Thursday, May 5, 2011

Long Island, NY Model Railroad Engineers

Patchogue Patch: Profile: LI [Long Island] Model Railroad Engineers
The Long Island Model Railroad Engineers is a scale train club, established in 1976 to promote the hobby of Model Railroading on Long Island.

The Club is currently constructing two Model Railroad layouts at their headquarters on Horseblock Road in Medford. The club's HO and N scale layouts occupy a total space of over 2,000 square feet.

The tracks, which roll through towns and wilderness alike, are decorated with perfect miniatures of everything that would be found in the real world. Little cars are stopped at railroad crossings, towns are made up of general stores and post offices and people crowd the streets.

According to engineer George Woitas, the 24 members of the club take the time to carefully construct all of the track layouts. Their precision is what brings life to these models. Buildings are constructed from kits, and the rocks and trees built from materials purchased at homes centers.The formation of the layout is an on-going process, contributed to by all the members.

Modern trains are more advanced than older models, and are run by a digital command control, which allows more control of multiple trains on the same track layout, President John Rauh explains.

Each engine is built with a microchip installed in it which receives coded information from the control panel. Older tracks had a transformer that controlled electric power to the tracks, but could not control each train individually. As a result, each train added to the track had to run at the same time.

“In the old days, you put an engine on the track, you turn on the transformer, and the train would run,” he said. “If you put two on, turn it on, they would both run. You could have 150 engines on these layouts, and it’s only going to run the ones you tell it to.” The digital command control also allows the user to start and stop each train as an individual entity.

Club membership is open to all, and comes with a monthly $55 membership fee. They hold an annual open house to show off the handiwork of the group to the public. Regular meetings are held every Tuesday.

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