HomepageNewsCalendarHistoryMembershipContact us

Follow our Tracks...

Our club serves a number of different and unique aims. First and foremost we are a social club dedicated to the promotion of model railroading and sharing our wide variety of experiences and talents with fellow members in a collegial and supportive atmosphere. We are dedicated to the concept that model railroading is one of the most versatile and expansive

Quick Links
The Old Layout: The Cape Cod Central
Structures and Scenery
Meetings
Making History the Future on Cape Cod

of hobbies to be involved in; encompassing electronics, carpentry, artistic design, logistical planning as well as the fun of model train operation, there is something for everyone in model railroading! Come join us and refine and develop skills that interest you while learning about different elements that come together in model railroading! We welcome all ages and skills sets the only pre-requisite being a thirst for fun!

The "Old" Layout: The Cape Cod Central (1967-2013)
Originally housed within our baggage car was a large HO scale layout designed to simulate the Old Colony Division of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. The terminus of Hyannis was a mainstay of one end of the layout while a number of other scenes local to Cape Cod were viewable. In the middle of the layout was a large yard, ostensibly either Back Bay Boston or Readville or a combination of both. Finally at the end of the layout was "the mountain" which was constructed back inthe day when apparently mountains actually existed on Cape Cod.
This layout was constructed in the late 1960's and further enhanced in the decade following with superb scenery and detailed effects being a hallmark of the member's efforts. Since that time, numerous changes occurred within the hobby that had long lasting, and ultimately terminal, consequences for the original layout.

In the 1970's through to the end of the century, Model Railroading was dominated by a mindset that encouraged vast reaches of track, large yards, and scenery that reflected the dramatic (see Cape Cod mountains) rather than the conventional. The emphasis was on a large layout that could handle a large number of members running long trains in carefully The Boston Yardcontrolled "blocks" that restricted electrical access so two trains could (somewhat) run on the layout. In addition to the problematical issue of trains disappearing into a tunnel never to return, the biggest issue was that our layout bore almost no resemblance to any Cape Cod railroad at all and there was no chance to operate our model trains prototypically (a big word that means doing it just like real big trains do ...). Not only were there no mountains on Cape Cod, but there were also precious few 100 car coal trains running to Provincetown!

It was at the approach of the millenium that technology caught up with the hobby in a number of fortuitious and game-changing ways. Computer chips had increased in power and decreased in size (see Moore's Law) to the point where a new method of control for model trains was on the horizon. With the old system, DC power was flowed from a power pack to the rails with the surging electrical connection driving the speed of the engine on the track. The new system was called DCC, short for Digital Command Control and the equation was reversed. The rails were now powered constantly with a different electrical waveform that sent a constant stream of electrical signals through the rails, much like what took place on the real railroads. Inside each engine was a computer chip called a decoder that was able to read and process the DCC messages that were being sent through the rails so now commands such as "move forward" would be directed at the individual decoder which would then relay the command to the engine.

It is essential to remember that DCC was not new in 1999. The concept had been proven as Power Hopuse in the Yardearly as the 1960's but it was not until the later part of the century that the technology became smaller and affordable enough to be able to create a new market. Yet all this might have been for naught were it not for the pioneering efforts of Berhard Lenz, a German engineer who developed and enhanced an entire protocol for implementing DCC. The enigmatic German chose to advance the hobby over his own professional interests and threw open the work his had been developing to the National Model Railroad Association. Why? Why would he risk allowing his proprietary product to be shared with competitors just as it was ready to go to market? Simply put, Lenz recognized that the hobby was ready to make a large step into this new direction and a unique opportunity was available to bring stakeholders to the table to estabish standards. By handing over his work to the NMRA, Lenz made the entire Model Railroad community responsible for the development and standardization of the biggest advancement in the history of the hobby. In a few short years, a series of standards was developed and agreed upon and today standardization rules the hobby. You are able to take a decoder from one manufacturer and put it in any engine and run it on a DCC system from a different The Canyons of Cape Codmanufacturer and it will still run flawlessly. We take this for granted today, but were it not for the unselfishness of Bernhard Lenz, the hobby might still have been in the thrall of a cuthroat competition to establish the most popular DCC system. Such an outcome would surely have foresaged the demise of no shortage of manufacturers and would have been of no benefit to consumers. Instead the manufacturing aspect of the hobby continues to thrive as there is no pressure for hobbyists to conform to a propriatory DCC system and everyoine is able to enjoy the benefits of consistency and interoperability.

