by Claire Saucier, June 8, 2021


We welcomed a couple more volunteers since my last report, Jack and Ben. They are high school juniors here for the summer. Jack has been volunteering during the summer here for the last 3 years, while Ben, a friend and classmate of Jack’s, is here for the first time. They have already been a great help and have been assigned several tasks for the summer, at least one of which will be very visible. They will be painting the hobo signs on the trailers in the parking lot along with explanations of what the signs mean. I also learned something interesting about hobos, tramps, and bums from Conductor Dan. It seems that the conductors and engineers made a distinction between the three. According to Dan, the conductor and engineers would let the hobos ride the trains because hobos would work for their passage. However, the tramps would beg for what they could get, while the bums would take whatever they could get.

As usual, more detail has been added to the displays. Pam was pretty upset because Joe was so late with the ice delivery to the restaurant. Pam was almost out of ice and you know how she can get when she can’t keep her customers happy. I’m sure she gave him a piece of her mind and Joe won’t be late again for a while.

The local guys doing the road work were complaining about having to go so far to the restroom, so we were able to get them some porta potties. Now they can spend more time on the job instead of traveling back and forth to the restrooms. And it will keep Sam, the foreman, happier too. They are ready to get back to their regular jobs.

The Ameren-donated dioramas have been dismantled and we recovered many interesting electronics items and models that will eventually find their way to the layout. There were about a dozen 3-blade wind turbines, and as many small solar panels that will add more motion and automation to parts of the layouts. We are also looking for several sound modules that will make the displays more interactive. Especially, a foghorn for the lighthouse, chickens, cows, pigs, sirens, tractors, and/or anything else that will add interest. Mike and Jack put a larger speaker on the haunted castle on the Corsa layout, so you can really hear the moaning wind, breaking glass and scream very clearly now!

We have also begun work on the caboose! Nothing visible yet, but important. We are working on replacing or repairing the doors and windows to make it weatherproof and secure. We will eventually be moving our small repair and workshop to the caboose when repairs on the caboose are completed.

Hey, any high schoolers or retirees out there that need something to occupy their time this summer, we can always use the help! Come on by and fill out a volunteer form! We can find a place for you if you have an interest in models, modeling, painting figures, or a willingness to do whatever needs to be done.

Many more visitors from different states as well as from the St Louis area were amazed at the size of our layouts and the level of detail that has been worked into our displays. Several also said they enjoyed the stories that the tour guides related.

And if you haven’t seen the layout yet, check out the YouTube video by doing a search for the Iron Spike Model Train Museum. You should find a 17-minute video that will give you an idea of what you will see here. The downside of the video is that because of the realistic details, you can’t distinguish between the different scales represented. All of the most popular scale sizes are here, including G gauge, O gauge, 027 gauge, S gauge, HO gauge, N gauge, and even a TY gauge, which is 1/900 of life size. Come on by and say “HI”!


This Week @ The Spike - Darrell Risley

Published by Claire Saucier, May 21, 2021


Well, it happened again, and again, and again this week! In every visiting group that came thru, at least one person exclaimed “WOW!” as they walked into our 9,400 square foot layout room. We hear it from almost every group, and it is such a welcome compliment to our volunteers for the thousands of hours of work they put in on making the many different layouts as realistic as possible.

Because we run steam locomotives as well as diesels, most of our layouts are modeled in the 1950’s and 1960’s era. And back then, outhouses were not only functional, but very necessary structures. That’s why there are at least 37 outhouses on our layouts. And George embarrasses Evelyn no end every time he goes because he never closes the door when he uses it. One of our guests also pointed out the “bear behind the bare behind”, his words, not mine! But you might see if you can find it next time you come by. Several of our HO scale residents finally got their new mailboxes installed as well. If you look closely you may also notice a new pay phone booth and some no parking signs that were installed as well.

Don’s lock system is coming along nicely also, with Dan helping to paint some of the rock wall scenery. But don’t tell the other guys that Dan was painting. He doesn’t want them to know he can! Mike was under the layout for a while Wednesday and Thursday wiring up something. Whatever it is I’m sure it will be perfect before he quits.

