Spring 2017 - 10 years and going strong

Fri Mar 3, 2017 11:03 pm MST

Hello, I am the new web site editor for Gilbert Model Railroad Club.  Much has happened since the last blog.  We have a new vice president, David Aiken and new Club Advocate John Diezel.  We have also passed our 10 year mark and were featured in the Gilbert Sun newspaper last year.  The article is framed and on the wall in our visitor area.

Work continues:  Magma and Superior track is in for the most part and makes great use of the upper layout deck and north helix top with interesting terrain and wash crossings to represent the mountain climb to superior.  The helix is also starting to receive its covering to hide the loops under the mountain.  

Howard is making excellent progress on the background paintings.  I will be taking new pictures soon to show off his work. He has completed several scenes and is making the layout come alive.

Extra detail is starting make the Mesa and Tempe town areas look great.  Much of the layout is now receiving ground covering and orchard trees.  The orchards were very common in the area back in the 1950's.  Tempe has received updates to the "A" mountain and the mill.  The Phoenix industrial area is starting to see improvements.  The Grand Canal was recently cut into the layout and trestle bridges are being added.  New track work on both the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific yards have been done to improve train movements.  A stock car handling and cleaning track area was added to the SP yard.  Glendale and Wickenburg areas have changed somewhat with the removal of the strawberry bypass.  More detail behind the areas are now being considered and added.  The Wickenburg depot also has interior lighting.  The upper deck has also seen a lot of work.  The Kyrene line is mostly complete and scenic work done.  The Chandler depot and surrounding area is underwork with a fuel tank facility added at the curve from the helix. Sacaton has ground cover and cotton fields and looks much better.  We have also added a staging track for members to add and remove their trains without interfering with the layout.  The track extends from the layout viewing window over the salt river area along the south wall with a three track stage shelf.  This has been effective for members to load and remove personal equipment without putting stress on the layout which is becoming more fragile as detail is now being added to scenes.  

The work in Poston area is mainly complete and detailed.  The Pichaco yard has had ground cover added and some updates to the track work leading into the yard.  Also, the flying bypass loop over the SF and round house area from the end of Picacho yard to Red Rock has been removed.  It was decided to extend the upper deck and relay the track to Red Rock instead of the open loop.  There may be more opportunities for track side details leading to Red Rock when that is done.

Another significant improvement was the removal of the old layout wiring and standardizing the power feeders.  In the process, separate electrical regions were added.  This improved the reliability greatly and also with separate regions, an operator shorting a section of track during operations only affects that small region, not the whole layout.  Each region now has its own panel and auto reset circuit breaker.  Also many switches have had frog juicers added to eliminate shorting problems.  A reverse circuit was also added to the turntable which eliminated the guess work on the polarity switch when running engines in and out of the stalls. 

There is much more to see.  If you have not been to our club in a while, please come by and see us.  We are usually here Tuesday and Thursdays from 7 to 10PM.  On Saturdays, 10AM to 2PM, we have members running their personal equipment and give tours of the layout.

So, after 10 years, we are going strong.  Come and check out the progress.

September 2015 - Time Flies

Tue Sep 1, 2015 9:27 am MST

Where has the time gone.  My last entry was quite some time ago.  The layout has continued its development with the planning and now implementation of the Superior Mine owned and operated by the Magma Arizona Railroad.  A complete and contained operating scenario will be included to cover this section of the layout with interface to the Southern Pacific at the Magma location.

Local trains will operate in the mining section and the SP will pickup and deliver cars to Magma out of the SP Phoenix Yard.  This will create some interesting movements during operating sessions.

Coolidge has now moved to a more correct location and we have added Randolph as an interim location.  These will be serviced out of the Picacho Yard on the upper level.

The club is currently processing a new inventory of all rollling stock and locomotives and will begin to thin out the inventory based upon the needs of the industries that remain on the layout.  This will improve the assignment of rolling stock to locations as well as reduce the number of cars that are NOT on the layout to minimize damage while in storage.

December 2013 Year End

Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:46 am MST

I know I have been slow in updating this page but I will try to do better going forward.  We at the GMRC hope all of you have a great year end holiday season as we plan to here.  The club will be closed the week of Christmas and New Year's Eve.

