Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Club - Chicago, IL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member adgorn
N 41° 57.811 W 087° 38.965
16T E 446186 N 4645928
Quick Description: The Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Club is located in the railroad capital of the world, Chicago, Illinois. The Club's railroad, The Garfield Central, occupies the Club's current headquarters located in the Clarendon Community Center.
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 11/17/2013 4:55:36 PM
Waymark Code: WMJGXF
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member TheBeanTeam
Views: 2

Long Description:
More from the club's webpage (visit link)

"Founded in 1947, it is one of the nation's largest model railroads, built in HO (1:87) scale and featuring over 1400 ft. of trackage.

The current Garfield Central is the fifth railroad built by the Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Club since its founding in 1947. Three layouts were built in the Garfield Park Fieldhouse before the Chicago Park District moved the Club to Clarendon Park in 1963--hence the name Garfield-Clarendon. The fourth layout, housed in another part of the Clarendon Park building, was scrapped when the fieldhouse was remodeled in 1972-1973. The current Garfield Central, begun in 1974, is among the nation's largest model railroads."

Operating Nights, which are open to the public from 7 to 9:30 pm., occur on the last Friday of every month. Located 4501 N. Clarendon Avenue."

I had the pleasure of a visit during the outstanding Open House Chicago event in October 2013. Open House Chicago is organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and features behind-the-scenes access to 150 buildings across Chicago. The event website for the rail club was (visit link)
Scale: HO scale-1:87

What is the herald of the layout? (Is there a featured railroad line(s) for the layout):
Garfield Central

What is the theme of the layout?:
The mainline of the Garfield Central is double-tracked and of the loop-to-loop variety. A complete round-trip around the layout can take as long as 30 minutes, depending on mainline traffic and motive power. The eastern loop is at Clarendon Gap, and the western loop is at Williamsport. Each reversing loop contains 7 staging tracks. Passing sidings are located in several locations along the mainline in both directions. The GC's major yard is at Georgetown (13 tracks, roundhouse, engine terminal), with a smaller yard located at Williamsport (3 tracks, engine terminal). The Garfield Central's mainline extends from an eastern reversing loop at Clarendon Gap to a western reversing loop at Williamsport. The main is double-tracked between each loop. Heading west to east, trains depart the west loop and head thru the sizeable terminal of Williamsport, which features a small yard and engine terminal. Upon exiting Williamsport, trains begin their climb up the stiff eastbound grade, heading across the famous 4-way crossover at "Bohl Crossing". Towards the top of the hill, trains head through a large overhead bridge (literally) before entering Summit. Summit features a few sidings and a small town. From Summit, trains work their way through Ridge (above and around Clarendon Gap) and then into Georgetown, the major terminal of the Garfield Central. Georgetown features a large yard, roundhouse, engine terminal, and lengthy passing sidings along both mains, making it the ideal crew-change and division point for the GC. East of Georgetown is Bridgeport, a town featuring several sidings and a small station. Next, trains head through the "Subway" which is not a town, just a long and narrow rock cut through which the mainline passes. The main next wraps around Garfield Courthouse, a rural area with some sidings. East of Garfield Courthouse, "Bohl Crossing" is encountered once again. This time, the train heads across it from the other direction and rolls downhill into Clarendon Gap, the eastern end of the GC. Clarendon Gap features several long sidings as well as an enginehouse and a connection to the Gaskill Mine complex. Finally, the train enters and clears the east loop and heads back west.

What is the era of the layout? (What time period does the layout depict?):
From their website: "Everybody knows the railroad is a Class 1. bridge line somewhere in the Appalachian, but beyond that things get foggy. Where is the railroad? It is in the Appalachian mountain area, but not in a particular state. Instead it is in parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and maybe a couple of other states."

Is there an admission fee? If so how much..:

Is this location handicap accessible?: Yes

What type of location is this layout found in? ( Museum, Club, Hobby Shop, Business, Manufacturer,..:

Layout Website: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
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