This page is organized as follows:
The Club was founded in early 1983 as the Alta Vista Model Railroad Club to promote the hobby of model railroading in the Antelope Valley. This was to be accomplished through the construction of a premier HO scale display layout having prototypical train operations and scenic details familiar to California. The layout was to be many times larger than feasible for a "home" layout.
The founding members pooled their financial resources and secured a $4000 loan to purchase a surplus 1941 Pullman-Standard passenger car from the late Purdy Company of Mojave.
The car is 80' long and was used on Southern Pacific's Coast Daylight train (ex SP 2486). It was refurbished in 1962 at which time the smooth stainless-steel siding was applied. The car was sold to Amtrak in 1972 (ex Amtrak 7516), retired in 1980, and sold to the Club in mid 1983.
We had the car transported to the East lawn of the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, its current location. It took a large crane and two huge trucks to move the car and its wheel sets from the railroad tracks at the Purdy Company in Mojave to the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster.
Generous donations from the business community, the Antelope Valley Fair, and the late Southern Pacific Railroad made it possible for us to host our first open house during the 1983 Antelope Valley Fair.
In 1992, the members voted to change our name to the Antelope Valley Model Railroad Club to more accurately reflect our Antelope Valley heritage.
Apparently, sometime between Christmas and New Year's Eve, 1995, some kids removed the Eastern door port hole window, crawled through the opening into the car and then vandalized the layout by smashing, walking on, breaking and severely damaging much of the existing layout. The current Club members decided to tear out the old layout, renovate the car and then construct a new layout, rather than trying to patch the existing one.
The ceremonial last run on the old layout on Friday, February 9, 1996. Several Club members arrived, cameras in hand, to pay their last respects to the layout we have known for the last 12 years. Demolition of the old layout started immediately after that last run. It was our goal to have a working layout for the annual Open House that will be held during the Antelope Valley Fair & Alfalfa Festival, August 23 through September 2, 1996. In this we succeeded!
From 1996 to 2003 we continued to improve the layout and be open all 11-days of each year's Fair. Then in October 2003 we lost our lease at the Fairgrounds as the Antelope Valley Fair was moving to a new site. Since we were not invited to the new Fairgrounds, we had to find a piece of land to park the car. In stepped Granicys Square. These folks were kind enough to offer us a piece of land for a very reaonable yearly rental fee. So we engaged T&T Truck & Crane of Bakersfield to move us, and on Tax Day 2004 we moved. See pictures of our 13-hour, 5-mile ordeal. This move wiped out our treasury, and it wasn't until January 15, 2005, we were able to muster the funds and donations necessary to reconnect the electricity.
Our HO scale layout is continually under construction. The basic design is a 60' x 6' 6", two track double deck oval with a helix at one end to raise and lower the trains. We have two large yards, one on each level, and a smaller yard on the top level in front. It is an operations orientated layout with many industries in which to switch cars, put together and take apart trains and other yard work. We use Digital Command Control (DCC) to control trains, and a Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) board to control switches. Switches can also be thrown locally when no dispatcher is available.
The Club currently has over 15 members from all occupations-carpenters, electricians, engineers, photographers, pilots, students, and so on.
Membership is open to anyone with an active interest in railroads and modeling. The level of experience ranges from armchair modelers, to novices, to experts. For most of us, the fun is in the learning.
To become a regular member, you must:
Spousal, Associate, Dependent, Equity and Life memberships are also available. Please contact a Club officer if you are interested in any of these memberships.
The Antelope Valley Model Railroad Club meets every Friday evening at 7:30 P.M. in the Club Car at Granicys Square in Lancaster.
The first Friday of the month is reserved for our business meeting during which we keep minutes, while the last Friday of the month is reserved for our operating session. The remaining Fridays are our work sessions. Visitors are always welcome on any meeting or session night.
The Club has formal Bylaws, elected officers and rolling stock standards, but we do work to keep the atmosphere informal.
How do you get started? How do you learn it all?
Join a model railroad Club-how about ours! By joining a Club, you can learn from the experiences of others.
There are a number of magazines and videos dedicated to model railroading, as well as "how to" books on every facet of the hobby. You can find them at most hobby stores.
Visit a hobby shop specializing in model railroading. Look around. You will be amazed at what you can find.
Since you learn more by doing than any other way, the real secret to getting started is to just "jump in and get your feet wet". Model railroading is a hobby for the whole family, and one that you can enjoy at home or as a member of a Club.
Please e-mail one of the officers listed on the Members page, or write to us at the following address:
Antelope Valley Model Club
P.O. Box 1384
Lancaster, CA 93584