The Rail Philatelist March 2000 Newsletter
Volume 5 …………… PRICE $1.00 (10 ISSUES FOR $8.00)……………. Number 2 March 1, 2000Dear Fellow Rail Philatelist:
MY APOLOGIES: I really squeezed things in in the last newsletter trying to stay within my 16 page total limit. I didn’t even have room for the usual illustrations. I also used an excess of 10 point type and even went to 9 point in a couple places so I know this made it difficult reading for many of you. One of my friends and loyal readers wrote “As an old newspaperman and college publicist, I gristle a bit when I see those full but gray pages of your fascinating travelogues spoiled by the small type and lack of any paragraphing. My eyes were watering and wandering all over the page by the time I was about one-third of the way through the second sheet of the February issue. Just a plain old paragraph every eight to ten lines would do wonders for the appearance and readability; ...” He’s right of course. I’ll try to not get so carried away in the future. Maybe that is why so many of you haven’t sent in your votes for the Best Train Stamp. Do get them sent in NOW!
THE STAMP HOBBY...: Thanks again to Michael Laurence, Editor/publisher of LINNS STAMP NEWS for this insight from his APS Tiffany Dinner speech:
“2. The stamp hobby is goal-oriented. This is important. Gurus in the human-potential movement have made millions teaching the masses how to set and achieve goals. stamp collectors don’t need this kind of help. Goal-setting is the essence of our hobby. I vividly remember the thrill I experienced, half a century ago, when I completed the Presidentials page of my Scott American album. Filling all those holes required planning, saving, searching, trading, conniving and lots of other attributes that served me well later in life. A young collector who has just completed his Presidentials, or any other stamp set in which predefined components are painfully assembled from various sources over a long stretch of time, has gone a long way toward understanding the basic elements of establishing and achieving goals.” I had never thought of stamp collecting in that light.
STILL MORE “ALL ABOARD”: (1) Has anyone seen Plate #3 for the “All Aboard” sheet? I have seen Plate #1,2 & 4. Is there a #5? (2) I need good used copies of the five “All Aboard” streamliners. I’ll offer five cents each on paper, ten cents each off paper. Cash or credit vouchers. Send in with your orders. I’ve sent you each a half dozen or so by now with my mailings. (3) John F. Dunn reports that the “All Aboard” stamps have been used in Makeshift Vending Machine (MVM) booklets produced by Minnesota Diversified Industries under contract to the USPS. In the Jan. 14,2000 MEKEELS & STAMPS MAGAZINE article “Tracking the Makeshift Booklets”, he says the booklets contain 15 “All Aboard” stamps @$4.95. He includes a photo of a booklet cover which includes parts of the Southern Pacific “Daylight” and Santa Fe “Super Chief” stamps. Check those vending machines - these will be scarce. (4) A Feb. 2000 SCOTT STAMP MONTHLY EDITORS FORUM “The Best and Worst 1999 Stamp Issues” states under the heading “Least Necessary....The set of 20 All Aboard postal cards is another attempt by the USPS to maximize profits. The nostalgic trains had an attractive set of five commemorative stamps. The postal cards were unnecessary.” I don’t totally agree -a set of five postal cards would have been acceptable, the booklet of 20 is excessive.
BEST TRAIN STATION: Jon Digraines e-mailed “ ORIENTE STATION, LISBON. The construction was one of the projects for EXPO'98. The station has an platform connecting metro and regional trains with taxis and buses to the suburbs and city areas. This architecturally impressive station, who served the Expo 98 site is now an important railway station. It is linked by a fairly long walk through the station shops to Oriente Metro station. Designed by the Spaniard, Santiago Calatrava, this magnificent new station is one of the most striking in Europe, with its high, glazed roof support by slender pillars and with its sides completely open. Interior decorated with colorful tiles and modern art.” Since Portugal #1415 was issued in 1979, it obviously doesn’t show this station.
LCL (An archaic railroad term for Less-Than -Carload-Lots, formerly BITS AND PIECES. This will be a regular but not necessarily monthly feature.): (1)There have been several recent TV commercials featuring trains. My favorite is the Porsche commercial where a car is stopped in the middle of no-where while a slow freight passes. Just as the caboose appears, the train stops and starts backing up! Only a train nut like me would enjoy that! (2) Theron Smith also e-mailed “On a Scandinavian tour in 1992, the director was RR oriented. On a day trip to Bergen, he arranged for an ad lib visit to Myrdal where we embarked on the ride down to Flam. Absolutely spectacular! If I remember correctly, we were told that the equipment is fitted with 5 sets of back up braking.”
SOLD OUTS: I really hate to put a “Sold Out” on items ordered because I know that disappoints most of you. However, as the popularity of these lists increases, the number of “Sold Outs’ also seems to be increasing since I am having a difficult time keeping everything in stock and an even harder time finding new supplies. One former customer was so irritated by a few “sold outs” in an order from a two month old list that he demanded I grant him an exclusive “First right of refusal” on anything I put in my lists. I politely told him to take his business elsewhere because I had to fill orders on a “First come, first served” basis and I could not guarantee him there would be no “Sold Outs” in the future. Fortunately, most customers are much more understanding. Peter Hewitt puts the “Sold Outs” in the proper perspective: “If I'm lucky, there won't be as many "sold out"s as before - but the point of the hobby is really "lifetime" recreation, so I guess we need a few sold outs to keep us interested.” Thank you for your patience. And if you have some duplicates that another collector might be able to use, send them to me for credit with your next order. We all thank you!
