IBLS Journal 1997

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KennethRodig IBLS Secretary MidwestRegion Dec1997 Modeltec.jpg

IBLS Midwest Region Report

by Secretary Kenneth Rodig

Modeltec, December 1997

It's been over a year since I took over the Midwest Region Secretary's position from Ralph Tucker. I'd like to pass on what I've been doing as your secretary the past 15 months. I would have liked to have written you a little sooner, but there always seems like there's something else to do. Beside, I get enough writing putting out the Milwaukee Light Engineering Society's newsletter once a month.

In the past year I've registered about 40 new people. I average about two a month through the mail, and I get the rest when I visit clubs from time to time. Besides the registrations, I've gotten some pretty interesting questions that I suppose people would think that an organization with a title like ours would have answers to--but we don't. Therefore, I'd like to take this time and place to tell everyone that reads this fine publication what the IBLS does. It registers individuals so that those interested in live steam might get in contact with other interested individuals in their area. That's it. Basically it's free, and we sell patches and decals to cover costs.

Now, I'd like to go over what I've been working on as a new purpose for the IBLS, to go along with the one we've been handling over the years. The IBLS, a number of years ago, did put together a wheel standard for the live steam community, which is nice. However, I don't think that it pays for the IBLS to get involved with setting any other standards with regard to track standards at this late date. In a hobby in which individuals just like to do their own thing, and after so many clubs and tracks have been put in around the country, trying to standardize all this now, to me, is well, who's going to be the first to rip it all up and relay it, and then go on to rebuild all their equipment? Enough on the right gauge for the right scale! The majority of equipment is built to run at the home layout, and if it doesn't fit someplace else, it just doesn't fit!

I believe there's an area the IBLS can cover, however, and it doesn't matter what scale or gauge we're talking about--and that's SAFETY! I've been visiting layouts around the midwest and east, making observations and I've seen excellent safety standards, as well as areas that could be addressed with respect to safety.

The way different clubs handle safety, as well as individuals, is quite diverse. I don't believe the IBLS should set any safety standards as such, but I would like to put together a book of suggested safety procedures and practices for clubs and tracks, both public and private, to refer to. The book would give you ideas on how you could set up safety around your park plus new ideas on areas of safety that you might not have thought about.

This is the area in which I believe the IBLS could do the most good, and I'm forming a committee to help with putting this book together. Anyone interested in being on the committee should write me with a short description of why they would like to be involved, and should be a registered member of the brotherhood. I would also appreciate receiving a copy of any kind of published safety rules from any clubs or private tracks that have them, so that we might review them to get more ideas to publish in this new book. We might call it the IBLS Safety Handbook for Engineers and Miniature Railroads. Chapters could be on engine handling, train handling, mainline safety, park safety, pedestrian and rider safety, along with enforcing safety.

In general, live steamers are aware of some of the potential hazards, and with the general public and kids getting involved, things are all the more hazardous! As big as the hobby of live steam railroading is across the county, I feel it's time that the industry had a reference manual that could define safety for our hobby. What better organization to present it than the International Brotherhood of Live Steamers? Our hobby is fun. Let's help keep it that way! This booklet could help enlighten everyone to the hazards, and reveal some you may not have seen or thought about. Hopefully it could provide some answers, as well as maybe save you some big money.

Remember Rule One: Safety First

Rule Two: Have Fun

Rule Three: See Rule One.

Happy steaming!


  • "IBLS Secretary's Report: 40th AALS Convention", Keith Watson, Live Steam Magazine, Nov/Dec 1997