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  • Topic: Children's Trackless Train Ride Project For G Scale Kids Prgm.

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    • November 9, 2020 5:12 AM EST
      • E. Helena , Montana
         
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      Children's Trackless Train Ride Project For G Scale Kids Prgm.

       

      Trackless Train Ride For Children 

      52408762_1604752345796950_r.jpeg52408762_1604752379475146_r.jpeg52408762_1604752430712626_r.jpeg52408762_1604750851576385_r.jpeg52408762_1604750882684142_r.jpeg52408762_1604750935634636_r.jpegHello, I didn't know where else to post this on this site, so I hope you didn't mind me posting it here. For those of you who don't know me,
      My name is Kenneth Mathews and I am from E. Helena, Montana. For 31 years I have owned and operated an interactive, not-for-profit, children's model railroad and train safety program that over 6.7 million children have been through in that time. Kids are actually able to operate (not just view) various scales of model trains and accessories and learn about railroad safety in that time.
      I have never asked for money once in all that time but have had numerous donations of model trains, accessories and free prize giveaways from train companies and the public. Also, over all of these years, I have never charged a fee to any child or family and it didn't matter whether the train that they were operating under supervision had a high or low value, we just wanted them to have fun, learn about the hobby, enjoy various related activities and learn how to be safe around real trains.
      In addition to setting up large displays and train layouts, we had projects that children could build to learn about architecture, electronics, engineering, signal systems, train control systems, how to working together as a team to accomplish a goal and many other things. We also had prize giveaways with free tickets.
      We set these layouts up for kids at children's hospitals, children's homes, churches, museums, schools, fairs, state agencies and train shows across the west coast and northwest. I absorbed all the volunteers costs which included food and motels. I also had many other costs to incur like prizes, insurance, maintenance on the transportation vehicles and trains and upkeep of our train layouts during all that time. It was a lot to take on, however, I really love doing it and the kids absolutely love running the trains and accessories, no matter what age they are. This program was closed due to covid-19 and after my mother passed away a year ago, I decided to take some funds and order a trackless train ride from a lady who allegedly owned a train building business in Kimberly, Alabama. Part of the reason that I wanted to get this trackless train ride running was to help support the G and HO (85 % G) scale model railroad program as well as to give children something they could actually ride on. I wanted something special for children to be able to do on the west coast and in the northwest areas after the pandemic because I felt that kids deserved something special after such a horrifying event.
      I ordered a locomotive and four cars which were supposed to be new for $9000.00 and the lady who owned the company would build and deliver the train personally for an extra thousand dollars so she could see the expression on the people's face that had ordered it. The woman claimed to build these trains professionally but I found out too late this was not the case. I ordered and paid in full for the train in October of 2019 and it was supposed to be finished by the  December Christmas parade but she kept coming up with excuse after excuse and after I inquired many times, she ceased communication with me. I became very scared that she had scammed me out of my $9,000 that I had given her for the train, so I contacted Kimberly, Alabama Sheriff's Department for legitimate business verification. The sheriff's department claimed that they knew her and would do nothing further to help me. After getting into February and March of 2020, I tried contacting her back many times and even though she knew that the train was for disadvantaged children and community kids and families as a whole, she still refused to contact me because she was angry that I had called the sheriff. I managed to get back in touch with her eventually and I tried to get on her good side so she would finish the train and send it. She was actually supposed to deliver it as part of the deal. After she refused to deliver it, I paid YRC freight company $1,150 to pick it up at her house because of her refusal to deliver it like she had originally contracted with me to do. She canceled the truck on me three times and she told me that they couldn't get down her street which the sheriff agreed with. Months later she said If I would pay her an extra $150, which I did, she would have her employees take it to the Birmingham, Alabama YRC Freight dock which never happened..  Once again, for months she had a ton of excuses why it could never get there and time extended all the way into the summer of 2020. I contacted two separate attorneys at a cost of $300 each who wrote letters to her and told her that she had a limited amount of time to send the train which she ignored.
      Due to time constraints with the city of Helena, Montana, I begged and pleaded with her for months and months, with limited or no communicate, to please finish and get the train up here to Montana because I was trying to work with the City of Helena, Montana for over a year to run the train around Centennial Park trail and they wanted to see it. I don't even think that they believe that I have a train because of how long it took her. She said she loved kids so much that safety was the most important thing to her and all of her workers were supposed to be professionals. She had all kinds of excuses why she couldn't send it like, it was raining too much, she fell off of a scaffolding, she had to go to a ride conference in Florida, the town was flooded, her electrician wasn't available, family issues, etc, etc.