We just enjoyed our year end, chili fest and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  We get visitors to the club on a regular basis and if you are ever in the area on a Tuesday or Thursday evening, stop on in and talk trains.  We enjoy information from other clubs of any scale and hopefully our layout will show improvement each time you visit.

Cheers for a great Holiday and hope for a properous New Year.


November 2013

Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:04 am MST

I guess you could say I have been remiss and a little lazy since I have not updated this page for the past 8 months. The club has made significant progress in key sections of the layout.  Kyrene has developed into an industrial section ready for operations to occur daily.  Drake has experienced a redevelopment again and is waiting to the latest track plan change, as is Prescott.  Glendale has also had the track plan adjusted to improve operations movement of rolling stock in and out of its multiple freight sidings. Work has progressed on Red Rock and Superior mining district.  The addition of the Phoenix gassification plant and oil/fuel storage facitlity has nearly completed the work at the Mobest yard.

Eloy and the cotton capital of Arizona is coming along nicely and Hayden Flour Mill is labeled along with the creation of 'A' mountain in the Tempe section. Gilbert has shown some signs of sprucing up for this years Gilbert Days celebrations and we now have significant ground cover in our Phoenix yards. The base of the north helix is now covered and ready to accept the expansion of our north staging track that will be hidden under the helix.

The major focus over the past few months has been the introduction and use of a car card system for our SanteFe section of the layout.  This process has experienced a few changes and now we are prepping to introduce the car cards into the Southern Pacific sections of the layout.  Since this area is much larger and also not as well developed, the introduction will likely occur on a site by site basis.

With the return of our winter visitors, we anticipate the layout to take another major step in devleopment.  Several new members have joined us since the last entry and they are providing new insights and exciting advancements to the layout. The supporting electrical infrastructure is being updated and will assist with trouble shooting should we experience any issues down the road.  Each new advancement makes the layout improved in both looks and operation.

Hope to see you at the club


Winter 2013

Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:30 pm MST

Wow, another several months have flown by.  The club made some adjustments to our Bylaws and the Rules, Regulations, Standards & Procedures.  This brings everything into agreement with the 4 committees that oversee the layout development.  Speaking of the layout, many changes and upgrades are in process to make operations more exciting and challenging, as well as eliminating tight spots should we loose a turnout or two.

Magma,Superior, Chandler, Coolidge, Poston, Kyrene, Wickenberg, Phoenix power plant and Union Station yard are all coming along nicely.  Track improvements have been approved for Drake, Gilbert and the SP Phoenix yard.  With all of these changes, the layout is taking great shape.

The club is planning a house cleaning night once a month to get the room and surroundings in better condition and more pleasant for our visitors.

If you are in the area, stop on in and see how the layout has improved.

Until next time, keep 'em rollin'



Fall 2012

Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:11 pm MST

Another 6 months have passed and the layout continues to grow, develop and expand the sections under significant completion. Phoenix section has seen the mock up of Union Station, Tovrea stock yards and the Stockyards Restaurant are well under construction.  Hayden Mill is now on the banks of the Salt River and the Kyrene branch has several structures ready for final lancscaping and operations.

The club has defined 4 sub groups to help us continue the growth of layout.  These each focus on a part of the layout: Construction, Electrical, Landscaping and Operations.  As each of these establish their direction, members can share their expertise.  The other item we all are looking forward to is the return of our seasonal members.  we have missed them over the summer and look forward to welcoming them back to the layout.

If you are ever in the area, stop in and say hello on a Tuesday or Thursday evening between 7-10.


Keep 'em rollin'

Spring 2012

Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:13 am MST

Where has the time gone.  It is spring once again and our seasonal members are beginning to head back north for the summer.  The layout has progressed well over the winter.  Poston, Chandler and the Picaccho Yard are sprouting signs of life with building and other scenery in place.  Prescott has improved as well as has, Magma, Queen Creek and signs of life in Coolidge and Wickenberg.

The club has started operating sessions and each month the session gets more complex and interesting.  Based on the results of these sessions, a few changes in track plans had occurred to improve train movement and complexity of switching moves.