We’ve also been harvesting trees, buildings and electronics from some donated dioramas that will eventually show up on the layouts. We just need to test them, clean them up a little, make some minor repairs and find the perfect location for them on our layouts. And if we can’t find a good place for them, we’ll get them ready for new homes with customers. Watch for our sales on eBay or come by when we have our Model Train Sale if you happen to be in the market for O, HO, or N scale equipment, track, buildings, or accessories.

Just a note about our monthly Model Train Sale that we have on the 3rd Saturday of every month, I hear Daddy O’s Cheesesteak food truck will be here for the rest of the year on the Saturdays when we have our sales. So, come on by and grab one of their famous cheesesteak sandwiches and shop for your model railroad layout needs. This is one of several ways that help support the museum.

And while we have many great volunteers, we can always use a few more! So, if you have an hour or few to spare come on out and grab a volunteer form! No matter if you know a little or a lot about railroading, life size or model we can find room for you!

This Week @ The Spike - Darrell Risley

Published by Claire Saucier, May 12, 2021


Well, another busy Week at the Spike as volunteers continue to add to, repair and otherwise work on multiple projects on the many displays in the museum.

More work has been done on Don B’s lock and dam system. It’s really looking good. Don has also added several more people to various scenes on the different layouts. That’s what adds such a feeling of realism to the experience that all the visitors comment on.

Art has been busy taking pictures of various donated items we don’t have room for on the layouts, and placing them on eBay for others to purchase and enjoy. And we discussed the potential photo ops for the caboose restoration project. This is just one of the many ways donations support the ongoing operations of the museum.

Tom T. held a great class on the Basics of DCC (Digital Command Control) with five people in attendance. Tom is an electrical engineer as well as an educator, and does a great job explaining the content in easy-to-understand terms and illustrations. It was decided to continue going more into depth with the topic of understanding DCC, so the classes will continue to be held on the first Saturday of each month from 8:00 am to 10:00 am. The class is open to anyone interested in learning more about DCC. If you are interested just call 636-283-5166 to sign up. Each class is $20.

The donated antique display cases have finally been cleaned up and repaired and are in the process of being loaded up with vintage trains and memorabilia. Mike did a great job of adding the LED lighting, making it easier to see the items displayed.

Don E. did a lot of work on some donated ‘O’ scale Budweiser warehouse buildings getting them ready to sell. He had to rebuild parts of the building as well as replace the gravel on the roofs. And that was more work than you can imagine, having to put every little stone just right! Well, not really each individual stone, but getting them level and realistic-looking and gluing them down so they wouldn’t fall off was a chore.

As the weather settles down, we will begin work on restoring the Frisco caboose sitting out front. So, if you have some spare time, come on out! We can use all the help we can get!

And not only on the caboose. If you like to paint small figures, model buildings, or scenery, or repair electronics, or have a passion for model railroading and like to tell stories, we can find a place for you. An hour or two a week or month, several days, whatever you might be able to help. And it’s always on YOUR schedule, whenever you are available. As you might imagine, maintaining this large of an enterprise is no small task. Come by and fill out a volunteer application.

We had many more visitors as well. Judy does a fantastic job welcoming visitors and leading them through and telling them about the various layouts in the Welcome Center. A bus load of 19 came through one day by reservation, and several others dropped by on Wednesday and Thursday. We had some from New Jersey, Colorado. Michigan, and other states.

And the response is always surprise at the level of detail. If you haven’t been by yet, plan a couple of hours or more to come see us! We enjoy sharing our passion for the hobby of model railroading. It has been called “the world’s greatest hobby” by some.


May Newsletter

Published by Claire Saucier, May 1, 2021

Here's just page one of our recent Newsletter. We have a wonderful new editor and will be publishing monthly. If you'd like your own copy send your e-mail address to info@ironspike.org with Newsletter as the subject. This month's newsletter is a full four pages long!

