Ces Beck

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Dick Morris wrote:

My copy of the Kalmbach 1942 Locomotive Cyclopedia reprint (10 pounds, 1300 pages) cost $42 at Ces and Ronnie's Hobby Shop in San Antonio. Ces Beck was a mainstay of the live steam hobby in San Antonio in the 1970s and several meets were held on the track that surrounded his house and hobby shop.

W.C. Greene wrote:

The tiny railroad track running around the building reminded me of an old hobby shop in San Antonio, TX. Ces & Ronnie's Hobbyland was in an old house and had a loop of 7.5 inch gauge track running around the house. What a wonderful place to visit...long ago.

Face of San Antonio

C.K. "Ces" Beck, 1966

Face of San Antonio

by Bob Dale

San Antonio Express/News

Sunday, November 27, 1966

C.K. (Ces) Beck, owner and operator with his wife Bettie of Ces and Ronnies Hobbyland at 1420 N. McCullough Ave., runs San Antonio's only "live steam" railroad.

The miniature 0-4-0 switch engine with slope-back tender is seven feet long and stands almost three feet high, according to Beck, who has spent almost two year sin constructing the tiny steamer.

The small engine, a miniature of a Baltimore & Ohio switch engine used in the early 1930's, burns coal exactly as did the original except Beck uses pieces of coal about the size of a grape. Under a full head of steam, about 100 PSI, the little locomotive will easily pull a dozen small cars and 40 or 50 people, Beck says.

Beck's tiny railroad, known as the Texas Southwest Railway, is confied to his property on McCullough. Beck and members of the Railroaders Club of San Antonio have laid some 300 fee of 7-1/2 inch gauge track completely encircling the hobby shop and Beck Homestead.

The aluminum track, about one inch high, is attached to 2x2 inch cedar ties with tiny spikes about one inch long. The intricate switches on the line have been fabricated by Beck and work much like full-size railroad switches.

Beck's powerful little steam locomotive has its own enginehouse at the end of a spur track just off the main line. He estimates he has $4,000 and countless hours of time invested in the little railroad.

Beck has been a rail buff all his life and a railroad modeler for the past 10. His model train layout takes up the entire attic of the hobby shop. Hobbyland is headquarters for the Railroaders Club and meets every Wednesday.

The local club is to receive it charter from the national Railway Historical Society, the first charter granted, according to Beck.

Beck and his wife Bettie have a son, Ronnie, 15, a straight A graduate of Hawthorne Junior High School and now a freshman at Edison High School.

Railroad Club of San Antonio

The following appeared in Live Steam Magazine, April 1972, in the section entitled "Scheduled Meets", page 8:

Railroad Club of San Antonio
3rd Sunday each month, weather permitting
7-1/2 inch gauge
Ces Beck
2626 McCullough Ave.
San Antonio, Texas 78212

Ces Beck also hosted a "Fourth of July Meet" on July 2 & 3.

Please note that the Annetta Valley & Western Railroad and the Comanche & Indian Gap Railroad were both start in 1972.