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SSSMRE News

June 28, 2012

Railroad Museum ready to show off

Z-scale enthusiasts, get ready. N, HO, S, O and G scale? Check.

The newly renamed Sheboygan Railroad Museum will open its doors for the first time in more than a year this weekend to show off its extensive new railroad layouts in six scales and give fellow enthusiasts a look at what they've been working on.

The open house will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, June 30-July 1.

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers has been working on its building, which used to be called the Sheboygan Railroad Lodge, at 1001 N. 10th St., for several years.

They started with new floors and basic remodeling, a facelift on the outside of the building (the colors are Wisconsin Central maroon and Burlington Northern cream, for two railroads that operate in Wisconsin) and a new distribution of the space inside, which was once the Moose Lodge.

Last year they closed up again, this time to re-create new model train layouts. In place of the enormous, 15-year-old HO scale model that once was the centerpiece of their display, they now have a variety of models set up in all different scales to appeal to everyone, said Diana Ratz, a member of the SSSMRE

And some of the layouts will be left unenclosed, so people can see how they work.

"The HO-scale has an 8-foot helix," Ratz said. "It's two trains running in opposite directions over four levels. It's tall enough so the train goes around the circle up and down in a 8-foot diameter. There is nothing like this anywhere."

The idea, she said, is to give people a better view of what goes into a model train layout. 

"People like to see the guts," she said. "They like to see how things are made. The big permanent layout Ö people come in and watch the trains go around and they go out and say, 'OK, now what?' This way Ö they'll leave part of it open so people can actually see the trains go up and down the helix. There's a lot of interest in 'How do you do that?'"

Dick Pool, a board member in the organization and an engineer, devised the helix and has been hard at work for months putting that and the rest of the layouts together.

"People will be able to see trains wind up that helix," Pool said. "That was an engineering feat."

Board member Dick Pool tests the helix with a pair of engines in preparation for the Museum's Open House.

Three years ago, the organization was in such a slump that members ó there were only a few ó considered selling the building and disbanding. That's when Ratz and her husband, Jay, who own J&D's Whistle Stop railroad hobby shop, got involved, bringing Diana's marketing know-how with them.

Since then the group has been on an upswing, adding members and finding new ways to spread the word about their organization and the fun of model railroading.

"We are much better shape than we were three, four years ago," Pool said. "Because of renewed interest, because of Diana and her persistence. She helped us see new ways of getting the word out and she had some contacts that helped a lot."

The group now numbers about 20 and the open house will be one of its major fundraisers. Members also hold brat frys a few times a year at Miesfeld's and Piggly Wiggly, Ratz said, but the open house ó where donations are gratefully accepted as brats, burgers, soda and water will be sold ó is the biggest one.

 

The Sheboygan Railroad Museum is undergoing a complete transformation. With the removal of the permanent HO scale layout, which occupied all of the 34 by 41ft main room, work could begin on remodeling the space and designing new uses for it. The plan is to have seven layouts in G, HO, N, S, Z, and O scale, display space for railroad antiques, model displays, and a gift area and library. The name of the building was changed to better reflect its actual use, as the old name caused some misconceptions.

This involves revamping the room, installing a new floor, front walkway, insulating the upper level, and constructing all the new displays, as well as painting the exterior in railroad colors This is anticipated to take the better part of three years to complete to an operational state. Finishing touches will be added as time goes on..

Members are eagerly spending much of their free time working to achieve these goals as funds permit. The final goal is to have a showpiece like no other in Wisconsin, and with the public support, it will get done.

 

October 14, 2010

Railroad Lodge Open House set

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers is hosting its Fall Open House, Train Show and Brat Fry, October 16th and 17th. This family friendly event will be held at the Railroad Lodge, 1001 N. 10th St., Sheboygan, from 10:00AM to 4:00PM each day. This will be the last time the modular layout is displayed in the city of Sheboygan. The Railroad Lodge will be under going extensive remodeling as multiple new layouts in N, HO and O scales and new display areas for the numerous railroad antiques in its collection will be created. In addition, the ever popular Veteranís Park area layout with a miniature golf course, a playground for the kids, and a fully operational train ride surrounding it will be set-up for display. This is one of two areas preserved intact when the permanent layout was dismantled.

