Model Railroad Engineers host open house July 16-17

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers is hosting its Summer Open House, Train Show and Brat Fry, Saturday and Sunday, July 16th and 17th. This family friendly event will be held at the Sheboygan Railroad Museum, 1001 N. 10th St., Sheboygan, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers, Ltd, founded in 1977, which owns the building, has had, as its primary purpose, the preservation of railroad history, both prototype and models. To that end, it has amassed a large collection of railroad antiques, some dating back more than 100 years.

Be sure to stop and see the new addition for the town of Rangely, Colorado, modeled after the childhood town of one of our members. A veteran model builder and Society member built the Rangely Oil Derrick, a former Alexander Scale Models kit.

Called a “craft kit,” these mostly wooden kits are called “box-ofsticks” kits by modelers and take a great deal of time and skill to assemble, but that was the point. This particular project took about 50 hours to complete!

Years ago, kits were designed around “the journey, not the destination,” and a kit was meant to take a great deal of time, as the assembly process was where the fun was!

Our model “Rangely, Colorado” has two operating oil pumps. The big rig “drilling” the third well can be found on the upper level of the HO-Scale DCC layout. Check out the worker at the bottom of the rig and see the sparks flashing from his welder!

Real life railroad crossing signals and bell were donated and are operational. They have a circuit that flashes the lights and rings the bell providing great fun for kids of any age.

In addition to the large railroad artifacts on display, there are model railroads in six different scales in varying stages of completion, from the tiny Z scale to G scale.

One of them, for example, replicates what a typical Lionel layout would have looked like in the mid 50s, using vintage buildings and rolling stock acquired.

An HO layout represents Sheboygan in the mid to late 1960’s. The downtown area covers Center Avenue to Wisconsin Avenue and features Security 1st National Bank, H.C. Prange Co. and Hills Department Store.

For the most part, the bulk of the layouts are custom built to fit the space, as opposed to a simple tabletop. Each has a particular theme in mind, and will show just how railroads serve in various areas of the country.

Be sure to check out the 1923 Ives standard gauge train set which is displayed along side vintage Marx, American Flyer, and Lionel sets from years gone by. There’s sure to be an example of something that will bring back wonderful memories of childhood playtime.

The largest of the layouts, occupying two levels, is an HO scale layout, operated completely by computer, using software especially programmed for it.

The lower level is functional and filled with scenery. A lot of scenic improvements have been added to the upper level, and include new buildings, lighting, and animated features. The two levels are connected by an operational helix that allows the trains to travel between the levels. Its quite the sight.

A new diorama has been added depicting railroading as it was like in the early 1800’s with models of the John Bull and DeWitt Clinton trains. The scenery has been carefully researched and painstakingly handmodeled to represent the landscape between New York and Philadelphia of that era.

Has your child always been crazy about trains? We’ve started a Junior Engineer Program. Now they can work towards earning a Junior Engineer Certificate from the Sheboygan Railroad Museum which allows them back any Tuesday evening.

They can choose to learn more, run trains, or find something in the library - and enrollment is free. We love model railroading so much that we’re excited to share the hobby. Ask any of the members for more information.

All of the building expenses, including the construction of displays, are self-funded primarily by members. The Society depends on donations and fundraisers to fill the gap created between needs and available funds. For example, a new roof has been determined as a need in the next year or two, to replace one installed 20 years ago.

There will be an interactive area for small children to enjoy themselves along with a Brat Fry for those who just can’t seem to get enough of that traditional summer fare. For more information, see the Society’s website at http://www.sssmre.org or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sssmre.

The Society is now in its 39th year of providing model railroading opportunities for young and old alike. Your ongoing support of these projects helps preserve model railroading for future generations. As always, admission is free but donations are welcome.The members of the museum look forward to showing and teaching about the construction process. Questions can be directed to Museum Board Member, Dick Pool, at 920-254-2135.


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