Since roughly 1985, the Los Angelas Model Railroad Society (LAMRS) has been deploying their avocation to benefit the community by offering entertaining and educational events at their huge 2 thousand square foot layout to benefit 4H, Boy Scouts, and similar institutions. Funds are raised at their open house shows.

And the open house must really be something to see, all 2,000 square feet of it! It models the “Great Lakes and Wesern Railroad” (GL&W) which, as the name implies, proviodes a vast expanse of scenic and operational scenarios. The railroad itself may be imaginary, but looking at the model, you’d swear it is all true.

And it IS true, operationally, because great care has been taken not only to look like the real deal, but also to actually run that way. To quote from their web site:

As of the first of 2007 the whole layout has been DCC operating with hand held radio controlled throttles. We have no duck-unders or fixed mainline throttle positions, so mainline engineers follow their trains around the layout, simulating the closest thing to a real cab ride that a model railroad has to offer. To further augment the GL&W’s highly realistic throttle system, the LAMRS has installed a computer dispatching system. Just like the dispatchers in the control centers of today’s major railroads, the GL&W dispatcher authorizes the movement of trains through the use of a computer by monitoring a track diagram of the GL&W mainline. The GL&W dispatcher assigns mainline routes and clearances and controls mainline switches with the simple click of a computer mouse. The dispatcher and all operators are in constant communication with each other using radio headsets.

Track authority is granted orally by the dispatcher using the headset radios. This is model railroading the way real railroads do it every day.

Meanwhile, those operators get to travel through some gorgeous scenery, as pictured here:

Be still, my beating heart!

Much more – really, MUCH more to see at their web site, below. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. Strap yourself in!

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