Model Railroad Club
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Tanana Valley
Model Railroad Club

Tanana Valley Model Railroad Club displays their diorama at the Alaska Railroad Passenger Terminal.

As they have every summer since 1989, members of the club run their HO scale model trains for passengers daily from  from 7 to 8 a.m. for viewing, starting May 14th, while the southbound train is boarding. Volunteers are also available to discuss and explain their model.

The Tanana Valley Model Railroad Club started in October 1983. The model railroad hobbyists met in members homes on a rotating basis, with members pitching in to help finish their host's projects. 

Over the Christmas holiday in 1984, members decided to construct a complete display for the University of Alaska Museum. Having the Museum's Director as a member of the group was a large asset - the director made a large display area available. The show had a  Lionel operating layout, going around a Christmas tree, and a 12 by 16 foot scale HO and HOn3 gauge operating display. Showcases displayed different scales popular around the world today, as well as the many kinds and types of motive power, and dioramas of historic railroad events. The show was such a success, that it gave the Museum ten times the number of visitors usual for that time of year, a record which still unbroken 15 years later.

It was this exhibit which gave birth to the idea and support for a Club Layout. The President of the ARR offered the garage in the depot for a home. The TVRR investigated the possibility of obtaining trackage rights, and a contract was negotiated in February 1986 and work began on a layout.

The Club incorporated as a nonprofit corporation on July 15, 1986 . The TVRR logo, adopted in July 1988, is a 0-4-0 steam engine with a surprised moose on the front. The group also adopted the slogan "Route of the Baby Moose Gooser",  as a closer tie to the Alaska Railroad, "whose undeserved and unofficial title is the 'Route of the Moose Gooser'. "

Membership is open to anyone interested, and members come from all segments of the community with a wide variety of railroad interests. 

The Club has been honored for the public display of the hobby by the Wm. K. Walthers Co., "Showmanship Award Car" for the years from 1984 to 1997 except for 1987 when the layout was down for rebuilding. The Walthers Co. discontinued the Award in 1997. 

The club estimates that well over 150,000 visitors have viewed the Club layout. They have also been active in public affairs over the years, with demonstrations and presentations to grade school classes, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, civic organizations, church groups, and other groups requesting their support.

Call 456-8760 for more information, or visit their site on the web. Better yet, visit the train depot at 201 Driveway Street, and get a first-hand look!


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