      She did eventually send us a SERIOUSLY trashed train that I had to pay $1,500 for transportation on a bill that was $3,500. This was about 3 months ago and the worst part about it was that she shorted me one passenger car and the train she sent me had slashed flat tires, bad paint, a tractor that didn't run that was full of rust and black widow spiders, no doors on the cars, bent axles on everything, no whistle, no bell, no interior lights, no strobe lights or anything else that I ordered for it.
      It had paint all over everything in the wrong places, improper seat belt application, rotten tires and wood, screws sticking out in dangerous places to the kids, excessively bad welding and the worst and most dangerous wiring job I've ever seen in my life. In addition it had unlevel cars, front to back. I have included photos of the previous junk she sent me52408762_1604751119887384_r.jpeg52408762_1604751205314028_r.jpegand it was a lot worse than what you're seeing in the photos. I just about took the train to the dump. It was that bad and that filthy and that dangerous, however, my attorney advised me that it would be cheaper to take what funds I had left and rebuild the train to the way I liked it than to pay a $5,000 retainer and spend six months to a year in Alabama and try to sue this woman who has the best attorneys in Alabama. She's supposed to be a country western singer and I guess when you have money like that, you can get away with anything. She had settled out of court with numerous lawsuits and assaults against the police and citizens in the past related to her trains, among other things. He said there would be no guarantee of winning, even though I was fully in the right and even if I did win, I would still lose all of my attorney fees, transportation and living fees because in a case like this they could not be recouped.
      I only had $6,000 to spend and I knew that I would have to spend nearly the same amount of money to rebuild the train all over again that it originally cost but I was stuck in the situation and really didn't have a choice unless I wanted to completely lose both the train and my money. So I took those funds and followed my attorney's advice to rebuild this train and the photos that you see above are how it turned out so far, although it is not finished yet. We also had to build fourth new car that was part of the original contract because she never sent it. I got some community people together to help with what they could to rebuild the cars and locomotive body which was rotting and falling apart from sitting in water and weather in Alabama and they were completely unusable and I personally redid all the wiring to code to avoid a fire that probably would harmed the public and the children on board. I also spent over 250 hours painting the train with upper respiratory problems and another 140 hours on other related projects like, replacing all the bottoms of the cars, any rotten wood, adding doors, replacing seats, adding handrails, adding roofs that were supposed to be included in the original contract that she didn't supply, rebuilding the locomotive body, leveling the cars, adding safety equipment and lights that were supposed to be included in the original purchase that she didn't supply, rewiring, replacing all the tires on the train, adding safety chains and seatbelts, adding new wood work where it was needed, fixing or replacing locomotive electronics, sanding and repainting the entire 45 oot train and dozens of other things. I had to reorder all of the parts that were supposed to be on it because she didn't supply any of them and quite frankly, I have now run out of funds to finish it. It is mostly finished but it cost a tremendous amount of money that I didn't expect over and above the 6,000 I had. In addition to the  $9,000 I gave her for the train and the $1,500 to ship it here (which it was supposed to cost $3,500 to ship it here) I paid an extra $150 to have her alleged employees take it to the Birmingham dock, because of her fear to drive on icy roads to deliver it, even though we had no snow last year. When the freight company heard my story, they lowered the bill to $1,500 and basically they got scammed by her to. I am trying to come up with the $6,000 needed to finish, insure, pay city park usage fees, buy and place a container for storage where it will be running and advertise. I currently have over $16,500  invested. Children that cannot afford to ride it will ride free and fees to ride will be affordable for everyone else, if it gets finished.
      We have to pay the $1,300 insurance so we can run it and we have to buy a container to put it in downtown to store it and prevent vandalism, if we can find a nice container at a reasonable price. We also have to pay Helena Parks and Recreation to use the 1 mile park path for the summer of 2021, plus we have many other small details that need to be finished, painted and added to complete it. We also will be taking this train to children's hospitals and homes wherever we can, so we will need funds to transport it there as well. The funds would have been there if I didn't need to rebuild the train because of her vindictiveness and scam. Without these funds, the train will never run and kids will never get to ride it.
      I invested a lot into the west coast communities over the years and I am now in desperate need of community help to finish this project, so kids can actually have something fun to do at the events we will take it to. It will also be a lot of fun at Centennial Park, Helena, Montana for years to come after the pandemic which all of us hope will end soon.
      Our children deserve to have something special outside together with other children after enduring covid-19 for so long.
      I figured $6,000 would be enough and I think it will be but any help would be appreciated to get us closer to the goal. You'd never believe how expensive it is to build one of these things and especially to rebuild one that you already paid for.
      It's really hard for me to ask for money and that is why I never did it but now I don't have a choice, if I want to complete the train and see it run with children on board.
      I will include photos in this post of what she sent us and what we have been doing to rebuild the train, as well as where it is at now.
      Please be aware that it is uncompleted.
       
