The Bay Ridge Model Railroad Club, Inc. was organized in 1946 after the merger of two former model railroad clubs - The Brooklyn Model Railroad, founded in 1932; and the Shore Haven Central, founded in 1936.
The present club was formed in 1947 and incorporated in 1955 as a non-profit organization. Its mission: To construct, maintain, operate, and display both the Central Connecting Railroad and the Central City Traction Company, as well as to provide recreation for club members and guests in the hobby of model railroading. The club quarters of the organization were previously located at 28 Marine Avenue in the Bay Ridge section Brooklyn, New York. It occupied a space of 30 feet by 60 feet.
In February 2019, the club received notice that it would be evicted from its longtime home on Marine Avenue. In April, the club found a new home at the Trolley Museum of New York, here in Kingston. The whole model layout is in the process of being dismantled in sections and will be transported to the museum. The model railroad is expected to be reassembled and in full operation by 2020.
The model railroad runs O-scale equipment. Work on the layout was started in 1946. The supporting structure, designed by one of the original club members, is an innovation in itself. It is made of one inch angle iron that is supported by 1/2 inch conduit legs, which are mounted on specially made anchorages. A 5/8 inch thick plywood top is then attached to the iron framework, resulting in a very durable and strong benchwork.
The trackwork is built by using 3/8 upson board, beveled and attached to the plywood top. Liquid glue was then spread on the track board, ties laid in place, and then ballast was spread and tamped down. All trackage used is .158 brass rail and the third rail is code 100 HO rail, mounted on specially made brass third rail chairs. All track is hand spiked, using four spies to each tie. All switches, 124 of them total, are custom-built.
The electrical control system was designed by another member and installed by the rest of the original members of the club. The complete mainline is controlled automatically with a system known as Automatic Train Control, or ATC.
12 Volts DC is used to propel the model locomotives. 24 Volts is used on the signal rail to actuate the relays controlling the automatic signal system. Another 12 Volts is used to operate the switch motors, while 3 Volts is used on the LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) in the signal housing on the signal bridges. The trains control the signals and these, in turn, control the following train by adjusting the voltage on the third rail. Approximately 500 relays are used under the layout to control the trains in the above manner. Over 100,000 miles of wire is used to power the whole layout. This is the only ATC system of this type in existence on any model railroad.
Tower operators are placed at junction points on the railroad. Individuals can control the trains from their respective locations within the display when necessary. Duties include switching, yard entry, or yard departure from the mainline. The freight and passenger terminals are under manual control.
A railroad dispatcher can control a train anywhere on the mainline by cutting out the ATC system. That person can stop, start, or back up a train manually from the Dispatcher's Cab. The Dispatcher's Cab is also equipped with an occupancy chart, or an Indication Board. The board ndicates, by illuminated lights, the position of all trains on the layout.
The locomotives are built or have been rebuilt from both kits and from raw materials. They are powered by permanent magnet motors, which can take up to a year to build. Various locomotives - steam, diesel, and electric-type - run in various sizes, from small switching engines to the large, articulated ones. The rail cars are also built from kits, as well as from raw materials. All rolling stock is built, maintained, and owned by the club members.
The layout, track, structure, scenery, bridges, and buildings are also custom-built and owned by the club itself.
Membership to the Bay Ridge Model Railroad Club is open to anyone with an interest in model railroading. Anyone wishing to join the club may do so by contacting any of the members, who will be pleased to discuss details of membership. No special skills are required or needed.
Take a look at the layout in action below.
Visit the club’s Facebook page below and follow the club’s latest happenings.
This page was last updated by Omar Pagan on April 28, 2019.