WHO WE ARE:
We are a dedicated group of model railroaders from the greater Birmingham metropolitan area who attempt to promote the hobby of model railroading. We are incorporated in the state of Alabama and are recognized by the federal government as a section 501(c)(3) organization, a charitable non-profit organization.
Our main goal is to establish a permanent location for an operating HO scale model railroad in the greater Birmingham metropolitan area. Our other goals include promoting the hobby of model railroading, promoting fellowship among all model railroaders and providing information to all model railroaders. We promote the hobby
by displaying and operating our HO scale model railroad layout; sponsoring model railroad trade shows; displaying exhibits; having tours of private model railroad layouts and having clinics at our meetings.
WHAT WE DO:
We promote the hobby of model railroading by displaying and operating our 16’ by 34’ HO scale model railroad layout about 5 times a year at various places within a 150 mile radius of Birmingham. We were at the National Model Railroad Association in Birmingham in 1988. We have had our layout in Albertville, Bessemer, Gadsden, Haleyville, Huntsville, Irondale, Leeds, Montgomery, Oxford and Tuscaloosa in Alabama and in Meridian in Mississippi. We were at the Festival of Trees and the Cerebral Palsy Telethon in Birmingham for many years. We have been invited to cities as far away as Chattanooga, Tennessee and Mobile, Alabama. Perhaps, some day we will be able to go to shows that far away.
WHAT WE DO AT SHOWS THAT ARE OUT OF TOWN:
When we have an out of town show, we each travel individually to the place where the show is to be held and set up our layout, which usually takes 2-3 hours to set up. Some members will spend the night before the day of the show near where the show will be held. We, then, operate our trains for the duration of the show and afterwards pack our things back in our vehicles. Some members stay overnight after the show, while other members return home immediately after the show.
OUR PORTABLE HO SCALE LAYOUT:
Our portable HO scale layout is 16’ by 34’. We do not model any specific era or area, so every member can run what they wish, however most of the scenery is 1950’s to present. The 1950’s was a transition period, when steam and diesel equipment was in use. As long as it is HO scale prototypical equipment, it will be acceptable. We have 3 mainlines and a large yard, which takes up the majority of one of the 34’ sides of the layout. We can operate 3 trains on continuous loops, with other trains doing yard functions. We use Aristocraft Train Engineer radio control throttles, which send a signal to transformers, which control the mainline tracks. The yard functions are performed with regular transformers.
OUR OPERATION SCHEDULE:
We use a schedule to operate the 3 mainlines, so that every member has an equal chance to operate their trains. We try to maintain this as rigidly as possible, so that every 15 minutes another train will replace a train that is running on the mainlines. A train normally gets to run for 45 minutes, then enters a yard. There is limited space on the layout. All of us can not place all of our equipment on the layout at the same time. When a member pulls his train into a yard, after his run time, he should take his train off of the layout. This will create space for other member’s trains. We schedule trains to operate different directions, so that most of the times trains will be passing instead of running side by side. A sample schedule is shown below:
TRAIN COMES ON RUNNING TRACK & DIRECTION TRAIN COMES OFF
TRACK AT TIME TIME TRACK AT TIME
Y5 6:45 7:00-7:45 GREEN RIGHT Y1 8:15
Y6 7:00 7:15-8:00 BLUE LEFT Y2 8:30
Y7 7:15 7:30-8:15 RED RIGHT Y3 8:45
WHEN FACING LAYOUT FROM INSIDE LAYOUT, RIGHT IS TO YOUR RIGHT AND LEFT IS TO YOUR LEFT.
WHEN FACING ;AYOUT FROM OUTSIDE LAYOUT, RIGHT IS TO YOUR LEFT AND LEFT IS TO YOUR RIGHT.
The interpretation of line 1 is: at 6:45, train is placed on yard track 5, Y5, then runs on the green mainline from 7:00 – 7:45 in the right direction, then at 7:45, train goes into yard track 1, Y1, and train needs to be taken off the layout at 8:15.
Yard tracks are numbered starting from outside the layout going toward the inside.
Mainlines are green, blue and red. Green is the line nearest the outside of the layout.
Going toward the inside of the layout, the next line is blue, then the inside track is red.