Sun City West Model Railroad Club
I visited the Arts and Crafts Village where the Village Store is located. They sell a lot of the things that the different clubs make. There is quite the variety of items at the store. I recommend checking it out sometime. There are many things for sale such as jewelry, art, greeting cards, clothing, pottery and wood working to name a few.
Then I came across the Sun City West Model Railroad Club which is one of the over 100 clubs in Sun City West. I've always been interested in trains. As a kid there were always trains rolling through our town. I remember the big train yards, it seemed like there were so many tracks. And to me, there is nothing like the sound of a train to remind me of my childhood. I can just go up to Flagstaff, AZ and get my fill of train rumblings and whistles.
I couldn't believe it when I walked into the club. There are so many trains with little towns built around them. There is so much detail, like laundry hanging on a line, deer, pets, people having back yard picnics, bicyles and so much more that it's to much to explain.
There is about 2,000 feet of track which equals about 35 scale miles. The layout has been built by the members over the past 25 years, it's pretty darn impressive. As a matter of fact, one of the engines has a camera in it and you can see what it sees on the large screen tv as it makes it's journey around the layout.
The technology is also impressive. There are boards that control different parts of the layouts. The computer chips in the trains allow for things to be programmed. The operators also have a remote control that they use to control the trains as well.
For more information on the Sun City West Model Railroad Club pay them a visit or go to their website.
Before, I go here's a little train trivia for you:
What happened to the "crummy" (caboose)?
United States and Canadian laws required that all freight trains have a caboose and a full crew for safety until the 1980s. The caboose provided it's crew shelter and easy access to the train for switching and protection of the rear of the train when stopped.
The caboose was no longer necessary due to new technology called a flashing rear-end device (FRED). This device is also referred to as an end of train device. When attached to the rear end of the train, it detects air brake pressure, start up movement and has a blinking red light to warn following trains that a train is ahead.
There were many types of cabooses. Here are a few names you may recognize: Cupola (standard), Bay Window, Extended Vision, Transfer and Drover.
For more information on railroads I've put together a few links for you. After looking around, there are many Railroad Museums across the United States:
- National Railroad Museum (Green Bay, WI)
- National Railway Museum (England)
- Railroad Museums Worldwide
Well, this has been another fun blog. I hope you enjoyed it. Maybe it triggered some of your own memories of trains. It did trigger my memory of the caboose going by and the crew member waving back to me.
View RH Johnson Recreation Center in a larger map