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This page features information on Operating Groups open to our Division members.  Information on each group is available by clicking on the name below.  

The preferred method of contact with each group is by the e-mail address provided, however a phone number is provided if e-mail proves unsatisfactory.  Please respect any restrictions the contacts may apply to calling times.



Operating Session Etiquette


Operate Gently — Prototype railroad employees understand that if shipped merchandise is damaged, the shipper will find some other way of shipping it.  As model operators we should behave like our prototype brethren.  For example, when coupling cars, use the amount of force you would use to kiss a loved one, not the amount you’d use to drive in a nail.  Your hosts will appreciate not having to replace couplers and draft gear you didn’t knock off their cars.

Be Responsible — The Digitrax throttle uses a 9-volt battery.  While you can insert that battery in any of four different positions, only one makes the throttle work.  (Match the plus sign on the battery with the plus sign inside the case.)  Some throttle owners flip the battery side-for-side (so that the plus terminal of the battery contacts the minus terminal of throttle) for storage without discharging the battery.  Note, however, that if you flip the battery end-for-end, its terminals come in contact with the solid metal spring, and the battery starts discharging.

One guest operator did this and didn’t realize it until he’d destroyed the rechargeable battery inside the host’s throttle.  Puzzling, as said battery became about as hot as the surface of the sun.  Anyhow, the guest had destroyed a rechargeable 9-volt battery, list price around $10, and never offered to pay for it.  Even more puzzling.

Check Your Pockets — When I was in Army ROTC, when we came off the firing range, each cadet would face an officer and state, “No brass, no ammo, sir.”  The Army didn’t want us souvenir hunting on the range.  When I’m leaving a session, I repeat these words and check my pockets.  You create extra trouble for your hosts if you take home their car cards – re-creation is often a troublesome process.

Handling Two-Part Car Cards — Some railroads run with two-part car cards.  The car card itself is really a pocket, with car information, and a waybill fits into the pocket.  If you’re operating on a railroad which has these, generally you’re not supposed to remove the waybill from the car card.  (Sometimes, certain positions may be exceptions to this.)  If you’re not sure, check with your host first.  I remember seeing a host at a loss for words when a guest operator approached him with a handful of waybills he’d just removed from his car cards.

Nothing on the Layout, Please —(A bad behavior I engage in but don't approve of!)   Our host had just installed static grass on the railroad and had discovered that car cards leaned on the cars to be picked up ruined his work.

Don't Pick the Cars Up to Uncouple, Please — If the models on the railroad are finely detailed, your host may prefer that you use magnets or picks to uncouple them rather than picking them up and thus damaging the details.

Summary — Our hosts have spent tens of thousands of dollars to put their railroads together, and in an act of enormous generosity, have invited us to use them.  We should be well-behaved guests.

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The Anachronistic Era Operating Group

  We have 6 layouts in Montgomery County - all HO; 1 is B&O, 1 Long Island RR, and 1 Providence & Worchester; the other three are freelance. In DC, there is an O scale freelance layout. All layouts are freight operations oriented with car forwarding, etc. There are almost no passenger operations, only locals and no name “varnish.” Time eras range from transition era to second generation diesels. Informality and relaxed operation prevail. No fast clock or TT operations. Attendance averages 6 or 7 members per meeting. Operations usually commence at 7:45 pm and conclude at 9:30 pm. Refreshments and bull session follows until 10:15 to 10:30. The “core” members have been together over 30 years.

Contact Name: Bill Demas
Contact E-Mail: wsdemas@verizon.net
Contact Telephone: 301-460-0741
Meeting Day: Every Tuesday Evening
Meeting Time: 7:30PM to 10:30 PM
Open for New Members: Not at present
Open for Visitors: Yes – no more than 2 per session
Open for Guest Operators: Yes – Not more than 2 per session
Number of Operating Layouts: Seven (6 HO, 1 O), including,
Marshall Abrams — Abrams Railroad Empire
Tom Brodrick — Providence and Worcester
Ken Nesper — Potomac & Patuxent Railroad

Brian Sheron — Long Island Rail Road  Port Jefferson Branch
Bill Demas — Westmoreland RR
Gil Fuchs   Haifa and Jerusalem Railroad (Marklin HO)
Operating Methods: Computer generator switchlists/dispatching/car cards
DCC control 



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The Chesapeake Trainmasters Club

Meeting in Prince Georges, Charles and Calvert counties in Maryland. All five layouts are freelance railroads operating in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. All layouts involve freight operations using different systems for car forwarding and scheduled passenger operations. Time eras range from the 1920s to second generation diesels. Informality and relaxed operation prevail. Fast clock and timetables are in use on all layouts to varying degrees. Attendance averages 8 or 9 members per meeting. Operations usually commence at 7:00 pm and conclude at 9:30 pm. Refreshments and bull session follows until 10:00. The core members have been together over 40 years.

Contact Name: Charlie Kilbourne
Contact E-Mail: CRK14706@aol.com
Contact Telephone: 301-627-3741
Web Site: http://ctc66.weebly.com/
Meeting Day: Every Tuesday evening
Meeting Time: 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Open for New Members: Limited – e-mail above for more information
Open for Visitors: Yes &ndah; not more than 1 per session
Open for Guest Operators: Limited – e-mail above for more information
Number of Layouts: Five, including
Dale Latham — Piedmont Southern
Bob Reid — Allegheny and Shenandoah
Operating Methods: Timetable/switchlists/dispatching/car cards
DC and DCC control (varies by layout)

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Delmarva Model RR Club

We are primarily a B&O Railroad with plenty of interesting interchange. We have two main yards Parkersburg WV to Chillicote OH.  Both are Division Point Yards. Both are fed from staging yards.

