& MCMR History
of Tuesday, November 9th, 2004 The Gaithersburg Model Railroad
Society (GMRS) will be renamed to the Rockville Model Railroad
Society, Inc (RMRS) in December 2004. This change is in conjunction
with the absorbsion of the Maryland Central Model Railroad
Club (MCMRR) and the obtaining of their Rockville layout location
at the King Farm. This property is under lease from the City
of Rockville and requires extensive structural improvements
before it will be suitable to house a train layout.
The Gaithersburg Model Railroad Society,
Inc (GMRS) was incorporated in 1994 by the members of the
Silver Spring Model Railroad Society (SSMRS).
Since its founding in 1974 the SSMRS has
been in continuous operation. The members built and operated
the Chesapeake and Western Railroad (C&WRR) which was
the largest scale model railroad in the Washington Metropolitan
Area. This layout was approximately 60 feet by 40 feet and
was modeled in HO scale.
The C&WRR layout contained about 22 scale
miles of double track mainline similar to the Metropolitan
Branch of the B&O which runs through Gaithersburg. There
was also a single track branch which is similar to the Western
Maryland operation. The third part of the layout contained
a narrow gauge railroad similar to that found in many mining
The Society held Open House events for many
years, in our location in Silver Spring, on weekends during
the Christmas Holiday Season. On one weekend in 1981 more
than 5000 people, adults and children, attended the Open House.
These Open House events were featured on local television
and in local newspapers.
The C&WRR was located in the basement
of a commercial building in Silver Spring. In 1982 changes
in the occupancy of the building on the ground level required
changes to our access to the basement area and we could no
longer meet the fire safety requirements for public access.
Therefore the Society had to cease these Open House events.
When the Nation Model Railroad Association
(NMRA) held its annual convention in Washington, the C&WRR
was one of the featured layouts on the tour of scale model
layouts in the area. There was a constant flow of buses over
two days with model railroad enthusiasts from around the country
touring the C&WRR layout.
In late 1986 it was necessary to remove the
layout from our Silver Spring location. This layout had been
in storage untill mid 1996 at which point the Society salvaged
what was usable and disposed of the rest. In spite of this
setback the Society has remained active both looking for a
new site for the layout and helping various members of the
Society with there private model railroad layouts.
In addition to building and operating the
C&WRR, the Society has, as one of its main functions,
promoted the hobby of scale model railroading. In pursuit
of this goal, the Society has held many demonstrations on
the various aspects of building a scale model railroad and
provided films and speakers to the Montgomery County School
In 1988, the society was approached by the
National Geographic Society to provide an HO scale model railroad
for the exhibit they had planned for the Holiday Season in
1989. The society built a 10' by 10' "plus-shaped"
layout for the exibit. This exhibit, "All Aboard - The
Romance of Model Railroading," ran from October 1989
through January 1990 and was viewed by 216,647 visitors to
the Explorers Hall. This layout currently on long term loan
to the City of Gaithersburg in the B&O Freight House.
It has been viewed by the public every second and fourth Saturday
of the month since Olde Towne Day 1991.
In 1994, following the incorporation of the
GMRS, we were granted use of the Mills House (owned by the
City of Gaithersburg) in the historic Old Town section of
Gaithersburg. We operated this layout from 1995 until 2004,
at which time the City of Gaithersburg decided not to renew
our lease for financial reasons.
Following the loss of our lease in 2004,
we contacted the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum, which was interested
in obtaining an HO scale layout. During the late spring of
2004 the layout was moved to Hagerstown.
Maryland Central Model Railroad Club traces its antecedents
back to the 1950’s. A modeler in the Rockville area
decided to give away his partially completed model railroad.
A group of local men got together to acquire the layout and
formed the Rockville Society of Model Engineers. They were
able to rent the second story of the historic B&O Rockville
station, which had originally been the agent’s quarters,
and installed the railroad.
The RSME made its home in the depot for over 10 years, eventually
expanding the original layout into 3 rooms. A blizzard in
1966 resulted in the freezing of the heating system. There
was also the prospect that the station might be demolished
to make way for the new Metro subway line. The club entered
into a partnership with the National Capital Trolley Museum
to assist in the construction of the trolley museum’s
original car barn and visitor’s center in Northwest
Branch Regional Park. In return, the RSME had use of a portion
of the visitor’s center, where a new model railroad
would be built.
an aside, the 1873 Rockville station was placed on the National
Register of Historic Places. The station and the adjoining
freight house were moved off the future right-of-way and turned
to face the street instead of the railroad. The buildings
now contain offices.
we had the architectural plans for the visitor’s center,
we were able to design the model railroad even before the
building was begun. Most of the new layout was actually built
in the garage of one of our members in sectional form, so
it could be transported to the new site and be up and running
in a short time. The installation was essentially completed
by the fall of 1967. A unique feature of this arrangement
was that the layout had to be open and operating for the public
every Sunday when the museum was open.
after about 10 years disagreements arose between the trolley
museum and model railroad club, which resulted in the club
having to relocate. It took 3 years before the club was able
to rent space in the basement of the Marvin Memorial Methodist
Church in Silver Spring. By this time also, the club’s
old name, Rockville Society of Model Engineers, was no longer
relevant. The club therefore incorporated itself as the Maryland
Central Model Railroad Club.
that the club used was small, as model railroad club spaces
go. However, since we could utilize other space in the church
for meetings, it was adequate. The new layout was begun in
1980, and was far enough along that it was on the layout tours
for the 1982 NMRA national convention. A number of club members
also served on the convention committee.
church recently decided to expand its community service outreach
program. They needed the space occupied by the club, and as
a result the club had to vacate its space in May, 2002. New
club space was secured from the City of Rockville, MD, at
the King Farm Homestead site in February 2004. Renovations
to the facility will being in Spring of 2004 with layout construction
to begin shortly thereafter.