All About The NEB&W Railroad Heritage Exhibit

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(There has been a malicious rumor out there that the dorm where the club is located, Davison, is scheduled to be torn down. This is NOT true - RPI spent a lot of money to give us a brand new entrance. All of the so-called freshmen dorms are a decade or two older and nowhere as solid construction - they would be torn down long before Davision.)

Visiting The Layout

Whistle-Stop Tours

  • I am normally at the Mueller Center just off the 15th St. pedestrian overpass on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon, roughly 12-5. I can take you up to the club for a quick walk-through tour, about 10-15 minutes, just so you get a taste of what we are doing. (Not for children under 14 years old.) Call me at 518 276-2874, email me at nehrij, or just drop in on the off-chance I can run you up there. (Probably not but if you are in the area . . .)

Current RPI Students

  • RPI students are always welcome - this is your club. We go out of way to get you in to see the layout. (Families of members can be hosted by the club member.)

Everyone Else

  • Attending club functions including just seeing the layout is one of the many benefits of membership.

Open Houses

We no longer are holding open houses for the general public, although from time-to-time, we open for select groups, like the alumni for Alumni Weekend, the Rensselaer County Historical Society/Mohawk-Hudson Industrial Gateway, and the local NMRA group.

Currently, there are no members that are interested in putting on all the work to set up an open house. It requires lots of cleaning, along with tucking-away projects which are hard to find afterwards, and then hosting when visitors come. If we could find even a small core group of members who enjoyed putting on open houses, then we would let them have it, but there simply isn't the interest.

In the month before Christmas, we are in the midst of end-of-semester projects and finals, so our student members are too busy. Over the summer, they are gone. In the fall and spring, we are generally working toward the operating session. (And no, you can't visit during an operating session - they are for us to enjoy the layout without distraction.)

Location & Directions

"Pleeeaze, Don't Touch the Layout"

Just as a lighted match was the one big fear for the Scarecrow of Oz, a clumsy hand is ours. The signs we posted along the front panel explaining each scene, always ended with "Please Don't Touch the Layout". Visitors would read the first ones they encountered, laugh or comment about it, and STILL touched items on the layout. Parents would hold up their little kids to better see the layout and the first thing would be the kid's hand reaching over the Plexiglas. Or parents just neglecting the kids, letting them run amok.

There is no way, what with our narrow aisles, to better protect the layout.

The stuff we build is very fragile. Nothing is more heart-breaking than to walk around and spot something that was built with a great deal of care and pain and see it knocked over, misaligned, or just broken.

Getting Young People in the Hobby

People complain that because the RPI club rarely have open houses, we are not doing our share in promoting the hobby with the next generation.

However, this is TOTALLY a young person's club, run by RPI students for RPI students. Not only do we bring college students into the hobby (and just look at the number of notable model railroaders who can trace their involvement in our club, who "graduated" from the RMRRS), but we work hard to promote the hobby among the entire student Rensselaer body of some 5,000 young people, even just trying to bring them down to see our layout.