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Past Events:

March 7, 2015
New Braunfels, TX

"Kids Run The Train" is a regular event, every first and third Saturday, at the New Braunfels RR Museum. This was the first time TBRR has helped, but hopefully not the last! Steve Jackson took a three-loop layout. The kids liked it! And sadly, there are no pictures, because Steve is an idiot . . .

February 21, 2015
Trains On A Train 2015
Austin, TX
The first "Trains on a Train" event went so well that Lasso organized a repeat. This time it was even bigger. Thirteen fans of LEGO, of assorted ages, rode the Austin metro line and built trains. Four different sets were assembled, plus some Mixels, because, as we all know, those are really trains.
No, really. Mixels are totally trains.


January 24, 2015
Clear Creek High School, Clear Lake, TX

CreekCon was a one-day officially-sanctioned event at Clear Creek High School in League City. It is a ComicCon-style event open to the public ($10 admission) with cosplay, games, workshops, guest speakers, and so on. It's intended to become an annual event. The CCHS librarian and event director saw the last TexLUG display at the Children's Museum and invited us to display.
Edward Chang was Trainmaster. His summary:
- Make a note here. Huge success.
- 1380+ ticket sales.
- Would be a nice annual event.
- ME Model curves are awesome.
This was a joint display with TexLUG. The attendees were mostly students and families, many in costume and sometimes in charactor too. Despite this not being a train-themed event, the trains were still popular - our display has movement. The Princess Train has been renamed "Elsa Choo-Choo" (in toddler voice) with the addition of a new Frozen refrigerated boxcar. Some of our hidden references were definitely more recognized at this show (Dr. Who and Friend, Shakespeare in the park). New TBRR member Susan Earls and her family attended, and she was able to run her Emerald Night and coaches.
We did not use a grand curve, but ME Models delivered Tony's Kickstarter order of wide-radius curves in time for him to build a 4x4 corner with a ballasted 104/88 curve. See Tony's article on Railbricks. The curve performed wonderfully.  There was a big improvement with the larger trains - less overhang, more constant speed through the corner. The curve was easier to set up and handle, and integrated better into the city "grid."  Track alignment was not any worse than with stock track, and the transition between stock and ME track was no problem for any of the trains. Overall, the new rails seem to have great potential to become a staple in the LEGO train world (at least for the PF side of things).
We didn't request any support this year because we had no idea what to expect, but this event would clearly qualify for CEE support. It would be nice to have more theme-appropriate displays . . . our only Star Wars reference was Yoda standing in line for a mini-train ride. We were given much more room than we could use (we had 2 venue tables - folding cafeteria tables, possibly 15' long, that we did not need).
Pictures from this show: Tony Sava's Flickr album and his video.

November 29, 2014
Houston Fall Model Railroad Tour
Orange, TX

November 15-16, 2014
New Braunfels, TX

November 8-9, 2014

October 4-5, 2014

2014 was is our third successive year at this show. Tony Sava coordinated. Eight AFOLs displayed and/or came by to help. Our layout included Lasso's lighted monorail and one of his stations, though Lasso himself was at the AMRE show in San Antonio with more monorail! This makes him the first TBRR member to officially be in two places at once. Between Lasso and Superman, we had a monorail track that everyone enjoyed. This was also the first outing for Ed's miraculous People Gate, which WORKS, and a display/staging yard using Tony's modified switches. We actually performed operations in that yard, with very little evidence of the Giant Hand From The Sky - another first for the club.

This is an excellent show that always draws good layouts in various scales, and the museum has a fine display of rolling stock, AND there's Galveston tourism for after hours. All of which we enjoyed. As long as you accept "visited Fuddrucker's" as tourism.

We've been asked back for 2015, and their current plan is to give us a separate LEGO room with a lot more space. The idea of a lot more space is exciting . . . and to the extent that we can't fill it with amazing train stuff, the museum is delighted to have us invite AFOLs with neat non-train stuff, the better to show off the awesomeness that is LEGO. We'll have more specifics on that when we can announce the 2015 Galveston dates; that won't be for a while yet.

(Pretend there is a picture of Superman here, until image uploads are fixed. You can see it in your head. You know you can.)

While you're at it, pretend Steve has put in the links to the photosets. Real Soon Now. Gotta get back to less-fun work for a couple of hours.

