Idaho Gems: Model railroad runs through history

Posted at 11:12 AM, Dec 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-18 13:12:37-05
Through tunnels, over mountains, even a stop at Silverwood.
These trains are chugging along through Idaho.
It's the creation of the Caldwell Model Railroad Club and Historical Society. A non-profit group of about 30 model railroad hobbyists from all different backgrounds.
"I was military, we've got a Hewlett Packard guy, guys that work at packing plants, phone technicians, but we just like trains. It goes back to our childhood for some of us. Trains are key. If you don't like trains, we're the wrong guys," said Ray Greene, president of the club.
With carpentry, electronics and detailed craftsmanship, Idaho's rich railroad history comes to life.
The Caldwell group meets twice weekly at their building owned on Dearborn Street. The scaled down railroad runs through the rooms, replicating parts of Idaho at different times in history. 
"We've been building this layout for the last three years," Greene said.
"The basic structure is wood, there's a layer of cork about a quarter inch thick that the rail lays on, and we glue or nail the rail to the road bed. The train gets power from the rails. We control the rails with a handheld device, and we're essentially sending a signal through the rails to talk to each engine individually," said club member Rob Saunders.
The small-scale scenes of the gem state are sure to bring a smile to all. The club welcomed visitors for an open house in early December.
"It's a thrill. Model railroading has dropped over the years. A lot of kids don't understand steam engines or trains at all. They did not travel on them, they did not see them running by their houses. But there are still a lot of kids interested in trains surprisingly," Greene said.
The Caldwell Model Railroad Club and Historical Society meets Wednesdays and Saturdays at 809 Dearborn Street in Caldwell. Call ahead if you would like to stop by for a visit, (208) 322-3957. Find more information online at
There are other model railroad clubs in the Treasure Valley too.
Nampa Model Railroad Club:
Old Boise N-Scale Model Railroad Club:
For more holiday open house fun head to the historic Pioneer Building at 6th and Main in downtown Boise.
Each Saturday through January 2nd, the Boise club will have the trains on display from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Good Morning Idaho's Jillian Garrigues is searching for unique places, people and activities in Southwest Idaho. The Idaho Gems of our community. 
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