Home & Club Layouts in Southeastern Wisconsin

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The Milwaukee-area is fortunate to have dozens of great home and club layouts in almost every scale. Many are open during NMRA division meets and conventions, and some, such as those below, have websites to showcase their owner's work.

Note: Can't find your club? Check the bottom of this page for clubs without websites.

New Clubs forming:

  • Milwaukee (Z)
    New Z scale club forming on the south side. For more information call (920)668-6857.
  • Watertown (HO)
    Anyone interested in starting a family oriented model railroad club should contact Tom Kangas at (920)206-1234 for more information.

    Legacy Layouts:

    All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, that includes model railroads. Below are links to layouts that are no longer with us, but preserved through either photos or video.
  • Jim Hediger's Ohio Southern (the first one)
    A rare look at Jim's first version of his HO Ohio Southern (before the double-deck one) from the TV program Empires In Miniature produced in 1978. [YouTube video]

  • Milwaukee Model Railroad Engineers (Indian Head Lines) (HO & traction) Milwaukee, Wis. (Dismantled in early 2010)

    Home layouts with websites:

    Norfolk & Whey Railroad
    Tim Hensch's Norfolk & Whey Railroad
    This freelanced version of the NS mainline in HO scale from Bluefield, WV to Williamson, WV consists of a double-deck layout which consumes a majority of a 26-foot by 36-foot basement. It uses NCE DCC and is fully signaled with JMRIand C/MRI control.
    Rocky Lights Railroad
    Jim Hunnicutt and Kevin Ylvisaker's Rocky Lights Railroad
    A large G gauge garden railroad that was started in 1999 and features 800 feet of track on three separate lines. Control is with AristoCraft Train Engineer. Fifteen tons of assorted rock make up part of our railroad with much of it exposed as decorative landscaping and the rest used as construction material. Also includes over five hundred miniature trees, ground covers and bulb stock. Photo by the Rocky Lights Railroad.
    Grand Funk 
    Mike Lewitzke's Grand Funk Line
    An HO/HOn3 fantasy, freelanced layout currently under construction hosts many award-winning dioramas. Aside from the scale layout, the Grand Funk Line includes the full-size environment of a train station, narrow gauge wood Pullman car, abandoned mine, cavern and bunk car. Plus it features lighting and sound effects. Uses DCC for train control. You have to experience this layout to believe it!
    UP train
    Bob Frey's UP & Western
    A 30' x 40' HO layout featuring Digitrax DCC and computer generated switchlists. Radios are provided for communication with the dispatcher.
    The 400
    Marty Edward's 400 Route
    An HO layout that is highly detailed and set in the Wisconsin towns of Clyman Junction, South Beaver Dam, Grand Marsh, Adams/Friendship and Wyeville. Uses Atlas Master DCC for train control.
    KGB Jordan Spreader
    Mark Mathu's Green Bay & Waupaca Railroad
    This HO scale railroad is set in Central Wisconsin and is currently under construction.
    UP power
    Dennis Glynn's Union Pacific
    An HO scale railroad set in the Blue Mountains of Oregon which has recently been rebuilt (the website shows the old railroad). It uses DCC and computerized switchlists with radios provided for communication with the dispatcher.
    Midwest Lines Rolf Platcher's Midwest Lines
    An HO freelanced railroad between Denver and Kansas City. The fully sceniced layout features motive power from the UP, RI, and CB&Q. It uses Lenz DCC and computerized switchlists with radios provided for communication with the dispatcher. The layout was featured on the PBS series Tracks Ahead.
    [YouTube video of UP freight by Joe Russ]
    GN Kalispell Division Don Strike's Great Northern Kalispell Division
    A double-deck HO layout with a 450' mainline modeling the GN between Havre, Mont., and Spokane, Wash., in the steam and diesel era. Uses Dynatrol command control and waybills for car forwarding.
    Conowingo Central Railroad Mike Ziegler's Conowingo Central
    A freelanced HO layout running from the shores of the Chesapeake Bay to the coal fields of Pennsylvania in 1958. The layout uses Lenz DCC and computerized switchlists. The CCR was featured in the July 2005 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. Mike passed away in 2008 and the layout is being maintained by friends.
    [YouTube video of passenger service by Joe Russ]
    [YouTube video of a coal train by Joe Russ]
    Ford City Northern Jerry Gunderson's Ford City Northern
    A freelanced N scale layout based in central Wisconsin. The 15 x 11 foot layout is point-to-point, but a connecting track was added to allow for continuous running. Train control is with DCC. Photo by Jerry Gunderson.
    PLE loco
    Tom Artzberger's Pike Lake & Eastern Railroad
    A 7-1/2 inch gauge backyard railroad with approximately twelve-hundred feet of mainline. Photo by John Wolfe. [Moved]
    Timber River logo
    John Tews' Timber River Railway
    A freelanced HO scale layout based in northwestern Wisconsin and northeastern Minnesota. The layout is point-to-point with mainline signals and switches controlled by the dispatcher's CTC panel. Train control is with CTC-80 and communication is with phones and radios. The layout was featured in the November 1992 issue of Model Railroader and on the PBS series Tracks Ahead.