This Week @ The Spike - Darrell Risley

Published by Claire Saucier, April 24, 2021

Volunteers have been busy as usual at the Iron Spike this week. Don has been continuing to work on the HO scale lock system for moving barges that he is building from scratch! That means he is cutting and shaping each piece of wood to 1/87th scale by hand. He told me that in his research, the angle of the gates must meet at 18 degrees when closed. Any other angle can not contain the pressure of the water. He has also scratch built several of the barges that will be going thru the locks. The tugboat and the Rescue boat have also been built and realistically painted. They look very sharp. He still plans to paint more people to operate the Rescue boat. And then he will get started on the hydroelectric dam, which is starting to take shape.

Mike has been continuing the behind-the-scenes maintenance to keep things running smoothly as well as adding some LED lighting. Mike is the guy you holler for when an engine stops running, derails or finds a dead section of track. He has also spent a lot of time cleaning the thousands of feet of track! It wouldn’t be any fun if the trains didn’t run! Thanks Mike!

Our N Gauge DCC (that’s Digital Command Control), guys are working on some exciting projects as well! Tom and Scott are continuing to add sensors to control different sections of track to add some more realistic operations. For example, having an engine working in the yards (that’s where the rolling stock is stored until needed) making up a train by getting cars from the yard or siding and moving them to a siding waiting for an engine to come and take them to their destinations. Tom and Scott are working on a Python script to automate some of the operations.

And we are grateful to see more visitors that we can share our passion for model railroads with! First time visitors are always amazed at the details that the many volunteers have put on the many layouts at the museum. One of them commented to me that they “had no idea” that the museum was so large and well done. Visitors are always impressed. And the excitement of the kids is a pure delight to watch! They run from one section to the other in amazement!

If you haven’t seen it yet, come on out! It is a wonderful way to spend several hours, or days! Because there is no way you can see all of the detail in one trip!


Registry for Good

So, you've all heard of a bridal registry? Iron Spike now has a "Registry for Good" courtesy of Walmart.com. It is another way you can show your love and support to your favorite model train museum. We have a registry called "Everyday Essentials." It only contains things we use on a regular basis such as office supplies, batteries for the LEGO display, and coffee for the volunteers. We've kept the list modest and frugal. The great thing is ANYONE can purchase off the list, and the items will be delivered directly to us. Here is the link to our registry landing page. Maybe you will find something on our list that you would like to help out with. Of course, we have also included gift cards to help out with those unexpected or one-time purchase needs.


Reservations!

Published by Claire Saucier · January 7, 2021

Effective January 13, 2021 you will need to make a reservation at least 24 hours in advance to visit the Museum on Wednesdays or Thursdays. Phone number to call is: 636-283-5166.

We are struggling with COVID 19 impacts. We have had a number of our volunteers out, either because they are sick or because they live with someone who got sick, and have to quarantine. It's difficult to keep up with the retail side of the museum and the tour side at the same time with so few volunteers available. We will keep this policy in effect until we get back to our normal volunteer strength. Watch the blog or our Facebook page for updates.

And speaking of our retail activities, you should check out our eBay store. We put a link on the front of our website. We have listed over 200 items for sale, mostly in HO and N scale. You will also find lots of train books to add to your library. The eBay store has kept your Museum running while visitors have been few. Here's hoping visitors feel comfortable returning in the near future!

As a reminder, we still require visitors to have their temperatures taken and leave a contact phone number before entering the Museum. Visitors over age 6 must wear masks while touring the Museum. We appreciate very much that most of you have been very cooperative with our safety precautions. These procedures are in place because we want to stay healthy and we want you to stay healthy too.


Posted 05/01/2021 Iron Spike Model Train Museum

Published by Claire Saucier

The Children's Train Room is back open, and little ones are enjoying themselves again! (Big kids, too!)


WELCOME BACK!

Published by Claire Saucier · May 20, 2020·

Iron Spike Model Train Museum will reopen to the public on June 3, 2020 at 10 am.

As a BIG Thank You to those who purchased memberships while we were closed due to COVID-19, our first week will be a Members Only week.

While the Museum was closed, we introduced a new Membership Program. You can find all the details under the membership tab on this site. There's a membership to fit every wallet. It's a good value too! And it's an even better value if you purchase your membership before June 3. By doing that you will get 13 months for the price of 12. Of course, you can buy your membership during that first week, but you will miss the sale.

