Changes abound here. The home repairs are in full swing…new bathrooms; new kitchen; new carpet. The good news is things are going well. Getting ready for the RPM and National Train shows this year. I will most likely get a COVID booster (my second one) to be safe when I travel to these two nationally attended shows. I am not able to get to the models just yet; as I am still busy with the house repairs. But I am glad to be retired and able to make my own schedule. As Memorial Day approaches; I give thanks to those that have given their life for our country in conflicts from all eras. I also remember my departed family members; and wish they were here with us. My memories of them will stay with me.

With that being said…we are going to list our home this fall and move back to Southern Illinois. I have lived in Centralia IL for about 23 years this June. It is time to begin that next chapter in a new place. Allison is ready for this as well. We have abandoned the idea of buying a modular home and will instead focus on a home in the market in the area we are seeking. A basement will be included in the home search; as we will want that for both storm shelter and the model trains. With just the two of us, we need to downsize our home and possessions as well. I have likewise planned to revise the layout plans. I have stopped construction on it for obvious reasons. Life is better with less clutter and stuff; IMO.

Athearn has announced a new run of GP15-1’s; and I am glad to see lit classification lights and number board lighting…as that is now the industry standard for high end models. If the paint and assembly passes muster…these might be the first Athearn Genesis engines I will leave along and just run them. Getting ready for the RPM meet and NTS this year…hoping to see some new things for HO scale; and midwest modelers. Maybe we’ll see those SD40-2’s from Scaletrains in Jenks Blue? Maybe a B23-7 from Athearn Genesis? An MP EV caboose? Who knows? We’ll see; that’s for sure.

I am always glad to see summer arrive with Memorial Day. I hope all of you that follow this blog are having a great Memorial Day weekend. Remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms; and remember those whom are not with us anymore from our families. See you in July.

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Thomas Austin

I am a Southern Illinois Native. I am a fan of nostalgia, and the history of Southern Illinois. Model Railroading has been a large part of my life; and it helps serve that interest. Through this interest I have learned much about the region; the people; and the industries that gave us all hope of building a life beyond our formal education. Small Towns in the Midwest built this nation...and this site aims to share that fact with the world.