Baltimore Society of Model Engineers (BSME)
The Baltimore Society of Model Engineers is a model railroad club located in Baltimore Maryland, formed in March 1932. We have the largest permanent display in the mid-Atlantic region, with 2500 square feet of steam and diesel freight and passenger trains as well as trollies and interurban running from the overhead wire. We are the oldest exclusively model railroad club in the United States and the third oldest modeling society in the world!
The BSME layouts and offices are located on the third floor of 225 West Saratoga Street, Baltimore, Maryland. Our downtown location is half a block from the light-rail station, and one and a half blocks from the Lexington Market subway station. (Finding us)
The society operates both HO & O Scale layouts. The O scale layout is set in early 1950s, the late steam and early diesel era. This means the majority of the trains will be Steam and first generation Diesel Trains, but you will see an occasional modern passenger or freight. O scale is not the same a Lionel or O gauge, the most notable difference is no center (third) rail. If you compare O scale and O gauge car next to each other you will see more detail and more accurate dimensions of the scale cars. The O scale layout also has a trolley system running the 65' length of the layout running off the overhead wire! You will city trolley models of Baltimore Streetcars as well as interurban cars running on the line.
The HO scale layout opearates modern SD-90 diesels next to a ten wheeler (4-6-0) steam train with 40 foot boxcars. This is primarily to give the visitor a look at how trains have changed through the years. The HO Layout models the fictous railroad the Chesapeake and Western, which operates a double track mainline from Baltimore, MD to Wheeling, WV, so the scenery reflects that. The City trollies are undergoing restoration and expansion as the citizens look for green transporation alternatives.
We do operate a Thomas the tank engine on both layouts for the delight of younger visitors. The club also has displays of railroad history and lore, including 34 authentic heralds from the 1950s. Displayed around our layouts are railroad manufactures publicity photos and a prototype steam engine bell, whislte, headlamp, and builders plate.
The city on the HO layout, now over 45 years old is undergoing renovation! Join us in it's reconstruction
The society is always interested in welcoming new members, regardless of modeling skills. Part of the club's activities help beginning members to become skilled in all aspects of the hobby. We also have plenty to keep the experienced hobbyist interested and challenged. If you are interested in joining our historic organization check out the membership page for all the details
We hold Open House Shows to promote the hobby of model railroading. Shows are typically every Sunday in January and the second Sunday of each month except May
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