WNYTM - Buffalo and Western New York

Updated October 23, 2009
Club Info

Western New York Trainmasters was formed over 18 years ago, sometime in the late 1980's perhaps. The original founding members are no longer involved in the organization, so there's little information available about our history.

Isabell - The Early Years

Isabell Street, Buffalo, New York happens to have once housed what could have become one of the greatest of model railroading feats in the Western New York area.  It's hard to say what the actual square footage was, but it was tremendous.  

Our club layout was located in an industrial building, in a rented room.  Just finding your way to it made you feel like you were walking into a trap in some sort of horror movie, but once in the club confines it was a model railroaders bliss.  The double track mainline snaked back and forth and then again, over and under with not one, but two hidden staging yards. It also had a stub classification yard that had a throat thicker than a typical NFL linebacker.

The room itself had a lounge, work area and even a tower!  The view was spectacular.  Thinking back, we had not even began to fathom what it would take to wire that beast of a layout up, well before the days of our DCC venture.  We did successfully get enough wire around to have one successful trip around the mainline.  

We'd had meetings upon meetings with a committee set up just to backtrack into coming up with some kind of operation plan.  There was also a secondary mainline that ran above and behind.  One day it all clicked and we realized that we had an incredible operating potential with a loads out - empties in coal mine/power plant and even an sizeable intermodal yard.  Having the two hidden yards would allow us to run the layout like a real life operation.  It was something that no one individual would be able to complete in a lifetime.  It was what you would join a club for, that's for sure.

It seems like only days went by since our golden spike ceremony that we had our second break-in.  The facility was not secure, and it was becoming unsafe to be there in that building.  Shortly after, the dream layout was dismantled.  It was a very sad day back in about 1997.  Fortunately, one of our members had the space to store most of the benchwork and supplies.  It all stayed there for quite some time until we finally found a new location.  

Victoria Square - The Lackawanna 600

600 square feet was all the room we could afford.  It paled in comparison to the enormity of was we had been blessed with previously.  The location was much more secure and even had it's own bathroom facility. It had a parking lot right outside the door, a well lit entranceway and was place you could invite someone to visit without worry.  It was sometime about 1998 and construction was well under way the following year.

Once the demolition of walls to open up the space and other construction was completed we started fresh with resurrected pieces of benchwork.  The layout had been more carefully planned this time, using Cadrail.  It had a single track main with passing tracks and hidden staging that connected the two yards at the ends of the mainline. It also had the loads-in, empties-out coal operation.  

The trackwork seemed to take forever.  The wiring was quite a chore, even though we were now using DCC.  The PM4's were a handy module that we used to control the automatic reversing circuit.  Boy, that thing worked nice.  We got the layout running and even got some scenery started. Things were really starting to take shape.

Rented rooms are not the best places for permanent layouts, as we found out.  After extending our original three year lease an extra year we were forced into a decision.  The rent was going up and we could barely afford it as it was.  During our stay there, we had become a club that spent more of our energy running train shows to afford the rent than we did enjoying the club layout.  It was destruction time again, and this time it really hurt. 

Present Day - Round Robin Blues

The club membership definitely dwindled because of our second move.  We had had quite a few awesome people become members during those great years that we had a permanent location.  It's harder to keep interest in a club, and to pay dues, etc. if you don't have a permanent meeting place where you can enjoy trains.

Fortunately, a few of us stuck together, as we have been friends for so many years. In late 2005 we decided to try our hand at a modular layout.  It would be a great way to work on a project together, and it would also give us a much needed display layout for our shows.

All of our current members either have, or have had a layout at home.  Having round-robin meetings was a great way for us to keep together and plan for our modular layout.  The pages of this website will tell you how far we've progressed.

Thank you for reading this very condensed version of our club's history.  There are days and days worth of stories to be told of our clubs adventures that couldn't be written here.  We hope to share them with you firsthand in the coming days.

About the club | Modular Layout | Bylaws | Membership | Old Layouts

email: trainmasters@buffalotrains.com  back to: www.BuffaloTrains.com