Along with the park, a newly acquired 1923 Ives standard gauge train set and a complete hand-made N scale layout in an old world German setting will be on display. This layout was just recently donated to the Society and features 30 years worth of stunning modeling and hand-crafted artistry. Itís a must see! We currently have the only computer controlled modular layout in the country. If you didnít get to see it yet this year, this is your last chance to see the modular layout operating in Sheboygan County until next summer. The membership has been busy updating and adding more decorative touches since it was last on display at the August Open House.

This layout dates back to the late 1980ís, but received a complete renovation in recent years and is continuing to be upgraded. It was built in sections and designed to travel to a variety of events throughout the year to promote model railroading. With its own unique charm and intricate detail, this layout has been enjoyed by thousands throughout the state. Future projects for the Railroad Lodge in the planning stages may include depictions of railroad activity around Sheboygan throughout the years, an interactive area for the youngsters, along with representations of model trains in almost every scale.

The Society is now in its 33rd year of providing model railroading opportunities for young and old alike. Your ongoing support of these projects helps preserve model railroading for future generations. As always, admission is FREE but donations are welcome. There will be a door prize of a complete model train set, courtesy of J & Dís Whistle Stop. There will also be a Brat Fry and Bake Sale for those Sheboyganites who just canít seem to get enough of that traditional summer fare. . .

For more information, see the Societyís website at http://www.sssmre.org or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sssmre.

 

September 26, 2010

Railroad Lodge Gets New Look

In an ongoing effort to beautify the Railroad Lodge, create new exhibit spaces, and make the building more energy efficient, the Society has a number of projects planned. The first was repainting and remodeling the interior. The second project was to replace the walkway leading to the front door. The old concrete walkway was broken in several places, had sagged over the years, and created a safety hazard. This involved volunteers breaking up and removing the old concrete, rebuilding the door sill, and installing a new brick paved walk with a proper base. This will be followed in the next six months with insulating the upper level, painting the exterior of the building in new colors, and replacing the floor in the west exhibition hall. A variety of fund raisers are being conducted to provide the money needed to accomplish all these projects.


August 23, 2010

Open House door prize winner announced

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers announces the winner of the door prize at our August Open House. He is Jason Yeager from Valders. He has quite the collection of sets and was really excited about getting this steam version. He and his family have moved around a lot so every time he would start to get a layout going, he'd have to take it down. He's hoping to be able to get a layout going now.


August 12, 2010

Model railroad summer open house chugs into town this weekend

The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers is holding its annual summer open house train show and brat fry at the Railroad Lodge, 1001 N. 10th St., Sheboygan, on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 14 and 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

The interior has received a facelift since the removal of the permanent display layout. New display areas will soon be created for the many railroad antiques in the group's collection.

In addition, the society's technically advanced, traveling modular layout will be on display. The society says it has the only computer-controlled modular layout in the country. This is the last chance to see the modular layout operating in Sheboygan County until next summer.

The layout has undergone an extensive face lift, including new scenery items, buildings and roads. New modules have been added since the last open house and there are working signals throughout the layout. There's an ore mine and even an ice house with a computer-controlled train moving cargo back and forth.

 

The meatpacking plant from the Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers' dismantled layout was reassembled for the current layout. The new layout will be on display at the lodge's open house this weekend.

Future projects for the railroad lodge include depictions of railroad activity around Sheboygan throughout the years, an interactive area for youngsters, along with representations of model trains in almost every scale.

The society is now in its 33rd year of providing model railroading opportunities for young and old alike.

Admission is free but donations are welcome. There will be a door prize of a complete model train set, courtesy of J & D's Whistle Stop.

There also will be a brat fry and bake sale.

For more information, see the society's website at www.sssmre.org or the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sssmre.

 


Open House door prize winner announced

April 13, 2010

Eight year old Luke Mancl from Sheboygan is the winner of the Royal Gorge train set door prize from the Open House, April 10th & 11th. His parents tell us he's an avid model train enthusiast and was so excited to find out he had won! They are working on building a layout at home and Dad says this is just what they needed. Luke was also very interested in the historical aspect of the Royal Gorge train and wanted to get right home to read about the real train on the internet. Congratulations from all of us Luke!!