September 6-7, 2014
Houston, TX

This was our first time at the Big Texas Train Show, organized by the Gulf Coast Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. It was in downtown Houston, at the huge George Root Brown Convention Center. They gave a large space - though it turned out, not large by their standards, so if we go another year and have more tables, we could ask for more space! As it was, we used all of our new tables . . .

Oh, yes! This was the first outing for TBRR's new 3x6-baseplate tables built by David Hawkins! He finished all ten of the planned first wave. Pat Hough picked them up and brought them in, and they worked perfectly and looked great.

Edward Chang was our Trainmaster for this one. Also exhibiting: Tony Sava (with his new telephone poles), Pat Hough (with another new railway/monorail station), Mellichamp père et fils with Robert's harbor area, and Steve Jackson.

We had large crowds and lots of very enthusiastic kid builders. Matt Sailors' old stanchions worked, and they worked even better when taped down.



July 5-6, 2014
San Antonio, TX

Brick Fiesta was in San Antonio this year. The organizers had no room for layouts, so there was no TBRR group exhibit. Next year's show will be in Austin, and the Austin organizers intend to have more room and want us to come. More on this as it happens . . .

June 11, 2014
Schaumberg, IL

Brickworld is one of the biggest LEGO conventions. Three of us went: Tony Sava, Steve Jackson, Edward Chang.

TBRR and PennLUG set up a joint layout, since, conveniently, we build our track to the PennLUG standard. We are unashamedly thrilled to share a layout with these master builders! And GFLUG was right next to us! We also invited other train-AFOLs who brought rolling stock to run it on the layout . . . so they got to see their stuff in motion, and we got more good trains. We really ought to make this a tradition.

Award nominations included:

• Best Building: Tony Sava's Cathedral of St. Francis of Asissi

• Best Train: Edward Chang's Berkshire (which won the Peer Choice Award from the trainhead contingent)

• Best Train: Tony Sava's Daylight

• Best Train: Robin W (GFLUG) for his Amtrak

Edward's photo set: https://www.flickr.com/photos/42114068@N06/sets/72157645202391411/

Tony's photo set: https://www.flickr.com/photos/savatheaggie/collections/72157644854180609

Video from Scott Miller of GFLUG: http://youtu.be/n3Glz9_QsyU

Edward's new builds stole the show. The trainheads voted him the Peer Choice award for his engine; the kids followed his Friends train around the track; his raised display track gave the whole layout a third dimension, and now we want to figure out how to do runups and make it live running track.











May 3, 2014

Maker Fair is a Saturday-only event. We had excellent participation, and enough minders for everyone to walk around and enjoy Maker Faire. Stefan Garcia, Steve Jackson, Ed Frazee, Ethan Balmer, Kurt Baty, and Brian Lasseter displayed MOCs. Josh Thomson, Jennifer Lasseter, Amy Meyer, Richard Meyer, Evelyn Meyer, Jacob Meyer, Deanna Frazee, Erin Frazee, Thomas Sitch, Devon Helms, Glenn Copeland helped with crowd wrangling. Kristena Bins-Turner, Denise Gall, Andrea Norman, and others managed the Bricks-4-Kidz tables.

We were worried about our upstairs position, but we seemed to have good flow all day, and we had good AC. We easily had double the crowd from last year, but it was easier to manage since we had lots more people and four times the area allocated to us.  As you can see from the pictures, fully half of our display area was just open play on tables. http://lasso-jenn.com/photos/2014-05-03%20%20Maker%20Faire/?d=c&img=7 You can also see the pretty bin of Friends brick that Lego sent with the event support.  Thanks Lego! Thanks also to San Antonio, who loaned their tables.
The fully stocked bar behind our display area helped to lubricate the day.  I enjoyed my cranberry and vodka.  
Cleanup went pretty quickly with the many hands, and I know I was out of there by 7pm, which was a mere one hour after the event closed at 6pm. (SJ adds: It's a bit difficult to get a whole floor of exhibits down the single elevator in reasonable time. We may need an Elevator Conductor next year to make sure it doesn't go down without a full load.)




March 22, 2014
Trains on the Train!
Austin, TX


Brian Lasseter is organizing this for all interested AFOLs, not just TBRR:

Come join us for a mobile meeting! The March 22nd Austin TexLUG meeting will be on the Capital Metro Red Line train! The goal is to build trains . . . on the train. So bring a set of your own, or some parts. We will attempt to sit at the tables on the SOUTH facing side of the train. There are 2 tables that seat 4 people each. I will get together one of my Futron Monorail 6990 sets. Can anyone volunteer to bring a Constitution Train Chase 79111?

