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Brevard Hosts NARROW TRAK 07

By Ben Bartlett

Early on the afternoon of Friday October 12, 2007 a small band of folks started to gather at the Silvermont Mansion in Brevard, NC. These folks were assembling for the start of the Fourth Annual Narrow Trak Convention. There were folks who traveled from as far away as Colorado to attend this event. The Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Virginia were also represented.

The convention “torch lighting” ceremony was conducted promptly at sometime around 3:00PM. It should be noted that this is probably closer to “on time” than your favorite airline. After our Founder lit the Narrow Trak torch the convention was off and running. No one asked if the Founder had a burning permit. At the same time the contest room was opened for those who chose to bring a sample of their craftsmanship for the assembled band to evaluate. Ballots would be tabulated Saturday afternoon and awards given to the worthy recipients, at Saturday night’s “Torch Extinguishing” ceremony. Operating narrow gauge layouts were set up in the “Display” room for all to admire and discuss.

Model Contest Table First item on the Daily Schedule was a clinic on scratchbuilding fences presented by Dean Odiorne. Dean discussed the “need” for fences and demonstrated the construction and weathering of fences. Before the Friday nap/supper break there was a picture show of some of the visual delights at the 2007 National Narrow Gauge Meet in Portland, Maine. The band of conventioneers then dispersed to sample the culinary delights available in Brevard. Following supper, the event reconvened for more clinics. Bruce Seaton showed us the benefits of using highlight techniques to enhance the appearance of a structure’s architectural features. He uses oil colors to enhance the lighter and darker areas of a feature, based on an assumed direction of light. The last event of the evening was a clinic by Bruce Gatham. The topic was Ephraim Shay, his locomotives and his life in upper Michigan. The conventioneers then dispersed to recover from the pace of the first day of NARROW TRAK 07.

Model Contest Photo Model Contest Photo Saturday morning dawned clear, some said too early; but the band of conventioneers soldiered on. Your intrepid reporter provided the wake up clinic. The clinic subject was Scratchbuilding with Styrene. I described some of the tools and techniques I use when working with styrene. Next was an informative clinic on utilizing Fastrack jigs to make turnouts. Dean Odiorne created a turnout as we sat and watched. The next presentation was a clinic by local logging railroad authority Jerry Ledford. He presented a photo show and discussion of the Norwood Lumber CO. in Forney, NC. The morning closed out with an impromptu presentation by North Carolina railroad historian Mac McDonald. Mac provided information on some of the Eastern North Carolina narrow gauge railroads he has studied. The band of conventioneers again dispersed to sample the culinary delights available in the Brevard area.

Saturday afternoon we reconvened for more discussion of things narrow gauge, logging and railroad modeling. Johnny Graybeal, who has authored several books on the ET&WNC; presented a treatise on ET&WNC ten wheelers and how they related to planned model releases. He also discussed the state of preparations for the 2011 National Narrow Gauge Convention to be held in Hickory. Earlier in the convention we heard discussions of different approaches to weathering structures. The final clinic of NARROW TRAK 07 was conducted by Tom Yorke, who demonstrated his techniques for weathering motor vehicles. He created some examples that really represented some of our finest weathered vehicles.

Following Tom’s clinic the band of folks was released to rest, discuss or tour; however the Founder warned that the awards ceremony would take place at exactly, approximately 8:00PM. Your intrepid reporter did open his home layout for those souls who might wish to experience a little hill climbing and layout perusing before the onset of Saturday evening supper exploration.

Promptly, at approximately 8:00 PM, Narrow Trak’s Founder, Frank Pearsall reconvened the event. Frank presented the awards for each category as voted by the band of conventioneers. The Founder’s Favorite Award presentation closed out the formal event. The floor was then turned over to Roy Chapman and True Blue Grass for a lively session of Blue Grass. All agreed it was a good time, knowledge was shared and gained. It was also agreed that Frank should go forth with planning of the fifth annual NARROW TRAK – NARROW TRAK 08.