When we open, our volunteers will be wearing masks for everyone's protection. We will ask you to wear a mask for the same reason. Feel free to bring your own. We will be taking every visitor's temperature. Visitors with a fever of 100.4 or higher will not be admitted to the Museum. You will be asked to provide contact information in the guest book so we can contact you in case we receive information about a COVID-19 exposure. We will be controlling the number of people in our smaller rooms to maintain social-distancing.

We are still struggling with what to do about the Children's Train Experience. We are keeping that room closed for a while longer to avoid spreading any germs or bacteria through our young visitors.

Anyone unwilling/unable to comply with these few policies will be asked to leave. We value your health and safety. We hope we'll be able to relax soon.

Iron Spike Model Train Museum

Published by Claire Saucier · May 10, 2020·

Happy Mothers' Day to all the moms out there. We sure miss seeing you.

I'm taking this opportunity to share the news that Iron Spike cannot open for regular business this Friday, May 15th. Our volunteers are in the category of MOST VULNERABLE as they are mostly seniors, and many have underlying health conditions. They've stayed healthy so far, and we know no one wants that to change.

If you are looking to shop the Recycled Railroad, give us a call (636-283-5166) and we'll do that by appointment only, starting on May 16th. If you shop that day, we will honor the 3rd Saturday Market Discount of 10% off your total purchase. Call this week to schedule your Shopping Experience!

We will continue to take material donations by appointment only also.

When we do open, we may begin with small tours at scheduled times which will require reservations to keep our groups small. Not sure when the Children's Train Experience will be able to open.

If you have suggestions for safe operations when we open, please send them our way. We are listening.

Until then, the Membership sale will continue! Free admission for 13 months for the price of 12, with activation delayed until we are able to open! Just go to the Membership tab on our website to find the level that suits your pocketbook.


https://www.ebay.com/str/ironspikemuseum


Iron Spike, Inc is a 501(c)(3) public charity museum in Washington Missouri, dedicated to the preservation and display of model railroading and railroad history. All listings benefit the museum and come from donations. www.ironspike.org

In the interest of public safety and an abundance of caution, Iron Spike Model Train Museum will be closed until further notice to try and help minimize the spread of COVID-19. This decision reduces the Museum's regular income by at least 75%. Your donation, at this time in particular, will help the Museum continue once the contact restrictions can be eased.

The Museum is an important part of the local landscape and draws over 5000 visitors each year to Washington, MO. Your support during this crisis would be greatly appreciated.

Iron Spike Model Train Blog


Do you have a Lionel and want to expand? We have large selection of vintage track available of all shapes. Also vintage HO engines, cars, etc. Large selection of Village items for detailing your home train layout. Come in and check it out!!



November 22, 2019

Iron Spike adding rails for placement of a Caboose outside on site soon to be delivered.

November 29 - December 12.

Christmas Tree sales at Iron Spike sponsored by the Washington Optimist Club and Iron Spike Model Train Museum

December 13-December 21.

Christmas Tree sales at Iron Spike sponsored by the Washington Optimist Club and Iron Spike Model Train Museum

Just one more way you can help support Iron Spike. When you shop on Amazon, and we KNOW you do, choose AmazonSmile and designate Iron Spike as your chosen charity. Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchase to US at no extra cost to you. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner...we appreciate your support.

  • Sunday, December 22, 2019 at 2 PM – 5 PM

  • 1498 High St., Washington, Missouri 63090

  • Limited Capacity · Reserve a spot and confirm details to attend

The Polar Express movie will start at 2:15 pm on Sunday, December 22nd. Iron Spike will provide free popcorn. Soft drinks may be purchased for $1 each.

At the end of the movie (4:00-5:00 pm) A Most Famous Christmas Visitor will make an appearance for the children who attend this showing.

Please note: We are asking you to reserve seats because of limited capacity. We hope you will be able to honor your reservation. As a courtesy to others just send a FB message or call the Museum (636-283-5166) to cancel if your plans change.