The San Juan & Tellurton Railroad Shelly Levy

12/18/08

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  Sheldon L. "Shelly" Levy (1925- )

Shelly Levy was born in 1925 and has always been interested in technology and how things work.  He has engineering and mathematics degrees and retired in 1990 from work in research, development and engineering.  He has an inventive nature with two patents in solar power to his credit. 

Shelly's involvement in model railroading goes back to 1954 when he and his wife, Ginny, moved to Kansas City.  Shortly after moving, they met and developed a lifelong friendship with Don and Sandy Brown.  Shelly got started in model railroading when Ginny, assisted by Don Brown, selected an HO-gauge Varney 10-wheeler steam locomotive (called the Casey Jones) as a Christmas gift in 1956. 

After receiving the engine, Shelly constructed a 12' x 4.5' HO layout with 100 feet of hand-laid steel rail.  The railroad included 13 turnouts, a turntable and a four-track yard.  The original layout was largely without scenery and was used for operating sessions by Shelly and his kids.   As his children grew up and moved away from home, the layout fell into dormancy.  In 1991, Eric, Shelly's four year old grandson said "Grampy, can you make the trains go?"  Shelly dusted off the layout and was running HO equipment once again.

Although Shelly had spent many hours on his original layout, he never considered himself to be a "serious" model railroader.  This changed with the confluence of events which led to the creation of the San Juan and Tellurton from the legacies of Don Brown and Jeff Dutton.  With his retirement, Shelly finally had the time and opportunity to delve deeply into the hobby and expand his modeling skill base.  The excellent learning tool that Jeff Dutton's TC&W layout provided allowed him expand his knowledge in those areas in which his original HO layout was lacking.   The SJ&T has nearly doubled in size from Jeff Dutton's original TC&W layout since it was acquired in 1998.

Shelly is assisted on the artistic side of the SJ&T by his wife of sixty years, Virginia (Ginny), who is an accomplished artist.  Their many vacations to Colorado together have helped to ensure the continuing verisimilitude of the SJ&T.   Shelly and Ginny live in Lenexa, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City.  They have three sons (Peter, Ken and Brad), two daughters (Mindy and Missy) and two grandchildren (Eric and Elise).

Sheldon L. "Shelly" Levy (532 kb)

Current SJ&T Owner/Operator, Shelly Levy, working on the expanded Westcliffe area of the layout.
   

Sheldon L. "Shelly" Levy (805 kb)

Shelly working on one of those hard-to-reach areas.
   

Sheldon L. "Shelly" Levy with daughter Missy aboard the AJAX (987 kb)

Shelly with daughter Missy doing research on yard operations, British-style, November 2006.  Photo was taken during excursion aboard the Ajax, a 0-4-0 saddle-tank steam engine.  This locomotive, built by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorne is maintained and operated at The Historic Royal Chatham Dockyard in Chatham, Kent, England.  It is representative of the small yard engines used to move materials around during the later years of the Dockyard's 400-year history as a working shipyard. Click here to see a video of the Ajax in action.
   

Click on the images above to see high resolution versions of each.

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