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 was 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 100 train
shows and the NMRA National Conventions in 1992, 1997 and 2007, private event 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 developed 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 2005 (Cincinnati), 2007 (Detroit), 2009
(Hartford), 2012 (Grand Rapids), 2014 (Cleveland), 2016 (Indianapolis) and 2018 (Kansas City) NMRA National Conventions. We took this
layout out for public operations demonstrations far less frequently
than we showed the display layout, as the design of this layout does not lend itself
to easy viewing by large numbers of people. Following the Kansas City Convention, we no longer take it on the road, and it is currently in operation at its home base, where it continues to serve its teaching role.
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 in the process of building new modules to replace the HO scale modular display layout that was stolen
in 2009, 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.
In-Person Meetings and Most Public Club Activities Suspended
With the exception of the 2022 Southeast Michigan Model Train
Show and Sale, Rails on Wheels in-person meetings and public
activities are suspended until further notice.
Our next activities will be:
||Monthly Business Meeting, via Zoom
meetings. Members will be notified of log-in details via email.
||Monthly Business Meeting, via Zoom meetings. Members
will be notified of log-in details via email.
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.
Southeast Michigan Model Train Show and Sale - November 27, 2022
2022 train show and sale will be held on Sunday, November 27 from
10:00am to 3:00pm at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds. The Grounds
are at 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Road, 4.5 miles
southwest of I-94 exit #175 (Ann Arbor-Saline
Road), or seven miles west of US-23 Exit #34 (US-12), via Textile
Our show features over 125 tables of new and used trains for sale,
and large operating layouts on display. Parking is free.
Admission is $5.00 per person for ages 12 and older. Children under
12 are admitted free when accompanied by a paid adult. "Early-Bird"
admission is available for $10.00 per person, beginning at 8:00am.
Vendors: Sales tables are available for $22.00 apiece
until November 1. After November 1, tables increase to $25.00 apiece.
A limited number of spaces are available with electricity, for an
extra $5.00 per "booth" (group of tables). Requests for
tables in the same location as in 2021 must be received by October
15. For additional information, or to purchase table space, call Jeff
Fryman at (734)944-9872 (evenings) or
John Young at (517) 449-9063. Invitations
to vendors from the 2021 show were mailed out inlate August.
Alternately, if you wish to sell items at our train show, please download the show flyer, below, print it out, fill out the second page, and mail it by Nov. 15, along with your payment, to the address on the form.
Click to download the show flyer (2 pages)
We will be holding or participating in the following public events:
||Southeast Michigan Model Train Show
and Sale - See details above