Midwest N Pioneer has had a long history in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. From its inception in 1989 to the start at its new location in 2006, Midwest N Pioneer has strived to produce wonderful layouts for its members to use and for the public to view. Below you will find links that give the history of the club from its beginning in 1989 to the present location and layout.
We hope you enjoy reading about our history as much as we have enjoyed making it!
1989 - 1994
The club was organized in August of 1989, by former members of the Elmhurst Model Railroad Club. The members arranged to rent the basement of a hobby shop in Franklin Park to house the layout, and contracted Don Cardiff, a professional model railroad builder, to design the track plan. We spent the next four years laying track, wiring the electrical panels, and building scenery. In May 1994, the Club decided to look for a new location.
1994 - 2003
A Room With A View
As it turned out, we were fortunate to have a member who did business with a tenant in a building located next to a railroad line. He saw the sign on the roof advertising 33,000 square feet available and couldn't resist asking if we could rent a small piece of that space. When the owner heard what we wanted to do, he told us that he had something better than factory space that he could let us have. The second floor office wing was vacant. It had a tile floor, a ten foot ceiling, fluorescent lighting, and windows looking out onto the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad, not to mention, a very affordable price.
2004 - 2006
What Happen in Our First Year- 2004
The bank was receptive to the idea of having a layout on the third floor and after some 4 months hiatus we occupied some 2,700 feet in January of 2004 to began the reconstruction, but first the room needed to be cleaned, floors sealed, walls painted & lights hung as there where only 4 bulbs lighting the room and it was dark. As luck would have it another member managed to secure some 40 plus fluorescent light fixtures at no charged. After some three months the room was inhabitable and construction began on reassembling the layout, The T-girders on which the layout sat were saved in 6 - 10 foot lengths and reassembled. However, we had a small problem the area we left was 93 feet long and the new area was 75 feet long, but the width was such that we were able to move the ends of the layout to the side at each end and keep the main body together along the center.
2006 - Current
After some time looking around for a new location, the club found a spot in an industrial complex building right on 25th Avenue back in Broadview. Ironically, it's less than a mile from our Roosevelt Road location, so we've come full circle back near the IHB tracks. Unfortunately at this location, we don't have a direct view of the tracks from our layout space. We held our first meeting in our new space on September 8, 2006.
Once a location was determined and accepted, a review of the old layout was done. The club determined that the space we had available would not allow us to resurrect the old layout in any shape or form. A decision was made to restart the layout from scratch, but to plan into the layout methods that can be used to dismantle the pieces more easily than our last design. Several of the more scenic pieces of the old layout were salvaged and stored on-site to be used at a later date for photography or other display options.
Construction has continued since September 2006. All mail line track work and much of the other track work areas has been laid out in its proposed position, except for the steel mill complex. Members of the club are feverishly working on finishing the mainline track equipment installation, i.e. tortoise motors, switches, bus wiring, control wiring, etc. Once all this equipment is in, main line track can be used for running trains.
On April 12 and 13, 2008, the club will host its first open house at 25th Avenue. We hope to have both main line tracks running completely from helix to helix on the top and bottom portions of the layout. The work continues feverishly to try to accomplish this task. Trains will be running on the layout, even if they can't go everywhere on the main line. After several years, members will be happy to be able to run trains again!
Work continues on the main layout while work starts on our one-trak portable layout to be used at shows. Two open houses held this year.
One track modules go to our first off site running at the All American Railroad Show National Model Railroad Association DuPage Division
Two open house this year plus running at All American Railroad Show National Model Railroad Association DuPage Division and Southland Model Railroad Show held at Richards High School
The west helix is complete including facia on all sides. The logging mill and logging camp is complete. The Dells area along with the adjacent passenger statins is complete. The power plant area is complete. The engine servicing area is complete.
Work continues on the steel mill, the refinery and industrial area, the intermodel area, the auto rack unloading area, the grain mill and the town on the east helix. We display our portable layout at World's Greatest Hobby on Tour show. Open house held in January.
LT show layout was 17x26
Richards Show... John's module at show
DCC system extended to main layout project started in May, shakedown testing through end of year.
Grayslake show also attended in 2014
Main layout running DCC.
Derailment contest started. First annual winner recognized.
WGH show in January
DC re-introduced to the main layout via the switch mechanism. We have found that it's difficult to go back to DC!