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WCMRS General Membership Information

"While talking about Model Railways the mental picture of a little boy crawling on the floor next to a toy train set comes to mind. Model railway enthusiasts wish to demolish that image. Model Railway is not always a toy! At it's best, a model railway is a huge scale model of a transportation system made alive by trains operated according to a timetable.

Model Railway involves and develops all kind of skills. To construct a sound baseboard, carpenter and cabinet makers skills are needed, the scenery calls for artistic taste and talents, electrics or even electronics will become familiar while installing the controllers and alike, plastics need to be handled in order to create houses and rolling stock, some may use lathe or a milling machine to create a brass model of of a locomotive. Railway operation will develop discipline and requires the skills of cooperation.

What could be a better way to get and develop these skills than joining the local model railway club." 

 -Tapiola Parish Model Railway Club in Finland


Membership at the Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society is always open.We are looking for members interested in HO Scale model railroading who want to learn, share and grow with our ever changing  layout. If you have any of the above skills, or want to acquire these skills, we're interested in you.

  • Membership is also about sharing time with other people who are interested in railroading. Many members also have interests in full sized trains, and the club often has rail excursion outings. We welcomed layout tours during the NMRA San Jose Convention in 2000 and the NMRA Extra 2011 West in Sacramento.
  • Being an active member includes participation at our monthly public shows. The rank of Engineer allows you to operate mainline cabs during the public shows. You can also vote in the yearly elections for club officers. 
  • Gender specific nouns are gender neutral terms specifiying a membership level in the WCMRS. Over the years a number of women have been members of the WCMRS and held gender neutral positions.


Listed here are the ranks and what kind of participation you might be involved in.

  • Switchman (Introducing yourself)
    If you are interested, please come by on a Friday night and introduce yourself. We'll show you around and you can say "hello" to the other members. We usually give prospective members three months to see if this club is something they'd like to join. I.e., if the style of train operation, people, and commute are favorable to you. You should also come down to the public shows and help out. This will give you an idea of how the layout runs and meet some other members. After the introductory three months you become an official member with the rank of Brakeman. Our Membership Chairman will announce your advancement at the monthly business meeting. As a new member you now owe club dues, initiation fee and must join the National Model Railroad Association if you have not done so already. The WCMRS is a 100%  NMRA Club.
  • Brakeman
    You are provided a WCMRS badge with your name and rank. There is a sign-in sheet for non-Senior Engineer members. Each time you come to the clubhouse, be sure to check the date next to your name. This way we can see that you are active and pursuing advancement. The sign-in sheet is on the left side of the bulletin board. You should also start or involve yourself in a project for the club. You can help with scenery, publicity, electrical or any ongoing project.  Participation in monthly club cleanup is expected of all members. Find out who the committee Chairs are for your area of interests in model railroading. If you want to run trains, the Trainmaster is in charge of education and making sure people understand how to run the layout. The Trainmaster will demonstrate operating guidelines the club members should follow.
  • Conductor
    Advancement to Conductor means you show promise and are learning how to operate the layout. During the public shows, Brakemen and Conductors usually run Olympia Yard, Setup, Nevins or Potterstown. These yards are not large and are easily managed. On Tuesday and non-show Fridays you should practice operating a yard and running trains on the mainline. You might take on a slightly larger project than before. Scenery projects can be small like making trees, or large like replacing a mountain side.
  • Engineer
    Advancement here means you have shown a commitment to the club and understand proper operations. As an Engineer you now have almost all of the privileges of membership. You can now serve as a committee chairman.
  • Senior Engineer
    As a Senior Engineer you have achieved the highest regular membership rank available. Upon advancement you will receive a keycard giving you access to the building. Only Senior Engineers vote on the advancement to this rank. Senior Engineers are eligible to run for Office one year after advancement.

Rolling Stock Requirements

  • All cars brought to the layout must conform to NMRA Standards for wheel gauge, car weight, coupler height. The mainline rail is code-100 track which means it is 0.100 inches tall. Some European produced equipment have very deep flanges. These must be ground down before they will pass through the turnouts on the layout. (We have members who have done this and can answer any questions you may have.)
  • We use the NMRA Recommended Practices RP-20.1 for car weight: 1 ounce plus 0.5 ounce per inch car body length (excludes couplers).  Having a train of all similar weights has some great advantages. First, the car order doesn't matter (generally heavier cars should be near the front of the train). Second, you can back up the train without the lighter cars being pushed off the track by their heavier neighbors, especially around curves! Plus it is possible "that the lighter weight cars may be pulled off the track in sharp curves'' (from NMRA, RP 20.1)
  • Kadee® brand couplers (or metal equivalent) must be installed. Exceptions are unit passenger trains and unit freight trains. There are some members that have trains comprised of 3-5 unit intermodal cars. Intermodal units utilize shared trucks between the interior cars which support the ends of two cars.
  • All rolling stock must have have metal wheels. Plastic wheels are not permitted on the layout.
  • End of train/last car of train must have detection.  

This  document is  subject to correction and revision

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