Baltimore Society of Model Engineers

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As we are a 501(c)(3) organization, donations are tax deductible despite our .com domain

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From our humble beginnings as a simple advertisement in the back of the January 1932 issue of “The Modelmaker” magazine, seeking modelers in the Baltimore region, the Baltimore Society of Model Engineers has persevered through economic upturns and downturns, wars, five different locations, and now a pandemic. We can’t help but wonder if the individuals who met in a NE Baltimore home on March 4th, 1932 ever imagined that the organization that they began would remain one of the oldest, if not the oldest, model railroad societies.

We celebrated our 89th birthday on March 4th, as an organization of members with a common interest in building and operating scale models of real railroads and trolleys (light rail) transportation systems.

Give us a shout if you would like to join us in developing skills, sharing knowledge, and planning the future of our organization. We meet every Friday night via Google Meet to share our projects, get advice, and watch videos from our very own curated lists, contact us at:

News - 07/30/22

I am sorry to report the passing of a Life Member of the Club.  Joe Foehrkolb passed away Monday night July 18th.  He forged a positive relationship with every individual or organization with whom he came into contact, especially the BSME.  
In particular, he led a team of members that converted the original outside-third-rail system on the Saratoga Street O-scale layout to 2-rail DC from 1978 to 1980.  This led Joe to teach himself how to convert 3-rail model locomotives (whether outside or inside 3rd-rail) to run on 2-rail trackage. He cultivated a nationwide following of O-scale

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modelers clamoring for this type of work to be done. Joe estimated that he converted "about a thousand" engines over a span of 30+ years. Rather than starting out with Lionel trains -- as did many in the 1950s -- Joe's interest in model trains was kindled by American Flyer, not to mention the B&O tracks that ran near his childhood home in Dundalk. It was the father of a neighborhood friend, Bob Kruger, that introduced Joe to 2-rail O-scale model trains. After his marriage to Kathy, two years of service in the US Army, and buying his first home in Dundalk, Bob and Joe, together with Bob Jackson and Cas Bocklage, formed the Dundalk O-Gauge Society, a.k.a. the DOGS. They met in the basement of Joe's home where he had a layout called the Gunpowder River Railroad. All four were or became BSME members. Joe served as a BSME board member and was a reliable source of information on any topic related to model railroading. He was a great leader and enthusiastic supporter of many club projects and events. The success of the O-Scale National Convention held in Baltimore (Towson State University) in 2009 was due in large part due to his leadership and technical expertise. Although no one would ever accuse Joe of being shy, he never served as BSME president as he was reluctant to be in the limelight.

He will be greatly missed for his sense of humor, his willingness to help others, and as a good friend. He would have been 73 July 30th. You can read his obituary here:

Should you wish to make a donation in Joe's memory use the button below to donate via paypal or credit card:

The Baltimore Society of Model Engineers is a model railroad club located in Baltimore Maryland, formed in March 1932. We are the oldest organization dedicated exclusively to model railroading in the United States and the third oldest modeling society in the world!

The BSME layouts and offices are now located on the third floor of 3500 Parkdale Ave, Baltimore, Maryland in the historic Woodberry neighborhood. We are short walk from the Woodberry light rail stop.

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