Pics of the train tables: http://littleaustinite.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/tableseats.jpg from http://littleaustinite.com/2010/06/riding-the-capital-metrorail-for-fun/ They are small, but useable. The regular seats have tray tables, and there is spotty wifi on the train.

The train leaves from Kramer Station at 4:00pm sharp. So be at the station 15 min early to buy a ticket from the kiosk, or park at my house at 3:30p to carpool to the train station. There is some street parking on Brockton Drive near Kramer Station, which should be available early on a Saturday. I live less than a mile from Kramer station. People coming from the south could meet us at the Downtown station. Unfortunately, it would cost money to park in the Austin Convention Center decks near the Downtown station. People would also have the choice of joining us for 1hr 8min, or 2hr 16min. These are the times that a MetroRail train would leave a given station if you were riding one train back and forth:


3:30p - Lasso's house

 4:00p - Kramer Station (going Southbound)

 4:41p - Downtown Station (going Northbound)

 5:08p - Kramer Station (going Northbound)

 5:56p - Lakeline Station (going Southbound)

 6:16p - Kramer Station (going Southbound)

 6:30p - Culver’s (dinner)

 6:57p - Downtown Station - for those who joined us downtown at 4:41p, and do not want to go to Culver’s

Lasso's house: Pending permission to post address.

Kramer Station: 2427 ½ Kramer Lane, Austin, TX 78758

Downtown Station: Outside the Austin Convention Center on 4th St. between Neches & Trinity.

March 15-16, 2014

December 7-8, 2013
Rosenberg, TX

Christmas in Rosenberg is sponsored both by the Rosenberg RR Museum and the city. It closed down the entirety of downtown Rosenberg! Tony Sava and Robert Mellichamp started setup Friday in very cold weather – despite three propane heaters in the room, they could see their breath. By the time the show begain at noon Saturday, Tony, Robert, and Edward Chang had the whole layout set up. The propane heaters struggled with the cold all through the show!

Edward showed off his complete Polar Express coaches.  Robert displayed his now massively expanded container port.  Tony brought new "generic" passenger coaches, and displayed St. Francis' Cathedral with colored lights inside. The dimness of the room made the stained-glass effect dramatic.

The museum had not advertised the TBRR display for Sunday, but we kept it up for a 1:30 birthday party, much to the delight of the little boy and his family.  At about 2:30 we began teardown, and we were completely loaded up by 4. We did not have as much turnout as hoped, both because of the weather and because not everyone could find the outbuilding where we were set up (though the museum did try to direct visitors there). But the people who braved the cold had a good time.

Images: Tony Sava's video, Tony's photoset, and Edward Chang's videos here and here.

November 30, 2013

Tony, Edward, and Robert and Thomas Mellichamp, with help from KFOL A.J. Sava, did a one-day setup in Orange for around 150 visitors, an increase from last year when Tony did the show by himself. This was the first outing for Tony's Grand Curve/baseplate design, which proved easy to set up and take down and was judged a success. It was unloaded AND set up in only about a half-hour!

The Mellichamps set up an ocean freight terminal, Edward ran his Polar Express, and Tony once again gave in to the temptation to let a thousand plastic flowers bloom.

Images: Tony's Flickr set.

November 16-17, 2013
New Braunfels, TX

We did this show in cooperation with TexLUG-SA. SJ was supposed to be the coordinator, but when he was swept away by the Halloween flood, Stefan Garcia of TexLUG-SA stepped in and very ably pulled together a large layout with more than a dozen exhibitors.

Notable new MOCs included Doc's large RR car, Pat Hough with a 3x6 harbor area featuring a large  frigate (which has now been disassembled, so be sure to see the pictures), Lasso's suburban stations, and Kurt's beautiful new engine.

The very generous event-brick support from LEGO was parceled out, with each full-time participant getting a couple of gallons, and some leftover play brick returning to Austin with Lasso for local events.

Images: Stefan's photos.

November 9-10, 2013

This is a family-oriented train festival focused on displaying to people of all ages the world of model railroading and attracting more people to the Texas City Museum.  It was a quiet show in a huge venue.

