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BMRC BM 5-4-16

Attendees at the May 2016 monthly business meeting.

The BMRC is a group of model railroaders from all over the southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio area who are actively working on building and operating a large HO scale model railroad based on the Chesapeake & Ohio and Clinchfield railroads in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee.

The club operated a 2300 sq ft layout on the 2nd floor an old building in Blissfield for nearly 20 years before losing its lease in 2013. The club made the decision to buy its own building (next door to the old one) and build a new layout, adapting about 2/3 of the old layout to the new space and adding to it. The new building is all on the ground floor and will be much more accessible to more people than ever before. We now have our own parking lot and the building has two front entrances, allowing for smooth visitor traffic flow during major open house events. As a part of building modifications, we have incorporated a handicapped-accessible restroom and our 3 exits conform to fire safety standards.

The club currently has 28 regular members and 1 student member. BMRC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and is open regularly to the public and schools, scouts, churches, service clubs, and other groups. Membership is open and student membership is open from age 15 (12 with a parent) through college as long as he/she remains a student. Present member ages range from 17 to 82. All our members come from communities around the Blissfield area.  Toledo OH, Oregon OH, Sylvania OH, Monclova, OH, Maumee, OH, Waterville, OH, Adrian MI, Temperance MI, Monroe MI, Grosse Ile MI, Tecumseh MI, Blissfield, MI, Swanton OH, Hudson MI, and Flat Rock, MI are among the cities represented.

Prior to the construction work of the past 3 years, club members normally gathered at the railroad each Wednesday evening (7 p.m.) and Saturday morning (10:30 a.m.) Some came early and some stayed late. At the present time we are still doing some finishing work on the layout on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We hope to return to our former Wednesday/Saturday primary meeting days by this fall. We have a business meeting on the first Wednesday evening of the month at 7 p.m.

Our club meetings are very informal, as our main interest is to continue to build and operate the layout. Although the layout will never really be complete, we have been operating trains for occasional open house events as work on the layout progressed.  We have given special attention the past year or so to return the railroad to “operating” status, where it can be operated very much like a prototype railroad. An important facet of this status is the remote dispatching system and the related switch and signal control. This has now been completed with all-new wiring and electronic systems. Our latest addition to the system is a new dispatcher’s panel. We expect to be starting operating sessions within the next month or so to get our members reacquainted with operations.

At BMRC, there are many projects of all kinds to work on from time to time. So whatever your interest; scenery, structure building, rolling stock maintenance, track maintenance, electronics, operations;  there is always something fun to do. This, of course, includes running trains for the fun of it, or operating them for our open house events. If any of the above sounds like something you would enjoy getting involved in, please drop an e-mail to the president at president@bmrr.org and we will arrange a time when you can stop in and visit us. Always call us at the club (517-486-0404) before coming to Blissfield to ensure that members are present.

Written by jwatts on January 1st, 2006