- 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.
- 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
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.
And Away We Go! Railroad enthusiasts Ces Beck and Betty Beck, Hobbyland, 1420 McCullough Ave., make a last minute check of their model trains which will be displayed at this year's San Antonio Home and Hobby Show to be held March 20-27 at Villita Assembly Building. The Becks' 4x8 foot portable track will be displayed together with a scale model live steam engine, similar to the Brackenridge Eagle, during the eight-day showcase for hobbyists and homemakers. From the "San Antonio Express/News", March 6, 1966
Model Railrod to Be Displayed -- Jeanelle Corcoran, City PUblic Service Board home economist, lends a hand to Railroaders Club member Ces Beck who'll display some of his model railroading equipment at the eight-day Home and Hobby Show opening March 29 at Villita Assembly Hall. Hobby clubs interested in free space for exhibits are asked to contact show producer Irving Wayne. From the "San Antonio Express/News", March 8, 1964
Full Steam Ahead -- Ces Beck steams out Saturday from behind Ces and Ronnie's Hobbyland, 2626 McCullough Ave. He's sitting on a live-steam model train, the only one of its kind in San Antonio. Beck will be host to an open house at 227 Home St. from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday in which visitors can ride free down a block-long track. The open house is part of National Model Railroad Week. Staff Photo by Tarky Tarsikes. From the "San Antonio Express/News", February 22, 1970
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.
Ces Beck running at Henry Blossom's track in Wimberley, Texas. Photo by Pete & Donna Green.