about 5-uear-old

West Central Model Railroad Members

Jason Dennison

     I love railroads of the west, especially the Western Pacific from the 1920s to the late 1960s, logging railroads, and western narrow gauge.  I fondly recall seeing Milwaukee FP-45s in West Salem when I was 2, I remember running out of my mom's college friend's printing shop to see what was going on!

     I also have a growing library of videos and books and I model WP's high line in northeastern California. I also like modeling short lines in Nevada like the Virginia and Truckee, and enjoy logging railroads also.
     Model railroading has really helped me enjoy life.  I have been a member since 2003.


Dennis Hamilton

      Dennis Hamilton joined the club in January of 1988 after buying his sons a train set for Christmas.  He has always loved trains going back to Waukon, Iowa, where he was born.  A Milwaukee Road steam locomotive brought the train to town every day, right across the road from where he lived.    

      As with many boys growing up in the 1950s, his greatest Christmas gift ever was a train set which he shared with his brother.  They kept adding cars and structures until it finally wore out from use.  He started getting some HO equipment from a local hobby store in Iowa Falls, Iowa, but it was hard to have any kind of layout in college, but it was nice to dream and read Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman.

    Dennis was a science teacher at Sparta High School for 35 years with audio-visual as a second preparation so he was a photography and television production teacher as well, which served him well in the model railroad club.  He also loves to create with his computer and has designed and printed the club's brochures, posters and calendars for many years.  

    Dennis also saw the TV show of Bob Ross the painter and thought "Why not use this as background for a model railroad?"  He bought a bunch of art supplies and went to work and painted some of the backdrops on the West Central model railroad.  

    Dennis likes to model the transition era of steam to diesel and  up through the 1970s.  He loves steam and Alco diesel locomotives and has painted and lettered quite a few of these for the West Central Railroad.

Tom Hicks

     My love of trains started at an early age, as early as I can remember Granddad and I would go to the Chicago & Northwestern depot in Ames, IA to watch the trains.  During the war years there was lots of trains going through Ames as the C&NW was the Union Pacific route to Chicago from the West.  Along with the many freight trains everyday were the City trains (Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles) also C&NW's own passenger trains.  I got to ride to Denver in 1945 and Albuquerque in 1946.  Great trips for a kid!
       I started with a wooden train on the floor and soon after the war ended I got a wind-up version of the Union Pacific M-10000.  For Christmas of 1949 I got my first Lionel train, a steam engine with smoke and whistle, I thought I had the world by the tail!  I was very happy with my Lionel until Christmas of 1954 when my mother purchased a used HO layout.  This was old enough it even had steel track.  Try keeping that clean!  About the same time a family friend, Walter S., had gotten in to HO.  He was from a Chicago Burlington & Quincy family.  Walter was very influential in my switching to HO where I have remained every since.
        As I have lived in Iowa for many years and the North/South line through town was originally the Cedar Valley Road, I started using the Cedar Valley Northern as my own road name.  No one can tell me I have too many windows in that caboose or the headlight is in the wrong place! As for prototype roads I lean towards the CB&Q, the Chicago Great Western and the C&NW.
       I met Wally Schuster at the La Crosse Train Show in March of 1988.  After I told Wally I would be at Ft. McCoy that summer he said I should look up the train club when I got to town.  When I first went to the club they were in the process of turning an old warehouse into a usable place for a layout.  As I am an electrician by trade I was able to help with the work right away.  I joined the WCMR in 1988 and am still the long distance member.
       I did continue to work on my own CVNR at home but more of my energy was devoted to the WCMR over the last 20 years.  I lost my CVNRR in June 2008 during the record floods in Iowa.
       I prefer steam and early diesel engines.  Many of the models I run were made in the 1940s and 50s.  Some of my trains probably should be on a museum shelf and not run, but that is no fun!
       The friendships and contacts I have made at the WCMRR club are very important to me and I have really enjoyed the club.


     Ron Jurgens

     Ron's model railroading started in 1975 with the purchase of a train set.  His wife thought it was just going to be a train that would go round and round.  Little did she know that before the end of summer a layout would pretty much fill the living room in their mobile home.           The following year a new layout was developed in the master bedroom of their two bedroom apartment.  When they bought their own house it took up the largest room available.  Ron joined the club in 1988.  He's mainly a scenery builder.  His railroad of choice is Santa Fe of the 1950's through the 80's.

Tom Michele

     His parents got him an O-scale oval around the base of the Christmas tree when he was about 5-years-old, later a 5-foot-by-5-foot table set up in his bedroom during winter months.  With his photography hobby, including 8mm home movies, he occassionally documented The Milwaukee Road running through his hometown, Watertown, east-west Chicago to St. Paul, with the north-south Chicago & North Western crossing a diamond in town.  The Milwaukee Road is now Canadian Pacific mainline and C&NW is now a barely-used Union Pacific track.
    Thirty years later he saw an HO exhibit at the Rhinelander Library and latched onto those guys, becoming a founding member of the new Rhinelander Railroad Association, about 1995. They have a 24-by-40-foot HO layout in basement of the rescued and restored Soo Line Depot moved to a Rhinelander Park. He started stocking HO rolling stock and town buildings. He built an 8-foot-by-14-foot layout in his Baraboo home in 2004 as his Kreuziger, Yellowstone and Nicolet Railroad, all 1885-era style.  Kreuziger was his mother's maiden name, Yellowstone National Park he visited twice, and the Nicolet National Forest in Northern Wisconsin where he was a very frequent visitor in his 22 years in Rhinelander.  Guadalupe, Montana, home of the KY&NR, vanished upon his move to Tomah in 2008 and his new job as a photojournalist at the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office. He joined the WCMR in 2009. He enjoys watching Amtrak, Canadian Pacific, Union Pacific, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe daily through Tomah to La Crosse, also, yet, again, with a camera.
   He enjoys every aspect of model railroading, rail layout, community set up, scenery creation, different locomotives and rolling stock, operating in club atmospheres, attending model railroad shows, chasing real trains throughout Wisconsin, and all of that with a camera. Replicating a neat part of history, past and recent, is part of the aura.  Doing it with friends in club settings makes it double, triple and more fun.

Mike Morse

Mike got his first train when he was four-years-old.  It was a OO scale Lionel New York Central Hudson which he still has.  He joined the West Central Model Railroad Club in 1987 when the present clubhouse was purchased.  Mike models the Northern Pacific and belongs to the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association.  He models the late 1950's to early '60s focusing on the Tacoma-Seattle area.

Wayne Olson

I was first interested in model railroading when I was a young boy back in West Bend, Wis.  I got my first HO train set when I was about eight- years-old.  I remember walking all the way to the Milwaukee Road tracks to watch trains go by.  About 3 years ago, while moving my cousin form California to Oregon, I found an HO train set in boxes that had belonged to my nephew who is now 25 years old and no longer interested in trains.  I wound up getting it.  I then started buying a few cars at a time and became more and more interested in the hobby.  I joined the WCMR in 2007.  Since I worked on the Milwaukee Road it is now my favorite railroad with the Chicago and Northwestern a close second.

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