The Lake County model railroad club was founded in Downtown Wauconda IL in Late January of 1972. In quick order a track plan was agreed on and bench work started. A month and a half later on April 16th 1972 a "golden spike" was nailed into the track with the completion of the main line. The club founders worked hard and by November of 1972 they held our first open house. In 2022 we will celebrate our 50th anniversary. A milestone for a small train club.
Our founders were local to the Wauconda area . They had a vision to turn this small old basement into a place to model and socialize with like minded hobbyist . The founders had really thought out the track plan as the mainline has gone pretty much un-changed for 50 years. In the early days of DC powered model trains large layouts were a wiring nightmare to control train movement. One of the best known items the club had in its early years was its fully functional CTC/dispatchers panel. It was a long desk with toggle switches and lights. all wires from the layout ran to this panel. The panel was manned to control train traffic across the layout. The dispatcher (shown in pic below) would control signals and turnouts and the engineers would run their trains by watching the track side signal aspects. This panel and it wiring was removed in the early 2000's when DCC computer train control was installed. Through our 50 years we have had a total of 200 members. The layout has underwent many small changes. Mostly scenery and Electronics but some industry tracks have been reconfigured as well. The layout is never finished. Its always under some sort of construction or maintenance repair. But that's the fun of this hobby.
At the clubs inception the Soo Line railroad had a major influence on the structures and town names used on the layout. As new members joined in the late 70’s the railroads operating in the Pacific Northwest held more influence. In the mid 90’s the railroads operating in the front range of the rocky mountains of Colorado had their day . Currently we operate a mainline that loosely reflects railroad lines that ran between Palatine IL and Madison Wisconsin.
We have been highlighted in a model railroad magazines thru the years and as of Recently we took part in a filming production for a DVD focusing on Midwestern Model railroad Club layouts.
Thru our 50 years in Wauconda we have been blessed with our location and neighbors. We remain free to the public every Friday nights 6-8 pm. Summer nights our members and guests can walk across the street for several dinner options. Go up stairs for some great coffee at Honey Hill. or enjoy a great car show event on a Thursday night. We feel the small town has everything needed yet remains small enough that everyone still knows each other.
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