FEBRUARY TRAVAILS: No, that isn’t a typo. There wasn’t much February travel but plenty of travails. After getting a couple other bids on my Previa’s transmission repair, I decided on AAMCO since they said they could fix it for less than half what the Toyota dealership wanted including installation of a transmission cooler. The van was supposed to be ready the Tuesday before my scheduled trip to Pleasanton, CA for a train show. Being the skeptic I am when it comes to car repairs (once burned, twice shy?), I didn’t send out the usual cards to my California customers - fortunately. Monday, AAMCO called to say they had received the wrong seal and that the van wouldn’t be ready until Thursday sometime. That would cut it too close for a trip to California so I called GATS and canceled out. I was also able to contact the one customer I knew was planning to see me there. The good news was I would be able to see a Superbowl game for the first time in years. The even better news, as it turned out, was that our local PBS station programmed a five hour “European Rail Journeys” marathon opposite all the Superbowl hype so I was able to tour Europe while working on the A and B lists, then watch a great football game even if I didn’t have a stake in who won. I had finally picked up the van Saturday morning and parked it in the driveway (since its spot in the garage was occupied by all the magazine and cover boxes that usually are in it). Monday morning I had a football-size puddle of transmission fluid in the driveway. Good thing I hadn’t tried going to California with it! Back to AAMCO where they said they had to take the transmission back out to fix the leaking seal. Picked the van up Thursday evening and things seemed fine so I drove it to Denver Saturday to buy at the CHERPEX stamp show. Had a good trip, both stamp buying and train watching including a rail grinding train parked near the UP’s North yard. The bad news was that the transmission started leaking again. Back to AAMCO on Monday where they had the van for another few days. After I got it back, it seemed fine until I drove to Canon City to work on the web page updates. There I noticed several fresh transmission fluid spots in my webmaster’s driveway as I was leaving. Drove straight to AAMCO where they worked for about an hour before they announced they had found the problem - the transmission vent was clogged! That is probably what caused the original problem. [I had typed to this point after I got the van home, then my computer froze, causing me to lose everything - the final insult!]. After driving the van around empty for a few days with no real problems other than a noise at 40 mph I don’t remember from before, I loaded it up and drove around for a few more days, then drove to Denver for the GATS show. The show was very good - they had over 8000 people on Saturday. My sales were twice last years although last year wasn’t a very good show. My three trips to Denver and back confirmed that you can count on about four coal trains in a round trip with an occasional grain, manifest or stackpack thrown in. But the best news was, no transmission leaks! We’ll see how it works on the trip to Ogden, UT this weekend. With no travel, the only interesting train news to report came from the meeting of the Colorado Midland Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. The scheduled speaker was Wally Smith who reported on his trip aboard the American Orient Express from Seattle to Los Angeles. He had some great pictures and nothing but praise for traveling in the lap of luxury. I’ve got to ride it one of these days. Also of interest was John Finch’s eyewitness account of the Feb. 6, 2000 BNSF derailment at Palmer Lake. It occurred outside his dining room window as he was eating dinner. He saw the train approaching and then saw sparks coming from under the cars as it passed. John turned on his scanner and listened as the train crew reported that their train was in emergency and they were going to check the train for a broken coupler knuckle. John and his son headed for the train and encountered the 22-car derailment. The crew were working on a broken knuckle when John told them they had an even bigger problem further back. Within two hours all the BNSF officials were on site. Cleanup began about 1 AM and the right-of-way was cleared by 5 AM. 819 feet of track (21 thirty-nine foot track panels) and several cars of ballast were used. A couple telegraph poles and five pole sections of wire also had to be replaced. Among the 22 cars derailed were six AMTRAK Amfleet cars going from the Pueblo Test Track Center to Denver. BNSF officials are still trying to determine the cause of the derailment but there is speculation that the long, light AMTRAK cars may have been pulled off the track on the curve by the longer, heavy freight load behind - it happens in model railroading all the time!
STAMP OF THE MONTH: US #295 is currently leading the BEST TRAIN STAMP voting but many of you have not yet voted. It is indeed a beauty! Featuring New York Central & Hudson River 4-4-0 #938 pulling the “Empire State Express” in black with a carmine border, the stamp was issued May 1, 1901 in a set for the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, NY. The inverted center variety is probably the most expensive train stamp with a Scott catalog value of $37,500. Entire collections have been made of the various shifts or displacements of the center vignette.
RAIL THOUGHT OF THE MONTH: “The longest train I ever saw ran down that Georgia line. The engine passed at six o’clock, the caboose rolled by at nine.” From an old ballad “In the Pines”, artist and writer unknown to me. That certainly is a long train - or an extremely slow moving one!
RAIL FACTS AND FEATS: The first practical electric railway was Werner von Siemens’ oval meter-gauge demonstration track about 328 yards long at the Berlin Trades Exhibition on May 31, 1879. (Germany #1294, Antigua #1026, North Korea #SG2034).
May all your signals be green,
JOIN THE CASEY JONES RAILROAD UNIT OF THE AMERICAN TOPICAL ASSOCIATION
Dues $8.00. Contact Oliver Atchison, PO Box 31631, San Francisco, CA 94131
COME SEE MY EXTENSIVE INVENTORY AT ONE OF THESE FINE SHOWS!
MAR 3-5 HOSTLER'S
RAILROAD SHOW UNION
MAR 31-APR1 COLORADO STAMP BONANZA QUALITY INN, I-25 & HAMPDEN DENVER,CO
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