Model railroading is a most unusual hobby; there's something in it that will arouse almost any hobbyist's interest and it's that rare type of pastime that can be enjoyed either all by yourself or as a member of a group or club. If you've been involved in model railroading for a few years you've probably weighed the advantages of having your own layout (assuming, of course, that you have the room to even consider the idea) against those of joining one of the organized clubs and made your own decisions. Thousands of newcomers to our hobby, however, have yet to decide. There are dozens of reasons, and several advantages, to joining a club. Some just don't have the space for a layout of their own. The club layout gives them a place to operate their equipment and display their structures as well as serving as excellent instruction on how to build a model railroad for the day when they'll have the space of their own. Other club members simply want to share their hobby hours with others who will appreciate their efforts and provide at least a degree of comradeship. Most of the larger clubs offer something for just about everybody from the "organizer" to the operations expert to the guy who only likes to build one type of car or structure. Some of the smaller clubs are really just groups of friends and neighbors who have drifted together to help build a layout at one or more of their "members" homes.
If the thought of joining a club is even slightly interesting to you we'd recommend you contact your local hobby dealer to find out if there is one nearby. If he cannot help you can consider a membership in the National Model Railroad Association ($5.00 from Box 1328, Station C, Canton, Ohio 44708). The NMRA provides an annual listing of all of the clubs that are affiliated with it (about 90% of all the known clubs in the U.S. and Canada) along with monthly bulletins of the Association's happenings and illustrated articles on model railroading. A full set of standards on track, wiring, and other details as well as a thick book of Data Sheets on all aspects of real and model railroading are included - it's a bargain even if you don't ever want to join one of the local clubs. The NMRA Yearbook will give you the names and addresses of all the individual members in your area as well as the clubs - you may just find a friend and start your own two-man club... We visited a couple of clubs in the Chicago area while preparing the editorial content for this issue of 1001 New Model Railroad Ideas. Since one; the Salt Creek Society of Model Engineers, 103 E. First St., Elmhurst, Ill. 60126, was more-or-Iess typical of similar clubs in all of the major cities, we thought their story might be of interest to those of you considering a club. The other; the Elmhurst Model Railroad Club, 100 So. York Building, Room 110 B, Elmhurst, Ill. 60126, is virtually brand new with a rather unusual format; one that anyone starting a new club should consider.
The Salt Creek Club started operations in 1956 with thirty members building a layout that was featured on both local and national model railroad club tours. Like many of the established clubs the Salt Creek crew were forced to vacate their first layout site. In 1963 the present layout was started using a few of the structures and scenes from the original layout. The new layout has over 1000 feet of track, four mainline "cabs" for control operators, and both mountain and city settings as well as a complete trolley line. The layout was part of an NBC "Special" in 1969. After fifteen years, four of the clubs original members are still active. All of the photos on these pages are views of what the group has been able to accomplish with full participation of all of its over 30 members. Special nights of the month are set aside for operation, maintenance, and for visitors.
The Elmhurst Model Railroad Club has been operating on a rather unusual basis for any club and it has more than survived to brag about its first anniversary. At present there are over 115 members who have paid their five dollars annual dues. A direct quote from the club's Constitution helps to explain its success in getting new members: "The purpose of this club shall be to encourage friendship and to promote the hobby of model railroading. As a secondary purpose (italics ours) the club shall encourage the building and operating of layouts in many or any gauge for members and exhibition . . . " No one has any assigned maintenance or work tasks and yet, somehow, a fantastic amount of work has been completed with TWO model layouts in full operation and nearly completely sceniced (one is N scale and the other HO scale) in less than two year's time. With that many members there always seems to be someone that shows up ready to do the work, or contribute the tools or materials that are needed - and, it is not always the same select few who do all the work. It's the most workable plan of organization we've seen yet from any type of hobby club and it's a delight to see it work so well.
The Elmhurst group includes a number of model railroaders with literally decades of experience in the hobby as well as with memberships with other clubs all across the country. Their experience prompted them to establish a set of layout specifications that might well serve as at least a general model for any club. The benchwork for their N scale layout is shown give you the in this issue's chapter on "Bench of their experience in layout work." We've reprinted the entire list of specifications to advantage "exhibit" same construction. With the exception of a few of the items that pertain to the layout, these nature of such a large club's do nicely for specifications would anyone with space for a layout this large.
ELMHURST MODEL RAILROAD CLUB GENERAL LAYOUT SPECIFICATIONS FOR HO ONLY
1. AN ISLAND LAYOUT WITH A TRAFFIC FLOW FOR VISITORS AROUND THE LAYOUT.
2. AVOID OR KEEP TO A MINIMUM POP-UPS WHEN POP UPS ARE NECESSARY TO MAKE THEM BIG ENOUGH TO WORK IN.
3 . USE L GIRDER CONSTRUCTION, MINIMUM 4" LUMBER SPANS OF SUPPORT NOT TO EXCEED 10 FEET. (8 FT. IDEAL) CROSS STRINGERS EVERY 2 FT. MINIMUM 4" WIDTH LUMBER.
4. ALL BENCHWORK SHALL BE ASSEMBLED WITH SCREWS ADN BOLTS. NO NAILS.
5. VISITORS AISLES SHALL BE NO LESS THAN 3 FT. EXCEPT FOR POSTS OR SHORT SPANS OF A FOOT OR SO, BUT IN NO CASE LESS THAN 2 FT. DEAD END, AISLES SHOULD BE 5 FT. OR MORE.
