About Our Club

General Club Information

We are a Sacramento-area club for model railroaders of all abilities and skill levels who enjoy any aspect of this exciting hobby. Our portable interchangeable modules interconnect to quickly set up a model railroad of variable size. Most modules can be fitted one to another due to our standardized shapes and electrical connections. The club also owns a large switching yard, corner modules, end loops, rolling stock and locomotives as well as the DCC (Digital Command Control) electrical system. The club uses primarily Digitrax components to power our layout. Members own their own modules and their own rolling stock and locomotives. All eras and types of prototype equipment are welcome. Members create the scenery, trackwork and structures on their modules. Members are not required to own or purchase any equipment or modules.

During our operating sessions we use computer-generated waybills to direct pick up and delivery of rolling stock from the yard to businesses and industries, while passenger and special trains operate on the mainline. Former club member Lee Solomon developed the waybill software which is available free of charge at Lee’s website. Click here to visit his website. Trains are moved and shunted throughout the day just like a real railroad. An important rule at our operating sessions is that when members place their rolling stock and locomotives on the track, they become available for all members to use during that operating session. At our public sessions, long trains and unique locomotives often are run for the enjoyment of all. Our trains move over more than 200 feet of double track main line with many passing sidings. Branch line and industrial trackage add to the overall size of the Sacramento Central.

We can produce super lightweight modules at a very reasonable cost for interested members. The cost to the member is for supplies and materials and is based on the size of the module the member wants. The modules are assembled on a jig thus maintaining a standard length and assuring true 90 degree corners. By making many modules simultaneously, we are able to purchase hardware in large quantities at a discount and minimize waste which keeps the individual cost of the modules as low as possible. Our experienced modelers help our new module owners with construction, wiring and track installations. A basic member-owned module, measuring two by four feet, with frame and basic track, wiring and scenery, can be built for about $50.00, and can be carried and transported inside most vehicles. The level of scenery and amount of trackwork obviously can add to the overall cost of the module.

We typically model the Sacramento Valley‘s extensive and varied railroad prototype, although some modules depict areas outside of the Central Valley and even outside of California. As such, our modules vary from towns to mountains to river fronts and everything in between. Member’s talents and interests vary as well. Some members are focused on the steam era, others on the modern diesel era. Some members enjoy working with module scenery and others would rather detail a locomotive or tinker with DCC decoders using programmers and computers.

SCRR trains are operated by DCC. After a lengthy trial period, the club determined that DCC allows more prototypical operations that DC (Direct Current). Interestingly, since we began DCC operations, the price of constructing modules has decreased while capabilities have greatly increased. The first DCC run was held February 28, 1998. Cars dispatched from the main yard were shunted by DCC decoder-equipped locomotives to industries in Perkins and Hazelton. The club uses a Digitrax system which we recently upgraded in 2009 by purchasing new boosters and a command station. Many members routinely run several DCC sound-equipped locomotives on our layout.

Visitors are welcome to attend our meetings and operating sessions, but only through prior arrangement. Please contact us through our contact page if you wish to visit one or our operating sessions. If you are interested in becoming a member, see below.

Interested In Joining Us?

Our club is an active fellowship of model railroaders with a mutual interest in HO scale model railroading. The club has existed for over 30 years. Today we are a non-profit historical-educational corporation and exhibit at an average of three or more public shows each year. At shows we operate model trains from different eras for guest’s entertainment and education. Our premiere public event is the International Railfair each November at the Placer County Fairgrounds. We are a co-sponsor and a lot of time and energy goes into this show. Our other public appearances vary from year to year.

Our group is always open to responsible new members! We do not discriminate on the basis of gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference or disability. We have established an application procedure that provides time for you and the group to get acquainted. You may contact us to discuss any questions you may have regarding our expectations and requirements. If you like what we are doing, come join us; if not, thank you for visiting with us.

Our club is generally open to responsible new members with similar interests and energies. The club Membership Chairman will provide potential members with a Membership Application Form. The information thus collected will only be used by the club for club related purposes. The completed application should be returned to the SMR Membership Chairman. The membership application will be taken and marked in the order received. In order to maintain a normal, smooth operation of the club, no more than 2 people will be in the application process at the same time. The next step in the application process provides time for the applicant and the club to get acquainted. The applicant must attend three club operating sessions within a five-month period. Attendance must be from beginning to end of each session so that the applicant can help with both the setup and tear down of the modular layout. Only one meeting a month can apply toward the three meeting requirement. The SMR secretary and the Membership Coordinator will work together to assure the applicant’s efforts are recorded and count toward the meeting requirement. At the meeting following completion of the three meeting requirement, a vote will be taken of the members in attendance and a 2/3 majority is needed for election as a new member. Upon election applicant is required to pay the current yearly dues, after which a membership card will be issued. Each member is expected to purchase a club vest and will also receive the club newsletter, The Mainline Express.

A person under the age of 18 may become an associate ember if a club member is willing to act as his/her sponsor. The associate member may participate in club functions as their age and maturity allow. Associate members do not vote or pay dues. Sponsors accept full responsibility and liability for associate members including full adherence to all club rules. If you have any questions about joining our club or associate membership, feel free to contact us, and our Membership Chairman will contact you.