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

Founded 1988


Our upcoming activities are

Summer 2021   Monthyl Business Meetings have resumed via Zoom meetings. Members are notified via email.
28-NOV-2021   Southeast Michigan Model Train Show and Sale


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

Updated: 30-JULY-2021

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

New! On July 30, 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 2021 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:

Summer 2021   Monthly business meetings have resumed via Zoom. Meeting notices are emailed to members.
28-NOV-2021   Southeast Michigan Model Train Show and Sale - 10:00am to 3:00pm

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 will be held on Sunday, November 28 at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds in Saline, Michigan, from 10:00am to 3:00pm. The Grounds are at 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Road, 4.5 miles southwest of I-94 exit #175 (Ann Arbor-Saline Road), or seven miles west of US-23 Exit #34 (US-12), via Textile Road.

Our show features over 125 tables of new and used trains for sale, large operating layouts on display, and food available on site. Parking is free.

Admission is $4.00 per person for ages 12 and older. Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by a paid adult. "Early-Bird" admission is available for $10.00 per person, beginning at 8:00am.

Vendors: Sales tables are available for $22.00 apiece until November 1. After November 1, tables increase to $25.00 apiece. A limited number of spaces are available with electricity, for an extra $5.00 per "booth" (group of tables). Requests for tables in the same location as in 2019 must be received by October 15. For additional information, or to purchase table space, call Jeff Fryman at (734) 944-9872 (evenings) or John Young at (517) 449-9063. Invitations to vendors from the 2019 show will be mailed out in August.

Alternately, if you wish to sell items at our train show, please download the show flyer, below, print it out, fill out the second page, and mail it by Nov. 15, along with your payment, to the address on the form.

Click here for downloadable show flyer
Click to download the show flyer (2 pages)


Upcoming Events

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

28-NOV-2021   Southeast Michigan Model Train Show and Sale - 10:00am to 3:00pm

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