There are still a number of layout sections that could use some attention as new members join the group.  Rolling stock now numbers in the 400's and motive power is over 50 on the layout, so trains can and do roll nicely.

The club has participated in several swap meets over the past year and was able to add to our funding as excess items were sold at extremely fair prices.

Until next time, keep 'em rolling.

Club passes 5 year anniversary

Tue Jan 3, 2012 8:22 am MST

Well 2012 has begun and the GMRC has passed its 5th year anniversary.  While both of these are significant, the fact that the layout continues to develop provides the most satisfaction and fun for the members.  The club has also made a minor change in its leadership team, adding Chris Shubert as Secretary.  His fresh ideas and input will help the leadership maintain its focus and continue to expand our horizons.

The Picacho yard has been laid and is in process of getting its support structures and landscaping in place.  Poston and Sacaton have begun to show thier local identities, Chandler continues to expand and complete its local land development scheme and the Superior mine area is beginning to establish rail connection with the rest of the layout.  Additionally the Red Rock area is showing life with some much needed attention.

With 85% of the track in place, the club has initiated 'mini' operating sessions every third Tuesday of the month.  These sessions allow members who are new to operations the opportunity to experience running on a time table and 'prototypical' issues on the rails.

We continue to expereince some issues with the functionality of the turntable. Seems it looses track power while in a specific location of it rotation. We have our experts investigating this issue and I am sure it will be cleared soon.  Automation of our turnouts continues as does the rewire of our two helixes to clean up some of the early days work and minimize issues down the road.

Installation of backdrops and facia continue as monies and materials are available.  We still have about 40% of the layout to complete with these improvements.

As always, you are welcome to stop in and see our progress and just talk trains with the members.

Summer has arrived in Arizona

Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:14 am MST

Well summer has arrived with a vengance of heat, but it was a nice spring for a change.  Speaking of changes, the club layout has progressed nicely with the rework of Wickenburg, Glendale and now the Santa Fe yard.  On the SP side, Kyrene and Chandler are nearing track completion, now we are just working on wiring and testing each section of new track.

Members have been tasked with structure repair and building to be used throughout the layout.  Poston, Sacaton, Chandler, Kyrene and Phoenix are current focus areas.  We will include Coolidge, Wickenburg, Glendale and Red Rock as well as the entire layout is ready for some structures and landscaping.

Our one last major need is someone who can draw the backgrounds, so members can fill them out to complete each section of the layout.

Come on by and take a look, we love to talk trains with visitors.


Where did April go

Thu May 12, 2011 4:06 pm MST

Wow! the last entry was in March and now it is May12th.  Where did April go.  The club has made a few track changes in the Prescott area to increase industrial acceses.  Also, the track in Wickenburg and Glendale have been modifide to include a turn 'Y' in the corner heading off to California?  Additional space is being built in the SF yard to add three more staging tracks. Also, Bill R is working on expanding the Kyrene industrial area.

Taylor has successfully completed the wiring of the turntable storage tracks using the beautiful hostler's panel built by Brad.  Gil is completing the track power to upper level from Piccacho to Kyrene and Chris is dropping the track feeds to this source.

The club continues to expand with new members and we are now up to 18 regular, 2 seasonal and 5 probationary members.  Come on down and check out the new changes.

March 23

Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:50 pm MST

Well spring has arrived again and the GMRC has made some great strides.  The return bridge at Picaho is in place just waiting for final touches before it is cleared to carry traffic.

Mainline has been completed through Poston to Sacaton and approaching Chandler area.  The team is linking this to the south helix to tie into the feed from Tempe/Mesa.

The engine maintenance yard is fully tracked, now the automation and control board is under final revisions.  This should be in place by next month's report.

Prescot is looking like itself and even the mountain terrain into Wickenburg is taking shape.  Unfortunately, our prime mover in this area, Bill, will be out for while with some hand surgery.  Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Mainline and sidings through Wickenburg and Glendale are under rework to open some additional space for structures.

Still need to work on the Red Rock power plant and concrete plant on the second level, Kyrene spur and the Superior mining area.  Otherwise, most mainline is in place.

Until next report, keep 'em rolling.