      I do wish to thank the following parties for their partial product or service donations to help this project along; (this list does not include everyone)
      AJ  From Altoll Manufacturing (altollmfg.com) - Helena, Montana/Locomotive Body And Car Rebuild/Carpentry/Welding/Engineering
      Signs Now - Helena, Montana/Imagination Station Signs For Train And Trailer
      Capital Upholstery - Helena, Montana/Seat Upholstery 
      Home Depot - Helena, Montana/Paint/Supplies/Hardware 
      Lowe's - Helena, Montana Paint/Supplies/Hardware 
      Power Townsend Hardware, Helena, Montana/Paint/Supplies/Hardware 
      A Simpler Time - Morrisville, North Carolina/Bell
      Koffler Sales Company - Lake Zurich,  IL./Diamond Plate Products 
      Railway Productions - Indianapolis, IN/Railroad Signs
      Rock Hand Ace Hardware - Helena, Montana/Parts And Supplies 
      Trainz.com - Bueford, GA/Metal Signs
      Staples - Helena, Montana/Streamers/Flags/Lettering/Copies/Advertising 
      Hawkeye Intelligence - Birmingham, AL/Information Retrieval 
      YRC Freight - Overland Park, KS/Train Transportation 
      Simpson Strong Tie - Stockton, CA/Fence Supplies 
      Lapp Wagon Company - Ephrata, PA/Tires And Wheels
      Roundhouse Trackless Trains - Hartford, SD/Electronic Whistle And Sound Equipment/Advise
      Carpenter For Hire - Helena, Montana/Carpentry
      Tuff Torque Transmissions - Morristown, TN/Engineering And Design Advice 
      Mad Dog Burger/Crossing Signals
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

      The signage, electronics, sound and other equipment is still being worked on but only if funds become available.
      I do have to pay for some of the labor and expertise as well, it's not all free. I also have to pay for gasoline to run it and maintenance and insurance in the following years as mentioned above.
      We currently have a go fund me page setup, that will have the same information to help with the funding of this project. It can be accessed here,
       
      https://gf.me/u/y7zn6s
       
      Goid news! As of Wed. Nov 11, we are down to $5475.00 needed. Thanks to LSC members. Thank You!

      If you are able to help, rest assured, we don't take it for granted and honestly appreciate everything that everybody does. It won't be forgotten and children will get to enjoy it for years to come. I'm sure they will really appreciate it, as will my volunteers and I. 
      You can check out our model railroad program online by typing;
      Imagination Station Kids On Track/Photos into your internet browser and look for, modeltrainforum.com and here on largescalecentral.com to view photos of what our model railroad program has done over the years. We also have a You Tube channel under the same name with videos of our donated and owned model trains running among other videos.
      In addition, we have a music/video program also, which is also currently closed due to covid-19.
      This train ride was our avenue to help save our G & HO scale model railroad program which has been closed due to covid-19 financial strains, as well as give children and families a chance to actually ride on something train-related after covid-19.
      Thank you! Take care and all the best!
      Kenneth Mathews (owner) c/o 
      Imagination Station Kids On Track Model Railroad And Train Safety Program  (TM)
      Imagination Station Kids On Track Trackless Train Ride For Children 
      Imagination Station Kids Music/Video Program 

      A CHILD'S GATEWAY TO IMAGINATION!
       
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      This post was edited by Ken Mathews/Imagination Station Kids On Track at November 25, 2020 1:47 AM EST
    • November 9, 2020 7:55 PM EST

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      SNIP>>>>>>>>My name is Kenneth Mathews and I am from E. Helena, Montana. For 31 years I have owned and operated an interactive, not-for-profit, children's model railroad and train safety program that over 6.7 million children have been through in that time.

       

       

       

       

       

      Without quoting this I must say that is "HUGE" within itself!   Perhaps BD could give you a sector for Imagination Station?

       

       

       

      Very cool and thank you Ken for what you do!

    • November 9, 2020 8:05 PM EST
      • E. Helena , Montana
         
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      Thanks for your kindness and a great comment Rooster. 

      It's really appreciated!

      Ken

    • November 10, 2020 4:36 PM EST
      • Maryland, USA
         
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      I noticed that Ken has some videos of his G gauge layout...

