Scale Rails of Southwest Florida
Club Background
Beta Site
Events/Status of Projects
Club Background
Club Rules
Holiday Train Display and Sale
NMRA Awards
HO Layout
HOn3 Layout
N Layout
Video Gallery
Award Models
Building the Layout
Clinics & Docs
T-Trak Gallery
NorthLandz Layout
Sun Shine Region
Victory Models
Rail Serve
Our Charter
Our intent and purpose is to promote and encourage the art of model railroading and preserve the history, science and technology of rail transportation.  To this end we have organized our efforts for charitable, educational, literary and scientific purposes.  As part of our endeavors, we host railroad displays, give talks and presentations for school, museums and various organizations.  Our members do not presume to be experts, but rather a group of individuals sharing knowledge with each other.
History of Our Club
Scale Rails of Southwest Florida was formed in January of 1983 after a group of model railroaders held a train show together at the Ft. Myers Public Library.  Incorporation as a Florida Corporation followed in June of 1983 and determination by the Internal Revenue Service that this organization was a 501 C-3 followed in September of that year.  This status under the tax code makes the Club a tax free publicly supported not for profit organization and all donations are tax deductible to the donor.

In 1985 Scale Rails bid on and purchased an 85 ft Amtrak passenger coach.  This was made possible by the contributions of two members.  The coach was parked on a Seminole Gulf siding along with two boxcars that had been donated by CSX.  The boxcars are still being used for layouts and storage but the Club later sold the coach, resulting in a $25,000.00 gain.

For several years the Club moved from one location to another in the Ft. Myers area.  The latest location was the Imaginarium on MLK Blvd.  When that lease was not renewed by the City, the Club went looking for a permanent home.

A building was purchased in June of 2003, which is now the permanent home of the Club.  It is affectionately called the "Depot."

Extensive renovations of the Depot were completed by late 2003.  Club members then started two years of construction on the HO layout.  Construction photos are in the 'Building the Layout' tab (2003-2005).  The 'HO Layout' tab shows current photos of the layout.  You will also find two other tabs for pictures 'Hon3 Layout' and 'N Layout'.

In 2014 Scale Rails was able to payoff the mortage.  We are always looking to add more space. 

Membership has grown into the 50's from the low point in 1997 when there were only 14 members.
Our Club Officers-2021
President:           Jim Morse
Chairman:           Bob Slusser
Board Member:   Robert Salem
Secretary:           Richard Pollina
Treasurer:           Dwight Sedgwick

The Depot - Our Home!

In June of 2003, Scale Rails of Southwest Florida purchased a building to use as a club house.  It is located just off Pondella in North Fort Myers, close to the center of the clubs membership.  The address is 1262 Piney Road, North Fort Myers, FL 33903.  Renovations were complete and the building was used for the first club meeting in August, 2003.  We are now busy expanding and improving the HO, Hon3 and N Scale layouts.  To see progress go to the Trainroom page.  See contact information areas on th home page for electronic messages to the club.
The New Club Layout
Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from about 10am to 2pm, club members go to the Depot to work on the construction and operation of the HO, HOn3, and N scale  layouts.  There is always work to be done and new projects.  All Club members are encouraged to come help (learn and teach).

Layout Technologies
On the surface the HO layout looks like any other large train set with tracks, turnouts and control panels.  The controls for the layout are Digitrax DCC with a DCS240 command station and seven DB150 boosters.  We use a Digitrax Duplex throttle system with UR92 and UR93 Duplex receivers for hand held control and a Raspberry Pi JMRI Wi-Fi throttle server to enable Smartphones to control trains.  We can run 30+ trains with enough engineers.  The circuit breaker and reversing loop system is DCC Specialty PSX.  The signal system is now an Arduino Mega based system, home grown.  Staging is operated by a home grown diode matrix 38 route 32 turnouts routing controller with an Arduino Mega controller to help with status.  Three years ago, we converted the entire main room to LED lighting.  The HO and Hon3 layouts are illuminated by 156 channels of DMX PCM dimmable lighting using about 75K LED's.  For the most part we build all of our own turnouts (Fast Tracks).  We are building a 52 route by 48 turnout routing controller for the San Bernardino complex, all based on Arduino Mega's.  Our focus is not on full automation but help members run trains easier.  We are investigating LCC in 2023 for the future of our large layout.  We need expanded performance and stability for all levels of train control and operation.  Layout Command Control seems to offer an expanded and more accepted future architecture.

The N Scale layout is Digitrax based with a Simplex throttle system.  We also use a separate Digitrax Wi-Fi throttle server for Smartphones.  The N Scale layout has a great deal of buildings, street lighting and animations.  The HO layout is jealous.

We program all decoders with a SPROG ii via DecoderPro (JMRI).

Open To The Public
We do welcome the Public to drop by and see what we are doing on Tuesday and Saturday.  We have our modular N scale layout set up and operational, as well as a small N scale layout designed for young kids (as opposed to us older kids!) to operate.  We also will give you a tour of the HO layout.  So you can observe progress, see how it is done, and sometimes see and hear the trains running.  Who knows, you might become inspired to join us!
Routine Club Activities
Monthly meetings are held at our Clubhouse, the Depot.  These meetings are held on the Second Saturday of each month at 11:00 am.  Sometimes other events cause us to change the day or time of a meeting.  Please check the Calendar page for the latest information. Spouses are always welcome and are invited to attend.

For many years Scale Rails hosted a Train Show in Ft. Myers over a weekend in February.  Attendance was about 750-1100 people with operating layouts and about 85+ tables of dealers, selling model railroad equipment.  The 2021 Show was cancelled due to COVID.  None planned at this time as the Araba Shrine Temple was sold leaving without an affordable venue.

We try to have a Holiday train display at the Bell Tower Mall.  Being planned for 2022.  Stay tuned.

The club conducts Operating Sessions.  This involves running 20+ trains and requires 20-25 members.  See the schedule on the Activities page.

Each winter, starting in January, the Club conducts Clinics on the many varied aspects of model railroading.  These Clinics are open to the public and will be held at our clubhouse, the Depot.  Please check the Activities page for specific topics and dates.

Members take trips to both Regional and National Conventions, go on shopping trips to the east coast, Orlando, and the Tampa area, and visit other layouts, hobby shops and museums.

Many members are working on the various NMRA Achievement Program certificates of Merit, earning their way toward the Master Model Railroader Award.
Financial Matters
The club's sources of revenue to support our activities are:
Club Member dues~60%
Donated equipment sales and Commercial projects~30%

The E-Depot

©2015 | All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.