A club for
Modular O-Gauge railroading based in St. Cloud, MN
Our club started in 2007 when a few model train enthusiasts decided to get together and build a large layout to run their trains.
We have two layouts.
On our large layout, we can run three-rail O-gauge trains of any make, any digital control system and any era.
It consists of 40 individual modules that can be fit together in an infinite number of combinations and sizes from 18'x28' to 30'x40'.
It is fully scenicked and uses modern day track and control systems.
It lives in specially-constructed racks that fit into the club's trailer for taking to train shows.
We run steam, diesel and electric trains that smoke, make sounds and look like the real thing. There are usually three trains running. The oldest actual model train we run was made in 1936; the youngest one just came out of its box for the first time!
Our layout is big enough we can run 40-car trains and sometimes do. On the other hand, we have to switch cars in and out of our sidings and the yard so sometimes they're just one or two cars long.
Our longest trains are reserved for the biggest version of our layout that can be seen twice a year in April and November at our very own Ed Olson's Granite City Train Show.
Most of our 40 modules are individually owned by club members. The club owns the corners and the rarely used reverse curve modules but members own the rest.
Members buy a "raw" module, one that is wired and has track laid down, then they make the scenery, add buildings and add siding tracks if they want to.
Since all the modules are designed to a standard pattern, they fit together in pretty much any combination
Each standard module is 40" long by 24" deep and is supported on four legs so the member who owns it can work on it when it's not attached to the layout.
We use Atlas track and standard ballast. Members use ground foam, insulation board, paint and glue to make the basic scenery then add purchased buildings, kits they've made or building's they've made from scratch, depending on their individual skill levels.
Member bring their own trains to run at shows so you'll never know what amazing trains you might see.
We'd love to have a permanent location but we don't have the resources to rent one so our modules, with their legs removed, live in custom-built racks that fit neatly into a trailer.
It takes 4-8 members 3-5 hours to put the layout together and get it operational for a show, depending on the size of the layout. It take about 2/3 of the set-up time to take the layout down, re-rack it and reload it into the trailer
Many people who come visit our big, modular layout at shows, want to have a layout of their own but it may seem difficult to build one like it.
Here’s a layout you can build at home, won't cost too much, that’ll give you tons of fun and won’t take up too much room!
One person can set it up at a show and have it running in less than an hour.
This layout is relatively new and is constantly changing and improving.
In the 1950s, Lionel Corporation made layouts their dealers could buy to display Lionel’s products in their stores. This layout is our impression of what you might have seen in a toy store back in the 1950s.
Only difference is this one’s portable – it fits into our Toyota Sienna van, laying flat on the floor. It’s not meant to look realistic – it’s meant to be played with. It’s for kids of all ages from 4 to 104.
All the trains and accessories on this layout were made before 1960.
At their time, they were technological marvels with sound, smoke and other features that people hadn’t seen much before .
They were simple, you put them on the track and they ran. The transformers and controllers you could buy had tons of power and controls for reverse running and the whistle.
They were realistic, modeled after real trains.
The accessories weren’t, though. They were fanciful toys you could operate with simple controls. Many of them loaded or unloaded trains.
We buy our trains at train shows and from e-Bay and other on-line auctions.
This layout is meant to be played with. You won’t ever see a rope around it to keep you off. There’s no delicate, life-like scenery to damage.
There are buttons and levers on the layout fascia that are meant to be pushed and pulled because they make something happen. So…….
PLEASE COME AND PUSH OUR BUTTONS!
You can see one or both of our layouts at a number of shows around Central Southern Minnesota this year
We always welcome new members. Please send us your e-mail address and one of our club members will be in touch with you to find out about your interests.