Founded in 1974, the Gratiot Valley Railroad continues today as one of the most active model railroad organizations in the State of Michigan. We are a federally recognized 501(c)3 educational group under our formal name, The Macomb Gratiot Valley Model Engineers, Inc. and we take our commitment to educate both model railroaders and the general public about 'The World's Greatest Hobby' and railroad history and safety very seriously.
In 1994, we were able to purchase our own building and have since been in the process of building an HO layout covering over 2500 square feet. In addition to the layout area, our building also contains a meeting room, a dispatch room for operations, scenery and wood working workshops, and various storage rooms. In addition to our permanent layout we have a modular traveling layout that we enjoy setting up at various events. We are currently in the process of developing new, improved, replacement modules for the traveling layout, as well as upgrading our permanet layout for better operation.
We pride ourselves in being a "teaching organization". We welcome newcomers and veteran modelers alike and provide the opportunity to hone their skills in the hobby and join us in the creation and operation of our railroad. We are involved in community events such as displays at area libraries and Shopping Malls, Crossroads Village Railroad Days, and Steam-Fest in Owosso, Mi. In addition we present lectures on Model Railroading subjects and sponsor presentations by the "Operation Life Saver" railroad safety organization at libraries and other venues for the general public.
We meet Monday nights at our building in Mt. Clemens (about a twenty-five minute drive from downtown Detroit) to work on our layout and other projects. Every third Monday of the month, we conduct an operating session, running both freight and passenger trains. We are currently in the process of converting block detection and signal control of the layout to C/MRI interfaced via JMRI control panels for operating sessions. In addition, JMRI Operations is used for car and train routing. Our goal is to run on a 'fast clock' time schedule as prototypically as possible for our modeling era. However we also frequently schedule 'fun run' nights, where there are no enforced rules of operation and members are free to run any motive or rolling stock they may wish, regardless of era.
Once a year, we host a large "Show-n-Sale". We invite hobbyists and vendors to sell new and used model railroad goods, filling the venue with hundreds of tables filled with railroad models, kits, parts, supplies, and prototype artifacts. We also host clinics at these events to enhance your model railroading skills. In addition, we provide space to organizations to display and operate their portable layouts. We typically have 12 to 16 layouts ranging in model railroad gauges from "G" to "Z". It's a great event, always the first full weekend of November.