Valentine's Day 2011

Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:13 am MST

Well another few weeks have gone by at the GMRC and much has happened.  We have approved several new members into the group. The upper level tracking is now spreading from the north side to the south side.  We have a few incomplete spaced around Pichacho yard, Chandler/Kyrene and Magma/Superior.  We also are making some adjustments in the Prescott, Wickenberg and Glendale areas to increase Operations opportunities and make the layout more interesting.


The engine maintenance facility is nearing completion and all tracks have been laid up to the turntable.  Now we are working on completing the buildings and start to landscape the area.  The Picacho bridge is being built and will allow trains to turn around from the south end of Picacho yard.


2011 also brought some additional organizaitonal changes.  The Officers now meet monthly to discusss key issues for the club.  Monthly train running nights have been set for the 3rd Tuesday of the month and details are underway to prepare the layout and club for full Operaions sessions.  While Operaitons sessions may not start for another few months, inventory, car cards and waybills are in development.  Once track is laid and local industries are identified, final details for Operations will begin.  We anticipate this to happen in early summer.


Keep 'em rollin'.

Happy New Year

Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:00 pm MST

Well 2010 has closed and we have begun 2011.  The members continue to expand thanks to referrals from Roy's Trains and a couple enterprising individuals who gave our club membership as a Christmas present.  Some of the newer members have some time conflicts so they are not able to join us quite as often as they might like, but we will accept their time and support whenever it is available.


Club members are going to provide the labor to replace the museum roof over the entrance to the layout.  This should help reduce any water damage during wet periods here in Arizona.


Our recent train running nights have highlighted a couple areas that needed some rework.  THe Tempe and Phoenix feeds to the Salt River bridge are being modified to ease the tightness of the curves.  Also, we will be adjusting the right of way through Wickenburg and Glendale to allow additional room for structures to hide the Strawberry shortcut.


Upper level trackage has been laid in about 35% of the layout.  Still need to work on the Superior mine area as well as the track from Picacho yard to Chandler.  This is our next priority so we can be in better position for operating sessions to start in mid 2011.


The club will hold train running nights one night a month, final dates still undecided at this time.


So, in summary, 2010 was a very active year for the club, making great headway on completing the track plan so we can start to install structures and identify local industries across the layout.

Gilbert Days Update

Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:23 am MST

Wow, where has the time gone.  The club has completed track on the lower level and installed automated cross bucks at Gilbert road crossing.  We had the entire membership turn out on Gilbert Days to host a very successful Open House.


Working in conjunction with the Gilbert Historical Musuem, who hosted the post-parade party, the GMRC held an Open House.  We estimate nearly 200 visitors of all ages to come down, view the layout, participate with a host conductor/engineer who led them around the layout and showed off the latest club accomplishements.


Sept 17 Update

Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:52 am MST

Significant progress has been made.  The SF and the SP yards are now fully tracked and powered.  Union Station yard is fully tracked and half powered.  Phoenix Industrial, Sky Harbor Fuel, Phoenix Power plant and Salt River bridge is half completed.  Within the next few weeks, we should have a complete loop of track on the lower level.


The clubs next goal will be to define and hold a mini-operating session for the SF and SP sections in place.


Pending developments include expanding the main line turnout automation and completion of the engine maintenance facility.


Stay in touch and keep them rolling.

August 28, 2010

Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:22 pm MST

Significant progress has been made in the past few weeks.  Brad has nearly complted the track plan for Phoenix Union Station and the Southern Pacific yard.  Chris has completed the feed into the Santa Fe yard and is now working on the railroad bridge across the Salt River between Tempe and Phoenix.  Soon we will have the Phoenix industrial yards laid and then can run a train around the entire room on the lower lever without the need for reversing directions.


However, we did experience a bit of a setback with the destruction of one of our IR dectectors.  Seems an unknown party placed an over voltage situation on the unit and it decided to burn out.  New detectors are in hand and will be in place within the week and all displays will be back to full operation.


Our Gilbert orchard will be showing a full crop of oranges soon as Jim continues to tweak the diorama and bring it up to its full beauty.  Dave has become the builder of mountains as the Queen Creek lanscaping is reaching near completion. And Wayne has taken on the task of laying track in the engine maintenance facility.


