Keystone Model Railroad Historical Society
frequently asked questions
What gauge does KMHRS run?
Are you DCC? If so what system.
Yes, we're DCC. We use Digitrax. We also have a Wifi interface so folks can use their phone/tablet as a throttle, with an appropriate app. A limited number of 'club owned' throttles are available for member use.
How long does it take to run the KMRHS mainline?
Most realistically... For a local passenger train making station stops, running at prototypical speed, and maybe occasionally waiting for a signal for a train-ahead to clear it's about 40 minutes.
Freight trains doing 'work' along the way can take much longer. For example the 'milk' train which makes many stops, set-offs, and pick-ups along the entire route including the branchline can easily take over 2 hours.
Express passenger trains making only a couple 'major' station stops can do it in about 20 minutes. Running the mainline at UNprototypical speeds and not making stops could probably be done in ~10 minutes.
The names of your towns, stations, junctions, etc. seem a little odd. How do you name them?
Most features on the layout are named after our members. For example "Lee Yard" is named after Bill Lee who was our stationmaster for many years until he passed. A few features are named jokingly: for example "Duklo" station is named after a nearby bridge that's about 66" off the floor, and many folks have to 'duck low' to get under it without banging their head.
How much does it cost to be a member?
Dues are $15 a month, payable annually.
Discounts are available for junior members and for those with limited income.
How can I join?
The best way to start is come visit us during one of our open houses or on our regular Monday-night work sessions. Get to know us, decide if you want to join, and if so apply. You'll go through a 6-month "apprentice" period and then the club will vote on whether to admit you as a member. That's largely a formality: we virtually never 'deny' folks that are engaged and want to join. At that point you'll get a key to the clubhouse (yes, as a member you can come run trains ANY TIME you want).
Does the club restrict what can run on the layout?
For running on your own time / personally, no. If you want to come in and run modern Amtrak, TGV, modern diesel, etc. go for it!
For running during open-houses/operating sessions, anything you put on the layout must pass NMRA standards- proper couple-height, etc. For open-houses, it must also fit our era, roughly 'The 1950's'... Though we do occasionally have 'modern-era' operating sessions where more is allowed.
What does it mean "operations-focused"?
As a club, our goal is to operate as close to prototype as possible. We don't run 'toy trains'...
We try to emulate as much as possible how a 'real' railroad would run.
We do have a 'display layout' we set up each holiday season, and that's much more lenient. On that we just 'run trains' including Thomas the Tank Engine, etc.
Do you want to buy my trains/structures/kits/etc. that I've inherited, bought or found?
Honestly... No. We have more trains/locomotives/cars/kits/structures than we can use already.
If you want to -donate- model railroad goods to us, we're usually happy to take them. The truth is we'll likely sell them and use those funds to promote and support the club.
Unfortunately, if you have an existing layout you want us to come clean out / take away, we typically aren't able to do that.
If you've inherited model railroad goods, your best bet is to catalog them, noting all possible specifics. If you do that we'll share it with our members to see if any of them have individual interest, and also advise you on the best ways to sell/donate them.
Got other questions? Contact Us to ask and we'll post answers here.