       

       

    • November 11, 2020 10:30 AM EST
      • Not one of the WannaBe's,
         
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      Ken, with all you have shown your group doing for the kids and getting them involved in trains I will start the ball rolling and donate $ 25.00 to the cause but you'll have to PM me your info as I don't do online payments. Hopefully every little bit helps and if enough people on here can just send $5.00 to the cause as an early Xmas gift you'll get the little you need.

      Dave

    • November 11, 2020 11:18 AM EST
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      David Marconi,FOGCH said:

      Ken, with all you have shown your group doing for the kids and getting them involved in trains I will start the ball rolling and donate $ 25.00 to the cause but you'll have to PM me your info as I don't do online payments. Hopefully every little bit helps and if enough people on here can just send $5.00 to the cause as an early Xmas gift you'll get the little you need.

      Dave

      Yea, ditto.

      ____________________________________

      "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --Martin Luther King Jr

    • November 11, 2020 12:44 PM EST
      • E. Helena , Montana
         
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      David, 

      Appreciate that very much!

      PM sent earlier.

      Will keep everyone posted.

      Ken

    • November 11, 2020 1:27 PM EST
      • Maryland, USA
         
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      Ken, I just noticed your GoFundMe link.   <<-edited to make it more visible, thanks Ken B!

      Donation just sent.

       

       

      This post was edited by Cliff Jennings at November 11, 2020 8:06 PM EST
    • November 11, 2020 1:52 PM EST
      • E. Helena , Montana
         
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      Cliff,

      We really appreciate it! 

      Thank You!

      We have some volunteers showing up out of the blue today to help with a few wood related projects on rhe train also like the cutting out the red & white curved woodwork along the top of the car, kinda like on the G scale, LGB Disneyland Railroad car in this photo. Not sure what you call that?

      So the project is moving along.

      Let me know if you you need anything from us

      Thank you again!

      This post was edited by Ken Mathews/Imagination Station Kids On Track at November 11, 2020 3:08 PM EST
    • November 11, 2020 1:59 PM EST
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      You're very welcome, Ken.

      You impress me very much with your generous service. And David inspired me to support it.

      This post was edited by Cliff Jennings at November 11, 2020 4:15 PM EST
    • November 11, 2020 7:23 PM EST

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      Game on !

    • November 11, 2020 8:22 PM EST
      • E. Helena , Montana
         
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      It's fantastic!  Progress. Thanks Rooster and everyone!

      Ken

       

    • November 16, 2020 9:16 AM EST
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      Rooster said:

      Game on !

       

      Attaboy Anonymous!!  <- referring to the GFM page

      This post was edited by Cliff Jennings at November 16, 2020 9:17 AM EST
    • November 16, 2020 2:45 PM EST
      • E. Helena , Montana
         
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      Hey Rooster, everyone 

      Progress in motion!

      We have installed the lights and program signs on the locomotive, as well as the signs on the cars. We also installed commercial plastic underneath the bolster arms, or whatever you call them, to prevent the wood from being torn up underneath the cars, since clearances are quite close. We are currently painting the trim work which will be installed today along the top edge of each of the cars, as you can see in the photos. We have also installed some of the electronic items, however, they are not hooked up yet. The seats for the cars are still at the upholstery shop and should be installed in the next week, if the upholstery shop has time to finish them. Oh, and by the way, the locomotive front end that had the tie rod problem is fixed and put back together. I just don't have a photo of that yet.

       

      This post was edited by Ken Mathews/Imagination Station Kids On Track at November 25, 2020 7:54 AM EST
    • November 16, 2020 3:02 PM EST
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      ____________________________________

      "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --Martin Luther King Jr

    • November 16, 2020 3:31 PM EST
      • Not one of the WannaBe's,
         
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      Looking a whole lot better than they started out being. Nice work Ken.

    • November 24, 2020 6:16 AM EST
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      Sharp looking train set, the kids should love it. Maybe even be able to be the engineer.

    • November 24, 2020 4:02 PM EST
      • E. Helena , Montana
         
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      Your right David but the only problem we've run into now is that the transmission on the tractor, even though the tractor is a $3,500 garden tractor, is not adequate enough to last very long pulling this kind of weight. Now We're kind of stumped now and don't really know how to handle this. We are thinking that maybe a Kuboda transmission out of a diesel Kuboda garden tractor would work but I imagine they're very expensive. I'm going to do some checking today to see if we can get one and how expensive they will be and if it will actually solve the problem. After speaking to several trackless train company owners and Tuff Torq Transmission company who made the transmission in this tractor, we have been told that it will not last very long pulling this kind of weight, even being a garden tractor, especially being a hydrostatic transmission. I did not know all of this when I started. 

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