More to follow.

August 2010 update

Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:21 am MST

Well another month and some days have passed.  The club has made some significant advances.  With the addition of a new member, Brad, we have nearly completed the SP yard in Phoenix AND the Union Station yard.  the only section of the lower level that needs track is the Phoenix industrial area including Sky Harbor fueling, Tovrea Stock Yards and the power plant, along with the bridge across the Salt River.


Work continues in the engine maintenance facility with feeder tracks from the SF yard being intstalled to the turn table.


Controls have expanded as well.  The table side plugs are in place and operational, the wireless feed is in place and operational and the master power unit has been moved to a central location under the layout.  Next on the control side of things is the power feed to turnouts and system lighting.  This will establish the next key part of having the entire layout ready for full lancscaping.


The trees in the GIlbert orchard are showing oranges, as it should be, and these will add one more level of realism to that section of the diorama.


More next month.

July Update

Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:36 pm MST

Well, another month has flown by and the club continues to make progress.  We have nearly completed the track in the Santa Fe yard, and have a layout for the engine maintenance area.  Phoenix Union Station area is starting to take shape and the entrance from both the SF and the SP yards are in place.


Most of the lower level Santa Fe track is in place and available for a small operating session.  THe club has also upgraded its control system to include wireless units that respond as quickly as the tethered units.


Tempe Salt River crossing into Phoenix is under development and soon may be laying track through Phoenix to link up with the Union Station yard.


Layout photos are also being updated to show much of this development.

June Update

Thu Jul 1, 2010 1:24 pm MST

Hello blog followers.

Well we have made some significant progress.  The Santa Fe rail yard (Mobest) is in place and wired for operation.  A team is working on the reversing Y and the track into the Phoenix Station for passenger service.  The other end of the yard will connect to our common maintenance area and turntable/round house section.  This is still in the early stages of layout but is ready to allign the turntable and start laying tracks.


Queen Creek continues to develop nicely and we are seeing the final appearance of hills, roads, bridges and landscaping.


Homosote has been positioned for the SF Phoenix yard, Phoenix Station and the Phoenix staging yard. Only have the southern section of the layout to complete to have an entire loop around the room. This southern section will include the Sky Harbor fuel depot, Phoenix power station and Tovrea's cattle operation.  Then this section will link across the Salt River bridge into downtown Tempe.


If you are in the area, come on over and join us on Tuesday or Thursday evening.  We are fully air conditioned and a real friendly group.


More next month.

May 2010 Update

Wed May 26, 2010 12:14 pm MST

I have not made an entry in a while, the club has completed track layouts for both Mesa and Tempe sections.  We are placing the finishing touches on the Sante Fe Phoenix Yard (Mobest) and starting to layout the turntable, roundhouse and engine maintenance yard.


We have also made progress on preparing structures for the Superior mine and several flour mills in Mesa and Tempe.  Have purchased the necessary bridge works to extend the track from Tempe across the Salt River.  So we are making progress.


One other item, we have acquired a wireless controller system that will interface with all of our existing wireless controllers and provide immediate response to control engines just like the controllers that are hard wired to the system.  This is a key step forward to improve our operation and prepare members for regular operating sessions.


Thu May 13, 2010 6:27 am MST

This is the first entry of the blog.  The blog will be updated on a semi-regular basis to keep everyone informed of activities around the GMRC.


Our benchwork is 100% complete and track laying is about 25% complete. We have a target to complete at least one main loop around the lower level by Gilbert Days 2010.


The entire benchwork was completed in a modular fashion to provide some flexibility should it be needed later.


We are using homosote/homobed under all track and this will allow significant sound control once everything is in place.


Train controls are NCE with a separate power feed for switch machines.


Lanscaping is underway for Gilbert, Williams Field, Queen Creek and the feed to Drake.  Other areas available for interested parties are: Wickenburg, Prescott, Glendale, Mesa and Tempe.


Take a look at the photos section for an idea of our progress.


Thanks for looking into the GMRC.

© 2018 - Model Trains - Gilbert Model Railroad Club in Gilbert AZ Register as New User Login