Railroad museum marks 40th anniversary

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers is hosting its Winter Open House, Train Show and Brat Fry, Saturday and Sunday, January 21st and 22nd. This family friendly event will be held at the Sheboygan Railroad Museum, 1001 N. 10th St., Sheboygan, from 9:00am to 4:00pm each day.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers, Ltd. Founded in 1977, the group owns the museum building, and 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.

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. This year, for example, a new roof has been determined as a need, to replace one installed 20 years ago. So, extra fundraising for this need will be occuring during the year. Check out our progress at the “Roof Fund Thermometer” to see how we’re doing.

A new exhibit has been installed. Look for the "Shelf Layout" currently on display. It’s a 1 foot by 6 foot yard that allows for an operating layout in a small space. Shelf Layouts are deliberately designed "not to go anywhere" when it comes to the train. Rather, the train is already there. But you are a switch crew, and you have to get boxcar "X" from point "Y" to point "Z”. Fully fitted with working switches, the layout models the Northern Pacific (merged into what today is the BNSF system in 1970) somewhere in Minnesota.

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. An HO layout represents Sheboygan in the mid to late 1960’s. 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. New to the display are a DT&I diesel locomotive, and a matching postcard. Next to it will be a small poster showing all the Bicentennial locomotives that the railroads produced for the Bicentennial. 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 two levels are connected by an operational helix that allows the trains to travel between the levels. It’s quite the sight.

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 celebrating its 40th 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 Member, Jeff Klauser, at 920-783-6248.


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