    Clubs with permanent layouts and websites:

    Milwaukee N Southeastern Club Milwaukee "N" Southeastern
    This N scale 40 x 17 foot club layout features passenger, intermodal and wayfreight operation. Block control is used for operation on a double-track mainline, although the club is converting to DCC.
    [YouTube video by Keith Schmidt]
    NAPM Club North American Prototype Modelers
    This huge HO club layout was featured in the March 2003 issue of Model Railroader.
    The layout features 26 scales miles of track and is operated with DCC.
    SOME layout Society of Model Engineers
    Milwaukee School of Engineering's model railroad club. The double-deck HO scale Overland Western Lines is a freelanced adaptation of the Wisconsin Central mainline running between Chicago, Ill. and Fond du Lac, Wis. with the modeled area between Burlington and Slinger, Wis. Approximately 600 feet of mainline using Lenz DCC.
    Lionel Club layout Lionel Railroad Club of Milwaukee
    New Berlin
    One of the oldest clubs in the Milwaukee-area. The new O gauge club layouts are currently under construction.
    Metro Model Railroad Club Metro Model Railroad Club, Ltd.
    Port Washington
    A trans-Wisconsin railroad modeled with a partially double-decked HO layout with a floor area of 16.5 x 52 feet. Uses wireless DCC for control. Also has a portable HO layout used for train shows. Photo by James Bartelt.
    KMBS layout Kettle Moraine Ballast Scorchers Railroading Club, Inc.
    West Bend
    Club had a large permanent HO scale layout and a small N scale layout, but was forced out of it's location in early 2010 and is looking for a new home. Also has a portable N scale layout for train shows.
    MLES photo Milwaukee Light Engineering Society
    Outdoor live steam layout on 6.5 acres of land. Includes trackage for 1/8 life size, 1 1/2" scale, and 7 1/2" gauge equipment. Photo by John Wolfe.
    Cedar Creek Central layout Cedar Creek Central Railroad Club
    Has an HO scale layout approximately 40 x 22 feet which uses Code 83 track and an HO portable layout. Also has an outdoor G gauge layout.
    Tri-County Model Railroad Club
    Union Grove
    The layout of this HO scale club was dismantled in December 2007 and the club has relocated to Union Grove.

    HO Modular Club

    The Milwaukee Fallen Flags Model Railroad Club was formed in January of 2004 when six model railroaders from the Milwaukee Area replied to a posting on an Internet Forum about forming a club. We are in the process of building an HO Modular layout loosely following NMRA standards to one day be displayed at local shows. Our members model various railroads that once ran or currently run in Wisconsin, including the C&NW, SOO Line, Milwaukee Road and Wisconsin Central, but we do not limit ourselves to any roads or eras. We meet in a round-robin fashion every other week, usually on Tuesdays, at member's homes to work on our modules, to operate on each other's layouts, and to socialize and talk trains. There are currently no dues, no rules, and no officers. Members pay for their own material for modules, but owning a module is not a requirement to join. The point is to have fun, and run trains. Contact informatoin pending.

    Clubs without permantent layouts which do have websites:

    BSG layout
    Badgerland S Gaugers
    This S gauge club has monthly meetings at members homes, holds a monthly swap meet, and displays their modular layout at several events each year.
    Cream City Traction club Cream City Traction
    A modular HO traction club in Milwaukee, Wis. Photo by Jason Davies.
    KGRS layout
    Kenosha Garden Railroad Society
    This is a G gauge garden railroad club in the Kenosha and Racine area.
    Milwaukee Area N-Trak Milwaukee Area N-Trak
    A modular N-Trak group in Milwaukee, Wis.
    OWL Covered Hopper
    The Overland Western Lines
    A modular HO group of model railroad enthusiasts comprised of Student Alumni from the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee, Wis. A prerequisite for membership includes past involvement in the MSOE Society of Model Engineers.
    Southeast Wisconsin N-Trak Southeast Wisconsin N-Trak
    Another modular N-Trak group in Milwaukee, Wis. Photo by Larry McNaughton. Web site currently down.
    WGRS display at the Domes Wisconsin Garden Railway Society
    This group covers most of Wisconsin and helps to put on the annual model railroad display at the Domes.
    Waukesha County Gandy Dancers layout Waukesha County Gandy Dancers
    An HO scale club with a portable layout based in Waukesha, Wis.
    Z scale layout WIZ Kidz (Wisconsin Illinois Z Kidz)
    A new Z-scale modular group in Southeastern Wisconsin and Northeast Illinois.

    Missing in action:
    Other clubs in the area which either do not have websites, or I haven't been able to find them.

  • Glacial Garden Railway (G) Pewaukee, Wis.
  • Model Railroad Club of Milwaukee (Milwaukee Union Terminal) (O & traction) Milwaukee, Wis.
  • Lionel Club of Kenosha (O-27) Kenosha, Wis.
  • Wisconsin Central Ltd. Model Railroad Society (HO) Burlington, Wis.
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    Updated: 11/19/10
    All photos by Joe Russ unless otherwise noted. Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 by Joe Russ