Tony reports: "When my son and I arrived late Friday, Robert and his son were already there and set up.  They, and several members of the host train club, helped unload my truck in less than 5 minutes.  We then rearranged tables and started unpacking.  Robert had already been there for many hours, so he left shortly thereafter.  We set up till about 9:30 before we called it quits.

"I arrived back Saturday morning and continued setting up.  Ed came by and visited, helping to set up derail bits on my layout.  Robert and son arrived before public hours and added to their display. 

"Robert brought his civil war train diorama, his WWII rail gun diorama, and his holiday train.  He also had set up informational cards and a bucket of patent pending bricks which he generously gave to show attendees.

"My layout was pretty standard for those who regularly see me.  New for this show was Old MocFiller's farm which Christina set up.  It looked really quire awesome.  Also new was the fishin' hole, aka Old MocFiller's pond.

"The show was a quiet one; apparently there was some issue with public advertisement.  But the people who did attend seemed to enjoy themselves and our layout.  Several members of other clubs asked what company made the steam and engines I had on display.  The folks from Orange were there as well, which gave us an opportunity to plan in person a bit for that show

"The museum venue is huge, and sports a truly massive permanent model train layout upstairs. "

October 5-6, 2013

We had a great time at the Galveston show. Six AFOLs exhibited - Tony and Christina Sava, Pat Hough, Edward Chang, Steve Jackson, and Robert Mellichamp. Phil, Steff, and Kira were at the show, too. The layout covered ten 6' by 30" tables, and featured a double-mainline loop with a Grand Curve, a small 9V loop, and monorail track all the way around the perimeter - set up as two bounce lines so there were two monorails moving at once.

New at this show: Pat's large tan/trans-clear station which unites train and monorail lines; printed "Texas Brick Railroad" signs to go on the monorail; Tony and Christina's plaza for the Cathedral, with Edward's flowered wall; Edward's design for diagonal monorail supports; Steve's Texas flag billboard with sign painter. New to most of us were Robert's plane and rail gun builds.

Also memorable: There was no unballasted track on the 10-table layout. We had a 20-high monorail loop all the way around the layout, divided into halves so two trains could run at once. Most catastrophic loss of MOCs in memory: Daylight locomotive, giant bricks flatcar, two Texas State Railroad passenger coaches, and several ballasted track sections). The Allegheny was able to pull 32 heavyweight cars, mixed freight and passenger load, with the aid of rare earth magnets.  The tight turning radius of LEGO curves was a limiting factor because the longer cars began to tip over; Grand Curves would have allowed longer trains. The pulling power of the engine is limited by traction rather than pulling power; a 1-liter soda on the Allegheny tender increased its pull.

We got generous support from LEGO. We donated two door prizes to the museum, did a drawing for one, auctioned one among those present, and still had some left over for auctioning online or at later events. We discussed the tables and crowd control that this support will let us build; there were some very interesting examples on display.

We were only a few hours into the show when we were invited back for 2014!

July 19-21, 2013
Atlanta, GA

A number of LEGO clubs worked together to create a big layout for the National Train Show. This is the show held in conjunction with the national convention of the NMRA; for 2013, it was in Atlanta. Tony Sava and Steve Jackson drove to the show (in Tony's pickup, towing a trailer full of tables) to set up the TBRR part of the layout. Matt Sailors (now a Floridian and GFLUG member, but still with a Texas flag on his badge) and Edward Chang joined us there.

This year's layout was organized by Atlanta native Scott Lyttle, who also brought out the massive CUT (Cincinnati Union Terminal) building. This was a MOC originally created for the NTS in 2005, and now being revised and refurbished by Scott. Another central feature of the event was Matt Sailor's huge, working turntable.

Clubs in attendance were TBRR, the North Georgia LTC (NGLTC), the Greater Florida LUG (GFLUG), and the Mississippi Brick Railroad. The combined AFOLs had the second largest layout at the show and one of the most popular with visitors.

Photos can be seen at http://www.flickr.com/photos/savatheaggie/sets/72157634775984468/ (Tony's trip blog), http://www.flickr.com/photos/savatheaggie/sets/72157634781621724/ (Tony's layout shots with his good camera), and http://www.flickr.com/photos/42114068@N06/ (Edward's photos).