6. MAINLINE TRACK SHALL HAVE A MINIMUM RADIUS OF 36" AND A MINIMUM OF NO. 6 SWITCHES, WHERE ROOM PERMITS NO. 8 SWITCHES SHOULD BE USED.
7. THE TRACK BOARD SHALL CONSIST OF 3/4" PLYWOOD OR FLAKEBOARD, WITH A CELOTEX OR HOMOSOTE BOARD ON TOP. TRACK BOARDS SHALL BE JOINED WITH A BOARD NO LESS THAN 6" LONG. THE USE OF SHORT TRACK BOARDS SHALL BE AVOIDED.
8. ALL HIGH VOLTAGE WIRES SHALL BE IN CONDUIT. ALL LOW VOLTAGE SHALL BE RUN THROUGH HOOKS NEATLY ALONG BENCH WORK FOR PROTECTION.
9. TRACK FEEDER WIRES SHALL BE A MINIMUM OF NO. 16 WIRE, WITH NO. 14 BEING IDEAL. ALL TRACK SHALL HAVE AT LEAST 2 FEEDER WIRES.
10. NO TRACK SHOULD BE MORE THAN 2 FT. FROM THE EDGE OF THE LAYOUG. SWITCHES AND OTHER TROUBLE SPOTS SHOULD BE CLOSER IF POSSIBLE.
11. IN THE CENTER OF ALL "S" CURVES ONE FT. OF STRAIGHT TRACK. 12. USE 2 1/4" CENTERS ON ALL MAIN LINE TRACK. 13. TRACK GRADE SHALL BE 1% ON MAIN LINE. 1 1/2% MAXIMUM. 14. ALL BENCHWORK SHALL BE LEVEL WITHIN 1/8" FROM ZERO REFERENCE POINT.
15. A COMMON RAIL ELECTRICAL SYSTEM SHALL BE USED ON THE LAYOUT, USING TWO POWER SUPPLIES FOR REVERSING POLARITY.
16. THE LAYOUT SHALL PROVIDE SPACE FOR PASSENGER AND FREIGHT YARDS, INDUSTRIAL SECTIONS, CITIES AND MOUNTAINS. IN ADDITION TO MAINLINE TRACK THERE SHALL BE NARROW GAUGE AND DUAL GAGUE, TROLLEY AND INTERURBAN LINES. ANY ITEM MAY BE OMITTED FOR LACK FO INTEREST.
17. THE CAB CONTROL PANELS SHALL USE THE PRIORITY SYSTEM. EACH OPERATOR WILL HAVE SWITCHES TO CONTROL HIS OPERATING BLOCKS.
19. ALL PLASTER SHALL HAVE COLORING MIXED IN THE PLASTER.
20. PLASTER SHOULD NOT FILL THE SIDES OF THE ROAD BED BUT LEAVE A DRAINAGE DITCH.
21. TRACK BALLAST SHOULD BE DIFFERENT COLORS IN DIFFERENT AREAS.
22. INDIVIDUAL LAID TIES AND ROAD BED IS ACCEPTABLE. TRU-SCALE MILLED ROAD BED WITH TIES IS UN-ACCEPTABLE. LAMBERT OR SIMILAR TRACK LAID ON PLAIN ROAD BED IS ACCEPTABLE.
23. CONTOUR BOARD SHALL BE USED AROUND THE LAYOUT EDGES. IT SHALL BE SUPPORTED TOP AND BOTTOM.
24. THREE TYPES OF MASTER SWITCHES SHALL BE PROVIDED ON HIGH VOLTAGE.
25. TRANSFORMERS AND OTHER HIGH VOLTAGE ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT SHALL BE MOUNTED IN METAL BOXES.
26. ALL LOW VOLTAGE CIRCUITS SHALL HAVE FUSES OR CIRCUIT BREAKERS.
27. EASEMENTS SHALL BE USED ON ALL CURVES.
HO-TROLLEY AND INTERURBAN SPECIFICATIONS
1. TROLLEY SHALL BE DEFINED AS CITY TROLLEY AND INTERURBAN.
A. INTERURBAN SHOULD HAVE 22" MINIMUM RADIUS.
B. ONE RAIL AND THE OVERHEAD SHALL BE COMMON.
C. MINIMUM NO. 6 SWITCHES ON MAINLINE. NO. 4 MINIMUM IN THE YARDS.
D. ALL RAILS SHOULD BE IN GOOD OPERATION BEFORE INSTALLING OVERHEAD WIRE.
E. RAILS SHALL BE INSULATED FROM EACH OTHER SO THAT TWO RAIL OPERATION IS POSSIBLE.
A. TROLLEY SHOULD HAVE 9" MINIMUM RADIUS.
B. ONE RAIL AND THE OVERHEAD SHALL BE COMMON.
C. SWITCHES ON PAVED STREETS SHALL BE KEPT TO A MINIMUM.
D. ALL RAILS SHOLD BE IN GOOD OPERATION BEFORE INSTALLING OVERHEAD WIRE.
E. RAILS SHOULD BE INSULTED FROM EACH OTHER SO THAT TWO RAIL OPERATION IS POSSIBLE.