SMRRC IN 1957

The History of the Stamford Model Rail Road Club

In 1939 three individuals , one of which was a member of St Johns Church, formed the
Stamford Model Rail Road Club. The original layout consisted of 25 ft of track and a Lionel Transformer
Growth of the Club membership and the layout began after WWII. The Rippowam Valley Light and Traction Lines
were also established, providing trolley and Interurban service. A round house and freight yard was also added.
Throughout the 50s the Club continued to grow and occupied the entire basement with more trackage being
added as well as freight yards. Starting 1964 the outside 3rd rail was removed and the entire layout was 2 railed
and all equipment was also 2 railed, this was completed by 1967.  In the Seventy's, the construction of many
commercial and residential buildings began to fill the open spaces of the layout. Double tracking of the layouts
mainline was completed in the 1980s. The electrical system that ran the RailRoad was rewired and converted from
a battery operated system to a solid state system, We also increased the operating positions from 4 to 6 and
began installing closed circuit TV to better monitor the operation of the layout. By 2001, due to an increased
membership and equipment rooster, additional yards and trackage were installed along with corresponding
controls, these new yards increased our yarding capacity by 100%. A further expansion of the yards was
completed in 2009 increasing the capacity by another 75 % A large Industrial Park was added, known as Lockville
Park, it was named after an area in Stamford that had serviced the Yale and Towne Manufacturing Co. The layout
has expanded to the full basement area and is approximately 45' by 145 '. The Trolley and Interurban was
expanded  to travel the entire length of the layout and serves the several towns and areas of the layout. We
operate many different railroad names on the layout, from the East Coast Railroads such as the New York Central
and the New Haven, the PRR and many others, we also have the West Coast Roads represented with the
Southern Pacific, Sante Fe, Union Pacific and Northern Pacific to name but a few.

LAYOUT STATISTICS

Trackage.............................................................................. Over 6000 ft
RR Engines and Rolling Stock....................................1,700 and growing
RR Passenger Stations........................................................................13
Commercial and Residential Buildings................................................124
RR Track Switches.............................................................................244
RR Yards..............................................................................................11
Vehicles..............................................................................................366

Explanation of O Scale & O Gauge

This is an O Scale layout operating O Scale equipment.  O Gauge is the distance between the rails and O Scale
means that every 1/4 of an inch on the layout is equal to 1 foot of the real item shown as a model. Typically, it is
expressed as a ratio of 1:48 or 1/48th. This means that the prototype is 48 times larger than the model
represented. A 40 ft box car operating on a real RailRoad  today is equal to 10 inches on the Stamford RR layout.


OPERATION

We operate the Railroad on Direct Current (DC) electricity, rather than Alternating Current (AC), with a capacity of
25 volts and 15 amps each cab position. We have 6 separate Main Line Cab positions in which we can operate 6
trains at the same time over the same trackage. This is permissible because the main line Railroad tracks are
divided into 25 blocks or sections, each section is controlled by a separate control switch. The length of the
sections can be a minimum of 15 ft or up to 75 ft  or greater in length. All turnouts or switches are controlled by a
central dispatcher. Since there are portions of the layout  which are not visible to the operators from the control
panel, we rely on a closed circuit TV system  to view those areas.  The round house, diesel shed and a few other
areas are controlled by separate sub panels from which an operator can control that particular area. Some of our
main yards, which store passenger and freight cars are also controlled by sub panels.  
Our freight trains can be up to 60 feet in length with as many as 3 diesel locomotives pulling 45 cars. The
passenger trains are also quite long too, which will have 2 locomotives pulling 12 to 15 cars.

Railroad Yards

As viewed on our layout diagram, in the layout map page of the website, there are 6 major yards. They are the
Upper and Lower Alcove yards, the Upper and Lower rear yards, the Upper and Lower Hidden Storage yards and
the freight yard in front of the control panel. These yards contain many of our trains which we run during our
annual show. The capacity of cars within these yards vary but can be as many as 200 to 275 cars per yard. The
lower and rear yards total 56 ft in length. The hidden storage yards that handle the overflow of cars from the main
line can hold upwards of 250 cars. Aside from the major storage yards there are several small sidings and yards
for specific purposes such as MU and REA Freight, maintenance of way equipment and coaling facility's.

SOME POINTS OF INTEREST

Van Nest
This town is located to your left when you first enter the layout. These buildings were kit and scratch built. There
are 2 stations serving this town with the Diesel Engine Facility in the background. A large passenger yard
overlooks the town from the hilltop. All of the buildings have interiors with lights inside. This area is loosely
modeled after the Van Nest section of the Bronx in NY, complete with street names, a theater, police station and a
Nativity scene come Christmas season. You can see many scenes of this area on the thumbnails section of the
website. The Rippowam Valley Traction Co. Connects this area with the rest of the layout also with its tracks
running down the middle of the street and overhead wires for power.


STAMFORD STATION

The Stamford Station is an exact replica of the original East bound Station before it was replaced in the early
1970s. It is built to scale with wood carved to look like brick. It was built by one of our members who went and
measured the real station inch by inch. The fence dividing the East and West bound tracks is made from paper
clips soldered together to replicate the original fence.


THE ROUND HOUSE

This is the engine terminal with its turntable and round house structure that services the steam locomotives that
haul the freight and passenger trains across the layout. It can accommodate as many as 26 Locomotives.
The roundhouse was built by students at the Riverside Court School in CT in 1943 as a class project. The
structure has been modified and upgraded  over the years and lighting was installed. Here is where the
locomotives would be repaired, cleaned and serviced at regular intervals. There are ash pits to discharge the
ashes from burnt coal, a coaling tower and water towers to refill the tenders, and a greasing, oiling and a sanding
facility. The facility is controlled from a sub panel with access to the main line and Central freight yard.

LOCKVILLE PARK

Lockville Park is an Industrial area that is serviced off the mainline of the railroad, there are many small factories
and the power generating facility located here. There is also a refinery serviced by barges. All of the Industries
here are serviced by small switching locomotives that can be controlled by an operator with a hand held walk
around throttle control. The power generating station is an original Lionel factory built in 1939. There is also a car
float with a float bridge and tug boat located here right across from the base ball field where a game is being
played. Lockville Park is a layout within a layout.


Van Nest Diesel Facility

Here is where the diesel and electric locomotives are serviced. The engine she can hold 9 engines inside where
pits located between the rails allow the under body's to be serviced, and overhead gantry cranes can lift a loco off
its chassis or pull a diesel motor if need be. The oiling and fueling facility's are here also. This section of the layout
is controlled from a sub panel.