For the original layout of the CCMRRCAM, the writing was on the wall for any number of reasons but a few of the most notable included the cramped and unconventional layout, the lack of historical significance and the update to technology. A number of changes to the layout took place in the early 2000's including electronic rewiring, reconstruction of scenery and, most recently, the conversion of the layout to The Great Viaduct of Cape Cod...DCC. While the old layout was storied and beautifully landscaped, ultimately it was constructed in, and for, a different time and its limitations would signal the need for replacement. The difficult decision was made to replace the old layout with something more accessible for members and visitors that was hewed historically and scenarically to Cape Cod. In 2013 the old layout was carefully catalogued and photographed while many structures and some scenery were repurposed for use on the new layout. The large layout (over 54 feet long) was then taken apart in four pieces; a small amount was kept within the skeleton of the replacement, the remainder was sold or given away. It was a fantastic layout that provided 46 years of enjoyment for members, friends and guests and it left a legacy of experience that the club still draws upon today

Structures and Scenery
One of the great fascinations of model railroading is the "minaturization of the ordinary;" we take that which is everyday and convert it to a scale which is considerably smaller but still completely reconizable. To do this requires skills that are developed, refined and then passed on to other members; in doing so we enhance our proficiency and are rewarded with the accomplishment that comes with new aptitude. We work to improve our understanding of how to use amazing tools (such as an airbrush) effectively (in the club spray booth) and safely (wearing an OSHA approved mask). Whether the goal is to improve scenery for photography puposes or just to enhance the layout, building scenery is rewarding, educational and fun.

Meetings

In the past our club would get together every Thursday but the changing needs of different groups and classes means that assembling the entire membership is now a monthly affair generally taking place on the second Thursday. The beginning of this is dedicated to a business meeting often involving event planning; often a guest speaker is invited who might address a topic of interest to club members such as scenery construction or historical events.


The club has a number of unique groups with different aims that use our resources: Youth in Model Railroading meets on Sundays, Model Railroading Classes, often using the educational resources of our extensive mini-Kalmbach Library most often meet on Sundays, operating sessions are often scheduled for Thursdays and from May until September we open to the public on Saturday mornings. We also tie in with events that are spearheaded by others; you will find our layout open for varied events such as West Barnstable Village Celebration or National Train Day.

At our club there are a few different groups that use the club for different aims within our hobby. Model Railroading offers so many facets to

Making History the Future on Cape Cod

While we embrace technology and electronics, we see model railroading as one of a small niche of unique hobbies that presents the opportunity to link generations together; generations that have become increasingly fracturered and disconnected by the advent of video games. The attraction of model railroading crosses all demographics, fascinating children and adults alike and presents an opportunity to get our kids away from the television back into the fold of actively doing and creating something unique. We use history to link us to the valuable railroad heritage of Cape Cod and encourage younger members to think critically about the history that we model and how they are able to play an active role in the keeping the history and future of rail transportation on Cape Cod alive. We support trains as tools of enviromental change and support and promote Massachusetts Coastal Railroad in their operation of the Energy Train on Cape Cod thereby saving over 70,000 trips over the bridge by garbade trucks. The Energy Train is a boon to commuters, enviromentalists, and taxpayers alike as serves as an important reminder of the benefits of railroad transportation.

We are honored to be the owners and caretakers of Bradley & Sons Railroad Car #3802 which began life in 1905 as a horse and carriage car. At some point between 1927 and 1930, the car was converted to a baggage car where it lived out its life on the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. Following the merger of the New Haven into the Penn Central system, the club was presented with the opportunity to purchase #3802 from the railroad on November 5, 1968 for the princely fee of $1 whereupon it was delivered from the Hyannis yard to its present location. The interior dimensions are 60' x 9' belieing a weight of 86,000 pounds while the length over the couplers is 64' 8 1/2".

The caboose is a Delaware and Hudson unit with many original features that serves as a library, meeting room and social center for club members. Although space is understandably jLeaking no longer...cramped at times, the caboose houses important archives of the club and a collection of Kalmback Books and Model Railroader Magazine going back to the 1940's. It provides a cosy meeting area for club meetings in the spring, summer and fall. Heating, lighting and alarms have all been installed in the caboose which also houses extra club modules in preparation for setup at shows.

Both the car and the caboose require ongoing maintenance that is performed by the members as well as help from friends, well-wishers and the Barnstable County Sheriff's Office and some of their fine associates. Over the years additions to both units have included lighting and heating units, alarms and video cameras for protecting the layout from vandalism and secure locks allowing computerized entry for members. Each year a new project is discussed and adopted by the members who will gather for a day in the spring to put in the effort to keep both units in servicable condition.