2007 Grand Scales Convention

2007 Miniature Railroad Convention

John and Judy Woods hosted the Miniature Railway Convention at the ATT&NW in September, 2007. The three-day event was advertised in rail fan magazines and on internet sites worldwide and attracted several hundred attendees, some from as far away as New Zealand. At the bottom of the page is a copy of the schedule for the event.

The miniature railway community as well as the live steam fraternity was abuzz with excitement, since this was the first opportunity for the public to see and experience what the Woods family had been doing on Woodsvalley Farm. 2007 ConventionTrue to John Woods' way of doing things, every guest was greeted personally by John and Judy at the front gate, and presented with a gift bag of ATT&NW souvenirs along with an admonition to "be safe and have fun."

Food and drinks were provided by several local civic organizations and the Steelville Fire Dept., provided standby emergency services for the weekend. Many manufacturers and suppliers of miniature railway equipment and products exhibited their wares in the field between the water tower and the roundhouse.

A number of convention attendees brought 15 inch-gauge locomotives and rolling stock to run on the ATT&NW main line, including Don Guill of Ohio, with his Amtrak F-40 diesel and a diesel-powered outline of N&W 4-8-4 #611, Ron Parish of Ohio brought his Chessie GP-35, John Buckwalter of Florida with his meticulous 2-6-0 steam locomotive. Jeff Thane of Strasburg, Colo., brought his Denver & Intermountain electric steeple cab, the American Heritage group of Greenville, IL came with their G-15, and the folks from Hillcrest Shops used the occasion to deliver a custom-built box car and ATT&NW's Davenport switcher, #27.

The railroad operated non-stop for three days and included opportunities for guests to run steam and diesel locomotives on the main line and upper loop in a unique "Rent An Engine" program. In the railway's "Stout Barn," various guest speakers conducted clinics on railroad construction and operation, and guests paid special attention to John Woods' and ATT&NW construction chief John Bishop's lectures on construction of the ATT&NW, from concept to construction. In one question and answer session, one guest asked John the obvious question: "How was this railroad paid for…?" John quickly answered "With American dollars..." and left it at that.

John Woods also spent much of the day mingling with guests, riding trains, answering questions about Woodsvalley Farm and assuring everyone who would listen that they were simply seeing the first phase of his grand plans for the ATT&NW. Passenger cars were on order and he wanted another steam locomotive. He laid out plans for a new residence that he and Judy planned for the area just above Panhandle Junction; complete with a spectacular view of the Meramec River and the Woodson K. Woods state conservation area…there would be a branch off the mainline into the basement of the house. He showed everyone the wyes at Woods landing and Ridge Road and said there would eventually be a single-track extension of the main line that would connect the two, with a station stop near the guest lodge. "It'll be a lot of cuts and fills and a big steel bridge...really neat..." he said with a twinkle in his eye.

Sadly, John's tragic death a year after the convention changed the course of future plans for the farm and the railroad. Those who attended the three-day event saw first-hand the satisfaction that John Woods got from sharing his life's dream with others.

The Woods Family, the Friends of the Railroad and the Trustees of the ATT&NW are committed to keeping John's dream going. We hope to have news of another gathering sometime in the future, and encourage fans of the Arborway, TT & Northwestern to watch these pages for any announcements. Many thanks go to all the volunteers that helped put on a very fun and safe convention. Photos can be seen at the 2007 progress photo page.

Friday, September 14th

Saturday, September 15th

Sunday, September 16th