Spring Open House announced

April 1, 2010

        The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers is hosting its annual Spring Open House at the Railroad Lodge, 1001 N. 10th St. in Sheboygan on April 10 and 11 from 10:00AM to 4:00PM . Since the removal of the permanent display layout, the interior has received a major facelift. New display areas are being created for the numerous railroad antiques in its collection. In addition, the Societyís traveling modular layout will be on display. It will look quite different from the one that was on display in January. This layout dates back to the late 1980s, but received a complete restoration in recent years and is continuing to be upgraded.  It was built in sections and designed to travel to a variety of events throughout the year to promote model railroading, and is scheduled to be featured at the 75th anniversary convention of the National Model Railroad Association in July.  With its own unique charm and intricate detail, this layout has been enjoyed by thousands throughout the state.   

             Future projects in the planning stages include depictions of railroad activity around Sheboygan throughout the years, an interactive area for the youngsters, displays of railroad equipment from days past, along with representations of model trains in almost every scale.

             The Society is now in its 33rd year of providing railroading opportunities for young and old alike. Your ongoing support of these projects help preserve railroading for future generations. As always, admission is FREE but donations are welcome. There will be a door prize of a complete model train set, courtesy of J & Dís Whistle Stop.  There will also be a brat fry for those who are itching for an early leap into summer...


Railroad Society conducts clinic at Mead Library

February 28, 2010

The Society hosted a beginners guide to model railroading at the request of the Mead Public Library. It was attended by more than 70 people, young and old alike. Among the things demonstrated was how to set up a train set in minutes, how to make realistic trees using materials found around the house, how to make an operating layout that fits on a shelf, and how to draw trains easily. There was also an area for the kids to color drawings of engines. A great time was had by all. Our next seminar, to be scheduled, will be geared more toward adults with some more advanced topics. These are some of the things that we do for the community to promote the Worlds Greatest Hobby.

Jay and Diana demonstrate how easy it is to set up a train set right out of the box

Jeff shows kids that you don't need a lot of space to have an interesting layout

Ken teaches people how to draw trains easily

Kyle and Dick show people how to make realistic trees out of material found around the house

       

Kids had fun coloring the drawings of engines laid out for them

 

Open House door prize winner announced

February 4, 2010

The winner of the train set door prize at our recent Open house came in to claim his prize. He is Marlyn Meinnert, of Sheboygan. He used to have trains as a kid and has thought of getting back into the hobby.  He also is a leader of a Boy Scout Troup in town. I'm sure we'll be seeing him again!


New Railroad Artifacts acquired by Railroad Society

September 26, 2009 The Society has acquired a large donation from an estate of hundreds of railroad antiques and artifacts. One of these is a complete cab control unit, possibly from an EMD GP9 (1959) that we will try to restore. We appreciate any help in identifying it, along with it's history. Pictures of it below. The serial # is 59E-90.

EMD Cab Control

Builders plate on unit

Part # 8238268 s/n 59E-90


Railroad Lodge to stay open

September 11, 2009 Due to the public's overwhelming response and dismay at the thought of there being no more open houses, we have decided to continue to hold open houses and events until the building is sold and a new location is obtained. Your continued support is appreciated as we venture in this new direction.

August 18, 2009 The Society has established a working relationship with Jay and Diana Ratz of J&Ds Whistle Stop, a new hobby shop in Sheboygan. Jay and Diana are eager to help us get better exposure and obtain new quarters where the museum pieces we have acquired over the years can be better displayed.


April 19, 2009 The Society held it's final Open House at the Railroad Lodge. We appreciated the thousands of people who have supported our efforts to bring railroad history to the Sheboygan community over the years and will continue to support us as we venture in a new direction.


March 15, 2009 The Sheboygan Society of Scale Model Railroad Engineers, Ltd announces the closing of the Railroad Lodge after it's April Open House. Current economic conditions were making it very difficult to generate enough revenue to keep the building maintained and open to the public. "We had also outgrown the available space with the accumulation of numerous railroad museum pieces" said president Leo Schneider. The Society will begin dismantling the main display layout and pack up all the items over the next six to eight months.

 

Updated: Monday, September 3, 2012