Time period in the early 70's with some modelers license used. Trains are scheduled from mid 60's time tables.   We are close to 40% signaled. We use JMRI panel for dispatcher with control of turnouts.

Club web site        Operations on the Delmarva Model Railroad Club HO Layout
       HO Scale Main Page        Club Yahoo Group



Contact Name: Bill Deeter
Contact E-Mail: Dodgede@cs.com
Contact Telephone: 302-856-9250 or 410-723-1709
Meeting Day: Monthly, we operate the 3rd Sunday of the month from March to November.
Meeting Time: 13:00 to 17:00
Open for New Members: Yes
Open for Visitors: Yes
Open for Guest Operators: Yes
Number of Operating Layouts: One, the Delmarva Model RR Club,103 E State Street,Delmar, DE 19940
Operating Methods: Digitrax control and also for occupancy detection and signaling (duplux and regular wireless throttles)
Use FRS radios and phones between yards and dispatch.

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Pete & Jane Clarke's East Broad Top

Pete & Jane Clarke model the East Broad Top railroad in HOn3, the year is 1926. The layout follows actual EBT practices except that here the iron furnace has been re-opened. This makes the operations much more interesting and varied. The railroad is featured in Great Model Railroads, 2016.
Email to get a copy of the schedule and to get added to the mailing list.
Click here to tour the model railroad.      Click here for the prototype railroad.
Click here for Friends of the East Broad Top.

Contact Name: Pete Clarke
Contact E-Mail: ebtmx5@aol.com
Contact Telephone: (301)253-4913
Meeting Day: Monthly, varies, usually Saturday or Sunday
Meeting Time: 12:30 to 4:30 PM
Open for New Members: Yes
Open for Visitors: Yes
Open for Guest Operators: Yes
Number of Operating Layouts: One – Pete & Jane Clarke's East Broad Top
Operating Methods: Time table, train order, car cards. Digitrax control.
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  Mat Thompson's Group

Informal group of operators who share common interest in prototype operations. Contact person maintains mailing list and selects monthly dates - hosts volunteer for dates and invite operators for sessions on their layouts. Tone is informal but operations are sophisticated. Group has been meeting since September 2007 in Maryland and Northern Virginia.

Contact Name: Mat Thompson
Contact E-Mail: ocrr@comcast.net
Contact Telephone: 703 743-1895
Meeting Day: >One Saturday monthly
Meeting Time: 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Open for New Members: By Invitation
Open for Visitors: By Invitation
Open for Guest Operators: By Invitation
Number of Operating Layouts: Varies
Operating Methods: Timetable and Train Order/Car Cards and Waybills

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Nickel City Line Operating Group

The Nickel City Line operating group meets six times per year. Sessions are usually Sundays. The layout is located in Dumfries, Virginia. The layout is free-lanced and situated in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania. Time period is modern day (1990s to 2000). Operations include freight, coal, local freight, passenger and commuter service. Operation sessions work a 3:1 or 2:1 fastclock. The layout is powered by Digitrax. 10 operators per session maximum. Operations commence promptly at 11:00am or 1:00pm depending on the session. Refreshements are served.
General information can be obtained at: http://nclrr.potomac-nmra.org/. Click here for the Operations Page.
Contact Name: Bob Rodriguez
Contact E-Mail nclrr@comcast.net
Contact Telephone: 703.680.2908
Meeting Day: Six times per year
Meeting Time: 11:00am to 3:00pm or 1:00pm to 5:00pm<
Open for New Members: Limited – four openings
Open for Visitors: Yes – No more than two per session
Open for Guest Operators: Yes – Not more than two per session
Number of Operating Layouts: One (HO)— Bob Rodriguez Nickel City Line Railroad
Operating Methods: Computer generated switchlists, CAD dispatching; CAD Yardmaster.



SMORE - Southern Maryland Operating Railroad Engineers' Group

Monthly meeting on Bob Reid's Allegheny and Shenandoah. Format is usually lunch at Roy Rodgers (14000 H.G. Truman Road, Solomons Island, MD 20688, dutch treat) followed by the session.  Layout is freelanced, operating in Virginia and West Virginia, and involves freight operations using car cards for car forwarding.  Scheduled passenger operations are included. Time era is the 1920s. Near-prototype operations prevail.  Fast clock and timetables are in use. Attendance averages 5 or 7 members per meeting.  Operations usually commence at 12:00 pm and conclude around 4:00 pm.  Refreshments, Show and Tell, and Bull Session follow until around 5:00.  The “core” members have been together over 4 years.

Contact Name: Bob Reid
Contact E-Mail: rbobreid@gmail.com
Contact Telephone: 410-326-2659
Meeting Day: Second Thursday of most months
Meeting Time: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM (normally)
Open for New Members: Yes<
Open for Visitors: Yes
Open for Guest Operators: Yes
Number of Operating Layouts: One – Bob Reid's Allegheny and Shenandoah
Operating Methods: Timetable & Train Orders/Car Cards, Digitrax radio control 



This page was last modified on 18 September 2019 10:29am