Prince William Model Railroad Club

April 29th, 2017


Pictures by Nigel Phillips (NP) and three by Marshall Abrams (MDA)

The Prince William County Model Railroad Club Layout Tour
Brian W. Sheron, MMR

  On Saturday, April 29th, Marshall Abrams, the Division’s Senior Assistant Superintendent and Potomac Flyer editor, and I headed down to Quantico to visit the Prince William County Model Railroad Club.  I had not been down that way in a while, and forgot how big our Division is! The club is located in the VRE train station that is in the town of Quantico, just inside the Quantico Marine Corp. base. To get to the train station, you must enter the base through the north gate reachable off Exit 150 on I-95.  You will stop at a checkpoint and all people in the vehicle have to show identification (driver’s license works). Upon receiving approval to proceed, we drove to the town of Quantico, parked at the VRE station, and proceeded to the layout, which is housed in a room on the south end of the station. Entering the layout, we received a warm welcome from Bill Sydow, the club president, and several of the members that were there operating trains. I would estimate that the layout room was about about 30’ x 30’ and consisted of a folded dog bone track plan with various passing and industrial sidings. The layout uses Digitrax DCC.

Bill explained that the club’s railroad is called the PD&Q, which is the Potomac, Dominion, and Quantico Railroad, a fictional railroad that serves the Quantico area. During our visit, they were running both steam and some early generation RS diesels. However, I was told that the members could run any engines that they wanted to. The scenery varied around the layout and included a waterfront dock area, some industrial sidings, and some trackage that went through hilly rural areas.

Bill explained that they have recently been focusing on some overdue maintenance, but are now ready to get back into operations.

The club has served the Northern VA area for over 25 years, and was created with the primary purpose of sharing the hobby of Model Railroading with the public.

The club started as a modular club and still does 10-12 modular shows annually throughout the county and at train shows in the Washington DC and Baltimore area.  In 2005, the PWMRC began construction on its permanent layout in the VRE Train Station in the Village of Quantico.

In addition to the modular shows, the club hosts an open house at its Quantico layout on the first Saturday of every month, on the Marine Corps Birthday, and on the first three Saturdays of December. 

The club is always looking for new members, whether they are seasoned veterans or brand new to the hobby. They have a relaxed atmosphere and encourage members to run the equipment and railroads that interest them.  The club is proud of its Junior Member program which introduces the hobby to boys and girls between the ages of 8-17. The club also hosts clinics and operations sessions. Their meetings and events are usually open to visitors and potential new members, and they encourage everyone to come out and meet them. For more information you can contact the President, Bill Sydow at

Marshall and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this well-done club layout. If you missed the opportunity to see it last Saturday, I strongly urge you to take advantage of their open house on the first Saturday of each month and stop by for a visit.