Kalamazoo Model Railroad Historical Society

Click here for Public Hours and Meeting Schedule

Web address: http://www.kmrhs.org
Email address: webmaster@kmrhs.org

Click here to see the pictures of our expansion
and the progress on our new permanent layout
(Updated: 13-Jan-2023).

Webpage Table of Contents
  • Full-Size Caboose
  • Public Exhibitions
  • Annual Train Show and Sale
  • Open House
  • Swap Meet
  • Other Activities
  • RR-Themed Items for Sale
  • How to Find Us
  • Contact Information
  • Non-profit Status and Donations
  • Railroad Links and Flyers

  • Announcements and Special Events

    Mark your calendar now for our
    43st. Gigantic Train Show and Sale
    at the
    Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds
    Sunday, October 29rd, 2023.

    Click here for more information about the 43st Gigantic Train Show and Sale

    Click here to see more KMRHS events

    'Like' The Kalamazoo Model Railroad Historical Society on Facebook !

    ------- KMRHS Club Cars and such - for sale -------

    • Club Car: The 2016 "Bell's Brewery/Oberon" HO scale 50 foot Plug door boxcars is Here!
    • Club Car: The 2012 "Farm Bureau" N scale ACF Covered Hoppers are still available! Only $17.50!
    • Video of the Union Pacific, Turbine #6 on the previous KMRHS Layout
    • TodayInHistory Computer Program - Major Railroad Events Calendar
    • Railroad themed Coffee Mug
    --- All items available for immediate shipment, or purchase at our clubhouse.
    --- Sorry. All other Club Car designs are Sold Out.

    Click Here for more information on items for sale.

    The camera indicates a link with pictures !!!

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    Introduction to our Society

    Are you thinking about joining a model railroad organization? Are you interested in model trains and just starting out? Or, are you interested in the "real" trains. Then you should be thinking about visiting the Kalamazoo Model Railroad Historical Society!


    • The KMRHS is a very stable organization, having been in existence for over 50 years.
    • We hold monthly sessions where we operate our large HO permanent layout in a prototypical manner.
    • We are an active historical society collecting and preserving railroad memorabilia.
    • Members have interests in all scales of model railroading and in full size railroading.
    • Need to do research? We have an extensive library containing material on both model and full size railroading.
    • Like to show the hobby to the public? Help us take our modular HO scale layouts on the road for public showings.
    • HO trains too small for you? Then help out with the restoration of our full size caboose or build museum exhibits!
    • Join us every week and socialize with people who share in the world's greatest hobby!

      Click here for Membership Information

    2023-2024 Society officers:
    Aaron Kowalski, President
    John Forrest, President Elect
    Fritz Haney, Past President
    Mark Tomlonson, Treasurer
    Kevin Brouse, Secretary
    The officers may be contacted by e-mail at webmaster@kmrhs.org or by writing to:
    P.O. Box 144
    Parchment, MI 49004-0144

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    Model Railroading and Our Organization

    Model railroading is an international hobby that has over a half-million participants in the United States and additional hobbyists across the globe. Among the more famous hobbyists are talk show host Sally Jessy Raphael, actors Mandy Patinkin and Harrison Ford, Al and Bobby Unser and investment counselor Warren Buffet.

    While there have been models of trains as long as there have been trains, the present hobby began in earnest during the Great Depression. The model railroader attempts to recreate a miniature replica of a railroad and its surroundings, either from the present day or from years gone by. Some modelers create this miniature world from pre-built models, others from commercial kits, and still others from basic wood and metal shapes. Control of the trains ranges from the simple "transformer" familiar to toy train owners to sophisticated computer, infrared or radio control. Many model railroaders remember fondly the Lionel or American Flyer toy trains they began with years ago, and those items too will be well represented at the show.

    Model railroads come in a variety of sizes, from 1/220th actual size, or "Z" scale to 1/22.5, known as "G" scale. Model railroads designed to be used outdoors can be even larger. By far the most popular scale in the United States is "HO" at 1/87, followed by "N" at 1/160.

