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Rochester Model Railroad Club Rochester New York USA
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Rochester Model Railroad Club
Rochester New York USA


   In 1939 five model railroaders began construction of the first "Seneca Valley Lines" located in the basement of a small radio and electronics store on Genesee Street near Brooks Avenue. The organization was called the 
Kodak City Model Railroad Club in honor of Rochester's popular nickname during that time. The club gradually attracted others with a similar interest in model railroading and the club continued to grow.

   The club would not have a long term home until 1989, and over the years would move several times. First, to the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad's office at 155 West Main Street in 1943 and then after six short years the club was on the move again, this time to a former horse stable on Ravine Avenue. Located in the back of a toy store that fronted Lake Avenue, construction on this layout moved rapidly at this location and by 1952 half the layout was operating. The club held its first open house in 1954 with additional open houses in each of the following two years. In 1957 the club secured a location on the second floor of the Pennsylvania Railroad building located at 357 West Main Street, which was across the street from the former station that currently houses Nick Tahou's. The previous layout was salvaged with a size of 15 feet by 45 feet and a thousand feet of track. This layout had the capabilities to run 12-15 trains simultaneously. Open houses were held at this location from 1958 to 1961.

   The Pennsy sold their building forcing the club to move to the third floor of a building on 49 South Avenue (The Riverside Convention Center is located here now). After much rebuilding and rewiring, the club held its first open house at this location in 1966. The club stayed at this location until 1979 and completed much of the layout. The Fortieth Anniversary of the club was a major event during 1979 with the club being featured in Model Railroader magazine. In early 1980, the club tore down the layout and moved to the basement of the Elks Club on South & Gregory Avenues.

     In 1983 the club changed its name to the Rochester Model Railroad Club, Inc. and became an educational not-for-profit organization. During our stay at the Elks Club much of the original layout was replaced with all new scenery and track work. The open house in January 1989 was a huge success. Newspaper, television, and word of mouth helped bring a club record 3,000 people in to view the final operation of the Elks Club layout which coincided with celebrating our 50th anniversary.

     In mid 1989 the club moved to its current location in the basement of the First Universalist Church in downtown Rochester because the Elks sold their city building after they built a new lodge in Henrietta. An entirely new layout was started and designed to take advantage of the available 40 foot by 60 foot space. Progress has been steady since with a now fully operational layout and scenery work almost complete. Annual open houses have been held at this location yearly since 1995. The layout, originally built with DC cab control, was converted to a digital command control system made by NCE from nearby Webster around the turn of the century, when DCC became a prominent part of the hobby. The club layout was once again featured in Model Railroader magazine in September 2008.

     In 2014, we celebrated our 75th Anniversary and continue to grow as a club and make improvements to our layout. We have had many successful open houses that draw fans both young and old year after year and look forward to many more years of sharing our hobby with you.

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