7:30 PM

Club History Updated                                                

The Redford Model Railroad Club was founded in October 1939 in Redford Township, about 10 miles northwest of our previous location in Dearborn.  From its inception, the Club modeled in HO.  Thus, most of our earlier equipment and structures had to be scratch built due to the lack of commercial products in the then "new scale".

The Club's first layout was located in the attic of an office building in Redford. This office building is now a parking lot for a church. It was here that the membership adopted "Sand Hill & Western" as the Club's road name. "Sand Hill" was Redford Township's original name, while "Western" was added to give the name a more prototypical flavor

Our Club moved often during its formative years, each time to a different member's home.  This continued until February 1948 when the group merged with an O scale Club and moved to the New York Central freight house on Jefferson and Third Avenue in Detroit.  The newly reorganized group dropped the Redford name and became the Detroit Model Railroad Club, the name by which the O scale group had been known.

For the next several years, the Club built and operated two layouts simultaneously, one in HO scale, the other in O scale. The dual operation came to an end, however, in 1958 when the New York Central informed the Club that the space occupied was required use.  The layouts were dismantled and the O scale members of the Club elected to again go their separate way, bought an old theater and moved to Holly, Michigan.  The HO group reactivated the "Redford" name and moved to a store front building on Grand River and Hubbell in Detroit.  The Club remained at that location for three years and then moved once again, this time to the basement of the member's home in the Detroit suburb of Taylor.  This location, like those before it, proved to be only a short term home for the Club and once more the member found it necessary to move.  Again the Club found itself back on Grand River Avenue in Detroit in another store front building just a few blocks for the original Grand River location. The Club remained here until June 1972 when it moved to Warren Avenue in Dearborn. During the 20 years the Club was located here, we built the most “permanent” layout to date, including a wall length “repeater board” showing the locations of operating trains on the layout and a dispatcher tower to control operation. This was still rented space and the Club’s only source of income was member’s dues, so times were hard but fun.

In 1981, the Club decided to start planning for the future. Like other successful Clubs, we began hosting Model Railroad flea markets. We were able to start saving money! By the time the landlord doubled our rent at the Warren Avenue location and we were dealing with constant roof leaks, in 1992, we had amassed enough of a down payment to buy our own building!

Our present location on Michigan Avenue was originally a small savings & loan bank. The old vault is now occupied by part of the layout in the rear of the building. Over the years, the building was also occupied by a pool hall, Tai kwon do center, and “beauty salon”. The Club bought the building in 1992 and began renovations and updates to the building to accommodate the new layout. These were especially hard times because it’s hard to hold a Model Railroad Club’s membership together without a layout. Members were asked what they wanted to see on a new layout and a rough consensus was made from the results. Members were also asked for their ideas for track designs and we arrived at the current track plan. Similar to the land grab times that occurred out west, Members were offered areas to develop on a first come basis. The club avoids pegging the railroad scenically or operationally to any particular era or locale due to the diverse modeling interests of our members.  Thus, both vintage steam and modern diesels operate in harmony on the SH&W.

Advances in the electronics industry and new interests of our Membership have pushed the Club into the 21st century, with Digital Command Control (DCC), computer generated switchlists and the addition of a complete modular layout named the Inkster, Redford and Western Wayne Railroad.

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Throughout its history, the club has varied in size from the original ten members to a maximum of fifty.  Present membership is about 30 and includes adults and junior members less than 18 years of age.