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