Operations Road Show
Layout featured in NMRA's
Scale Rails

rails on wheels
Washtenaw County, Michigan's HO modular model railroad club.

Updated: 05-AUG-2009

About Rails on Wheels

Rails on Wheels was formed in 1988 by a group of model railroaders interested in constructing, displaying and operating a high-performance HO scale model railroad. At the time, only one of the members had the space available for a permanent layout, so we each began to build small, portable sections that could be joined together, incorporating the specifications that would eventually become the Rails on Wheels Module Standards. This layout is usually stored dismantled between public showings.

To promote our goals of educating our members and the public about railroading and the hobby of model railroading, our activities have included monthly meetings and workshops, layout setups at over 40 train shows and the NMRA National Conventions in 1992 and 1997, private layout setups, railfanning outings and trips to train shows and swap meets.

In 1998, several Rails on Wheels members who had developed an interest in prototypical operation branched out and began to develop the Operations Road Show. These members constructed a second dedicated layout which resides in a member's basement and is used to hold operating sessions using timetable and train order operating rules. This layout was publicly unveiled at the Maple Leaf 2003 NMRA National Convention in Toronto, where 135 attendees participated in operating sessions. Our success in Toronto was repeated at the Cincinnati Limited 2005 NMRA National Convention. Our plan is to take this layout out for public operations demonstrations far less frequently than we show the display layout, probably no more often than once every two or three years, as the design of this layout does not lend itself to easy viewing by large numbers of people.

Rails on Wheels provides a forum through which members can learn techniques and get help from persons experienced in layout design, benchwork, scenery, electronics and wiring, rolling stock construction and structure building. We have developed new approaches and techniques to meet our specific construction needs, techniques which we feel have in some small way contributed to the advancement of the hobby.

We are continually expanding and upgrading our HO scale modular display layout, and welcome new members, regardless of their level of experience. Our members range from beginners to people with over 40 years' experience in the hobby.

Anyone interested in HO model railroading, from beginners to experienced craftsmen, is welcome to join. Rails on Wheels is an independent club not formally affiliated with any other organization. Membership is always open. You need not own or build a module to participate.

Rails on Wheels is a founding member of the Michigan Modular Alliance.

Club News

Club Activities

Our next activities will be:

13-AUG-2009 Business meeting, Saline Historical Society Depot, Saline, 8:00pm.
10-SEP-2009 Business meeting, Saline Historical Society Depot, Saline, 8:00pm.

Activities related to the Operations Road Show layout are listed on the Operations Road Show section of this site.

We usually meet at the Saline Historical Society's ex-NYC depot at Ann Arbor and Bennett Streets in Saline. Our meetings at the depot are open to members and non-members alike. Click here for a map.


2009 Train Show

This year's show will be on Sunday, November 29, 2009 from 10am to 4pm at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Road, Saline.

This year's show will feature at least three operating model railroad layouts, plus a Lego train display and trains kids can run, in addition to our usual assortment of sales tables offering new and used model railroad merchandise from vendors from around the Great Lakes area.

Admission is $3.00 per person for those aged 12 or older. Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.

Vendors: Sales tables are available for $15.00 apiece until November 1, 2009. After November 1, tables increase to $18 apiece. A limited number of spaces area vailable with electricity, for an extra $5.00 per "booth" (group of tables). Requests for tables in the same location as last year must be received by October 15, 2009. For information on purchasing table space, contact Jeff Fryman at (734)944-9872.


Upcoming Exhibitions

We will be displaying our layout at the following upcoming events:

29-NOV-2009 Rails on Wheels Annual Train Show and Sale, Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, Saline, Michigan