Feberuary 2024 from
Jerry Pyfer

RRVD NMRA Train Show
The Rock River Valley Division of the NMRA will hold their annual Rockford train show the weekend of March 16-17th. This is one week earlier than usual.

I would appreciate some help manning the tables, especially on Sunday morning while I attend church.

Please inform me of your intensions soon.

NWI Chapter’s 55th Anniversary

Plans have already begun for the NWI Chapter’s 55th anniversary celebration at the November Annual Meeting. We have the chapter’s first president Joe Petric, to present the evening’s program.

If you have any ideas to contribute, please let us know.

2024 Chapter Program Calls

NWI Chapter programs are in need for the months of March, April (the filler short subject) and September. If you wish to fill a meeting or would join another presenter with a shorter subject, please contact either Lloyd Rinehart or myself.

Our North Western Limited
The History Resource

I have been building a slide program for the Rock River Valley Division of the NMRA, about Rockford railroads.

Initially it was supposed to be about 45 minutes for the whole town. Well, you know how one thing leads to another or the old Rabbit Hole? Right now I’m at about 45 minutes per railroad plus several side stories and the information discoveries and long lost memories are still building that program.

I remembered bits and pieces about consolidating our railroads into one area of town, but the details had escaped me. I found a few slides I had recorded in that area of the plan.

The slide dates gave me a time frame to research our NWL files. (A side bit lesson: Please include at least some minimal information with your photos. I have received slides from friends that have no info at all. The slide date bump is the only clue as to when the slide was recorded. Erik Rasmussen has encountered the same thing when filing John Dziobko’s unmarked slides. And we know John had been recording slides for decades all over the country.

Sifting through the 2008 NWLs produced the complete story written by Mike Schafer about consolidating the Rockford area railroads, both freight and passenger, into one location and not downtown. The City of Rockford has long coveted the South Main Street railroad yard area for community development.

NWI Chapter Dues Renewal Season
The NWI Chapter has embarked on the renewal season for memberships and NWL subscriptions for 2024.

This year and going forward your renewals with the NWI Chapter will be $25.00. After 25-years, increased expenses have required us to raise dues.

You can mail your dues to: NWI Chapter, P.O. Box 5632, Rockford, IL. 61125 or direct to our treasurer: NWI Treasurer Lloyd Rinehart, 522 Bradshaw Street, Dixon, IL. 61021 or bring them to a chapter meeting.

National Railway Historical Society dues portion must be sent directly to the NRHS. I have received and already mailed off my NRHS renewal, which was at the same $50.00 rate as last year.

Yellow NWL Labels

For those of you with a yellow mark on your NWL label this month, we still haven’t received your membership/subscription renewal. If there is an error, please contact me to clear up your signals.

NWI Chapter Thank You

Several renewals sent to our P.O. Box or direct to our Treasurer have included an additional donation to this chapter or sponsored a new subscriber. We and I especially, thank John Fisher, Steve Mueller, Jon Schwartz, Paul Bergen and David Nienke for providing extra support for the NWI Chapter. Your gracious donations will help out greatly.

Whose consist could this be?

What began as space filler on the back page, has become a on-going little trivia test. I will include a locomotive consist line drawing depicting a locomotive consist of a certain railroad. You have to detect whose consist it was. A locomotive or two will be the deciding clue.

January’s consist was an EMD consist with a GP20-SD24-SD7. If you said the BN, give yourself one point. If you said the CB&Q, you get two points. While many railroads had these depicted units on their rosters, unless someone corrects me, the Q had the single fuel tank SD7 along with the low-nose GP20 and SD24 making their roster unique.

Each answer for the previous consist of the month will appear in the President’s Report column.

NWI Meeting to be Zoomed
February’s Chapter meeting will be available on Zoom. Just let me know if you are interested.

You will receive an invite with pass codes imbedded. You must first be registered with Zoom, which is free, to join in.

If you are already signed up for Zoom meetings in the past with the chapter, you can sit back and relax as you are on our list to receive invites.

Otherwise, feel free to request to be placed on the invite list by contacting: jrrchase@comcast.net

Chapter Condolence Update
Last month we learned of another long-time NWI chapter member’s passing. “Jay” George Jacob Lentzner of Missoula, Montana passed away on January 1, 2024. Here is part of his obituary:

Missoula, Montana – Jay Lentzner died of natural causes January 1, 2024. He was born on November 14, 1944, in Chicago, Illinois the son of George and Catherine Lentzner. At an early age he developed a deep interest in railroads that lead to a life-long avocation and vocation. He told his brother that his first memory of railroads dated to the late 1940s when he was standing on the platform of the Chicago & North Western passenger station at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin waiting for the arrival of the train with his Aunt Jane and being engulfed by a cloud steam as the locomotive pulled in….

Jay attended the University of Wisconsin where he earned a degree in civil engineering in January 1967. The family raised chickens and Jay sold the eggs which paid for his first year of college. He worked summers for the Milwaukee Road Engineering Dept. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that paid for the next year’s tuition….

With his military obligation fulfilled, he was employed as a civil engineer with the Milwaukee Road on April 1, 1970, and assigned to the Dubuque & Illinois Division at Savanna, Illinois thus beginning a 29-year career working a variety of positions in Perry, Iowa, Austin, Minnesota and Tacoma, Washington. As Assistant Division Manager Maintenance Non-core West in Deer Lodge, Montana he supervised the closing of the western portion of the Milwaukee Road following its bankruptcy. The Soo Line Railroad acquisition of the Milwaukee in 1985 saw him relocating to Minneapolis as Engineer-Environmental Control. In January 1988 he accepted a position as Design & Maintenance Engineer with the newly formed Montana Rail Link, Inc. in Missoula, Montana. Jay was named Assistant Chief Engineer In October 1991, a position that he held until taking an early retirement in 1999 at age 54. For the next 25 years much of his time and energy were devoted to preserving railroad history and photography. Jay traveled to many events throughout the US and Canada, took thousands of photographic images and in the process piled up more than 800,000 miles on two Toyota pickup trucks. …Just Cremation Montana

Happy Anniversary Blackhawk
This just in, as this edition was about to go to press, Mark Jones of sunny California sent this reminder of Amtrak’s 50th anniversary of the Blackhawk entering service between Dubuque, Iowa and Chicago by way of Rockford. With limited space, but certainly deserving mention, I included this small announcement.

The April NWL will carry a much more detailed article of the event. The story will include the fact the inaugural run stalled in Elmhurst when the three car RDC set broke down in the middle of a street crossing.

For more information about the Chapter, see Meetings and Join.

Chapter address

North Western Illinois Chapter - NRHS
P.O. Box 5632
Rockford, IL 61125-0632