The Back Mountain Railroad Club meets at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 474 Yalick Road in Dallas on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7:00PM. The club celebrates its two-year anniversary in January, 2017, having met originally on January 14, 2015 under the name of St. Paul’s Railroaders. Presently, there are over 30 active members ranging in age from 12 to 94, and the only prerequisite for joining the club is an interest in railroads and / or model railroading. The goal of the club is to introduce a new generation to the history of the industry which truly built this country and to the family-friendly hobby of model railroading.
Our members have a diverse background of railroading and model railroading knowledge and expertise. One member is a former locomotive engineer who owned a couple of first-generation diesel-electric locomotives which operated over a nearby Shortline Railroad. Another got his first close-up experience by riding in the cab of an electrically powered industrial switcher locomotive nearly 60 years ago at the age of 4.
There’s a retired electrical engineer who has designed and developed many of the child-friendly accessories which are so much a part of the Christmas season train layout which the club will have on display, once again, during the entire month of December at 415 Pro Hardware in Dallas. The club would really like to thank the management of 415 not only for giving the club this opportunity for some community exposure, but also the opportunity to provide the community with something fun from the pre-digital age, a simpler time when nearly every family had a ‘Lionel’ train running beneath their Christmas tree.
The members are pretty much evenly split between the different model railroad gauges in which they are interested: O, S, HO, N and G. And many have their own model railroad kingdoms in either their basement, garage or backyard. Another club member has been a volunteer at Steamtown National Historic Site ‘working’ in the back shop area where they repair, rehab and rebuild the resident steam locomotives. And others have joined to learn about the how to’s of model railroading from some of the resident experts. All-in-all it’s a very rounded group which has a lot of fun sharing the experience of real-life trains and model railroading. Still others have joined the club to learn about the history of the railroads that once operated throughout the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, as well as the railroad line which ran through the Back Mountain from Luzerne to Dallas to Noxen, and beyond, and the trolley line which served the Wilkes-Barre city dwellers with a means of reaching the cool summer breezes of Harvey’s Lake. The club is presently building a model of Pennsylvania’s Back Mountain depicting such things as the trestle which crossed Carverton Road in Trucksville and Raub’s Hotel which sat in the middle of Dallas, amongst other landmarks in a time-line ranging from the mid 1930’s through the mid 1940’s. This display was constructed as part of the celebration of Dallas Township’s Bicentennial in 2017.
The logo adopted by the club depicts the rich rail history of the Back Mountain. The inside is from a digitally reproduced photograph looking at the mountains that form the ‘rock cut’ on Rte. 309 from Orchard View Terrace in Dallas. Incorporated into this interior is the front end of a steam locomotive with “LVRR’ lettering on its number plate representing the Lehigh Valley Railroad whose Bowman’s Creek Branch ran through the area from Luzerne to Dallas, Noxen and beyond. Continuing with the Lehigh Valley theme, the overall logo is the shape of the Lehigh Valley Railroad’s diamond logo, employing the Lehigh Valley colors of Cornell red, black and white.