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Fame at Last !  Thanks to Kurt Jackson (who set it up) and Al Zagofsky (the journalist) we were on the front cover of the Times News - the local Jim Thorpe newspaper.  We have already been sent some extra material as a result of this.

This Article appeared in the TIMES NEWS - SERVING THE PEOPLE OF CARBON, SCHUYKILL, LEHIGH, MONROE & NORTHAMPTON COUNTIES on Saturday, March 1st, 2003

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Left to right, relaxing in an English pub are modellers:
Steve Hales, Chris Bennett, Ian Clark and Paul Rees.



ian1.jpg (77622 bytes)Brits need our help Modelling

They're rebuilding 1940s Mauch Chunk and need period photos of Susquehanna Street

By AL ZAGOFSKY

There's an alliance between Britain and the US to build a model of the Lehigh Riverfront area in Jim Thorpe/Mauch Chunk. The Merseyside Model Railway Society club in Birkenhead, UK is building an "HO scale" model to depict the Susquehanna Street area of Mauch Chunk in the 1940s.

The Merseyside club began the project in 2002. They have been exchanging information with this side of the pond via their web site: http://www.homauchchunk.co.uk. The web site, the idea of Steve Hales, was created to share information about the project and help the Merseyside club get photographs and dimensions of period buildings. A parallel project is taking place at the Anthracite Model Railroad Society in Hazleton.

jan6.jpg (65631 bytes)Help Please!!!
When contacted about the model, Steve replied, "Help Please!!! As the model is under construction several thousand miles from the prototype, the builders cannot produce a good model without additional help from people knowledgeable about the town of old Mauch Chunk and the Central Railroad of New Jersey."

The "homauchchunk" web site references contributions and provides regular updates on the progress of the project. They estimate that they have 80-90 percent of the material that they need to do an accurate model. Mr. Hales wrote, "I hope that once the model is finished we will be able to use it to publicize Jim Thorpe at shows and induce the odd Brit to visit you. We would also hope to get articles into both British and US Model Railroad magazines."

Why Mauch Chunk?
Steve Hales, now 46, has been interested in modelling US railroads since reading articles in his teens. He has been actively pursuing this hobby for ten years.

"I'm also keen on modelling trees," Steve continued, "The natural combination of trees and US railroads resulted in east coast subjects."

210.jpg (92318 bytes)Steve visited the US and stayed with an ex-work colleague, Eugene Mones, who retired to live with his daughter near Jim Thorpe. Steve visited old Mauch Chunk and was "naturally impressed."

Last year, Steve's modeling friends were looking for a new and novel modelling subject in the steam era. "I mentioned the possibility of Mauch Chunk," Steve noted. "After looking at the photos, noting the river and the mountains (and lots of trees) and lots of beautiful, unusual and varied buildings, the rest agreed. The presence of a station in a US model is also a bit unusual! The modelers who had previously only modelled British scenes tell me they were attracted because it was very different and a challenge for them."

Steve says the quality of US model rolling stock is "legendary" and was an eye-opener to the ex-British scene modelers. "The style of modelling that we are following - trying to make detailed models of prototypes, is not common in the US," he explained, "So, we felt we could bring the best of American and British modelling together."

Steve suggested creating a web site. "Initially, it was just so that we had up-to-date access to all the material," he said. "However, combined with e-mails into US based e groups, it has proved invaluable in helping us to get photos, plans etc. They are named and thanked on the site - we couldn't have got so far without them."

The Merseyside Model Railway Society club estimates the project will take 3-5 years to get the buildings done.

What's needed?
Photos are needed of the period of 1900 to 1960 of locations along the Lehigh Riverfront. They need pictures of buildings on both sides of Susquehanna Street, the area around the CNJ Train Station including the Hotel Block, freight depot, Mauch Chunk Iron Works, the petrol (gas) station, and the Kemmerer and Wentz homes.

For more information, see the web page or e-mail Steve at: contact us


Send emailto Steve (details on contact us page) with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: 9 October 2016