Making Tracks

June 2023


Welcome to Making Tracks, the official newsletter of the Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads. Thank you for subscribing. This will provide you with the newest updates, offers, discounts, lots of information about model railroading, railroad history, stories, and educational articles.

President's Column

Museum President’s Monthly Article:

This is the third installment of a seven article series to inform the public about what the Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads (Museum) wants to achieve in the long run. That’s why I’m writing a series of articles reflecting what the museum is about, how we began, where we're going, and how we want to create a venue the public will enjoy.  If you're reading this article first, I recommend you check out the Museum’s April Newsletter for the first installment titled “How Project Endeavor Came About” followed by May’s Newsletter titled “Why Project Endeavor Moved from One to Multiple Layouts”.

What is the Museum's Purpose and Mission?

To set the stage for this article, it will be necessary to include additional information to answer the above question. I’ll explain the Museum’s Concept, Basic Design, Organizational Overview, Mission, Vision, Objective and Path to Success.

Concept: Within the Hampton Roads area, there are many separate model railroad groups that passionately enjoy the hobby of model railroading. They get together whenever they can to talk about and operate their model railroads. These clubs assemble their layouts temporarily at train shows, occasionally at libraries and sometimes at assisted living facilities for the public to enjoy. However, many of these clubs have no location in which to display a layout more permanently, and the public’s access to view those displays is very limited.

Continuing discussion among members of these groups and the constant search for locations in which to display their layouts eventually led to an idea fostered by our current Museum President about perhaps having a central location where all major model railroading scales could be supported by local model railroad clubs who would build more permanent displays where they could have operating sessions regularly and be open to the public. This could provide a wonderful educational service to the community as well. Thus, the concept of creating a museum that would contain layouts of every major gauge (wooden train layout for young children, Z, N, HO, S, O, G Scales), and that train enthusiasts of all ages could enjoy, was born. This would serve the community and/or hosting city, if agreement can be reached, and provide a platform enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) to foster greater opportunities of learning for our youth. Out of these discussions, a Founding Committee was formed, and the name Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads was chosen.

The vision of the Founding Committee is that the Museum will focus on the history of how railroads shaped our country as well as demonstrating the art and science of model railroading as an educational endeavor. The model railroading groups in this area have a long-established record of constructing model railroads, using multiple disciplines combining STEAM concepts. The design and scope of the Museum will be like no other in the country.

The educational aspects of model railroading as a hobby are enormous. Constructing a model railroad requires knowledge about civil and mechanical engineering, carpentry, physics, electronics, architecture, and landscaping. It requires research into the history of the time and the location of the railroad to be modeled, what services railroads performed in those areas, how various products were made and brought to market. It requires knowledge about business, commerce and the economy. It inspires artistry and creativity.

Like most museums, our Museum must seek and secure support and funding for a home and operations. It must offer positive economic impact and stimulation of tourism for the Hampton Roads area and be an educational outlet for those interested in using model railroading to enhance knowledge that they are learning in school. Furthermore, it must contribute to the cultural stature of the area. While the museum will be in a category all its own, it still needs the support of the community at large to ensure it is a sustainable attraction.

The Museum's overall goal is to promote the general interests of all persons engaged in model railroading including its history, growth, knowledge, sharing, and fellowship, thus providing an arena in which individuals can achieve greater personal growth under a collective organization.

The Museum will be an independent, self-governing, non-profit organization and should not be construed in any way as being a subsidiary of any other organization, national or otherwise. Members and groups who join the Museum do so at their own discretion as individual entities and not representing any other organization. Model railroaders who are not part of any local group are also encouraged to join. However, should a local model railroad club decide to join as a group within the Museum, they must provide some level of day-to-day responsibility to ensure museum operations are supported. If the group in which a prospective member currently belongs decides not to join, that member can still join the Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads outside of their group if they wish.

Mission Statement: Our mission is to provide access to and promote the hobby of model railroading through educational and recreational experiences that will inspire and contribute to the knowledge and enjoyment of all people of all ages.

Vision Statement: Create a unique unified multi-scale model railroad venue for public display and interaction.

Stay tuned for more information on our progress in the next newsletter.  One important note is that we can’t do this without community support.  If you are interested and wish to provide support for a new Model Railroad Museum in the Hampton Roads, a place where you and your family could visit regularly to view and run trains, marvel at the craftsmanship and art of the 3D landscaping, and learn about model railroading and the history of trains in this area, please consider a tax deductible donation.  Every dollar helps the Museum’s achieve its goal to rent or purchase a facility!

Fred Humphrey, President

Traveling Exhibit

We are currently making plans to provide a traveling exhibit as one of our first services to the community. This exhibit will contain layouts of multiple scales (O, HO, N, Z) including modules of the popular HO scale train displays that can be connected together to form a large layout wherever it is requested. It could be at a church, a country club, library, museum, nursing facility - anywhere that has the space and the desire for it. These will be fully functioning model railroads, some of which will be ready for operation by visitors.

In addition, we will be offering another service around the Holidays of setting up Christmas train displays, including trains around trees, trains for parties, conventions or for any other venue.

Prices are very reasonable are very negotiable depending on the situation.

Please send an email for more details...

How to Build Your Own Model Railroad


There are lots of resources out there that can provide information about model railroading. One of the most comprehensive websites that explain all the basics and more about getting started in the hobby is at The information presented there is entirely free, and is arguably one of the most complete step-by-step tutorials you can find on how to build your own model railroad. 

Other References:

If you wish to become more engaged as a model railroader, You should look at the, the main website of the National Model Railroad Association. All of the standards for model railroading are provided here along with tons of educational material. Our Museum is not affiliated with the NMRA, but I mention it here because it is such a good reference, and provides a path to excellence for model railroaders. Many of us at the Museum are members, but you do not have to be a member of the NMRA to be a member of the Museum.

Thank you so much for reading our newsletter! We truly appreciate your interest and support. Please let us know if you would like more information.


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The Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads will be a fantastic community center based on running, operating and even building your own model railroads! There's something for every age here.

Learn about the real history of this area and how important it was in the building of America. Watch how railroads were built, the people involved, where America's roots were formed. 

As they build their own railroads, students will be learning about science, electronics,  architecture, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the art of 3 dimensional model landscaping. They can earn rewards for completing projects and winning contests.

Try to solve yardmaster problems on a switching layout like getting the lumber from the forest to the furniture store, by way of the saw mill and the lumber yard.

Run your train around blockades and other trains to get to the station on time without speeding or crashing.

Play railroad monopoly using model railroads. Winner is the one who can collect the most cars into his yard within an hour.

There will be programs for autistic and special needs kids, disabled adults and veterans.

School tours. Holiday Shows. Library and video rooms. Scouts are welcome. Even youngsters will have their own wooden models to enjoy. Classrooms and hands-on clinics for adults. Learn how to get started in the hobby. Or just enjoy the fun.

Everybody loves trains and this will prove it!  Just click on the either the blue or the yellow DONATE button below to make it happen... 

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Get Updates and Special Offers in 
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Making Tracks 
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The official newsletter for the Model Railroad Museum of Hampton Roads