Rails on Wheels
525 E. Michigan Ave #151
Saline, MI 48176-1588

Founded 1988


Our upcoming activities are

    No public events are scheduled at this time.
13-JAN-2022   Monthly Business Meeting, via Zoom meetings. Members have been notified of log-in details via email.


rails on wheels
Washtenaw County, Michigan's first HO modular model railroad club.

Updated: 10-JAN-2022

About Rails on Wheels

Rails on Wheels was formed in 1988 by a group of model railroaders interested in constructing, displaying and operating a high-performance HO scale model railroad. At the time, only one of the members had the space available for a permanent layout, so we each began to build small, portable sections that could be joined together, incorporating the specifications that would eventually become the Rails on Wheels Module Standards. This layout was usually stored dismantled between public showings.

To promote our goals of educating our members and the public about railroading and the hobby of model railroading, our activities have included monthly meetings and workshops, layout setups at over 100 train shows and the NMRA National Conventions in 1992, 1997 and 2007, private event layout setups, railfanning outings and trips to train shows and swap meets.

In 1998, several Rails on Wheels members who had developed an interest in prototypical operation branched out and developed the Operations Road Show. These members constructed a second dedicated layout which resides in a member's basement and is used to hold operating sessions using timetable and train order operating rules. This layout was publicly unveiled at the Maple Leaf 2003 NMRA National Convention in Toronto, where 135 attendees participated in operating sessions. Our success in Toronto was repeated at the 2005 (Cincinnati), 2007 (Detroit), 2009 (Hartford), 2012 (Grand Rapids), 2014 (Cleveland), 2016 (Indianapolis) and 2018 (Kansas City) NMRA National Conventions. We took this layout out for public operations demonstrations far less frequently than we showed the display layout, as the design of this layout does not lend itself to easy viewing by large numbers of people. Following the Kansas City Convention, we no longer take it on the road, and it is currently in operation at its home base, where it continues to serve its teaching role.

Rails on Wheels provides a forum through which members can learn techniques and get help from persons experienced in layout design, benchwork, scenery, electronics and wiring, rolling stock construction and structure building. We have developed new approaches and techniques to meet our specific construction needs, techniques which we feel have in some small way contributed to the advancement of the hobby.

We are in the process of building new modules to replace the HO scale modular display layout that was stolen in 2009, and welcome new members, regardless of their level of experience. Our members range from beginners to people with over 40 years' experience in the hobby.

Anyone interested in HO model railroading, from beginners to experienced craftsmen, is welcome to join. Rails on Wheels is an independent club not formally affiliated with any other organization. Membership is always open. You need not own or build a module to participate.

Club News

On July 30, 2021, we moved the club's web site to a new web host company. Most of the benefits from this are related to maintaining the site, but a visible one is that this will give us more space for photos and files than we previously had.

Club Activities


In-Person Meetings and Most Public Club Activities Suspended

With the exception of the 2022 Southeast Michigan Model Train Show and Sale, all Rails on Wheels in-person meetings and public activities are suspended until further notice.


Our next activities will be:

13-JAN-2022   Monthly Business Meeting, via Zoom meetings. Members have been notified of log-in details via email.

Activities related to the Operations Road Show layout are listed on the Operations Road Show section of this site.

We usually meet at the Saline Historical Society's ex-NYC depot at Ann Arbor and Bennett Streets in Saline. Our meetings at the depot are open to members and non-members alike. Click here for a map.


Southeast Michigan Model Train Show and Sale - November 28, 2021

Our 2021 train show and sale was held on Sunday, November 28 at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds in Saline, Michigan. Next year's show will be held on Sunday, November 27 at the same location.


Upcoming Events

We will be holding or participating in the following public events:

    No public events are scheduled at this time.

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