The idea of starting a “county” club was born in July 2013. By October that year, sufficient interest and a layout plan had been developed and the first of the 2 foot by 6 foot tables were constructed.
In December, a train under power actually moved! While it was within the confines of one of the main yards, none-the-less, wheels turned.
Interest from the modelling community continued to grow such that by mid 2014, the maximum membership population of 25 individuals had been achieved. Progress laying track rapidly continued and by the end of 2014, we held our “first run” on the 400+ foot double tracked mainline.
During April and May 2016, a new yard was built and installed to replace the yard a former member graciously allowed us to use when he moved away for a job opportunity to run “real” trains. Progress continues on the wiring, engine facility and the interface to another module at the near end in the photo below.
The layout was designed as a double tracked main line on 2 foot by 6 foot “FreeMo” modules. Each club member has 2 modules which provides sufficient “real estate” to allow for individual creativity while maintaining set standards at interfaces where 2 members modules abut. Corner modules are also member owned and maintain a minimum radius of 30″. Mainline curves are all super elevated.
Consistent with the concept that lead to the development of “FreeMo” standards, members are free to model the era and location of their choice within the confines of their modules. As can be expected from such a diverse group of individuals ranging in age from their late teens to others in their 80’s, the era’s modeled range from the days of steam up to and including modern high efficiency diesels. Locations represented include the mountains of British Columbia, the large yard at North Platte Nebraska, the megalopolis at Aldershot Ontario, the interchange point at Pelton Ontario and the hamlet of Fletcher Ontario.
The layout is controlled by a Digitrax DCS240 DCC system with additional boosters and power supplies as required. Presently, the layout is broken up into 12 distinct power districts to minimize impact on the entirety of the layout and to assist in diagnosis in the event of an electrical problem. DT4nn throttles are supported by the appropriate UR9n receivers as well as conveniently located UP5 Loconet Universal Interconnect Panels.
The mainline is all Code 83 flextrack. Crossovers between the mainlines are number 8 turnouts that are thrown by tortoise slow motion stall motors. The tortoises are controlled by fascia mounted momentary contact push buttons connected to Digitrax SE8c’s. We are developing track plan panels within JMRI‘s PanelPro that will facilitate dispatcher control of the mainline tortoise switch machines and realistic signalling for traffic control. A side benefit we’ve realized from the use of the JMRI products is the ability to control our trains via smart devices (phones, tablets, ipods).
The Essex County Model Train Club is co-located with Cedar Creek Hobbies at:
The layout is available for viewing by special arrangement during normal store hours (see below). The club meeting night is each Wednesday from 7:00pm. The public is welcome at that time.
Cedar Creek Hobbies Hours:
Tuesday: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Wednesday: 10:00am – 10:00pm
Thursday: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Friday: 10:00am – 10:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday: 10:00am – 5:00pm