July 4-7, 2013
Mesquite, TX

Brick Fiesta was put on by TexLUG, the umbrella organization for Texas fans of LEGO.  David rolled out more of his new 3x3 tabletop modules for their second major show, and they worked flawlessly. Tony's Allegheny successfully tested out her new wheels and was able to haul 18 freight cars. David's Steamwood Falls continued to impress and won the award for Best Train.

May 29-June 2, 2013

We had a one-day display at the Lone Star Express, setting up at the Sheraton DFW Airport Hotel in Irving. We started early in the morning of Saturday, June 1, and ran throughout the day. This is a milestone for Texas LEGO fans; it's the first time we have ever been invited to participate in a National Model Railroad Association event. We were one of the few actual layouts in the convention hotel, and they gave us 21 feet of space!

This event was organized by David Hawkins, who also exhibited brand new 30-inch square tabletops to allow for streams and other underworks, and switches trimmed to allow new train geometry. Tony Sava drove up from Houston with MOC buildings, MOC trains and trees. Kurt Baty and Chris MacDougal came by and helped. SJ couldn't be there, but sent trees. We got the usual ""Lego makes trains?" questions, but they will remember us next time!

This picture by Tony Sava shows the edge of a tabletop and the way it can be cut down to allow a brick-built river to flow under the bridge.

May 5, 2013
Austin, Texas

Texas Brick Railroad went to the Austin Mini Maker Faire on Sunday, May 5th. Brian Lasseter was the organizer; Brian and Steve J brought train and monorail, and drew a lot of interest, and got slashdotted! We also had a free-build area. Julie Rogers watched the table for a while, and Monica Stephens helped with the breakdown, but we could easily have used three or four more AFOLs to take care of the display and talk to the crowd. A couple more trains would also have been good. But it was a nice layout and, crowd-pleasing-wise, a big success.

April 6-7, 2013

We set up a big layout at the New Braunfels Train Show Jamboree. We had 11 AFOLs exhibiting and two more helping with table-sitting and breakdown. Our layout was a C shape 33 feet along the long side, 24 along the short sides, with lots of space in the middle. It looked excellent. Lee Rahe was our contact with the museum, with Joe O'Donnell planning the track.

Highlights of this show:

• We sometimes had seven trains running at once, with two of them monorail and a third monorail train on a "siding"! This was the best monorail show ever. The whole north side of the layout was covered with monorail, with a wiggly sightseeing line running halfway down the west side. Pat Hough brought his track/monorail union station, and Brian Lasseter debuted his brand-new monorail station, with finished interior and trans-blue canopy and accents.

• There was an excellent long "Main Street" line of buildings along the west side, with many of them Will's MOCs, and scattered buildings on the south side from Roscoe and SJ, plus Sharon's display of Friends sets.

• The whole west and south were a single long dogbone, almost all ballasted, with the wide curve in the middle and paired tracks running right through Lee's big station, so we tried a LONG train. We got a single Maersk engine to pull 20 units of Maersk and ATX container cars! Very slowly, and it stopped when it hit the flextrack, but it started the pull on its own and made it all the way through the wide curve. When we added Edward's two MOC engines on the front and another Maersk on the rear to push, the train moved out very nicely and made several loops.

• Thanks to fantastic LEGO event support, we had two Ninjago sets to give to the convention as door prizes, a Mini Modular set to give away in an AFOL drawing (Lasso won), a Spook Train to auction (another $50 for the fund), and 32 pounds of loose bricks, which were packed into grab bags and distributed. It was Christmas! Afterwards, there was a trading session, though it was more of a "generously giving our friends what they need from our bags" session than actual trading.

February 9-10, 2013
Great Train Expo Houston
Houston, Texas

This was the first show for the Texas Brick Railroad, and it was a big win. 13 AFOLs were present, and about 5,000 attendees. We operated eight trains (including a monorail!) at once. Old-timers agree this is a record for a LEGO show in Texas. We'll see how long it is before we break our own record. SJ was the organizer, with backup from TJ, who brought the tables and printed layouts.

Highlight MOCs of the display were T.J. Avery's Pennybacker Bridge, David Hawkins' railroad station, Tony Sava's Palestine (Texas State RR) layout, and (just created for this show) Pat Hough's monorail/train Union Station. We also did a presentation to introduce attendees to the world of LEGO trains. And we had a great dinner at Pappasito's!