The On30" News
Edited by and Courtesy of Jeff Saxton

Back in the early 1980's Jeff edited a newsletter for the then almost unheard of scale/gauge of On30. Through Jeff's generosity I am very proud to present the back issues of the On30" News.

I've scanned the original pages and put them into .pdf files for each issue. There are a total of sixteen issues. To download the issue you want just click on its' cover. I've also indicated the approximate size of each file. Remember, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these files.

On30" News: A brief history
by Jeff Saxton

'The On30" News' was begun late one night in June of 1982. I was working third shift on the weekends in a QA/Chem lab, and while I had to physically be at work, there was only about two hour's worth of actual work to be done each night. I even built some models there, namely, my old #9 Whitcomb switcher.

I had been sending snail mail letters around to various new-found friends in the On30" world, namely Tom Houle, the late Dick Andrews, Gordon North, and Paul Stapleton (in the UK). I had noted privately that many of my letters to each person were amalgams of what everyone else was saying, with me as the clearinghouse -- and many contained much the same info ... so why not write it as a newsletter, and see if we could expand our reach. Then and there, 'The On30" News' was born, even the now seemingly tacky title!

There was an office typewriter just sitting there begging to be used, so the first issue fell out of the machine that weekend -- I even did that first Porter 2-8-0 plan at work. The office copier provided the initial 30 issues, about seven of which were mailed out on the following Monday. I also mailed the Gazette and RMC asking them to put a blurb in their columns advising them of the new venture. The Gazette ran the notice in the Nov/Dec 1982 issue.

My local buddy Mike Perkins and I attended the Narrow Gauge Convention in Denver that Fall, and there we promoted the News heavily with taped-up notices about an On30" meeting to be held in our hotel room late on Friday night. As I recall, about 12 to 15 people attended, there was beer, and the guy across the hall (the late Mike Pearsall) called the hotel staff to shut us down around 1:30 in the morning! I remember Gordon North was there, and Moe Mechling, and four English friends ... but other than those six (and Mike and I), I can't remember who else was present. At the convention proper, we handed out about 130 issues of the News to interested attendees -- and from there we grew.

When I moved to the San Diego area in the late Fall of 1982, the Newsletter followed, and I bought a cheap electric typewriter to produce it, using a local copy shop for the actual printing. We really grew then, and when I moved back to St. Louis to work at Railcraft, we were at about 90 to 100 members.

Over the next 18 months I kept it up, but the increasing demands on my time meant the News suffered, and by the Winter of 1984/85 is was nearly defunct. There was a brief resurgence in 1985 when I met the Manchester Mini-Bunch (Steve Fisher, Gary Cerrone, Jim Barcus, et al.); but by then I was engaged .. and well, you know how that goes.

When the News ended, we were at roughly 175 members, but of those 175, I could only readily identify about 30 folks actually modeling in On30". Now of course, any similar newsletter would likely be mailed to a thousand or more folks!

Several interesting trivia bits for those who care:

Looking back 24 years, the News seems somewhat tacky to me, but then, I wasn't even 21 yet when I started doing it. Actually, I'm surprised I had the balls to do it at all, seeing how shy I was as a kid!

If anyone has any further questions, feel free to write ... Jeff Saxton

The On30" News Archive
vol.1 no.1 vol.1 no.2 vol.1 no.3
Volume 1 Number 1
Volume 1 Number 2
2.5 MB
Volume 1 Number 3
2.8 MB
vol.1 no.4 vol.1 no.5 vol.1 no.6
Volume 1 Number 4
3.3 MB
Volume 1 Number 5
2.6 MB
Volume 1 Number 6
2.6 MB
vol.1 no.7 vol.1 no.8 vol.1 no.9
Volume 1 Number 7
5.2 MB
Volume 1 Number 8
6.6 MB
Volume 1 Number 9
5.2 MB
vol.2 no.1 vol.2 no.1 vol.2 no.2
Volume 2 Number 1
5.8 MB
Volume 2 Number 1 Page 6
465 KB
Volume 2 Number 2
6.8 MB
vol.2 no.3 vol.2 no.4 vol.2 no.5
Volume 2 Number 3
6 MB
Volume 2 Number 4
6.5 MB
Volume 2 Number 5
6.2 MB
vol.2 no.6 vol.3 no.1a vol.3 no.1b
Volume 2 Number 6
6.5 MB
Volume 3 Number 1 Part 1
4.6 MB
Volume 3 Number 1 Part 2
5.3 MB

Note 1: Volume 2, Number 1 was missing page 6. Page six is now downloadable as a seperate page. Its' link is right next to the link for Volume 2, Number 1.

Note 2: The Volume 3, Number 1 issue is in two parts due to the size of the file.

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This page updated January 27, 2008
Webpage © Larry Rickert
On30" News: Title and contents © Jeff Saxton