    The Kalamazoo Model Railroad Historical Society has been in existence for over fifty years. It has been at its present location at 9336 North Riverview Drive in Cooper Township since the early 1970's. Membership is open to anyone interested in model railroading, and its library and collection of railroad and model railroad items are open to the general public by appointment. Meetings are Monday evenings from 7:00 until 10:00 and Saturdays from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm. Visitors are welcome at any of the meetings.

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    Public Hours and Meeting Schedule

    The KMRHS is open to the public every Monday night from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM and Saturdays 11:00 to 1:00 (Holidays excepted). Operating Sessions (where members run trains on dispatched schedules) are held on the third Monday of every month except October. Business meetings are held on the 2nd Monday and work sessions are held on Mondays not otherwise designated. Visitors are welcome to attend any of our meetings or sessions, and trains will be run for guests except in cases where construction on the layout prevents it.


    The KMRHS library is devoted to materials on model railroading and the history of railroads in general, concentrating on the railroads that served Kalamazoo County. There are both primary (Timetables, Official Guides, Maintenance manuals etc.) and secondary (books, magazines, videos) materials in the collection. We have a full run of Trains magazine and nearly full runs of Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman. We are attempting to acquire back issues of other model titles to improve our collections of these and other magazines. KMRHS members may check out materials from the collection. The general public is welcome to use the collection while at the clubhouse. A movie production company, the National Park Service and local historians and authors all have used our library as a resource. The collection may be viewed during our regular meetings or by using the contact information at the bottom to make an appointment with the librarian.

    Previous Permanent Layout

    The Society's original permanent layout was removed to build a larger two-level shelf layout (See below). The mythical Cooper Park & Eastern, was named after nearby Cooper Township. The era was 1960 to allow the inclusion of steam and diesel. It was imagined to have strong ties to both the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroads and included a lot of equipment besides the CP&E. The HO scale layout had just over 212 actual feet of main line track. There were also narrow-gauge and trolley lines. The layout was wired Digital Command Control.

    Pictures of our Previous Permanent Layout

    Current Permanent Layout (in progress)

    The Society's new layout is a 2-level shelf layout comprising about double the track footage. It is modeled in the era beginning in the 1980's. Many of the buildings from the original layout have been refreshed and used in the scenery. The layout is wired for Digital Command Control. There will be a separate Dispatch office and the Dispatcher will communicate with the operating engineers, and will control all mainline turnouts through JMRI computer control. A substantial portion has been completed and scenicked. Limited operating sessions have been performed. Construction continues.

    Pictures of our Building Expansion and the in-progress New Permanent Layout.

    Modular Layout

    The Society has also built a modular layout consisting of 12 - 6 foot by 2 foot sections that fit into our trailer and can be hauled to public exhibitions.The modular layout has 2 main lines and a local. The layout is wired for Digital Command Control and more than 4 trains have been running on the layout at one time. The layout has been in use since 2001 and while a model railroad can never be said to be finished, the modular layout is complete mechanically and electrically and most modules are completely scenicked.

    Children's Layout - "The Red and Black"

    The Society has built a 4 by 8 foot layout that we take to many of our functions for the children to run. It consists of 4 - 2 by 4 foot sections. The children's layout has 2 main lines. The layout is wired for Digital Command Control and 2 children may each run a train independently using the controllers we supply. The layout is completely scenicked, the engines are wired for sound and there are stations to stop at to give the children a feel of actual railroading. Our members are always there to assist the children and answer any questions.

    BCG&A Caboose

    In 1999 former Boyne City Gaylord & Alpena caboose #802 was donated to our society. It was installed next to our clubhouse on track laid by club members. Much work has been done to restore it to its former condition. With the completion of replacement platforms, new windows and doors, replacement of most of the siding, a new paint job and a stairway and deck, work has progressed to the point that we are proud to open the caboose to visitors during our regular hours (check when we are open) and during special events. Exhibits inside illustrate the history of railroading. In 2009 the caboose was painted with the original White Road paint scheme and number.

