MRA Editors

50th Anniversary of the Model Railroad Club of New Jersey

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Duration:   6  mins

This video shows the 50th anniversary of the Model Railroad Club. It was started in the basement of Paul Mallery, the Club Founder. It began when four modelers tried to start a club in the Summit area and they couldn’t find space to do so. They started building the layout they have now but much smaller.

Paul offered for them to use his space and layout temporarily. Temporarily turned out to be 22 years. He then suggested to combine two different clubs. They made a sketch of what the layout could look like. Looking at the sketch now, it is almost exactly what was sketched. This is Paul’s baby, no question about that, he says. After leaving the Summit area for a while, Paul later returned for the club. It was great for him to return, though he did find that he was a bit slower after being gone for so long. He jokes that the club members won’t let him pick up heavy weights anymore.

Paul has written a number of books on the hobby, from track laying and track planning, wiring, to operations. His favorite is his book on bridges and trestles. There are a few he didn’t even bother to put into second editions. He has written about 300 magazine articles if he counts columns for the Model Railroader and the National Model Railroad Association. Allen Keller considers him one of the pioneers of the hobby, and Paul admits he has a few plaques on the wall to remind him of that if he ever has doubts.

How did Paul get interested in the hobby? He was born with it. Some of his first memories recall him watching trains. What was the hobby like when he started the club 50 years ago? He can’t really say that the hobby existed because there were very few people building anything. Watch the video to hear Paul further reminisce.

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