    1912 BCG&A Caboose - 1999 - Moved to Present Site

    1912 BCG&A Caboose - 2009 - New Paint Job

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    Public Exhibitions

    The KMRHS is available for lectures, presentations, and public exhibitions. We can arrange private showings of our facilities. Speakers with knowledge on both model and prototypical railroading are available for presentations. We also have a modular layout that can be set up at your location/function, or we can set up a temporary layout such as a Holiday themed layout.

    Annual Show and Sale

    Every Fall on the last Sunday in October we hold our annual Train Show & Sale at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds. The Train Show & Sale features over 150 vendor tables, along with door prizes, free how-to clinics and a food concession stand. Operating layouts in G, HO, and N scales are present. An announcement with full details will appear at the top of this webpage several months before the event.

    Pictures from previous Train Show & Sale

    Open House

    Once or twice a year we hold an Open House to share our facility with the public. An announcement will be placed at the top of this webpage when plans are finalized for the next one.

    Watch the Announcements and Special Events section at the top of this web page for other special events.

    Previous Open House Pictures

    Swap Meet

    In the Spring we hold a Swap Meet at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds. We rent tables to individuals who wish to sell their excess model railroad equipment and to model railroad vendors. An announcement will be placed at the top of this webpage when plans are finalized for the next one.

    Other Activities

    Occasionally the KMRHS holds or organizes other events. Check out the photo galleries below:

    Our 2012 trip on the Coopersville and Marne

    In 2006 KMRHS went on a Rail Fan trip to The Little River Railroad at Coldwater Michigan.

    A 2017 club tour of the Eden Springs Park.

    How to Find Us

    From the north, south, or west of Kalamazoo, Michigan:

    Take US-131 to exit 44 (D Avenue). Take D Avenue east 5 miles to Riverview Drive. Turn left and travel north 1.3 miles. The entrance will be on the right side of the road.

    From the east of Kalamazoo, Michigan:

    Take I-94 west to exit 81 (BL94). Travel 1 mile west on BL94 to the second traffic light (Sprinkle road). Travel north on Sprinkle/25th Street for about 8 miles until it curves to the west, where it will become D Avenue. Follow D Avenue West to the first stop sign (Riverview Drive). Turn right and travel north 1.3 miles. The entrance is a long driveway on the right (East) side of the road (9336 N. Riverview Drive).

    A large black on white reflective sign displays our logo and "Kalamazoo Model Railroad Historical Society" at the entrance road to our clubhouse.
    Public Hours --- Open Houses

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    Contact Information

    The Kalamazoo Model Railroad Historical Society
    9336 Riverview Drive
    Kalamazoo, MI 49004

    Mondays: 7 PM -10 PM and Saturdays: 11:00AM to 1:00PM
    Other times by appointment

    Mailing Address:
    P.O. Box 144
    Parchment, MI 49004-0144

    Web address: http://www.kmrhs.org
    Email address: webmaster@kmrhs.org
    (Our land-line phone number is no longer active)

    Non-Profit Status

    The Kalamazoo Model Railroad Historical Society is registered as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. As such, donations to further the goals of the KMRHS in encouraging Model Railroading and preserving the historic significance that Railroads played in the development of our country may be tax deductible.

    Further, the organization is registered with the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. Your gift to our account in the foundation is tax deductible and may provide tax credits and other tax benefits. Please contact your financial advisor for more information.

    If you wish to make a gift to the Kalamazoo Community Foundation in the name of the Kalamazoo Model Railroad Historical Society, please make your check payable to the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. On your check's memo line, please write "KMRHS". Gifts may be hand-delivered or mailed to the:

    Kalamazoo Community Foundation
    151 S. Rose St., Ste. 332
    Kalamazoo, MI 49007-4775

    Non-Cash Donations:

    KMRHS is a 501(c)(3) historical society and does accept donations of historically significant railroad memorabilia, and previously owned model railroad equipment. We will give the donor a tax deduction slip. We do have two train Show/Sales per year at the fairground where you can rent tables from us and sell these items yourself. Ebay is also an option for you. Please contact us with questions or if you need further information.

    Because of space limitations caused by the rebuilding of the layout, the Society will only consider acceptance of donations of railroad items on a case-by-case basis. We appreciate your consideration.